Thursday, April 23, 2009

How I Became a Mom - Part 6

After leaving the hospital, my mom and dad took me to dinner because in all the rush and hustle, I hadn’t eaten all day. During dinner, we all decided that it was pretty certain that Ashley was changing her mind and would be parenting her child herself. There were just numerous things that she said throughout our conversation that pointed that direction. Still, we decided that the smart thing to do would be to be prepared for anything.

So Mom and I dropped Dad off and then did a midnight, whirlwind tour of Walmart’s baby department. If I had had months to prepare for being a mom, I would have driven myself silly researching exactly the right diaper, the right bottle, the right formula. Instead, I was racing through Walmart thinking, “Um...we’re going to need diapers! And um...formula! And um...oh yeah, bottles!” and just throwing things in the cart. We also threw several large storage containers into the cart because remember, we were not expecting this would happen until Fall and our “nursery” was currently the “junk room.”

The rest of the night was spent cleaning the house and decluttering the junk room so that you could at least see the “bones” of a nursery there. I remember about 3 a.m., feeling so tired and worrying that all this work would be for naught, and finding a little sign I had purchased at a craft show that said “God is in control. Trust him.” I took it as a little nudge from God that things were happening exactly as they should.

When I finally got to sleep, I had dreams the whole night that I could hear a baby crying.

The next morning, we had arranged for me to go to the hospital while my mother went to unlock my house for the social worker to do the home study. I remember telling my mother that the dogs were up-to-date on their shots and that I could provide documentation if they needed it, and showing her where we kept the fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Mom said, “Don’t be ridiculous! The social worker isn’t going to ask stuff like that!” But sure enough, she did!

Meanwhile, I was at the hospital, in Ashley’s room, playing with the baby, holding the baby, being given directions by the nurse on how to take care of the baby, and all the while Ashley was there. Awkward! It’s just so weird to be in such close proximity to someone for whom the same event that is bringing you great joy and happiness is bringing them sorrow and tears. Anyway, the social worker that was doing our home study called Lori and said that we passed and that the hospital could release the baby to me. Ashley started crying. I was trying really hard not to cry. I asked Ashley whether she was sure about her decision. I told her that I could not build my family and my happiness on her regrets and I had to be certain that she was certain. Through her tears, she told me that she loved her baby but that every time she saw her, she was reminded of a very traumatic time in her life and she didn’t think she could be a good mother under those circumstances. That was good enough for me. I remember trying to hug Ashley without dropping the baby and saying goodbye while Ashley sobbed, then bursting into tears myself in the elevator. I told Lori I just couldn’t take Ashley’s baby with her crying like that. Lori told me I had to trust that Ashley was making the right choice for her and the baby, which was exactly the right thing to say. Still, it felt very much like I was stealing. In fact, all the way home, I kept looking in my rearview mirror for flashing lights and listening for the sound of sirens.


Milly said...

Such a wonderful thing for Ashley to do. We are so blessed to have her.