The past three days have been a whirlwind. Please excuse any typos as I haven't had much sleep!
We arrived at the hospital on Monday morning and went straight to T's room to see how she was doing. The delivery happened so fast that they didn't have time for any pain meds, so as you can imagine, she wasn't feeling great. We spent most of the day with her, and we all were able to go down and see K (the baby; I haven't had time to come up with a good nickname yet!) twice. Because she was in the NICU, we were not able to hold her the first day. And because we didn't have rights, we were totally in the dark about everything. Talk about frustrating. To make matters worse, our attorney was in court all morning, and didn't even get our messages until noon. Not only that, but his paralegal is out of the office for the 4th of July holiday. It was insane trying to communicate back and forth about everything. Needless to say, it was an exhausting day for everyone. We didn't get back home until almost 11 pm, and I don't think I slept more than 3 hours that night because I was so anxious.
Yesterday, we all (T, Joey, and I) went over to the NICU as quickly as we could once we arrived back at the hospital. T was able to hold her, feed her, and change her, and I was able to hold her. Then we returned to T's room. This is when things started to get a little crazy. I can't go into details to protect T, but let's just say that I would love to write a blog post called "how the State of Florida almost ruined our adoption."
Once all the drama settled down, T's doctor signed her official release for 6 pm, which meant that she could sign her consent at that time. Brian, our attorney, and his wife arrived, as well as T's biological dad, to serve as a witness for T. T went to see Baby K one last time with her oldest daughter, and they were able to hold her and feed her. Then, around 7 pm, she signed the papers. The hour from 6 pm to 7 pm sitting in the hospital cafeteria had to be the longest hour of my life. But I started bawling as soon as Brian's wife came walking around the corner, smiling. It was the first time I'd cried since our match. I never truly doubted that T would change her mind, but it was a WONDERFUL feeling to know that Baby K was now officially our baby girl.
Saying good-bye to T was difficult. All three of us cried some more. How do you say good-bye to someone who gave you the greatest gift one could ever give? It seemed nearly impossible. She's had such a hard life, and I know that even if she doesn't maintain contact, I will think about her every day. I will wonder if she's okay. I will wonder about Baby K's half-siblings. It will be impossible not to wonder about the person who made you a parent.
After the good-byes came the amazing part: going to the NICU for the first time as Baby K's parents. We spent most of the night with her and then we went back for most of today. Beginning Friday, at least one of us will be there full time (they allow us to stay in the room with her 24/7).
How is she doing? It varies, but she's a fighter. She's a healthy weight for being early (6 lbs. 4 oz.), but she still has quite an uphill battle. We were told yesterday that the average stay for a baby in her condition is about 6 weeks. It's going to be difficult. It already is difficult. I've broken down several times since we've seen her, and I'm sure there are more breakdowns to come.
But let's not end this on a sad note, okay? Let's end this on an amazing note. It took 1,500 days. 1,500 days, 4 failed IUIs, 2 surgeries, 7 doctors, 2 adoption agencies, 1 attorney, nearly $50,000, and countless tears. But we did it. We made it through. We are parents. I never thought this day would get here, and I still can't believe it happened. I haven't had time to process it, and I'm not sure that I ever will. It seems so fitting that our first full day of parenthood is Independence Day. We are finally "free" from the burden of the last 1,500 days. And nothing has ever felt so good.