There is one thing I know definitively; you are pregnant for nine months for a reason.
For those of you who have been pregnant, consider all the thoughts that began to go through your mind the moment that pregnancy was confirmed. Eventually that bubble of pure joy is popped with thoughts of all there is to do to prepare: Baby proofing your home, getting a room ready, buying a crib that has not been known to kill children, getting the safest possible car seat, bottle feed or breast feed, blankets, clothes, binkies … it’s unending. Thankfully you have time to ponder these things, and if you’re like me, to research every single thing.
Now, try to imagine doing all of this in 48 hours! This is unheard of in the world of adoption, and yet …
My husband and I had been trying to start our family for almost 10 years. My husband is in the military, so our infertility journey spanned three states, numerous procedures, and years of disappointments. We were mentally and emotionally exhausted from it all. During my husbands second deployment, we decided to look into adoption and our journey began. I found an agency, and we started the mountains of paperwork and numerous inspections.
Throughout this adoption process, we were careful not to get our hopes up.
It could be years before we were selected, if at all. As such, we didn’t do much as far as readying ourselves for a baby’s arrival. I couldn’t bear the thought of an empty nursery in my home, which might never be filled. In the spirit of carrying on with no expectations, when I was offered my dream job, I jumped on it. The same day I started, my husband left on a 3-week training mission. At this point, our adoption profile had been live for 3 months.
Two weeks later, I am sitting in my car, having just pulled into the Barnes and Noble parking lot for an after-work coffee when my phone rang. I answered, and my world changed forever. It was my social worker.
A baby girl had just been born and the birth parents wanted to meet us.
Thus began my 48-hour pregnancy.
I sent my husband a text and asked him to call me because I had heard from the social worker. I about gave him a stroke. After we spoke, he began the task of trying to get home. We decided that I would go to the hospital to meet the birth parents the next day, and my husband would get there as soon as humanly possible. I was awake that whole night trying not to get my hopes up while mentally preparing myself at the same time.
I didn’t want to tell any of my family or friends; I didn’t want to get their hopes up either! So I sat in my house ALL DAY waiting for the phone to ring beckoning me to the hospital. That call did not come until 6 p.m. By that point I was a complete wreck, but I pulled myself together as best as possible to meet the parents of my “maybe” future daughter.
What do you wear to such an event?
There is no documented literature on this, so I had to wing it. It was a small local hospital, and when I arrived, the lobby was deserted. I waited there in the silence of that creepy lobby for my social worker to come and get me. What in the world was I going to say to them? My anxiety was at an all time high.
When my social worker arrived, she took one look at me and just smiled. She new I was a hot mess of crazy. She sat with me and told me a little about what was going to happen, the kind of questions they might ask, and the best way to try and answer.
“One last thing before we go up,” she said. “The birth parents want you to consider the name that they have chosen.”
Please, please, please let me love it, I thought.
When she told me the name, I burst into tears. It was awful! There was no way they were going to give me their baby now! My social worker told me not to worry and to say I would think about it, and leave it there.
Deep breaths, I told myself. You are ready.
I won’t go into too much detail about the meeting.
Suffice it to say, it was the most challenging, uncomfortable 20 minutes of my life. I didn’t know how to feel. I wanted to be excited at the prospect of becoming a mother, but that is almost impossible when you are sitting with a mother who is about to give up her baby. It was heart-wrenching.
They brought the baby in, and the birth mother let me hold her. When they put that beautiful blue-eyed baby girl into my arms I was filled with … pure terror! Where had my nine months gone? I had nothing ready!
No decision had been made when I left. My husband wasn’t yet there, so they were going to decide without meeting him. Poor guy was sending me nonstop text messages from the field trying to find out how it had gone.
I left the hospital in a complete fog. I didn’t know if we were getting the baby, but if I waited any longer I would have nothing for her if we did, indeed, get to call her our daughter.
I called some friends and asked them to meet me at Target for some late night baby shopping. I remember very little about the hours we spent shopping. My friends tell me I was like the walking dead, wondering from aisle to aisle, dropping items in my cart. (I’m fairly certain I didn’t need 24-month onesies, but I sure ended up with some.) In the meantime, my husband called his mother and asked her to come help me since he didn’t know when he would be there. In true Army fashion, the higher ups were taking their sweet time deciding whether or not to send my husband home early.
My mother-in-law arrived the next morning, and we spent all day shopping and getting the house ready, just in case. The birth parents wanted us, but nothing was certain until the papers were signed. In our state, the birth parents are not allowed to sign away their rights until 48 hours after the birth.
At 9 p.m. that night, I received the call to come and pick up my new baby daughter.
Thankfully, my husband was allowed to come home and arrived the next morning. He did not leave a pregnant wife, but he came home to a baby.
The whole experience was completely surreal. Things fell into place after that. Our family and friends were amazing and made sure we had everything we could need.
With no preparation at all, we were parents, and we were blissfully thrilled with that fact! Overwhelmed, exhausted, a little crazy, but blissfully happy!
Brandi grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and had you told her she’d marry a solider and travel the world, she would have told you that you were drunk! She’s been an Army wife since 2002 and became a mom through adoption in 2010. Her crazy Army adventure has been a whirlwind of insanity spanning 3 states, 6 duty stations, and finally overseas! Her favorite part of being a military spouse is being able to travel with her family and all the amazing people she’s met along the way. Her pastimes include, coffee, writing, coffee, reading, coffee, and more recently exploring Europe!