Chapter 6 – And They All Lived Happily Ever After?
It was terrible. That first month was hell. I have never been in a place so dreadful. All I could think was that I had made a terrible mistake. My life was over. What did I have to go on for now? My best friend Drew was at college, my plan to get high school credit at a local college had fallen through, and I had been fired from my job when they found out about the baby. What was I supposed to do now?
I had nothing. Nothing to get my mind off the pain. I walked through life doing nothing. All I could think about was how much I missed my best friend and my baby. No, not my baby. Their baby.
I was angry. I hated Rachel. How fair was it for her to take care of MY hard work? I had been good for nine months. Given my body away for something I couldn’t even keep. I was a mess. I didn’t want to do anything but lay in bed and pretend it hadn’t happened.
I was numb.
The girls at my support group said it would pass – that this hatred and sadness didn’t last forever. I didn’t believe them. It was so hard. I stayed that way for about four weeks. Nothing could console me. One day I would be fine and the next minute I was circling the drain.
Then, on Noah’s one month birthday, something happened. I got on my computer in the middle of the night, and I wrote Rachel and Ryan this email:
Dear Ryan and Rachel,
This has been the best and worst month of my entire life. It seems so crazy that an entire four weeks has already gone by. I'm not even sure if I'll be able to tell you both exactly how I'm feeling right now, but I'll try my best; hopefully it won't sound too scatter brained.
Right now it is 1:31 AM on September 1st. I wasn't sure exactly how I should prepare myself mentally for this day, because I didn't want to be caught off guard by my emotions. This was something I didn't really do before Noah was born, because it was too hard to think about how I would be feeling those first couple days. And honestly, how could I have prepared myself for all the things I've felt since Noah has been alive? There's just no way to know what to expect.
I hoped today would go all right, and even though the day hasn't completely started yet (since it has only been the 1st for an hour), I think it will turn out to be a good one.
I guess I should start this story at the beginning before I get ahead of myself.
The day Noah was born, I cannot express the happiness that he brought to my life. I have never felt the way I did holding him for the first time and seeing his beautiful little face looking up at mine. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, and you also know how hard it is to explain that kind of feeling - whatever it was, it was wonderful! Never in those first moments that Noah entered the world did I think about what was coming in the next few days. I could feel nothing but utter joy that this amazing baby boy had finally been born. It was incredible to see how many people were there to see such a tiny thing, and how much love filled that room during his first hour of life.
This feeling continued on into the next day. When everyone was coming to see him, I couldn't feel anything but happy. There wasn't time to be sad, which I'm grateful for because I would have hated the time I spent with him if I had been sad the entire time.
Then on Tuesday night, after the last of everyone had gone home, it finally hit me. Hard. My little baby, my sweet little baby, was going to be gone. For the first time since his existence, I wasn't going to be there right by his side, right there whenever he might need me, right there to take care of him. That was the worst moment of my entire life. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, and couldn't stop. How was I supposed to let go of this tiny miracle? Never before had I really questioned whether what I was doing was right, but in that moment, nothing seemed more wrong then to place Noah with another family (even one as great as yours). These were things I would never have said out loud at the time though, because I was afraid that by saying them, it would make it impossible to give him to you, which I knew in my heart was where he belonged - no matter how much I wanted things to be different.
That's part of the reason I decided signing the adoption papers should happen before I had gotten to spend tons and tons of time with Noah. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to bring myself to do it if I had been with him too much. Signing was easy; actually walking to your room and placing him in Rachel's arms was the hardest. That night is one I never want to relive again.
Going home from the hospital was strange. I felt numb. I wasn't exactly sad anymore, or maybe I was and had just finally run out of tears... I'm not sure, but whatever it was, I was okay with it. Feeling numb was way better than feeling the way I had earlier. But then, laying in bed while I looked at pictures and videos of Noah, I couldn't stop myself from letting those feelings creep back inside. The only thing that really eased the pain was knowing he was still in Utah for a little while longer, and that I would be able to see him again within the next couple days. If you guys had just left that night, I don't think I would have been able to pull myself together.
The following week I was still feeling okay. It hadn't been long enough for me to really miss him, because it had only been a few days since I had seen him. It wasn't until about two weeks ago that those same feelings started forcing their way back into my head, which is a place I don't like. Actually, I hate it. I hate feeling like there is no hope, and that I had done the wrong thing because in those moments of weakness it is so easy for me to blame everyone except myself for losing him. I hate even going there, and when it's all over (usually the morning after) I know exactly why he is being raised by you two and I know I've made the right decision again. That dark place is a place I try to avoid at all costs if I can. Unfortunately, it's not always so easy to stay away from there.
Lately, especially a lot this past week, I have been thinking about Noah. It seems like everywhere I go, there are things reminding me of him. It also doesn't help that now Drew is gone, so whenever I feel a little down, I can't look forward to seeing him. He always has a way of making me feel better without having to say anything. It's nice to have someone to talk to who can understand how I feel when that dark feeling is taking over.
I was really scared about what I might be feeling today, with both of them not here. But, what I didn't expect was feeling calm, which is exactly how I feel. Today, I know what Drew and I decided was entirely correct for our little baby Noah. It doesn't even really seem like it happened to the same me. Almost like it happened in a different lifetime. I feel at peace with everything.
I was texting Drew earlier tonight, and I'm sure he expected me to be a mess after the bad couple weeks I've had. I bet it was a relief for him to find out I actually feel good about everything. I couldn't be more thrilled that Noah is being raised by a mom and a dad who love him so very much and who can give him all the things I never could have given him. I wanted Noah to have a mommy and daddy who were not only married but were sealed in the temple and would be teaching him about God and the gospel in his life. I hope one day I can attend Noah’s marriage in the temple. I was raised by those same standards, and even though I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, I'm so glad that I was baptized and that my faith offers me so much to look forward to. That was something I wanted to make sure my son would also have growing up: A healthy family relationship and a love for God.
Without my faith in God, I don't know if I would have been able to accept adoption. It has been such a comfort to me to think that whenever I'm sad, I can just say a prayer and think that He knows exactly what I'm going through and that everything will turn out in the end. It helps so much to think that this is just a challenge He knew I could overcome.
Sorry about getting all churchy. It's probably the most I've talked about the church and how I feel in a long time.
I just want you both to know that I am so happy with my decision to place Noah with you, in such a loving family. And even though at times I might get sad and hateful, I don't really mean it. It's just my way of dealing with this whole thing sometimes. I'm so glad that you are allowing me to be a part of his life. I really cannot thank you enough. I don't know what I would do if this had been a closed adoption.
I love you both so much and there are no two better people on the planet I could think about letting take care of my son.
After Drew and I signed the adoption papers, my dad gave me a Willow Tree statue of an angel girl holding a butterfly up towards the sky so it could fly away. He told me that this was supposed to represent that even though what I was doing was hard, it was the best thing in the end. And even though letting go of Noah and letting him live with a different family would be hard, it would be worth it and so much better for him.
Rachel and Ryan, you are both incredible and I couldn't have asked for a better plan then the one we were given. Everything almost seemed to perfect the way it worked out, which is part of why I know this was meant to be and that God knows this was the right thing for all of us.
Please remind Noah of the reasons Drew and I chose this for him. I can't stand the thought of him ever thinking it was because we didn't want him. We love him so much.
Everyone knows that if you love someone unconditionally and with your whole heart, then you will do what is best for them, not you. I have never learned a harder lesson than giving Noah up for adoption and I probably never will. I cannot wait to see all three of you in October, and I hope this email kind of explained a little more about how I was feeling (especially to you Rachel), because I never want you to feel like its your fault when I'm down in the dumps. Sometimes, being depressed is just something you have to be for a little while in order to experience true happiness.
. . .