Thursday, December 09, 2010

Adoption Diaries Part 2- Birthmother "The Decision"

I remember the weekend I got pregnant well. It was the same weekend my Great Grandmother turned 100 and the same weekend Princess Diana died in that horrible car crash. We were stupid and didn't use a condom...stupid. I always wanted to be a mother, but I envisioned that I would be married and have a good career before I took that leap. You always hear of things happening to other people and never think that it could be you in those shoes. I was always a good kid, I did my homework without being asked, cleaned my room, never skipped class, and was horse crazy. I think my parents just assumed I'd be responsible when it came to having sex and I have no idea why I wasn't. I knew better.

It finally sunk in that I was a pregnant teenager the day I had my first OB appointment. I was 17 and had never had a pelvic exam before. Exposing my girl parts like that for the first time while confirming my pregnancy was embarassing. Thankfully, my mother's insurance provided me with a female obstetrician who was wonderful in explaining everything to me. I was due the end of May 2008 two months after my 18th birthday. When I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time, I cried. I didn't get an ultrasound until I was around 18 weeks along and I decided to find out the baby's sex. My mother came along to my appointment and as soon as the nurse put the wand on my belly we knew it was a boy. He was NOT shy at all at showing off his boy parts! I cried in awe that day. When I told my boyfriend we were having a little boy he was actually disappointed and didn't hide it well. He had been hoping for a girl as I think he thought it would be easier for him to give a daughter up for adoption rather than the first baby boy in his family that could pass on the family name.

I didn't decide on adoption right way. For the first 5 months of my pregnancy I was going to keep my baby. I started researching bassinets so that the baby and I could share my room in my parents' home, I bought a baby book, a few onesies, and started trying to follow a budget. I wasn't your typical 17 year old, though. I had already graduated high school two years early at the age of 16 and was enrolled in a local community college double majoring in Accounting and Business Administration. With a little luck I would only have to take the summer quarter off from school to have my little one and I could return to class back in the fall. I also had a job already working as a cashier at a Hardee's in town. I actually met the baby's father while working there.

With the horrible morning sickness I had (I only threw up once, but the constant nausea was debilitating- I couldn't sit up in bed in the morning unless I nibbled a saltine first until was 13 weeks along), I ended up having to quit my job at Hardee's as I had to fight the nausea and urge to puke throughout every shift. I lucked out finding a job at a small property management company in town. The owner had also been a teen mom, but what got me the job was my love of horses. I had put my job as a working student at a local farm on my resume and it caught my future boss's attention. I didn't tell them that I was pregnant until I was offered the job and that's when the company owner told me the story of her teen pregnancy. It was crazy how I met people like my new boss during times when I really needed their stories to keep going. Hearing stories like hers gave me confidence and a hidden strength that helped me carry my chin up high and not be ashamed of my circumstances.

Being a pregnant teen in the small town that I was living in was rough. Every time I was out in public I found myself hiding my ring hand to avoid the stares and gawking that came along with my large belly. I had no wedding band on my ring finger and you would be amazed at how many people actually check for it! People gossiped about me within ear shot and stories of my pregnancy flew through my old high school. Some days were harder than others, but there was no changing what happened, so the best I could do was take care of myself and my growing baby boy. During my 5th month of pregnancy shortly after my "big" ultrasound, I started to have second thoughts about keeping my son. My parents were living on a really low income and really had no room in their house for another person (I was already sharing a room with my toddler aged sister). My boyfriend lived in another state with his mother and had no savings and I couldn't support myself financially. I was living at home and still working towards my associates degrees. My mother offered to help all that she could, but I knew she wasn't able to do much and I also knew that I didn't want my mother to raise my own child (yes, she offered). There was no way I could provide the kind of life I wanted for my son and still finish school so that I could get a good job and better our situation.

To make sure I explored my options fully, I contacted the adoption agency that my parents used when adopting my younger siblings and began meeting with one of their counselors. The agency provided free counseling no matter what my decision was and I'm so glad that I utilized it. After quite a few sessions with my counselor and speaking with my boyfriend more, I realized that being parents was something that neither of us was ready for financially or emotionally. While we made a mistake that day chosing not to use a condom, our son was not a mistake, and he deserved a better life with two parents that could provide for him and love him as their own. He could be the answer to a couple's prayer for a child to call their own. I began looking at profiles of prospective parents for my son and didn't have much luck at first. None of the couples stood out to me. After awhile I found a couple that I liked, but another one stuck out in particular. The father was in accounting like I was and the couple had given birth to two of their own children, but they had both died from a genetic neurological disorder as toddlers. One of the pictures in their profile made me was a picture of the mother holding her son in the hospital. He had tubes attached to him everywhere and he was just looking up into her eyes with this pleading expression on his tiny face. I couldn't imagine going through that with my own son. I knew then that they would be my child's parents regardless of what my boyfriend thought of their profile once he got to actually see it, himself.

The agency that I used allowed birthmothers and adoptive parents to chose how open of an adoption they were comfortable with and what kind of communication after the placement was acceptible. I chose not to meet my son's potential new parents, but I did want to get the monthly pictures and reports after his birth for the first year which would be delivered through the agency. I'm not sure why I didn't want to meet them, but I think it stems from the fact that I read all I needed to know in their profile and I felt that meeting them really wouldn't change my mind. I also think it would've been harder on me emotionally and not provided me enough separation to heal after the placement took place. There were days even while I was still pregnant that I already grieved for the son I was going to lose and it wasn't easy towards the end of my pregnancy to feel his kicks and wonder if that's the last time I would feel them. I both dreaded and looked forward to labor as I knew it meant my time with him was short and yet I was so uncomfortable and swollen I was ready to have him out of me. I continued with my counseling sessions and held fast with my adoption decision. I knew this was the best decision for him and our situation, as hard as it was on me.

Next installment "The Placement"


Kendra said...

Heather, thank you for sharing your story, its so well told. Your words bring me to tears every time. And I find myself checking my blog roll daily to see if you posted your next installment. You did a good thing and commend you on your decision.

Kasi said...

Wow. I can feel the emotion in that.

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