You would think, after trying six years to have a baby, that I would be thrilled to find out I was pregnant, no matter the circumstance. But can you believe that I wasn’t? It wasn’t that I didn’t recognize this for the amazing thing that it was, or that I wasn’t happy; I was just so stunned, and taken aback, and in a way (a very small, petty way but hey, that’s just me) even sort of annoyed about it. Because yet again, it felt like life was happening TO us, and nobody was asking our opinion, and none of the plans we made, or the things we wanted to have happen, mattered.
First, I was in knots about telling M and the people involved with the adoption. I had this awful feeling in my stomach they would think we had somehow duped them into letting us adopt Brayden, and that we had made up the entire story of our infertility just to trick them --- that we were great big, Liar, Liar Pants on Fire Big Fat Fatty Pants Liars.
I felt guilty for what this would mean to Brayden --- we wanted to raise her in an environment where we were dedicated solely to her, at least for the first few years until we could adopt again. I just wanted to go back to California and concentrate and focus on HER. Nothing had been normal for her yet (I know, I know, it’s not like a six-month old knows the difference, as long as you show up with the bottles and strained peas and Desitin on a regular basis they’re pretty much happy as clams) but now, she was going to wind up with a little brother or sister barely a year younger than she was, and it’s not like she had any say in the matter.
And, because I am a shallow, one-dimensional, stubborn, thick-headed, raging bitch of a person, who cannot BEAR to be proven wrong, plain and simple, I just didn’t want to hear all the “See?!? See, I TOLD you it would happen that way!!!” and “Everyone who adopts gets pregnant afterward!!!” comments which I knew we would get. Which, we did, just like I suspected. Which, I hated and resented, just like I suspected I would.
I tried to tell people that we were the exception, not the rule. This was a fluke. Our first miracle brought about a second miracle, blah blah. People just rolled their eyes and smiled condescendingly at me, and repeated, “It always happens like that” and I. Hated. It. Because it was a repeat of how I felt when I had heard “Adopt, then you’ll get pregnant” when we were going through infertility treatments …. I felt like these comments were insulting and patronizing, and diminished Brayden and her treasured place in our family. Like people expected us to say, “Oh, thank heavens, it worked! That was the only reason we adopted, so *this* would happen!”
Maybe it was me, being overly-sensitive. But I don’t think so. A few of the specific comments made to me during the pregnancy:
“Oh, I bet you’re excited to have a baby of your own.” --- Um, excuse me? Because Brayden is not my own? She belongs to the family of rabid squirrels in the backyard?
“Oh, now you’ll be a real mom.” --- As opposed to the fake mom I am now?
“You’ll never love your adopted baby as much; the feelings just won’t be the same” --- Um, ….. WTH????
“See? You did a kind thing by adopting that baby and good karma comes around.” --- Ok, that one made me the angriest. First of all, adopting a baby is not like going to the pound and picking out a puppy that no one else wants. Believe me, we did not do anyone a *favor* by adopting Brayden. Again, if I could toss out a statistic from that time frame, studies showed for every healthy white newborn put up for adoption, there were 100 couples ready and waiting to adopt. ONE HUNDRED. (I have no idea what the numbers are nowadays.) We were incredibly lucky and blessed and thankful for the chance to adopt her, and never forgot it for one minute.
I guess I was worried that if other people thought those things, they might think *WE* thought those things as well, which we didn’t. Or that someday Brayden would wonder if we ever thought those things. Bottom line, I felt like I was cheating Brayden, the person I had come to care about most, and the most innocent in all this. Even if she did have a mom who, in addition to being unexpectedly pregnant, would sadly, often, without intention or malice, have a tendency to, in her story-telling ways, dreadfully overuse and abuse the comma.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the pregnancy. I stayed annoyed for quite a while. At that point in my life, being annoyed was sort of a permanent condition for me. Luckily, I came to terms with it before he was born. And the minute he was born, I felt like an ass for ever worrying about stupid things like that. And to this day, I look at him and watch him with such pride and joy and wonder, and feel shame that I wasn’t overjoyed about his pregnancy from day one.
But, I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t. I just wasn’t in the right mental place. But for the first time, in a long time, it appeared we were going to catch a break and something was going to go OUR way for a change.
Six months after Brayden was born and shortly after I discovered I was pregnant, something happened (again, with the legal details I’m not at liberty to share) and we realized it was going to be months, and perhaps more months, before the court case would be over. I don’t know who felt more despair; Blaine, alone in California, me, or my poor, displaced parents who couldn’t walk two steps in their own house without tripping over baby paraphernalia, and who didn’t have room in their kitchen cabinets for their own dishes and glasses because I had taken over all the space with bottles and nipples and formula and baby bathtubs and bottle warmers and baby food and all the eight bazillion other things you need on a daily basis with a six-month old, and whose laundry room had been overrun with dirty sleepers and jumpers and cute baby outfits and burp rags and blankets and crib sheets and all that other good stuff.
Our attorney took pity on us and on our situation; I guess is what finally happened, once we saw it wouldn’t be over anytime soon. He went to the judge presiding in the case and asked permission for me to take Brayden and leave the state. It’s not like we were a flight risk … Blaine worked for the government, for Pete’s sake, they could always find us. We weren’t going to take the baby and flee to Canada, and our attorney vouched for us that if need be, if we lost our case, we would bring Brayden back to Oklahoma. Although, God forbid, just saying those words aloud made my heart fall into my kneecaps and my stomach churn and my throat close up and my neurons and synapses completely quit working until I could barely walk or talk or think.
And the judge gave permission.
And I got to go to California with Brayden, and join Blaine, and at long last, begin our life as a family of three.
And a half.