I became a mother on a Friday in June, all alone, in an old hospital room, in East Los Angeles.
Our birth mother had just had her 37 week check-up and I drove up to LA be with her. My husband, had his last business trip for a while that weekend and he called before the airplane doors closed on his second leg, to make sure we were doing okay and we were still set for a 39 week c-section. The birth mom had just been examined and she was changing her clothes when I told Dan that everything looked great.
“I Love you, God be with you.” I told him, as was our usual airplane ritual.
“God be with you too, baby.” My husband replied.
And he turned off his phone.
Less than 30 seconds later our doctor came into the room and told us there was a problem and she needed to take the baby now.
It would be five hours before my husband would turn his phone back on and I would have my rock to lean on. At this point, I had to be strong and be someone else’s rock. It was just the two of us, this birth mother that had become my friend over the past 5 months, and me. We were quite a sight. Me, this tall white woman, pale and out of place in East LA, and our birth mom; a beautiful, petite, Latino girl with an enormous belly. We were common only in our love for an unborn child and our overwhelming fear.
Her blood pressure lowered and we were able to push the c-section by 9 hours. My in-laws rushed the two hours to be with me and worked tirelessly to get my husband a flight home from Miami but he wasn’t going to make it.
After sitting by her side in labor and delivery all night, they wheeled the birth mom away from me and into the operating room. I was by myself and childless, for the last time. I pulled on my scrubs, said another prayer, took a few self-portraits and walked into the hallway between the operating rooms.
The nurses told me to stand by the open door and when I heard them yell “girl” I could come in. This child would not be mine if it were a boy. We knew that was the deal, the birth parents would keep a boy. We had seen ultrasounds, we were confident this was a girl, but, you’ve heard the stories. I have never been as scared in my life as I was those 5 minutes before Grace was born. I was standing by the open door, our birth mother had requested full anesthesia so she was out, while they opened her up. I was already weepy, so excited, but also petrified to be going through this without my husband. I heard a cry and a nurse yell “boy.”
I almost passed out. My ears were ringing; I was sweating through my scrubs. My legs slowly began to give. It felt like minutes passed, but seconds later the room burst into a chorus of GIRL, GIRL, GIRL!!!!” I guess that first nurse was asking if it was a boy. I have never wanted to punch someone more than I did that nurse.
I walked into that room and became someone’s mother. My beautiful daughter was born; 6lbs 3oz, chocolate skin and screaming. Her new daddies plane touched down at LAX about a half hour later and he met his daughter when she was just barely 90 minutes new.
That miracle baby is now three. She still has the ability to sweep me off my feet like she did when I first heard her cry and thought, for a second, she, was a he, and I had lost her.
Adoption is our family. Some families are created by plan. Some created by mistake. Some by birth, some by marriage, and some, like ours, out of endless, on our knees prayer and a three and a half year wait.
After years of doing what most people do, and just having sex to get pregnant, we were told we had unexplained infertility. We went the way of medicine and tried for years to get pregnant through IVF but God had different plans. It wasn’t hard for us to decide to adopt and in fact our adoption was quick, we become parents less than a year after we found our agency. But the five months with our birth mother was very painful; and ridiculously expensive. There were times when I thought we wouldn’t survive, but now, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Any other way wouldn’t have brought me Grace.
I still worry about her like I did in the hours before she was born. I wonder what she will think of her birth story. I pray every day that she will be happy, healthy and safe, and that she will above all be proud that she is adopted.
Kerstin Lindquist is a program host on QVC and an adoption & infertility advocate. She eventually did get pregnant through IVF and has to daughters born five months apart.
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