We are returning to the days we spent in the hospital after Jackson was born. We were at the hospital for 2 nights and 3 days. 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 has also been adding her comments and thoughts along the way. Make sure to check them out! After all was said and done we were being transferred to our rooms. The hospital we were at was great to us and I remember so many of the nurses being amazed at how well we all got along and acted. To me, it was funny that they thought our situation was “odd” or “different”, to me it was completely natural. JJ and I were going to have our own room and Heather was going to be right next to us.
It was late. Jackson wasn’t born until after 11:00 p.m., so we had been up for 30 some hours straight. And now we were supposed to take care of a new born baby. We had no clue! It is funny looking back now but in the moment it may have been a little stressful. JJ slept on the bed and I slept on I don’t even know what it was, something as hard as the floor but they called it a pull-out bed! I am pretty sure Jackson cried all night that night! Thank goodness for the night nurse the second night who gave Jackson his first paci.
I may not have gotten much sleep because of a crying baby but also because my mind was wondering how Heather was doing. Was she getting any sleep? Was she feeling any better? Did she still have a headache? Did she miss Jackson? Did she at some point think she would want to raise him?
I slept alone that night. I needed to rest. My back and neck ached very badly. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel once Jackson wasn’t in my sight. The Lord was with me and I was okay. I knew that his parents right next door were doing an amazing job taking care of him. I tried to get some sleep. The next morning my head was pounding and my body ached. It made me nervous that my body felt so horrible, but I stayed positive. JJ came into my room to say good morning. He looked like he had a good night of sleep and looked super energized. I later learned he didn’t get any sleep. His body and mind was just so full of happiness that he was on an adrenaline kick. I remembered having that feeling when Mya was born. I think he was very unsure of how I was doing emotionally. I told him I was good. I wasn’t lying, I really WAS good emotionally. The Lord was definitely with me. Next thing I know, Jessica, JJ, and Jackson were all in my room again. We had many visitors that morning. My dad came to see us. My grandmother brought presents, (squeaky shoes). My mother came again. My spirits were still very high and I was surprisingly very emotionally healthy. The Lord was with me. JJ and Jessica were so considerate with sharing their time with Jackson. They decided they were going to go get lunch.
I wanted every moment with our sweet little baby boy to myself, but I knew Heather and her family needed time with him too. This is a delicate situation for anyone to be in. I think both sides were trying to keep the other’s feelings in the back of their minds. We were taking Jackson home with us. They were not. It was that simple. I cannot in this lifetime put myself in any of their shoes. JJ and I left Jackson with Heather and her family and went and got lunch. We left the hospital this time. We drove away, empty car seat in the back. But I never once thought for a second our life would turn out any different than it did. I have heard horror stories of birth mother’s changing their mind at the last minute (in fact it happened to us this past year) but I never doubted Heather’s motive- love, pure, simple love.
For the rest of the afternoon and evening, we had more visitors. My sister, my friends, and my boss all wanted to come show their support and love. I was still battling with body pain, but I was pushing through it. My favorite part of that day was that night. Jessica, JJ, and I spent the late evening together. They opened up more about their adoption journey, about their struggles, and the events that led up to the day they met me. The more they opened up, the more I felt like our stories just fit perfectly together. I realized how strong they have been, and I tried placing myself in their shoes so that I could understand them more. It seemed like everything they had went through made them a lot stronger and wiser. I couldn’t feel more honored to be the woman who blessed them with the joys of a family, and raising a child. They deserved this. They’ve worked hard for this- financially, emotionally, and spiritually. The more we all talked, the more I fell in love with them both. Not only were they Jackson’s parents, they were my friends. I knew that if I ever needed to talk to anyone for advice or emotional support, they would be there for me. I knew they would always be there for me. That night, I wish I had the right words to express to them how much they meant to me. I wish I found the right words to let them know how much I valued our friendship. For the last couple of months, I opened up my life to them. They knew my deepest secrets, they knew my struggles. They knew my happiness. They knew everything about me. Not once did I feel like they judged me or treated me as less of a woman because of the past decisions that I have made in my life. They treated me with respect, and that felt great. I felt very comfortable with them.
And we felt comfortable with her. I am telling you, she is a lot like me! She likes to write and writes her feelings—just like me! We have received several letters from her and some for Jackson too. She cleans to de-stress, so do I! To be honest I didn’t know what this open adoption was going to look like. During the course of getting to know each other we discussed getting together 3-4 times a year so that Heather could see Jackson and vice-versa. We were leaving the hospital tomorrow and we didn’t know when we would see her again. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. We had seen her every week for at least the last month, maybe longer. And now I wasn’t sure when I would see her again. I didn’t first love her because she was going to change my life forever, I first loved her because she was my friend first.