Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And a second son was born....

Most of you already know how Liam was conceived, for those of you who don't know I will give you the shortest version possible. I don't want to focus too much on the negative because Liam was a blessing not a curse. I am bipolar and began a new anti-psychotic medication in February of last year. In combination with the alcohol it led to me make some very bad decisions. I moved out of my home with my fiance and our son and into my biological mother's house with her husband and my little sister. One of those bad decisions was my going to a party. I don't really remember much of that night. I do remember taking myself to the hospital that morning and getting myself tested. One month later I found out I was pregnant. The night before I found out I had a glass of wine, it immediately came back up which was unusual for me because I have always been a big drinker and can usually keep down copious amounts of alcohol. My period was only maybe a day or two late but I just had that feeling that something was wrong. I drove myself over to The Pregnancy Resource Center in Douglasville early in the morning knowing that the best time to take a pregnancy test is in the morning. I drove all the way over there because I knew that they would give me a test for free and because I knew they had resources about abortion and adoption.

After my test came back positive all I wanted to do was go home, I wanted to curl up in my bed and go back to sleep. However I was badgered into staying, to being prayed over and to watch a video showing an abortion. Needless to say it left a bad taste in my mouth. I am a pretty religious person but I am also a very open minded person. I am pro-choice. I called the birth father on my finally being able to leave, I told him we were not keeping the baby. Then I called my biological mother who apparently was busy so I ended up talking to her husband. He told me not to worry and that everything would be ok. I believed him. When I got back home my biological mother Kim and her husband Roy and even my little sister Katherine all sat around me looking at me like I was something to be pitied. No one reached out to hold me though. I sat on my couch holding my knees bawling my eyes out. Kim suggested I talk to my mom (my dad's second wife, they have been divorced for some years now but I still consider her my mom) about maybe adopting because of the problems she has had with conceiving. It was a terrific suggestion, I will give Kim the credit there.

My mom and I discussed it being a possibility. I quit drinking immediately and quit smoking that same week. I began trying to work things out with my ex-fiance and the father of my first born, Rodney. One day while visiting with Rodney and my son I get a text message from Kim's phone although the message is from my little sister Katherine. It told me that they had come to a unanimous decision and that I was not to come back there. They had kicked me out. I was three months pregnant with no car, no job and no real place to go, so they threw me out. Rodney wasn't sure if he was ready for me to come back yet, we had a lot to deal with but he allowed me to stay with him until I could find some place else to go. We went and picked up my belongings minus my furniture which Kim and Roy took as payment for a loan they had paid off for me. I lived with Rodney for close to a month and then moved to upstate New York with a good friend of mine. It was very hard for me being so far away from my son and his father. In the past five year I had never been away from them for so long and by such a distance. After about a month Rodney asked me to come back home.

We weren't to be "together" officially but we could start working on repairing our family. Rodney and I have come a long way since then. Our communication with one another has vastly improved. My mom and I came to an agreement that the baby would be better off being adopted by a different couple. She and I are just fine, no hard feeling either way. She has been nothing but supportive of me in every way possible. I was disappointed that the baby would have to go to a different family and it was hard to look at potential families on the internet.

I had looked at Liam's parents page on the internet and it had stuck out to me but it wasn't until my counselor from the adoption agency sent me a hard copy of their pamphlet that it really hit me. I had already sent out an email to two other families. One had already been matched with a birth mother, the other never answered me once I sent them an email explaining the bipolar and the alcoholism to them. That was a bit of a blow but I figured that if I was up front about those things then I would be able to weed out the ones who weren't interested in someone like me. Although it was daunting I sent Liam's parents an email to which they responded beautifully so I took another leap of faith and put out my whole story in another email to which they responded with acceptance. A few short days later after many emails being sent back and forth we three spoke on the phone for four amazing hours of laughter. I felt as though I had known them both my entire life, they completely put me at ease. I emailed my counselor the next day telling her I would like to "match" a sort of commitment (nothing written in blood or anything) that birth parents and adopting parents make to one another. Apparently they were thinking along the same lines and here we were being matched. They scheduled a visit for the following weekend, which for me could not get here fast enough.

We continued to write each other daily, set up a match meeting with our new Atlanta counselor, and even set up a 3D ultrasound appointment! I think I was more giddy than nervous to meet either of them when they came to pick me up that Saturday morning. We had our ultrasound appointment early that day so we all drove over to that side of town, had a lovely breakfast before meeting my mom at the ultrasound appointment. It was SO amazing to see baby Liam. Considering how far along I was at this point (36 weeks!) it was amazing they were able to see that he was a boy and we were all able to see his face (when he wasn't covering it with his hands) because he was face up. Remember that for later in the story because for those of you who don't know a baby should be face down and head down at this point in the pregnancy. We had an awesome lunch at the Cheesecake Factory before heading over to our match meeting. The meeting was supposed to help open communication between us and talk about a birth plan and what we expected out of the adoption. Since we three had already opened communication, were equally open with what we expected from the adoption and our birth plan, it was a very funny meeting. We already knew what the plan was it was almost like we were just filling in our counselor as to what our game plan was.

At 38 weeks I went to the hospital with contractions, painful and close together. Of course once I got there they slowed and became irregular. I was dilated at 3 cm. At my prenatal check-up the following week I was dilated 3 cm and effaced 50 % so my OB stripped my membranes. HOLY COW PAINFUL! This started my bloody show, um yuck! That weekend Liam's parents came back down considering his due date was that following Tuesday and we just knew he'd be early because Bailey was early and this was my second baby. We were wrong. We ate a Scalini's ( known for their Eggplant Parmesan that puts pregnant woman into labor. No such luck. We also went to Trader Joe's where I had a conversation with Liam's mommy about my wondering what it felt like when your water broke since mine didn't with Bailey. Remember this too because it too comes up here in just a few lines. We had a fabulous dinner at The Cracker Barrel, one of my favorite places to eat. I walked, I ate, I almost decided to start doing jumping jacks to get this baby out of there.

So after my mom suggested that I post a status update on facebook asking when people thought the baby would come, how much would he weigh, how long would he be, etc, I did just that. People guessed I replyed and then I got tired. So I laid down with a good book and coughed. When I coughed I felt myself get wet. I was pretty certain I had just peed on myself. Not uncommon for pregnant women, especially after having already had children before. So I carefully waddled my embarrassed self into the bathroom and changed my underwear while trying to make sure I had gotten all the pee out. However I seemed to have a slow leak because once I had walked back out of the bedroom and sat down at my computer again, I was beginning to soak through again. I began to research online about what it felt like to leak, what would it look like, what could it smell like, what should I do? I coughed again and the dam broke. The water came and it came and it came, so I called my OB's office they told me to go to the hospital. I called Liam's dad and said, I think my water just broke. I waddled around my house trying to gather last minute things while the water ran down my legs pooling in my flip flops. Uh yeah, yuck! I calmly explained to Bailey that I was going to the hospital to have the baby and I would see him in a couple of days. He asked me if he could have something to eat when I got back. I explained to him that he would starve to death waiting for me to get back so I would get it for him now.

Shortly Liam's parents arrived. I set a towel on their car seat so as not to leak all over their car. We all chatted calmly as we headed to the hospital. I think Liam's daddy was a little nervous as he missed the entrance to the hospital and a few other side entrances, so once we circled the hospital and got back around to the front entrance we parked by the door and went in. We got sent up to triage where Liam's mommy stayed with me. They sent his daddy back downstairs which was a little upsetting. They did get us moved to our birthing room pretty quickly though and he was able to join us there. My favorite line from that night came from my midwife who said, Well your water has broke so we are committed to having this baby. Liam's mommy and I agreed that we had been pretty committed to having him before the water broke but we weren't about to argue with her.

My mom arrived shortly after we got into our birthing room. It was slow going though so we all settled in and got comfy. I was asked it I'd like some pitocin to help speed up the process and I said sure, why not. Little did I know the pain that came along with that. I wanted to not have to have an epidural but knew that if the pain became too bad that I would take it. Once they doubled up the pitocin I knew I wanted that damn epidural. I had never felt pain like that before. Even with Bailey. They had been giving me some pain medications in my IV that was knocking the edge off but not enough. Once they gave me that epidural I could have died and gone to heaven. In fact apparently I passed out and had a good long nap. I don't remember drifting off, in fact I don't remember much after the epidural. Also the epidural was much more uncomfortable this time around as opposed to with Bailey. I never felt the epidural with Bailey.

Anyhow, when I came to it was because I was having the urge to push. I was laying on my side I opened my eyes to see my mom asleep in a chair and Liam's parents curled up in exhaustion on the floor. I felt so guilty for having just gotten all that sleep in a nice bed with blankets while everyone else was piled uncomfortably all over the room. Apparently my contractions where coming close enough together and were strong enough and I supposed I must have finally dilated all the way because we got the show on the road. They kept having me change positions because the baby didn't like it when I pushed. I guess he must have gotten over it. Lying on my back with my legs being held up I pushed. I knew what to do this time, I could feel the midwife's fingers pulling down and with each contractions I would push at least three times. Now remember up there in this story when I said he was face up in the ultrasound. Also remember when I said that Bailey was face up and they had to cut me and use a vacuum. Well Liam was face up too but I was more determined, much more patient and much stronger this time around.

Liam made his way into this world at 3:45 a.m. They set him on my stomach rubbed at him and then rushed him over to the little baby table. All this was very much like when I had Bailey. Until they pulled out the bag stuck a tube down his throat and began breathing for him. From the bed I could see his pale little chest rise and fall with each squeeze of the bag. He was so deathly pale. Was Bailey that pale? Was Liam supposed to be that pale because he was white? I had no idea. I saw Liam's mommy squeeze in and grab his little hand. They asked me if I wanted to hold him so I did and someone snapped a picture, the nurse said, Ok just one more picture, so someone else snapped a picture. They stuck him in a little plastic rectangle. He was rushed out of the room to be taken to the NICUand his parents left with him, his daddy throwing a look over his shoulders as though he didn't want to just leave me like that. I understood though and was so thankful someone could go with him. All I was told was that he was shocked. His system had been shocked so he hadn't been breathing on his own. I was told later that he was breathing on his own was doing just fine.

My mom stayed with me until I was moved into my room for the night. Would you believe after all that she went to work after going home for a quick shower? Yep, that's my mom! Liam's parents came down that day and updated me on how Liam was doing. They had that new parent, haven't slept in days look to them. They went back to their hotel to freshen up while the NICU was closed to visitors. I signed some paper work, watched t.v., ate delicious food and napped all that day. Rodney came by for a visit and promised to be back tomorrow to pick me up. My mom called and offered to come stay the night with me but I told her I would just be sleeping so she should just get some rest and come visit me the next day. My daddy sent me beautiful text messages telling me how proud he was of me. I got gorgeous roses from Liam's mommy's family with a beautiful card thanking me for my gift of Liam to them.

I was able to finally leave Saturday and went to lunch at Cici's pizza with Rodney, my mom and Bailey. I rested that whole day for the most part although I did do a little laundry and the dishes. The next day I went back to the hospital to sign the adoption papers and to sign a form allowing Liam to have a circumcision. I was asked by the case worker there if I'd like to see Liam by myself after his circumcision. I thought about it and felt like that would have been dishonest and it just felt wrong. I told her that I'd prefer to see him with his parents instead. I am very glad I made that decision. Liam was not mine to hold by myself in some room, he had two parents and you just don't hold someone's baby in secret like that. It was nice to hold him and look at him, to watch his mom and dad hold him and look at him. It was so natural for them both and I knew I had made the right choice.

The hardest part was looking at Liam's face and seeing his birth father. Liam shares a lot of his birth father's facial features. Although they look much better on Liam. Then I remembered that Bailey looked just like his own dad when he was born but as he got older he began to favor me more. That may or may not happen to Liam, either way he is beautiful. It was also surprising to see that Liam looked a lot like his mom, their hair color is almost identical.

I signed the adoption papers with no problem. I felt good signing them. I felt good leaving the hospital that day. I feel good today. There are times when I miss Liam so much but then I go and look at the pictures of his mommy or his daddy holding him and I feel so much better. The love they have for him radiates off their faces. He is so happy being snuggled close by his mommy and his daddy. He is such a happy, healthy baby.

 I know I did right by him and for that I am so proud. I love my boys, both of them. I never thought I'd say that. I refused to call Liam, my baby I always referred to him as "the" baby to distance myself from him. I thought that would make the break easier. Little did I know that he was my baby in my heart already and that I wouldn't have to "break" from him. I can love him and him not live with me. And he can love me while having a different mom and dad. Placing Liam for adoption (note I say placing not giving up, because I haven't given anything up) was both the hardest and easiest thing I have ever done. I love him today just as I loved him yesterday just as I will love him tomorrow and all the tomorrow's to come. He is my second son and no matter how many children I have after him he will always be my second and he will always be in my heart.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Heather :-D

  2. Another great essay...keep writing!

  3. Thanks Val! I will definitely keep writing. :D

  4. I did a 3D ultrasound with William's parents too! We went to Baby Vision, near Perimeter mall. I was 36 weeks too, and he kept putting his hands over his face and sticking them in his mouth (he still does that lol). It was so cool though, and I love that his adoptive parents got to experience that with me :) I wish I'd been able to do that with Phillip's parents.