We arrived at the hospital and met Ali who prepped us for the visit, then we went upstairs. I am normally nervous in hospitals, but man I don’t know if I have ever been that nervous. We walked past the excited family members waiting for their new addition and into the maternity ward. At the end of the long hallway was her room. We walked in and sitting in bed was the birth mom, a beautiful woman that seriously looked like she hasn’t even given birth. Of course you have images of what this woman could look like before you meet them, but I didn’t expect her to be so pretty, small and happy to see us. We hugged and then sat down to chat and get to know each other. She asked a few questions and we talked about our profile and how she picked us. The whole time she seemed very secure in her choice and happy to know we were the ones that she had picked. Then Ali brought up, why don’t you talk about names? See, we had told her about what we were thinking downstairs and she encouraged us to share. We said since we were all C names that we really wanted to keep that tradition if possible and that we loved the name Cadence. Her eyes immediately teared up and we weren’t quite sure what to think. She told us that her mom had helped her go through the profiles and that when they had picked ours she had mentioned how we would probably need a C name. That morning her mom had called and said she had thought of a good C name and how about the name Cadence? So now not only were her eyes watering, but mine were and I had huge goosebumps! I still get goosebumps to this day just thinking about it – it was just meant to be. After about an hour together she said she was getting discharged in the morning and maybe we could come by in the AM before she left and she could introduce us to the baby. I wanted to meet her then, but it wasn’t my choice at that time so we hugged and said we would talk in the morning and exchanged numbers.
Since we were in Indy for another night and probably the last night alone for a while, we went out. We stayed at a nice hotel downtown, had a great dinner and drinks and played cornhole and darts at a bar. We could finally relax to a degree, it seemed like it was going to happen. So we enjoyed our last “date night” and then woke up at the crack of dawn. I wanted to text right away, but waited. Finally we got the text that she was getting out early and did we want to come before she left? Of course we did! I raced around the room like a crazy person getting ready while I felt like Will moved like a snail. He said they weren’t going anywhere, but I didn’t care, I wanted to meet our baby NOW!!
We left the hotel and got to the hospital. This time it was just us and the Birth Mom and we were meeting our ( hopefully ) little girl. I was a hot mess! We got upstairs and the birth mom was at the front desk signing documents and smiling. We hugged and it felt so comfortable and normal, even after just meeting yesterday. That is when she said she could take us into the nursery, but just one at a time as it was the specialized nursery. Until now I had known she was early and small, but really hadn’t thought that part through much because, well, holy crap, we had a baby! We washed up and she took me into the SCN first ( this we later found out is the same as a NICU). Just her and I, walking into a quiet nursery to meet our baby, together. Ours because yes she would be Will’s and mine, but she would also always be hers as well. I went over to her bassinette with the heat lamp over her and saw the sweetest little cherub looking baby. I immediately got teary eyed (again) and hugged the birth mom tight. I don’t know what she was feeling at the time, but she seemed so good with it and happy. She stood with me for a minute and then said she would go and get Will so we could be in there together. He came in and she left to do paperwork. Was this it? Is that how the gifting of a beautiful child goes? We stood there for a few minutes in awe of this baby girl and the birth mom who had given her to us. We felt bad that she was alone so we went out into the hallway again. At this point a lot of the nurses were confused and/or giving overall crappy looks. I in turn gave them my own crappy look back. Our birth mom said she was leaving so we said we would keep texting and see you soon and then she left. So. Freaking. Surreal. It really happened that quick.
We rushed back into the nursery and saw “our” baby. The name on the wall said “baby girl” with the moms last name where her name should have been. That is when we found out they couldn’t tell us much because she still wasn’t released to us. So we sat and stayed by her side for a few hours while they got the paperwork completed for us to get medical information and not be a HIPPA violation. She came and went for tests and all we knew was that she was teeny tiny and spit up some. Later that day our attorney called and he was enroute to the hospital with our paperwork. Within an hour we were in a side room signing documents saying we had custody and could get all the records released to us – yay!! He also said they next day he would have a phone call with her and judge that officially rescinded all rights even further past these documents putting us at even more ease that Miss Cadence ( Cady – bug ) was going to be part of our family.
After we signed the documents we went in and finally got information from the doctor. She wasn’t eating much and they had to have a tube going into her stomach to feed her. Occasionally she was vomiting green foam and that was cause for concern to watch out of as well as her being a preemie and sensitive to touch in general. There was also a blood condition they were testing for that we needed to watch out for and pending results could mean a full blood transfusion – wow….. that was a lot to just find out.
We had met with the social worker earlier so they knew of our situation, that being living 2 ½ hrs away and her being in the SCN. They took us to “our room” which was a regular maternity ward room on the same floor with babies and moms all recovering from birth. Can I just tell you how bizarre it was to have a hospital room but not be in extreme pain, hooked up to needles and beeping all night? So they showed us the room and that is when I asked, “So how long should we plan on her being here?”. “Well, what was her due date?”, they asked. “Beginning of July” we told them. “That is when you can expect her to be out” they said. Talk about a crap your pants kind of moments. The last few days had been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and now here we were with the news that we could be at the hospital for 6 weeks. Keep in mind, 2 bio kids and 3 dogs all live 2 ½ hours away in house…..crazy-ness!
Despite all the craziness, we were ecstatic and on cloud 9. We knew there was a ways to go with both her health and the adoption, but we were so excited with where we were. So….how did the next few weeks go? I ended up staying at the hospital for an entire week so I could be there literally all day and night with her and give her all feedings that I could. She was able to take a bottle after 2 days but had issues with the formula staying down so in came donor breast milk. When the nurse was asking me if it was ok ( I felt like they were family with how much I was in there ) I had told them of course, why wouldn’t I be? I wish I could feed her myself! She said, “ Well, you could try”. I laughed and told her that I am enough of a crazy person and putting hormones and needles into my body would not be the best thing right now. Then she told me about inducing lactation more naturally and well, that is the day that I started my breastfeeding journey with Cadence (read about it here).
The kids came and visited twice along with my mom who stayed and helped with our crazy bunch. It was odd when they left and it was just the two of us sitting for hours at a time alone in the hospital, but it was then that we got to begin our bond that won’t ever be broken.
She finally started to gain weight and was back up to 4.6 lbs ( she had gone down to 4.3) and was out of the incubator. We had no idea when she was getting out, so we waited. My kids went back to PA with my mom because we had no idea just how long this could be. Then one morning, about 2 weeks in, I asked the doctor when he thought she could go? Another 2 weeks? A month? I had no idea based on the fact that they had told us 6 weeks before. He told me that if she passed the carseat test that day then she could go home. Wait, what? YES!!! Go home that day. I immediately called my husband and we made arrangements to get back my rental car, check out of my hotel and get him down to Indy to get his family home! I couldn’t imagine having my sub 5 lbs munchkin at home without nurses around just in case, but I was ready to try and be back in a comfortable place.
She passed with flying colors! It was a flurry of excitement as we gathered our things and began the 2 ½ drive home with our precious cargo. Once we got home it was as though she had always been there. The kids were obsessed with holding her every single day and as much as possible and Camryn just seemed thrilled to finally be a big sister.
On our walks around the neighborhood, people would wave and look thoroughly confused as we had a magical baby all of sudden when I had just been out running 2/3 weeks prior. Luckily, one of the kids would normally blurt out that she was adopted and that took away the confusion. Before long the days turned into week and weeks into months. We had out doctor appointments where she continued to go up the percentage chart and he first big round of shots. After that we were able to have our final home study visit for them to sign off.
When she arrived I wasn’t sure what to expect ( again ), but it was basically looking at our house to make sure it was safe and to see how the kids and us were adjusting. It took maybe 15 minutes total and we were signed off to go to the final stage with the attorney and get our court date! During this entire time we continued to text with the birth mom and send pictures of Cadence and in return would get pictures of her brothers and sweet texts back from her as well. I would overthink everything I sent to her at first, but eventually it just became everyday random texting that continued the relationship.
Three months after meeting her, we got our court date. We took the kids out of school and all 5 of us made the trek to Indy one last time to make our family officially and legally complete. We sat with 4 other couples as they called us in one by one. When it was our turn before the judge we had to pledge that we would support and care for her as though she was our own. They also asked the kids if they promised to be a good big sister and brother, both of which agreed. The ceremony ended with a picture and Camryn pounding the gavel, making our family whole.
Now we are a family of 5 and so thrilled with how our story ended. It was a long and emotional journey, but as the saying goes, it was meant to be. Everything that happened lead us to Cadence and her beautiful birth mom and we couldn’t be happier. Our agency and their support was great and we have already been discussing another adoption journey……only time will tell.