Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Birth--Noah's Adoption Story Part 3

On July 31, I had just gotten home from church around 12:30 when I got this text message from Katie: "I'm at the hospital.  I think my water broke last night, but they haven’t admitted me yet, so don’t get too excited.  I will keep you posted.”

Don’t get too excited??  Impossible!

I changed out of my church clothes in a massive rush and then started running around the condo, frantically throwing stuff into the little suitcase I would be taking to the hospital.  Katie had invited us to stay at the hospital with her and the baby, in our own room on the same floor, so I packed enough stuff for several days. 

Less than five minutes later, I got this text from Katie’s mom: “They admitted her.  Call Ryan and tell him to get on a plane.”

That’s when I knew it was for real—I would be a mom in less than 24 hours!  I called Ryan, and of course, he didn’t answer.  I called again and again and again—no luck.  His phone service is really inconsistent, so I called my grandparents and asked them to drive to our apartment to tell Ryan the news.  They gladly agreed, so I jumped in the car and started driving like a mad woman toward the hospital.  I will admit that I drove recklessly, and it’s even possible that I sped quite a bit.  You have to remember, I’ve never had a baby before, and I didn’t realize just how long labor takes--I was worried that I was going to miss the big event in the thirty minutes that it took me to get to the hospital. 

As soon as I arrived, I ran to the labor and delivery wing and asked the nurse to take me to Katie’s room.  To my surprise, when she opened the door, I did not see the doctor with gloves on, ready to catch our baby—instead I saw Katie and Drew sitting calmly on her bed, surfing the internet on Drew’s Ipad.  :)

What??  No baby yet?  (Noah arrived about 13 hours later, at 1:51 a.m.  Let’s just say I could’ve driven the speed limit on the way to the hospital.)

Shopping for baby clothes--LRG Brand, Drew's favorite
Anyway, the same nurse who had shown me to Katie’s room returned less than a minute later and said to me, “Turn around.” 

“What?” I asked, confused and out-of-breath.

“Just turn around,” she said smiling.

I agreed, and as soon as I turned, I felt her snip off the price tag that was still hanging from the back of my shirt.

Awesome, Rachel!  Real classy.

Despite my unnecessary rushing, I’m glad I got to the hospital when I did because I was able to chat with Katie and Drew a bit before things started to get really intense.  They had hooked Katie up to pitocin right before I got there, so her contractions started coming hard and fast.  She was such a trooper.

Around 7:30 p.m., Ryan arrived at the hospital in the midst of a torrential rainstorm.  It poured the entire evening and night, which we think is quite interesting considering the experience of Baby Noah’s Biblical namesake. :)

He made it!
Katie had asked that Ryan be nearby, but not actually in the room when the baby was born, so he spent a lot of time waiting outside the door. 

I came out to say hi to him every once in a while.
After a few hours on the pitocin, Katie and her mom insisted that the nurses turn it off. They said that now that her body had gotten started, it would do the rest on its own. They were right. Katie's contractions continued, but they seemed more manageable. She was able to get up and walk the halls and get into the bathtub in her room, which helped alleviate the pain a little bit as the contractions got stronger. Katie was intent on doing the labor without an epidural, and it was inspiring to watch.

As the hours passed, and Katie’s labor got more and more intense, her mom was her breathing coach, and Drew pushed on her back because the counter pressure relieved some of the pain.  Drew was by her side throughout the entire labor and did anything that was asked of him--he was awesome.  And Katie was just plain amazing.  I felt like my heart was about to burst with the love that I felt for both of them, as I sat quietly in the corner of her room and watched in awe.  I silently prayed and asked God to strengthen Katie and help everything to go smoothly.  I knew this was an experience that only He and Katie would ever truly understand.

And then it was time for Katie to push.  Between contractions, the doctor asked her who should hold the baby first, and she said, “Rachel.”  That’s when my tears started, and they didn’t stop.  For her to have endured so much pain and to still have the presence of mind to selflessly insist that I be the first person to hold the baby…there really aren’t words…nor are there words to describe what it was like to watch my son come into the world.  I have never ever seen anything so amazing, sacred, and beautiful. 

Ryan was just outside the door, and he heard Noah’s first cries.  After a few moments, he came into the room and was standing by my side when I held Noah for the first time.  It was, quite simply, the happiest moment of my entire life.

I rushed to Katie’s bedside and showed her the miracle that she had just delivered—a beautiful, healthy, precious, perfect little angel.  She reached out for him and smiled, and I have never seen such joy and love in someone’s face.

In those first few minutes of Noah’s life, he was held by his mom, his birth mom, his dad, his birth dad, his birth grandparents, and his grandma.  So much love for one little baby.  I don’t think I have ever felt heaven so close.

We all stayed in the room and held Noah, hugged each other, and talked and marveled for about an hour before the nurses came to take Noah to the nursery.  
7 lbs 4 oz, 20 inches long 
Sweet Noah Nugget
I love this one.  The expressions on everyone's faces are priceless.
I got to go with Noah to the nursery and watch his first bath. So cute!

Then, I wheeled him to Katie’s room where she and Drew were resting and eating some snacks.  They held Noah again and made a fuss over his little mohawk and his perfect little face. 

By this time, it was about 4:30 a.m., and Katie was very tired, so she asked if we wanted to take Noah to our room for the night.  Of course, we were thrilled to have that chance.  When we got to our room, I was so giddy with excitement that I couldn’t sleep.  Ryan snuggled with Noah and slept a little, while I uploaded our photos and did a little blogging.  :)

At dawn, I took Noah to the window and showed him the world—his first big day.  The rain had just stopped.  It was perfect.

I have heard it’s good for babies to have skin-to-skin  contact with their parents in order to bond, so, as I started calling family and friends to tell them our happy news, I put Noah under my shirt and held him close to me.  Here I am on the phone with my family, who were all together in Oregon for a family reunion:

I’m not sure if I should include this next experience on a blog or not, but I do feel it’s important to really give the clearest picture of the adoption experience that I can, so I will share it.  As soon as I talked to my family, I was overcome with the most intense exhaustion that I have ever felt in my life.  It was physical, emotional, and mental.  As I looked down at Noah, my heart suddenly ached so deeply for Katie.  I realized the grief that she was going to endure when she let him go, and I started sobbing and couldn’t stop.  So many emotions that I had been feeling for so many months suddenly came pouring out of me.  It was the most I have cried since my mom passed away eight years ago.  I cried and cried and cried.  I felt grateful for Katie and Drew, scared that I wasn’t going to be a good mom, overjoyed to have Noah in my life, but guilty that my joy was coming as the result of others’ pain.  I kept saying to Ryan, “What’s wrong with me?  Why am I crying?”  And sweet Ryan just held my hand and rubbed my back and told me that everything was going to be okay. 

I only share this very personal moment in my life because I want others who adopt to know that they are not alone in feeling so many conflicting emotions all at once.  I truly thought I was a little bit crazy as I lay sobbing in bed on the happiest day of my life, but looking back on it now, I think that moment was inevitable.  I had just witnessed the most Christ-like act that I think can be witnessed in this life: Katie suffered immense physical and emotional pain without any reward for herself.  She did it because she loves Noah.  She did for me and Ryan  what we cannot do for ourselves. I know I keeping saying that the experience was sacred, but that is the only word I can think to describe it.  

When Katie and Drew woke up, Baby Noah joined them in Katie's room for the day.  Many of their friends and family came to meet him throughout the day and evening.  Everyone was so smitten with perfect Noah.  Ryan and I busied ourselves by going to Costco to get all of the photos printed, going to lunch with Ryan's mom Sally, and then going on our last "childless" date--we went to the hospital cafeteria for dinner.  Oh yeah.  

From start to finish, it was a beautiful day (well actually two days, but they blended together because he was born in the middle of the night).  We are so blessed that Katie and Drew invited us to be part of the labor and delivery and the following days at the hospital.  I'm very glad Noah will know the story of his birth and have photos of so many people adoring him.  He is one loved little boy.

Tomorrow's post...Placement Day!  (the day all the paperwork was signed)


  1. I love this story. What a beautiful beginning.

  2. i love reading all about your experience. it makes me emotional every time!

  3. You are putting together a great record! Love you!

  4. Sounds like the perfect day. I love all the details you are including, noah will love them too.

  5. What a beautiful story this is and I'm grateful that you're sharing even the difficult details because it makes it so real. It's like there was a bit of sadness even surrounding my wedding--not because I was sad to get married--but almost because there was some grief over the loss of the life I had. That sounds so selfish, but it's not as if I didn't love my life as a single person and while I was moving on to something else wonderful, I still felt the loss of my "other" life. Weird. Anyway, back to you. I just think that often with so much good, there has to be a weighing element of difficulty. With joy sometimes comes sorrow. Because of the sorrow of your infertility, you're acutely feeling the joy of this perfect baby. Balance. I love Katie THROUGH your recounting her experience. What a selfless person. What a challenge she is enduring. I'm so glad it's you with her to understand her and love her for all of it.

  6. I understand the tears. When we left with boog I cried so hard because of the pain I knee his birth mom was experiencing. You have such a pure heart.

  7. "The expressions on everyone's faces are priceless"...especially Noah's! Thank you for sharing this. I think your comparison of Katie to Christ is very apt. I almost cried when you said that she told the doctor that you should hold him first.

  8. What an incredible story. You look amazing, by the way, at the hospital. I am so thrilled for you both, and for cute little Noah.

    PS Noah & my oldest, Spencer, have the exact same birth stats. Carazy!!!

  9. I love finally hearing all of the details. I hadn't even seen most of these pictures. I LOVE the one of him in your shirt. It seriously looks like the epitome of joy.

  10. I'm not surprised at the overwhelming much was going on and you had to let it out physically. Pregnant or not, your hormones were having quite an experience, too! What a beautiful person you are, Rach; thank you for sharing your story with us so we can share in your blessings.

  11. I'm not an "in the moment" crier (I do it when I'm alone and nobody can see me) but I know the exact emotions. The day before placement I just couldn't take anymore and ran out of the maternity ward and cried in a corner of the hospital.

    You're overjoyed, scared to death, heartbroken, humbled, grateful but mostly EXHAUSTED. When I had Gabriel everyone was amazed at how fast I got up, moved around the room and made myself recover. "Why aren't you tired?" Because the last one was a BILLION times harder and more exhaustive.

    I cried for weeks after I brought Julia home because every time I felt tired I felt like I was being ungrateful for Carri's sacrifice.

    And by the way, whenever I think about the Atonement I think about Julia being born. I swear it's the best blessing of being an adoptive mom is being able to understand the Atonement in a way most people can't.


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