Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bittersweet Memories

May 20th. Has it really been a year since I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy in the world? Because I have a heart condition, my doctor and I decided it would be safer for me to have a c-section. So I scheduled for a c-section May 20th, at twelve thirty pm. We got to the hospital around eleven, and found out that I had actually been scheduled for 2:30. Fantastic, I thought. I already haven’t eaten in twelve hours, and this kid is hungry!! We killed time by playing cards until they called me in to do paper work and get prepped for the surgery. Because of my heart condition, they had to do extra things like an EKG (oh and they decided it would be a great time to train about five other people how to perform one! It took FOREVER). Luckily I was allowed to have visitors during all of this, so my family took turns coming back to see me, which really helped to pass the time.
Finally, around 4:00pm, they had R dress in scrubs, and they wheeled me back to the OR. They had R wait outside while they finished prepping me for surgery, which I found to be pretty pointless because they left the door open the entire time. I was given spinal anesthesia. This means they stuck a 5 inch needle into my spine. I am allergic to lidocain, so instead of using an alternative medicine, they decided to stick the 5 inch needle into my back with out any numbing medication. 5 inch needle. In my spine. No numbing medication. OUCH. I tried so hard not to cry, but I couldn’t help but let out a few pathetic sobs into my nurses shoulder as she held me during this.
After that, they allowed R to come back in and they got to work. I remember them having my arms strapped down, and feeling them work on me. I could feel him reach inside me, and I remember my body rocking from the force of him pulling out my son. It was then we heard his first cries. I will never forget the sound. He was so loud! And angry sounding! As if he was saying, “What the heck are you guys doing to me?! I was comfortable in there!”
Robbie Born May 20th, 2009 at 4:53PM 8 pounds, 2 ounces 20 1/2 inches long

They immediately started cleaning him and weighing him, etc. That’s when my anxiety set in. I kept thinking, where is my baby? Why can’t I see him? I need to see him! I need to see my baby!
The next thing I remember, I was waking up in a different room. I was so tired, thirsty, and sore. I didn’t know where I was, what had happened, or where my baby was. R was there as I woke up, and he began feeding me ice chips. He explained that I’d had a bad reaction to the anesthesia, and I had begun to “freak out”. Apparently, I had started screaming, “WHERE”S MY BABY! GIVE ME MY BABY!” I had broken loose from the arm restraints, and I was flailing around, trying to find my baby. The nurses brought him over to try and calm me down, “Look, here he is. Here! It’s ok!” But I still wasn’t ok. It took them several tries, but they finally sedated me. I have no memory of any of this.
They kept me in the recover room for quite a while. I wasn’t allowed to see Robbie while in there. R went back and forth between staying with me, and going to see Robbie. He was so sweet; he wouldn’t let anyone else hold him until I got a chance to. After what seemed like ages, they finally moved me into my room. It was almost 9 Pm when they finally brought in my son. It was my first time seeing him. They placed him in my arms,Photobucket
and I remember him opening up his eyes and squinting up at me.
He was the most beautiful person I had ever seen, and my heart overflowed with love for him. There aren’t enough words in all of the languages of the world to convey my feelings of love for him.
I was and still am completely and utterly amazed by him. I am in awe of everything he does.
We were in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday, and we spent every moment we could with him. Feeding him, changing his diapers, holding him, taking pictures, and just loving and getting to know him. We never sent him to the nursery. The only time he was away from us was when they took him to do things like get him circumcised.
We only had M and S there one time, for maybe an hour. They came Thursday evening and they gave me a necklace and R a watch. They each held Robbie, and S fed him. (I believe this is how it should always be done. This way, you have time with your baby without the potential adoptive parents hovering over you, influencing your decision to place.)
We signed the TPR papers on Friday. They had circumcised Robbie not long before, so he was in a lot of pain. He cried most of the time, which made it that much harder to go through with it.
Saturday came, and it was time to say goodbye. I spent the morning alone with him. I held him the entire time, and while I held his little body close to mine, I cried. I didn’t want to let him go. I was just getting to know him, and it was already time to give him to people I had only met twice. I carried him down to the nursery, even after a nurse told me that we weren’t allowed to carry the babies in the hall. I didn’t care. This was my baby, and I was going to hold him until the last possible second.

When I got to the nursery where my pregnancy counselor was waiting, I hugged him close, kissed him, and told him how much I loved him. Then I gently placed him in the bassinet, and walked away. He began crying loudly as I left, like he knew what was happening. It was as though he shared my pain. It took everything in me to keep walking, to not run back and hold him and sooth his cries.
I left the hospital a childless mother. It was cloudy and grey outside as we left. I felt so hollow, so empty. My first journal entry says this:

Today is my first full day away from Robbie. I’m wondering if I’ve made the right decision. M and S are wonderful people, and they are everything we wanted in the adoptive parents, but I feel so unnatural without him….. My arms ache to hold him, my chest and stomach feel so empty…. I tear up every 5 minutes, he is all I can think about. Does he miss us like we miss him? Does he cry for us? Does he realize he isn’t with us?
I’m not sure if I can do this. I need him…

I still feel like this at times. I still have that hollow, empty feeling; my arms still ache to hold him close to me. I wish with every part of me that I could have kept him and raised him, but I know it wasn't possible. I know I made the best decision for him. He is happy, he is loved, and he has everything he could ever want.

Happy 1st birthday Robbie, I love you with all of my heart. I always have, and I always will.

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

Ashleigh, your words rocked my heart. Your heart is beautiful and your words raw. I often tell Rebekah (Ty's birth mom) how much I hate the fact that I can't soothe her pain. I hate that life has to be so hard that we face decisions and situations that we just aren't prepared to handle. But then somehow, we find strength. For me, it's through my relationship with God. That no matter what life throws at me, God makes all things well.

I'm so thankful that you found a place, here, to share your heart. Your story is needed.


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