Thursday, March 08, 2007

Welcome to the World, Brayden

M had stated that she was willing to have us at the hospital the day Brayden was born, and we were more and more excited as that day drew closer. As a side note, M managed to keep the sex of the baby secret, like we asked, throughout the entire pregnancy, but just a few days before delivery, her aunt slipped with a comment that let us know, or at least suspect, that it was a girl, indeed. We had been guessing boy, so had to reverse our way of thinking, but we were still so excited, boy or girl, that we bordered on obnoxious, I'm sure. But M didn’t want us in the room while she was delivering. I can hardly blame her. Not only is there an awful lot of nekkid-ness that goes on, it was bound to be an emotional time for her as well. I can’t speak for her, and what she was thinking or feeling, but we certainly respected her need for privacy.

We drove to the hospital that morning, and being the dorks that we are, realized we didn’t really know where to go. I hung back, and was more hesitant, than Blaine. M’s family was in the labor & delivery waiting areas, but this was bound to be an emotional time for them as well. And it’s hard to explain …. As excited as Blaine and I were, and as thrilled as we were that this day was finally here, part of me felt like a vulture, swooping in to take what I wanted. It felt selfish and insensitive to sit in the same waiting area, brimming with happiness and joy and anticipation, when their experience, although waiting on the same delivery, was bound to be completely different.

So we waited in the downstairs lobby for a while, until I began to get paranoid that we might miss something, or they would think we didn’t care, or that worse, they would think we weren’t coming at all. And just like the night before, you would think every single detail of this day would be etched in my mind, but it’s really not.

I remember around 2pm, we got the exciting news that Brayden had been born. I remember going into M’s room with Blaine, and seeing her sitting on the bed holding the baby. I remember not knowing where to go or what to do. It seemed insensitive to rush over and start oohing and aahing over the baby straightaway; I was concerned with M and how she was doing, and yet the other half of me, insensitive or not, wanted to rush right over to Brayden and do exactly that.

I remember it was a day filled with emotion, and most of it was happy. I’m sure for M’s family it was bittersweet. We took tons of photos, and my favorite photo, and one that Brayden still has framed in her room, is a picture of M sitting in bed, holding her, and Blaine and me flanking either side of the bed, all of us looking at the camera and smiling. Brayden will never have to wonder about the circumstances of that day, and that picture is proof that everyone involved loves her so very, very much.

We did have one glitch at the hospital, and I only share it with you as further proof of M’s giving nature, in case it wasn’t already evident. The hospital where she delivered has its own adoption program, and the only way I can describe what happened to us, is that quite frankly, they were cranky we hadn’t gone through *their* program. My personal opinion is that they were annoyed we were using an independent agency, so they decided they didn’t need to do anything to facilitate our time there.

They informed Blaine and me that since we were not legally the parents, (remember, for the first ten days we would be Brayden’s foster parents, due to tribal law) that we were not allowed to check the baby out of the nursery, nor were we allowed to BE with the baby unless we had a chaperone. Sort of like “supervised visits only” in a divorce situation. And since we hadn’t used *their* adoption program, none of *their* social workers could/would serve as our chaperones. We would need our own social worker to be there if we wanted to see Brayden, or spend time with her.

“But that’s impossible,” I protested, “She works full-time in another hospital an hour away … she can’t possibly be here until 6 or 7 at night! What are we supposed to do all day? Just sit and look at her through the nursery window? That’s ridiculous!”

And the response we got in return was the grown up version of “Too bad, so sad.”

They even took Polaroid photos of Blaine and me to put in the nursery, as a visual reminder to the other nurses that we were NOT ALLOWED to have the baby. Seriously. Polaroid pictures of us, like mug shots. I’ve always wondered if they drew a big circle with a line through our faces. Bastards.

And this is when, if I had any doubt at all that M and I were cut from the same cloth, that doubt ended. She heard what was happening, and that Blaine and I wouldn’t be allowed to see Brayden all day, and her comment (exact comment, I believe) was “That’s bullshit.” So each day, until our social worker could get there in the evening, M would check the baby out of the nursery herself, then let Blaine and me hang out in her room with her so we could do the things like feed her (unskilled though we were) and change her diapers (even more unskilled … did we not listen to ANYTHING in our parenting classes?) and count her fingers and toes and rock her and talk to her and all those other things you do the first two days in the hospital.

Can you imagine how difficult that must have been, and how selfless her actions were? We tried very hard to be sensitive, and leave our flashing, neon “New Mommy!” and “New Daddy!” signs at home ….. and I am forever indebted to her for giving us that time with Brayden. But still, I couldn’t wait for those 48 hours to pass so we could go home and begin our time as a family, and so M could go home and begin her healing, as well.

We asked M to give her a middle name, and even though, for legal purposes, another name went on her birth certificate, at long last, six YEARS after we started trying to have a baby, we went home as parents, with Brayden Christine Grace. Well, not home-home. To my parents’ house. But still, finally, we were parents. Ok, technically, foster parents on paper, but parents in our minds and in our hearts. And we were thrilled. And she was beautiful and brilliant and bound to change the world. And it was even better than we hoped it would be. (Well, until that first bath, when she pooped all over my favorite sweatshirt. But I guess I can overlook that part.)


Aunt Kelly and Uncle Cliff meeting Brayden for the first time, the day we loaded up and left the hospital. And drove our little rental car like terrified 16 year olds who had just gotten their licenses and were transporting plutonium and a dead body in a stolen car. I'm surprised we didn't get a ticket for delaying traffic but we HAD to round the corners so slowly because otherwise her little bobble head might just fall off, FALL OFF I tell you and we suddenly realized that whoa, this whole parenting gig is a lot scarier than it looks on TV, and we are RESPONSIBLE for this little person and even though we only had a few miles to go I rode in the back seat the entire time to make sure she was still breathing and that her car seat didn't spontaneously come undone and continued to yell at Blaine to slow down because he was going to cause her permanent spinal cord injury or brain damage if he exceeded ten miles per hour and jostled her about in such a careless manner!!!!

41 comments:

California Friend said...

Welcome to the world (a little late! :-) Brayden!! Mom & dad waited so long for you that she decided to make us wait too...and there are an awful lot of us!! It was well worth it though, and you are SUCH a lucky little girl to have SO many people love you SO very much!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story Kristie, Blaine AND "M".

Erin said...

Aww what a wonderful story! However, I can't believe the nursery had "mugshots" of you guys. "M" sounds like such a sweetheart and I am glad that she is still in all of your lives.

Love Erin in Long Island<3

Amanda J. said...

Such a wonderful story. I admit to the tears welling up when you mentioned the photo and it being framed in Brayden's room. I love that.

Amy said...

Great story! Great, I tell you!!! M, you are my unsung hero. Welcome to the world Brayden and lucky lucky you! YOU have 2 wonderful mothers!

Amy
www.caringbridge.org/visit/gerryheidt

Sarah said...

What a beautiful story!! Brayden is one lucky little girl to have such loving people in her life...

Since I adopted internationally, I was not able to meet Sophie's biological mother and I think about her all the time and wonder if those cute little "Sophi-isms" I see in my sweet 22 month old baby may be something that she received from her birth family... how lucky you are to have such a wonderful relationship with "M" so that you can share those wonderful "Brayden-isms" with her.

I had some of those same feelings about the day I received Sophie... should I just go grab my baby and love all over her or stand back and let her be handed to me... luckily, she had a wonderful foster mother who put her right in my arms and I have not let go since!!

One more thing... I love Brayden's name... my son is named Braden (he goes by his middle name, Grant though since many people could not "get it" when he was Braden for the first 3 months of his life). I love the name for a beautiful little girl!!

OK... this is about you, not about me... thank you for sharing your story about the arrival of your first miracle child. What a blessing you received that February day!!

Sarah

M said...

Its funny how we forget things. I forgot about the "mug shots" (that was bullshit). I hate to burst your bubble but it was me that slipped, yep, I tried so hard to keep it a secret and then the word "she" just popped out.

I get the feeling that you didnt know how much I wanted you guys at the hospital. I remember very shortly after I had Brayden I told my dad to "go get Blaine and Kristie" and he said "are you sure? isnt it kind of soon" which I thought was stupid because I knew how excited you were, and I couldnt wait to see you see Brayden! Some of my favorite pictures are right after you and Blaine came in and the excitement is just all over your faces, I love that. Also, seeing you and Blaine with Brayden during the hospital stay was very reassuring and while it was probably a little hard (funny I dont remember that being the hard part) I loved it. I loved seeing you with her and the whole nine yards. You guys were (and still are) great and I love you.

M

M said...

Oh also the last paragraph.... That is FUNNY! That cracks me up so much. I re-read that a couple of times because I can just see it in my head and it just made me laugh. Did I mention that I thought that was funny?

M

Anonymous said...

I think all of us who have adopted had our own memories come flooding back after reading your post today, Kristie. "M" and all the other birthmoms out there are heroes to so many of us!
Dixie

L said...

M gave me the link to your site and I have been checking on it every day!!! I cant go to bed without my kristie story fix!! I was only 10 when all of this happened, and I was kept out of the loop most of the time. Actually, being the baby of the family, I guess I am still out of the loop some!! There is so much of this that I did not know!! I told M that it was like reading a book, where I knew the ending and all the characters, but im just now learning the beginning!! Im actually at a loss for words here, I cant even begin to describe what an amazing person I think you are Kristie! and of course, M too!!


M's little sis, L

Anonymous said...

Hey Kristie (and M!) What a wonderful story. You are so open and honest and that is part of what makes you a wonderful person that we all "know" and love! M, you sound so loving and giving. Brayden's story is such a wonderful testament to adoption. You guys are inspirations to the rest of us. Claire in TX

kim said...

Welcome to the world, Brayden; welcome to the world of parenthood, Kristie and Blaine!!!!
And M...can I just tell you how much I love you! This is just the best true story I have ever read and it makes me want to be a better person--just like all of you. I have this visual of the three of you in the car, putting along at about 8 mph....and, as always, I just CANNOT wait for the next chapter. Laughing and crying all at the same time...

Pamela Earley said...

Okay - smiles and giggles and tears from Kristie's entry; then smiles and tears and giggles from "M's" comment. I think the M stands for 'mazing and marvelous. This is such an incredible story. I love you guys.

(sounds a little creepy when I say that to people I have never met. But I mean it in the most un-creepy way. :-) )

Donna said...

Kristie and M, thanks so much for sharing this story the way you shared Brayden! Kind of restores some of my faith that some of the people in this world still have their heads on straight. In a world filled with "My Super Sweet 16" and "Jackass" (not just once, mind you, but TWICE!), sometimes a person's gotta wonder...

Jennifer from AZ said...

Wow that is amazing. I laughed at the Mug Shots. That is crazy!!! I hope the story doesn't end here!!!!

Jen from WI said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It is incredible.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing such a beautiful, heartwarming, inspiring, TRUE story!!! God bless everyone involved in it. :) :) :)

Mary

Simply Jenn said...

Thank you Kristie and M. As a former "teen" mom who decided to keep her baby (not that I'm saying that was M's situation, just that I faced similar options)I have SO much respect for the amazing women who were selfless enough to give their babies an amazing start at life. Both of you are truly heros in this day and age when there really aren't too many "heros" to be found.

Tammy said...

Awwe what a wonderful story, thanks for sharing with all us, M sounds like a great person! That hospital staff was just too much. I'm happy everything worked our for you and Blaine, just shows what great people ya'll are, you deserve the best!

Briana said...

What a wonderful story of Brayden's birth. "M", you truly are a selfLESS person for what you did. And I think it is wonderful that Brayden has the picture of the day she was born with ALL her parents in it. She is one lucky girl to be loved as much as she is.

Tammy said...

Ok, now that I've read the other posters, I see that 'M' has posted to your blog, she slipped up hu? I could already tell just from your version she was a wonderful person Kristie, but now after reading her comment, I know for fact, what a really cool person! Your sister is just as sweet ('M''s little sister) I'm sure...

Sam Gleason said...

The drive home for us was the same way! My husband finally took a breath when we got in the car and out of the parking lot!

Our little Emma only had to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. I don't think we could have lasted for 48 hours.

It is funny how the memories start flooding back when I read your post. We got to talk to the birth mother behind the curtains. she did not want to see us, but she did want to hear our voices. She could not speak english, and we could not speak spanish. ( I took latin in school,like I would ever use it!!!) we had social workers and interpreters with us. The social worker at the hospital was one of the nice ones.

To "M" you are my hero.

Emma's Mommy,

Sam Gleason

Anonymous said...

I love that Brayden has the picture of all her loving parents in her room! That is priceless! M sounds like the sweetest thing! And the car thing made me laugh because (as I am due in 4 months) just last night I was thinking about all that- you know, the baby sits facing back, so I have to sit back there with her to see her face and make sure she is ok, right?! Gosh, I am nervous! Thanks for sharing Kristie, you rock!

amy said...

what a nice story. This is such an ecnouragement

connie f-g said...

Oh my gosh, just as expected so many memories came flooding back about our birth day. No matter how we acted we were afraid it was wrong. Our little bundle went home with us after just 3 hours...yup, longest night of our life...."is she breathing since I last checked 7 minutes ago?"

Our trip home was a riot because we lived in Turkey and a Turkish friend drove us home. I have NEVER seen that man drive so carefully and they are pretty assertive drivers over there. We were laughing in the back seat; holding on to her tight because we didn't have a car seat and there were no seatbelts in the van any way.

M, I read your message and cried. We haven't gotten to spend much time with our birth mom. We have kept in touch with the birth father's family but got our first letter directly from our birth mom. Our daughter looks just like her...beautiful! That letter from her is so precious to all of us, especially our daughter. Like you, we know she has a beautiful heart. I thank you for making Kristie and Blaine's dream come true. We've been there and know that longing, empty heart feeling.

L, how neat to get your perspective on things. It sounds like you guys have a great family.

K, L and M, thanks for sharing your story with us!

Hugs,

cakeburnette said...

What and amazing pair of women that Brayden has been blessed with! I cried reading Kristie's blog and then again when reading M's comments. I hope Brayden always knows how lucky she is to have TWO loving mothers!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story. I really appreciate your input "M."
It reminded me of our first child and how 'afraid' of hurting her we were. We took forever to dress her, afraid we'd bend her head, arms, legs or body in unnatural postitions...only to have her do a Hudini and slip her arms and legs back through holes and curl into a little ball.
Anyway, THANK YOU AGAIN!!!

Anonymous said...

My husbands ex-wife goes on vacations with us every summer. Nobody can believe it. It is simple..FAMILY.. kids ..Life .
Your adoption story with M and now M's Lil Sis shows how some peoples ideas of "uncomfortable" are so wrong. I love the fact that your families are able to LOVE each other the way you do. Ex-wife a little different but just an example.

Anonymous said...

Our first son was in the NICU for five weeks after his birth and open-heart surgery. I was in my early 30s so obviously I had been around babies in my life, but being in that environment was so intimidating to me. I wondered if I was changing his diaper correctly, if I was holding him correctly....after all, these were PROFESSIONALS in the NICU, so even doing the most simple tasks were overwhelming. I remember the first time I was able to bathe him. Finally, after FORTY-FIVE MINUTES of having that poor little guy uncovered and oh-so carefully bathing him, one of the nurses suggested that I go ahead and wrap up the process because he was getting mottled and his baby-white skin was turning purple and pink and was very marbled.

Thank you again for sharing your lives. I'm thinking, too, about Blaine and hope that he's doing well with the frustration of the system. I pray for his health and peace of mind, as well as for yours.

Claire in Indiana

Marisa said...

Happy BIRTHday Brayden !! You do have the COOLEST Mom (moms) in the world !!!

d said...

"M" you are a wonderful woman. Christie, so are you. Praying for Blaine and you're family.

Kristin Hicks said...

Kristie -
Thanks so much for sharing the story with us. I LOVED it! It is so great that you guys are able to have a relationship. AWESOME! M - you are one amazing woman. It's no wonder you and Kristie were kind of 'kindred spirits', she is just as amazing.

Kristin in NC

Anonymous said...

Wow, once again a very moving journal. It sounds as though the time of Brayden's birth was so wonderful, how generous M was/is, Brayden is a lucky girl to have so many people loving her. I gave up a son for adoption when I was young. I always wanted children from when I was very young, it was so hard for me to give him up, I was more or less forced to do it. I always regretted it, I never met the adoptive parents. 3 years ago he got in touch with me! He is married with 3 children, he married very young, I think perhaps because he wanted his 'own' family? We still haven't met, (we don't live in the same country) but hope to sometime. We e mail each other a lot. He sounds so nice, he even sends me mother's day cards as he says I gave him his life. I don't feel as though I deserve the cards!
I think the way you did this was much better, that you M and Kristie and Blaine all met, it sounds a much better, healthier way of doing it to me! I know that my son's adoptive parents were very happy to have him and I was glad in a way to be able to give that gift to people who couldn't have their own child. However, for me it was very hard to spend years wondering if he was ok, if he was even still alive, it is very difficult, sad. I never forgot his face, the night before I had to hand him over to foster parents, I stayed awake almost all night, cradling him in my arms and watching his sweet face, seeing the way that dimples formed on his little cheeks and chin when he sort of smiled, (wind!). I can still remember what his face looked like, I have remembered it all these years, I had no photo' of him.
Good luck to all of you, I love your story, it sounds a much healthier way of doing things! Great that you are all still in touch with each other, so wonderful for Brayden that she doesn't have to start searching for her mother later as my son had to search for me.

Anonymous said...

Even though I know most of these details, I am still sitting here with tears in my eyes. I never miss a day and it is always like hearing it for the first time.
xoxo Kim
p.s. is that rements of scalloped scissors by chance I see around the corners of the pic with Cliff & Kelly? :)

Anonymous said...

Bittersweet...definitely the right word to use - I can not imagine the emotions that you all went through! Thankfully the story had a happy ending...now I am ready for the next series ... your second born child... you are on a roll... you may as well continue
:-)
Kristina
Ohio

Anonymous said...

I've been very behind on my blogs, so I just read all of Brayden's story/the infertility chronicles in a big chunk, and was absolutely riveted. Happy birthday, indeed, and what a tribute to the open adoption process.

Kristie, I'm from another compartment of your life: the "childhood cancer sucks" portion, and really just checked in here to catch up on Kendrie and Blaine in particular. Thanks for sharing yours, Brayden's, Kellen's, Kendrie's and Blaine's stories with us--it is a gift.

Karen, Clare's mom
www.caringbridge.org/md/clareschmidt

D. Johnson said...

Kristie, Are you SURE this whole event didn't happen 22 years ago in NJ? Your blog is one of the best things to happen to me because I REALIZE I'M NOT ALONE! In NJ the hospital pulled the SAME routine on me- they didn't think I should breastfeed, they wanted me to talk to their social worker (The agony that woman put me through right after birth when my hormones were all over the place...and with my having had a C-section...) I am not the heroine you believe me to me in that when they pulled that same "the adoptive parents are not the foster parents" I told hospital staff that I was cancelling the adoption. That way my precious child had consistent, excellent care. The would-be adoptive parents came over to the house afterward and they cancelled on me. I will never know why. Maybe they felt too guilty taking him away from his grandmother. Such was life in Mafialand. I tried everything I could think of to do- and shed buckets of tears- trying to save him from the horrible life I had. You are so articulate, and funny, and we think so much alike... Kristie, do you have any advice on how I can forgive myself?

The Pyatts said...

I'm so glad that Brayden joined your family. How blessed you are, and what a wonderful woman M is.

I have enjoyed getting to know your family reading your blog (pointed here by Amalah, and I've been trying to catch up ever since).

JoAnn said...

What an incredible story! There are really no words. Just wow! Amazing, giving, wonderful people.

Sara said...

Kristie,

You make me smile every day.

Sara

Sue said...

Kristie,

What a great story, and told by a magnificent storyteller! I have been waiting on pins and needles to hear each additional part! I am in awe of you, for everything that you have been through and how you are able to keep a good perspective throughout each ordeal!

Sue (www.caringbridge.org/visit/rachelruth - not even half as good as what you write!)

BIG Kudos to you and M for both being in Brayden's life and allowing room for each other to be in Brayden's life! Brayden is a very lucky girl to have all of you!

Staci said...

Wow..
I just read M's comment and it made me cry. M, I have no idea who you are but you are one amazing women.. You and Kristie WERE cut from the same cloth. You are both so selfless and generous. I did my internship at an adoption agency and i have seen both birth parents and adoptive parents and i can tell you that each side has something magical happening. I was acutally invited to be at a finalization once and i cried when the judge pronounced then child legally theirs.. it is beautiful..
Ive also sat with a birth mom staring at her baby ready to sign away her rights.. and carefully page through the prospective parents.. anyway..
M, you and your family must be amazing people.... you and your little sister "L" must have very proud parents..

Staci C. in
Hamilton NJ