Sit back, get comfy, and grab a snack and drink if you like. This is probably going to be long (and recorded in parts) because I am going to recall and record EVERY single moment that I can. The story of Kate is one of the best ones I'll ever write, and every single word of it is true.
I knew I wanted to record every moment of the day Kate was born and the day following, but I also wanted to be respectful and insure the privacy of our birth mother, J. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write it down because it isn't only J's story . . . this is KATE'S story. I want my daughter to know what an amazing, special, heartwarming, and beautiful day it was when she entered this world. Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - and consequently Wednesday September 12, 2012 - were two of the most beautiful days of my life. All because of Kate and the amazing woman who gave her life and then gave her life to us.
In the few days preceding Kate's birth, I was in preparation mode. Knowing that J was already dilated to 4 cm meant our baby could arrive any day. I was getting baby items ready, packing hospital bags, and making lists less than 12 hours before Kate was born. Thank goodness I did!
Rewind: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I left a little early for work that morning in hopes that I could start working on my sub plans for whenever I started maternity leave. Arriving a bit before 7:00 am, I organized a few things before heading to the gym for our morning assembly at 7:25. I met a new student, introduced myself to him, went through the assembly, and told my students I would pick them up from PE in a little while. Trying to stay focused, I went straight to my classroom to get some work done. Ready to pull up some files to save for my sub, I looked down and saw that my phone was vibrating with a text. It was A from the agency. "This is from J just now . . . FYI!! May be today. 'Good morning. Strong contractions here this morning and they are constant.' "
I jumped from my chair and headed down the hall to the office at the other end of the building. It was all I could do not to sprint but (1) I don't run, (2) I was in flip flops, and (3) We don't run in the halls of an elementary school!
I went straight to the secretary's desk and said, "I need your help. Can you call my sub? I think I need to leave."
A shriek comes from the principal's office, and she runs out with tears in her eyes and gives me a huge hug. "Go, go, go!" she says, "We'll take care of everything!"
At that point, I decide to call my sub, who says she'll head up to the building. I walk quickly back down the hall to gather my things, not knowing what to do with myself! About halfway down the hall, I hear someone yelling my name (we don't yell in the halls either!). She said, "You have a call. It's the agency!" ACK! I forgot to even respond to A's text. She was calling to see if I had gotten it. :) So, now it's time to run - flip flops and all. It wasn't pretty, and I remembered apologizing for running to a little first grade girl as I ran by her. I told A that I was leaving in five minutes, to tell J that I was on the way, and that I would see her soon.
Tears filled my eyes. I walked back down the hall towards my classroom. "I might be a Mommy the next time I come back here," I thought. "Breathe. Don't forget to breathe." I saw my friend Ms. S in the distance down the hall, gave her a big smile and two thumbs up, and waved goodbye to her. I think she may have screamed when she figured out what I meant, but I don't remember. I walked into my class room, and I think someone was with me because I remember saying that nothing was ready but telling them where things were. I don't remember that either. I slapped a few items together on my desk, went in to say goodbye to my teammates, and stepped across the hall.
Mrs. P, a long time colleague & friend who has been with me this whole journey, was in her classroom getting her students lined up. I walked in to her with a huge smile on my face and said, "I just came to tell you that I'm leaving and to say goodbye." More tears filled my eyes but the smile on my face prevented them from falling down my face. We hugged and I headed to my car, stopping by one more room (Mrs. S.) to say goodbye. It felt amazing as I left because so many people that have walked beside me, supported me, and prayed for me so many years were seeing me leave as the sad and barren woman I'd been for so long. I prayed that would change soon - very soon. This was so surreal.
Trying to calm myself, I got in my car, started the engine and headed north to meet the woman who would hopefully be delivering a baby that I could call my own.
Head on over to Part II if you're ready!