The calm “wait” before the storm.
We continue our journey through the day Jackson was born. If you haven’t, go back and read part one where we share the first part of the day with you all. Heather’s comments are in italics. Most of these were sent to us in a letter from Heather 12 days after Jackson was born. Heather has given me permission to use them and will also write more current posts as we navigate through this process together.
It was time to get the epidural. Fear overcame my mind. I thought, “Please, please, please let there be no complications. I am ready. Let’s do this! You’ve done this before, Heather. You can do it again. Stay still and breathe.” The doctor reminded me of the risks. I did not care. I just wanted the pain to go away. I was propped up sitting over a pillow. I continued to breathe through the contractions while he prepped me for the epidural. I felt the needle go in, and I felt these weird vibrating sensations in different parts of my body. The doctor said, “Heather, remember that 1% risk I was telling you about? That just happened. The needle went too deep. Stay really still for me, my dear.” I couldn’t believe what he just told me. I understood what he said, but I did not want to believe that it was true. Tears flew down my cheeks like a waterfall, and I couldn’t stop the tears if I tried. As I stayed still propped up over the pillow, the nurse grabbed my guardian angel stone and placed it in my hands. She wiped my cheeks and eyes, and held my hand. She reassured me that I didn’t do anything wrong and it wasn’t my fault. All of a sudden, my head started pounding and my legs started to get numb. I didn’t know what was going on with my body and I was scared. As I lied back down, I was trying to remember everything the doctor said about the risk, and thoughts began to overwhelm my mind. The doctor and the nurse were extremely quiet. I didn’t understand why they were so quiet. I thought I was going to die or become paralyzed. My head was pounding. My whole body began to shake. I felt very light headed. I was freezing. The nurse gave me oxygen. In that moment, I was frightened. “What is going on?” is all I could think to myself.
I have never been so scared in my life up to that point. What did that mean? Was Heather ok? Would there be complications?I remember going out to the waiting room after it happened and sitting next to my father-in-law and just cried. I was so worried about Heather. She is probably the strongest person I know and this has to be incredibly scary and there was not a single thing I could do to help her. I felt helpless. I felt scared. I felt for Heather. I probably should have been worried about the baby too but I wasn’t. I worried more for Heather. I knew she didn’t want to have another C-section and would this force her to have another? I was fearful for the first time in this process.
My mother, JJ, and Jessica came back into the room. It felt like my body and mind had just endured a tornado. I have never been so disappointed in my life. It was hard to open my eyes from the pounding in my head. My body felt so tense and I was shaking so bad. I’m not sure about what was going on around me. I remember seeing a tiny glimpse of everyone’s face. I think it was hard for them to see me like that. Jessica came by my side a couple of times to ask me if I was okay. I couldn’t even explain the look on her face. I must have looked horrible. I don’t think any of us expected this to happen. Jessica put her hand on my side and kind of rubbed back and forth. For the first time since I could remember, I actually felt comforted by someone’s touch. She was doing all she could to make sure I was okay, and I loved her so much for that.
Just that morning in our time together, Heather was telling us how she doesn’t like to be touched. Seriously? This 1% chance thing just happened to her, she has to be scared out of her mind and I can’t touch her? I can’t show her that I care? I couldn’t just stand there and stare at her and do nothing. Oh, heck no. I had to do something. I tried very little to just let her know I was there and that I cared. I cared for this woman, not only as the mother of my child but as my friend. To this day, I would tell you she is my friend, and a dear friend at that.
I was nine and a half centimeters. I looked at Jessica and her face resembled a child’s face on Christmas. Both her and JJ looked extremely excited. I was excited too. My mother quietly asked, “Is it going to be okay if I stayed?” I couldn’t even imagine telling her no. “Yes, Mom. That’s okay.” She had been such a support person and friend to me. She always wanted to see a baby being born, and I knew Jackson was her only chance. I looked up at the television. Clear for everyone to see, the screen read: “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land; And will strengthen your frame; You will be like a well- watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11 NIV) In that moment, I felt God’s amazing presence. Seeing that verse in that very moment gave me strength that I didn’t know I had. Once I read the words on the screen, I knew God was going to give me the strength I needed to push Jackson into this world.
The moments leading up to this point were so surreal. I have said it 100 times and I will say it 100 more, I never thought I would be there the moment my child was being born, never. When this verse came on the TV it was known to all, this was a sign from God. There is no manual on parenting and there certainly isn’t a manual on parenting an adopted child in an open adoption. We have and had no idea what this was going to look like, other than, the Lord will guide us and in that moment He created something so beautiful that I will never forget it.
Part three, we will share with you the moment our lives changed forever, the moment we welcomed Jackson to this world! You won’t want to miss it!