Saturday, June 06, 2009

11 Years Ago Today...

...I became a mother. It isn't something I normally shout out from the rooftops, but it isn't something I try to hide either. Afterall, I have the stretchmarks to prove it! I went into labor on a Thursday afternoon, but was sent home because I was only 2 cm dilated. Friday morning, after a sleepless night, I returned to the hospital and was admitted. My labor continued all day and finally the doctors broke my water at 8pm. My son was born screaming at 5:26am Saturday, June 6th after over an hour of pushing. I melted when I saw him. Cried. Laughed. Smiled. I held him in my arms in awe at what I had just done. I gave my son the best gift a mother can. Life.

He weighed 9 lbs 4 3/4oz and was 21 1/8" long and arrived over a week late (I was due May 25th!). I named him Jacob and as I gazed at him it was bittersweet. I knew our time together was coming to an end. My son was being adopted by a wonderful family as I was just a teenager at 18. I still shiver when I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. It was on my mom's birthday. My father had taken her out to dinner, so my best friend had come over to be with me as I took a pregnancy test. I already knew the results deep down before I even took the test, but I still couldn't look at the test. My friend looked first and just sat on the toilet dumbfounded and handed it to me. I was 17 and pregnant. When I dropped out of high school, as class valedictorian, to homeschool the last half of my 10th grade year my classmates assumed it was because I was pregnant. I laughed it off, saying it was rediculous. A year later, I was pregnant albeit I had already graduated highschool with my GED and was in college. I was smart. I couldn't be a pregnant teenager. Impossible.

I agonized over the decision I had to make. Abortion was never an option. I decided to keep my son and raise him as my own until I was 5 1/2 months pregnant and started to really think about how exactly I could do that when I had nothing. My parents weren't rich, they were struggling to raise my younger brother and sister and couldn't afford another mouth to feed. I was working my way through Community College, but I knew flipping burgers wouldn't cut it. After many conversations with my mother, my son's father (we were still dating), and a counselor, I decided that my son would be adopted by a family that I picked out. I began searching through the stack of profiles and was amazed how many loving families are waiting out there for a child of their own. I knew who my son's parents would be the instant that I saw their profile. They had lost two children of their own. As toddlers. There was a photo in that profile I will never forget. It was of my son's future mother holding her dying toddler while the child was covered in tubes and looking lovingly into her eyes. I cried. A lot. My decision had been made.

My son's father and I were still dating, but it was long distance. He was very supportive over the phone but only saw me twice during the pregnancy. When I was 6 months along he flew down to see me and then again when our son was born. He was supportive of my decision towards adoption as he was in no way ready to be a father. I think in some ways I am still bitter that all he had to do was show up and sign his name, while I carried our child for 9 months, went through a long and painful back labor, and then took months (years) to cope with my decision and finally be at peace. He should've been there, but he wasn't and that is something he has had to live with. I know that I made the right choice and I'm so thankful that my son has a wonderful family. He is doing so well.

I had a semi-open adoption through the agency where my parents adopted my younger siblings. I received pictures of my son every month for the first year and now, 11 years later, I still get an update and photos once a year. I send him gifts on his birthday and Christmas and he knows that he is adopted. His family and I communicate through the adoption agency. Although we have never met, I cannot thank them enough for doing such a wonderful job raising my son. He is their son now. I will never search for him, that decision is up to him when he is old enough (18). He knows his story, has letters that I've written, and he has seen what both his birth father and I look like through pictures. If he wants to meet me someday I will welcome him with open arms, but if his story/letters/pictures are enough for him, I am at peace with that. He knows he is loved and I think he's a pretty lucky kid to have two moms that would do anything for him. Happy Birthday to my "baby" boy!



Anonymous said...

It must have been such an agonizing decision, Heather, but a very selfless one. It sounds like your son has a wonderful life, and I'm sure he is -or one day will be- thankful for what you did for him. And you gave his parents the best gift they could ever hope for.

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