Rough draft of the first chapter in my "memoir". Looking for honest reactions.
The delivery had gone without complication and now the room was filled with the sound of a newborn expressing his disapproval of being forced into a cold, bright, foreign environment. Exhausted, both body and spirit, I lay still while a flood of emotion poured over me. As I watched Brian accept the surgical scissors from Dr. Stephens and sever the last tangible connection to my baby, tears began to rain down my cheeks. My efforts to hold them back were futile. Those tears had a mission and were not to be stopped. I tried to choke them back but they poured forth like floodwaters bursting through a weakened dam. Brian and Laura, overcome with joy at the arrival of a long awaited moment, turned to me. I quickly wiped away the persistent tears and tried to fane a smile but my insincerity must have been apparent. The couple’s expressions quickly fell to confusion at the sight of my despair. The two must have been torn between elation for the birth of their new baby and sadness for the loss they knew I was facing.
Brian and Laura, a happily married couple in their mid-thirties, had tried for several years to conceive a child of their own. After years of disappointment and several painfully invasive fertility treatments and procedures, Laura conceded that perhaps adoption would be the answer to their desire to start a family. Now, after three long years on a waiting list with an adoption agency, they were being introduced to the baby they had always dreamed of, a beautiful baby boy. Laura and Brian had spent the past few months getting to know me, their child’s birthmother. During the preceding months the three of us had grown attached to one another. We had all been anxiously awaiting the birth of little Jacob and he was finally here.
Only, none of us had suspected or been prepared for this moment to be so full of emotions that would take entirely different forms for everyone in the room. Enthusiasm and pride radiated from Brian. A proud Papa, his son had entered the world. The moment must have been like nothing he’d ever experienced before. Laura stood gazing in awe at the miracle of life she had just witnessed. I imagine she might have felt some sense of longing for the chance to have been the one who had pushed and struggled to bring Jacob into the light, but it certainly didn’t show. She seemed ecstatic that she had been given the opportunity to share in this moment. I was experiencing an intense feeling of grief. Relieved that my baby was here at last, healthy and beautiful, but overwhelmed with sorrow at what was yet to come. I suddenly came face to face with the reality that our time together would be brief. Tomorrow, I would have to say goodbye to this tiny perfect creature that had only hours earlier been a part of me.
After what felt like an eternity, Dr. Stephens brought little Jacob, now much calmer, over and handed him to me. Brian and Laura, one on each side of my bed, leaned in and we all stared down in amazement at the precious little miracle. Every part of me resisted the thought at first, but I took a deep breath and looked up at Laura, who now had tears of joy welling up in her eyes. I gently handed our baby to her and fought back the urge to crumble into a ball of tears. Brian crossed the room to join his wife and the two of them stared in amazement at the newest member of their family. The doctor went about taking care of me and all the post-partum tasks. I welcomed the distraction.
A few minutes later, Dr. Stephens told me he’d be in to check on me later, wished us all well and left the room. The nurse leaned in and whispered, “you did great sweetie!” as she squeezed my hand. She then announced to the room that she’d give us all a few minutes to visit with Jacob before she’d have to take him to the nursery for some routine tests. She then busied herself with tidying up the room. Brian and Laura each kissed the baby then brought him to me. As Brian placed Jacob in my arms he leaned in and kissed me gently on the forehead and said, “We’ll leave you two alone. We love you.” I could feel the flood coming back and it was more intense this time. I held my breath as Laura leaned in and gave me a hug. She looked at me and told me “We’ll come back later. Try to get some rest. We do love you.” The two left the room, closing the door quietly behind them.
I looked down at my baby, so grateful for his presence and so tortured all at once. I spoke softly to him and told him how much I loved him. I held him close and kissed his tiny cheeks. The nurse came over to us and told me how proud she was of me and what I was doing. “As much as I hate to do this, I need to take him up to the nursery for some tests. But, I’ll bring him back just as soon as we are all done.” I kissed his forehead and told him, “I love you, and I’ll see you soon.” I handed him to the nurse. She let me know that another nurse would be right in to take me up to my room. I watched the two of them leave the room. The door clicked as it latched closed behind them. I laid my head back on my pillow, closed my eyes, and let the dam break.