By: Stacey Ellis
So we hung out at the Westin for nearly two weeks. At first we recognized how lucky we were. We didn’t have to schedule our day around drop-in visitors. No one was calling much. We were holed up in a suite at the hotel and made it a little home. The kitchen island was our changing table. The bassinette was placed on a table and wedged between the bed and a big chair. The couch became another sleeping area with a long pillow making sure she didn’t roll off. Then again, they don’t move much the first few weeks so I’m not sure where we thought she was going. Basically we just hung out except for the few days we had to go to court or meet with the social worker or take her to a pediatrician appointment.
Nearly two weeks passed and by then, all we wanted to do was go home. We were waiting for interstate to clear – paperwork had to be sent from Illinois to California and back to Illinois. Finally, on day 13, we were cleared to fly home. Yes, we flew home with a 13-day-old baby. People were astounded. We were petrified, even more so when the guy next to the window in our aisle was hacking up a lung. But the flight was smooth. We kept her covered. She slept the whole time and we were back in Los Angeles.
It wasn’t until we got in our own car with her that it hit us. We are parents. My friends who have given birth even say it takes a while to adjust from “caretaker” of this little baby to “mommy.” Heading home from the airport with her, I felt something more. I didn’t feel like a “mom” yet, but I felt that motherly instinct. I definitely felt close and protective of our little girl. I stared at her for a long time during that drive and wondered if she felt the same about me. Did she know I was mom? Did she think I was just the caretaker? All I knew was that this little baby was ours. It’s pretty mind-blowing. When you give birth you have nine months to prepare and get used to the idea. When you adopt, you have very little time. In our case, three weeks from the time we turned in our paperwork to the time we were matched and then a mere 72 hours until the baby was born. There was no time to think or prepare or dream of what life would be like with a baby. We walked right into what life would be like.
Remarkably, with no time to prepare, everything was going really smoothly. And now we were heading home. We arrived and headed inside to our two beautiful labs who were so curious about this little “thing” in their midst. We introduced them slowly and they sniffed and licked a little and then went back to their beds. We opened up the baby’s room door and there it was, a beautiful nursery full of butterflies and ladybugs on the walls. We left so abruptly that we didn’t have time to paint her room or do any sort of decoration at all. But our friends took over while we were gone and her room was beautiful. I told my friends I was so happy that I wasn’t there to get in their way because I loved every inch of it.
We quickly got into a routine at home with feedings, diaper changes and her sleeping pattern. Now what? We’re home. Our daughter is with us. We’re parents. Now what? This life adjustment of having a newborn is overwhelming enough, but what happened next threw our entire world into a tailspin once again…