Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our Journey to You

February's been a whirlwind for us. We have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy who decided to surprise us by making his appearance into this world a week early. This started as a letter to our son about our trip to Florida because I wanted to share my thoughts and document all of the little details. But, within hours, I was already slacking and catching myself using present-tense and past-tense phrases within the same sentence. For that, I apologize. It was my every intention to document all of those little details, but since he's been born, I haven't written a thing. We've been a little preoccupied :) Here's a little part of our journey to you, little man...


We were getting ready to leave for my grandfather’s burial in 15 minutes. It was then that we got the phone call from the adoption agency. Your birth mother was going to have another check-up appointment today, so when we received a phone call from a strange area code, we knew that someone was going to give us an update. Last week, we were told that the birth mother was not going to be induced. We were pretty bummed out because our travel plans were no longer going to work out exactly the way we wanted. The first thing I remember hearing on the phone was, “Um, you might want to sit down for this” in an upbeat tone of voice. It was then that they told us that your birth mother was already three centimeters dilated and she had lost her mucus plug last night. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I knew that meant she was making progress quickly. They proceeded to inform me that your birth mother was going to be induced at 5:00am the next morning! I was ecstatic!! To be honest, I can’t even remember much of the conversation, but everyone was on speakerphone and seemed very excited.

After I hung up the phone, I ran into the living room to tell Josh that you were going to be born tomorrow! To say we were shocked would be an understatement! We started giggling excitedly and I jumped into Josh’s arms. We were scrambling and unsure what to do first. I immediately went to my computer to book a flight and hotel. Josh started packing. By this time, it was about 11:30am.  All of the flights I was looking at were either leaving in two hours, or not arriving until 10:30am the next morning. I was completely flustered because I wanted more than anything to make it in time for your delivery.

A few minutes later, Angela from the adoption agency called and went over a few more details with me. She suggested flying into Orlando and then driving to Daytona Beach to get better flight options. Thank goodness because we were able to get a flight out in six hours from Chicago for about $300 cheaper than the ones I was originally looking at. Your birth mom communicated to the agency that she didn’t want Josh in the delivery room, but that was okay. Josh said he probably would have been grossed out by it anyway. Birth isn’t exactly a clean, pleasant experience. I, on the other hand, feel completely honored that she asked me to be in the delivery room. I’m pretty nervous, but I also know that this is going to be one heck of a first-time experience.

We had the baby bag packed a few weeks ago, but all of the clothes, bottles, and other random supplies were spewed out on the guest room floor. We hadn’t started packing yet ourselves, so we ran around the house for the next hour-and-a-half figuring out what we needed. Josh opened the new box that contained our car seat and stroller combo and figured out how to assemble and work the car seat. We called our friend Kymberly to pick up our dog Toby from our house. She was so generous to offer to dog sit for us while we were away.

We drove to Chicago and parked our car in the economy lot at Midway Airport. We knew we had to be quick to catch the next shuttle bus than ran every 15 minutes between the parking lot and the airport. We hustled out of the car and over to the bus stop. Thankfully, the bus was just coming around to pick us up. What a relief! Our bus driver noticed we were carrying an empty car seat, and he asked us where the baby was. We told him we were adopting. He told us that his daughter was thinking about adopting, and then he asked what your name was. With only little hesitation, I said “Nolan.” Up until this point, we hadn’t told anyone else your name, so it felt a little foreign to finally be able to announce your name to someone. It felt good. J I hope you like your name.

We rushed into the airport, knowing that we had very little time before the flight took off. The bus driver told us that he’d be dropping us off at arrivals, so we would have to go upstairs to departures. We booked our flights online, but didn’t choose seats or pay for checked luggage. We waited in a relatively short line and then made our way up to the luggage counter. The computer couldn’t locate our reservation and we started getting antsy. We hardly had anytime to get through security and I was getting worried. After several minutes of searching for our reservation, the guy working at the reservation desk told us, “You’re not going to make your flight.” That’s when I started tearing up. My heart sank. We have to make it there by morning. I knew that we were going to be cutting it close with time, but now my fear of missing our flight was becoming a reality.

The agent who was working behind the counter, along with another lady at the desk, were searching for other flights that we could take to Orlando, but no luck. They both kept emphasizing that we would not make this flight. Finally, they took our luggage and placed “Late Check-In” tags on our bags. Then the lady hopped over the counter and told us to quickly follow her. She said she would take us through the employee line because we would never make our flight waiting in the regular security line. We rushed along right behind her the whole way. As we were briskly walking past the huge line of people waiting to go through security, I glanced back at Josh with a smirk on my face. We’re pretty sure we skipped about 400+ people in line. The lady dropped us off right at the employee security check point and we thanked her like crazy. She then told us to write a nice letter about Debbie something-or-other with Air Tran at Midway. Yes, of course, I thought! We couldn’t believe the friendliness of the airline workers that helped us get to our flight on time. We got to our gate just as the remaining passengers were boarding.

We get on the plane, me a little sweaty from rushing with my winter coat on. We were sitting for just a few seconds when Josh made a comment to look around because it appeared like we had been upgraded. Sure enough, we were in a row with two seats, and everyone else behind me was sitting in rows of three. We had tremendous leg room, and I stretched out with glee. This is the first time we’ve ever had trays between our seats, rather than on the seatback in front of us! Now if that’s not high class, I’m not sure what is. We were each served a small bottle of water shortly after sitting down, which was a nice ‘luxury’ compared to our normal economy class. A lady came by with snacks, and we got to choose between a variety of Nabisco snacks, and everyone else behind us was just served the standard pretzels.

We’re sitting on the plane now. What a crazy day it’s been. My brain hurts from being under so much stress. I’m definitely a planner, so getting a call that we needed to board a plane ASAP was a little much for me to handle. Thankfully, I have Josh around to level out my ‘crazies.’ We have no idea what time you’ll be born tomorrow. We haven’t even seen your birth mother yet. What will you look like? How big will you be, and will you have any hair on your head? It’s a strange, incredible feeling knowing that our dreams are finally becoming a reality. God sure does work in amazing ways, and we are so thankful that he’s brought us to where we are today.

Our flight went relatively quickly – only about 2.5 hours. We arrived at the airport and were relieved to find that our luggage had indeed made it to Orlando, which we were very relived about. However, the car seat was nowhere to be found. We waited for a little over two hours to finally be reunited with it. After picking up our rental car and driving to Daytona Beach, we were able to check-in at our hotel by 1:45am. We fell asleep pretty quickly but unfortunately slept through our alarm. I woke up around 7:15am so we quickly got ready and we were at the hospital on Friday morning by about 8:45am.

We picked up some flowers for your birth mom at a flower vending machine, which was a pretty fun experience. I’ve never seen one of those before. Convenient! Then we nervously made our way up to the fourth floor and knocked on the door of room 417. Your birth mom’s mother greeted us at the door and we made our introductions. The people in the hospital room were your birth mom, her mother, her brother, her two kids, and a lady named Joanne from the adoption agency. Everyone was very relaxed which put us at ease. We asked each other questions, watched silly videos on YouTube, created Play-Doh sculptures and waited patiently for things to progress.

Around 11:30am, we went to Chili’s for lunch and we had the two nicest waitresses. They were very excited that we were adopting and even gave us a complimentary hot fudge sundae to complete our meals. Around 4:30pm, we left the room as your birth mother was going to be receiving her epidural. Around 5:00pm, your birth mom’s mother came out to tell us that the doctor tried four times to get the epidural in, and we just felt so bad about the pain that caused. Right after the epidural around 5:30pm, your birth mom’s water broke, so we knew that was a good sign. It had been such a long day.

By 8:30pm, your birth mom was ready to go, so Josh went out into the hallway with the birth mom's brother and kids, and I got to stay in the room. I wasn't sure where to stand or what to do. There were three or four nurses in the room in addition to the doctor, the birth mom's mother, Joanne from the adoption agency, and me. The doctor told me to grab a leg and I quickly realized I was going to be up-and-center of it all. Within just minutes, I got to see our baby boy Nolan Isaiah enter the world at 8:41pm, and I was the one who got to cut the umbilical cord! He was a healthy boy weighing in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 21 inches long. What a miracle! Josh came in the room about 15 minutes later and we were so happy to be together as we got to meet our son.

We spent the next day-and-a-half in a little family room next to the nursery. Since we weren't patients at the hospital, they couldn't get us a room overnight. But, we were pretty okay with that because we got to catch up on some sleep at our hotel. Both Nolan and his birth mom received their discharge orders early Sunday afternoon. We said goodbyes to the birth mom and her mother, and then we signed paperwork for the adoption agency. We were so thankful for the birth mom's healthy pregnancy and delivery. What a completely selfless act. We couldn't be more thrilled, or more grateful to become a family of three! We are so blessed. More updates to come soon... after a few more snuggles with this little guy :)