January 16, 2009
That was the day….a day like any other day in January. It was fiercely cold outside, the temps dropping into single digits, it was also two days after my 27th childless birthday, and every birthday the same frigid weather entranced us as every year prior, but all in all it was a day as to be expected in our region. By all means it seemed to be a normal day in the midst of winter. The snowflakes pelted from the sky, hitting my warm cheeks and melting. This day, two days after the day I was born was going to be a day remembered by all as the miracle I hoped for or a day of great despair. I loaded up my two door sports car with baby gear….which in itself seemed to contradict itself. I allowed myself to glimpse my watch, it was only just midnight, but it felt like the hours, the minutes, and the seconds were ticking by at molasses speed. I knew that I wouldn’t get much sleeping done, so I did not even try. I walked into the house, checking and rechecking every single check list I had made…..trust me there were a LOT of lists. I walked into your pretty, rosy pink nursery, lovingly touching and rearranging every thing until it was all in place. I ran my hand over your crib suppressing the happiness that tugged on my heart. Would this truly be the last morning that our home was childless? Would this be the final wee hours I would awaken to deafening silence? I traced the flowers, butterflies, and letters on the fabric, willing you to be there. I must have loaded and reloaded my car a hundred times, whilst my loving spouse, Scotty, slept in the room adjoining your nursery. He had stayed up and we had spoken at length about your arrival, both of us excited, and anxious for you to come home. But as most men do, he fell asleep, leaving me with my thoughts…..and oh, did I have thoughts. I had barely slept in the passed 2 months, preparing for you, worrying about everything under the sun, smiling and then crying because some crazy fear would creep into my happy dreams.
I am not sure how it happened but alas, the sun finally broke, I woke Scotty and ushered him to the car and we made the short trek to the hospital……Today, was the day, the day I met my child…..I pondered, yet my inner dialogue kept teasing me I felt too afraid to get overtly optimistic. The other side of me kept whispering over my shoulder, “It is just another day, you will leave here empty handed.” “She will keep her.” “You aren’t meant to be a mother.” I almost shouted aloud for that voice to shut up! We were sent to a private room which was void, no cards, no flowers, no visitors, only dank gray walls and sterile furnishings because no one visited someone when they aren’t sure that person would be a parent at the end of the day. I spruced the drab room up with a diaper wreath, a few blankets, a small bear, all the little bows I had for you, and a few outfits. The nurse updated us that they were about to deliver you and I busied my hands. I sanitized the entire room wiping every nook and cranny, I folded and refolded your outfits, then a knock at the door revealed a nurse that looked like she had grave news…my heart stopped. “The baby is here, she is doing well, but the biological mom has decided to take her to her room.”
Legally, I had no rights to voice a concern about MY daughter going to someone else’s room when we agreed there would be no one holding her after delivery. Yet, at the same time, how could I even be angry? This woman was potentially giving me my child, the greatest gift a person could ever want. The pessimistic side of me kept rearing it’s ugly head, “You know she will keep this baby.” What makes you think after 8 miscarriages, that you will actually be a mom?” On and on, my world spun until I was dizzy sitting upon it’s axis. I sent a prayer upwards and made my way to the nursery glass…nothing could have prepared me for the immense emotion that would engulf me or the beauty that awaited me there. I looked inside the nursery windows where at least half a dozen babies rested or screamed in their little carts….yet my eyes landed on you. I cannot explain how I knew YOU were my daughter but I felt it to my core. My breath caught in my throat, my finger longingly traced your outline. You were crying, rather fretfully, and this tug in my heart almost made me jump through that glass and pull you to my chest. I have never in my life felt so many emotions at once, I was so happy, I was so scared, I was so excited, I was so anxious, and I laughed, cried, even screamed, within short intervals of time. I gazed at your face, your fingers, your hair..and in one instant you were imprinted upon my soul!!!!!! Inwardly, I knew that I had loved 8 faceless babies, 8 miscarriages before I even heard the beating of their heart and they haunted me like ghosts from another life, threatening to send me spiraling over the edge of sanity…..but you were different. You had a face, you were here, you were real, you had hair the color of honey that my fingers ached to touch, blue eyes that were brighter than the northern lights and I couldn’t wait to see them looking up at me, tiny feet engraved with the wrinkles of a babe that I wanted to kiss…..I was pulled to you! You were only a pane of glass away but yet you felt as unattainable as the babies I had lost. I cannot do this, I kept thinking, I cannot lose her……..then they wheeled you out of my sight.
I sat in my room, completely entranced in prayer, my mom and husband were nearby but I didn’t reach for them. I was too busy with my own doubts and fears that I couldn’t fathom entertaining all the questions and worries they had. I got in my prayer closet, which at this time happened to be a hospital bed. I begged silently and although it seemed like days…..it was only four hours and a wrap at the door reeled me back to life. “She is asking for you to come to her room.”Quickly, my husband arose and was reprimanded with the single sentence, “She only wants, April.” I tried to appear brave, glancing at Scotty telling him that I was strong enough. I was strong enough to walk into a room, look upon my child’s face and be told that she wasn’t mine after all. I knew full well I wasn’t strong enough……but I could hear your screams down the hall and it had taken all of my will to not lunge the short distance to you. Because something in my heart told me that you needed me and I knew without a doubt I needed you.
I walked into the doors, trying to appear confident although my shaky legs threatened to let me topple over at any second. The lighting was poor, but as I pulled back the curtain, she sat there, holding you in her arms, and the urge to swoop you and run was stronger than ever. Somehow, I kept my composure, I looked at your tiny face, all bunched up in a grumpy frown, and your cheeks red from the exertion it was taken to show your disapproval with this new place. I glanced at her, this woman, this extraordinary woman who had just birthed you, then her eyes met mine. “I’m sorry, April.”
My knees buckled and I felt my world slide away, but then I felt a hand on my shoulder, “I didn’t mean to keep her so long. Are you ready to meet your daughter, Mommy?” I choked, I cried, I gasped but somehow my arms were steady when she placed you in them. My gratitude to her could never be defined but I looked down upon your face that had moments earlier been fretful and red had immediately gone into a restful sleep.
“She knew you were her mommy and not me! The moment you picked her up she knew that is where she belonged.” Her birth mother smiled a smile genuine and true.
I swear I saw a smile cross your tiny rosebud lips. I smiled down at you and kissed you atop your soft hair, “I sure have missed you my whole life. But you were worth the wait. I am your Mommy, and I have waited my entire existence for you.” You were and always will be the best day of my life.”
I let the tears pour from my eyes with such a force that I thought for sure I would drown you with them. I lifted you so that at long last I could smell your fluffy duck hair; it smelt like Heaven. I kissed you every inch of your face your brand new skin was so soft. After a long hug, there was so much I wanted to say to this woman who had handed me the greatest gift in my life, but no words would come. I looked at her and she nodded, because she knew exactly what my mommy heart was feeling. No words were needed, for no words would have done justice to this miraculous moment.
I had to fight myself not to race you down the hall in your little cart because I wanted to show you to your nanny and Daddy. I opened the door to our room and they both sit stoically. They were sure I was going to come into that room without you, but when I wheeled you in the whole room lit up. Your daddy’s face was wrecked with a mixture of emotion, relief, excitement……and an all-consuming love for you. Nanny began praising God and I joined in as I handed you to your father.
“I don’t remember them being this little. Look at all her hair. Am I holding her right? April, we have a daughter!” He embraced me with you pushed between both our hearts and at last I felt like a real family. I felt so complete. I watched as Nanny cried and kissed you before laying you upon her chest. I will forever remember that image as I glanced over seeing you both sleeping and knowing that if you were both that peaceful that everything would be alright! I resisted the urge to go pick you up because I longed to feel your weight against my chest but instead I just sat and watched you sleep!! Daddy wrapped his arm around me and for the first time since we found out you were coming….we felt sure that you were home in our arms.
“Can you believe it, April? We have a daughter!” Scotty whispered into my ear as I pressed my head to his chest.
“I can’t believe it. She is so perfect! Today our Braelyn ReAnn was born. Today, I became a MOMMY! I get to be her mommy for the rest of my life……” I responded to your already snoring father…this is what contentment felt like, this is what motherhood felt like, this is what family felt like….bliss, happiness, joy, love…..and completeness.
I couldn’t stand you not being in my arms any longer. I walked over, gently scooping you up. I pulled you in, I put your head against my heart, “Braelyn, my heart beat is forever changed because it has you engraved upon it now! Can you hear it singing your name? My sweet baby, you mended my broken heart and I don’t know how it ever beat without you! My whole existence I have been missing you. Missing this little face that I had never seen. I have searched the whole world over but until today you weren’t here…..this day, January 16, 2009 I found the missing piece to my universe.”
You were asleep, I stared at you with wonder. Your perfect face was turned up towards mine, your tiny little mouth was shaped in an “O” as you slept and I knew you had know idea what I was babbling about….I felt the tears sting my eyes, I felt the familiar lump in my throat….this was what being a mommy felt like. “I am not worthy of her, Lord. She is perfection. You crafted her just for me! I know I was impatient, I know I was begrudging some times because you were not answering me. Forgive me, God, I didn’t know your hands were busy molding this miracle. She was worth the wait. I give you all the glory because you loved me enough to make me her mommy!” I cried tears of sorrow for all the times I lacked faith, all the days I was angry, all the times I tried to do things my way. All the while, God loved me enough to create you anyways. If He never showed me favor again, He had showed me more than I deserved in a million lifetimes. It has been ten years now and I keep thanking him every time my eyes land on you. I still stare at you in wonder at your beauty. I still get choked up at the realization that I am YOUR mom because you will forever be the best birthday gift I will ever receive!