The Longest Day of My Life

It all started at around 11:45 p.m. on March 22, 1996. I was in labor and there was no doubt this time! I was at my boyfriend, John’s house when it happened. I was both overjoyed and distraught. This was not to be a pregnancy with a happy ending for me; this baby was going to be adopted.

For months we had talked about this day with each other, the adoption agency, and my baby’s “parents.” We had signed all the necessary papers already, hoping to make this day a little easier.

It was just so complicated. The baby’s father was one of my coworkers. In fact, he was my manager. We both knew what we stood to lose by keeping the baby. We would put our careers in jeopardy and then how would we be able to support our child?

As we drove toward the hospital, I felt my heart aching. So many things were running through my head. How would I be able to go through labor and delivery and hand my baby over to someone else? I wasn’t sure yet how to do it, I just knew it had to be done. I didn’t want to hold the baby. I did know that. It would just be too painful and it was painful enough already. I already knew it was a little boy, but he would never be my son. He would be another woman’s mama’s boy. The terrible thoughts rushed through my head.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, I was in so much pain, both physically and emotionally, that I could barely walk. I didn’t really even want to. The sooner I arrived in my wing at the hospital, the sooner the real pain would begin.

My hands trembled and my legs weakened as we walked, both of us silent. The very moment that is supposed to be so joyful was terrible. One couple’s dream come true was fixing to be the beginning of our worst nightmare.

Once we reached the room, a plump nurse dressed in purple came in to help me change clothes. I just couldn’t do it alone. Again, it was just one more step towards my nightmare. The nurse tucked me in bed and attached all the necessary monitors. It was a nice big room, blue in color. Blue always was the color for boys. It was cold, dreary, and quiet except for the sound of the baby’s heartbeat coming from a nearby monitor.

Every once in a while, we would hear a woman pushing out new life, followed by the shrills of a precious new infant. The room was perfect. The next few hours I would feel the worst pain I had ever physically felt in my life. Throughout the labor process I continued to think about what the ultimate result was going to be in that room.

A few hours later, the doctor came in and I knew that I fixing to see my little boy. Just a few minutes a couple of hard pushes later, there he was! My little boy! I did not want to hold him, but I could not resist when the nurse handed him to me. He was a large baby wih quite a bit of hair. Because he was so new, he was still covered in a white slimy gel-like substance, but to me he was beautiful.

As I held him, I looked over my shoulder at his father and saw the tears pouring from his eyes. He left the room. When he walked out, I had no idea where he had gone or if he would be back. I didn’t know anything anymore. I was holding tightly to a boy that I was fixing to give away.

Soon after he was born, the nurse took me to recovery and then put me in a room. I did not want to be there. The smell was the same old hospital smell- stale and cold. This room was off-white. There were no visitors, no flowers, and I spent a lot of time with the television off. I asked that the nursery keep my son for the rest of the day.

We were supposed to call the adoption agency and the family when I went into labor so that final adoption arrangements could be made. We had not called. I did not want to. I wanted to take my son home with me. I knew the risks. I knew that if I kept my baby, I would lose my job and the man that I loved. Besides, all the arrangements were already made. The papers had by signed and the parents picked out. After the baby was born , his parents would pick up from the hospital and take him home. We also hadn’t bought anything for this baby. We had not even picked out an outfit for him to wear home, to his new home.

Those hours were the hardest; wanting to keep him, but knowing that I couldn’t. I called the nursery and asked that they bring my baby to my room. I laid him on my bed and looked at him. They had him dressed in a little white teeshirt, wrapped tightly in a blanket. By now, he had had a bath. The slime was gone and he had the faint smell of lotion. His hair was now soft and smooth. He was beautiful. I still did not hold him, only laid him next to me.

We both went to sleep. I dreamed of us, the three of us, living happily together. In my dream it was the first day of school for my son. The three of us went to school together, but when we opened the door to go inside I did not see classrooms. I saw a graduation ceremony. There he was again. As my son walked across the stage, I noticed that it wasn’t a graduation ceremony, but a wedding with his wife on the other end of the stage. I awoke quickly and found that I was not alone. John had returned.

This brought every ounce of fear back into my body and I began to tremble. My heart began to race as I began to panic. All of my fears and pains were right there in front of me. I knew that John was back to tell me that everyone had been called and that the baby’s parents were on their way. How would I tell them and him that I had changed my mind? This was a decision that we had made together and this would be the third failed chance at adoption for this nice couple that we had so carefully chosen- the dentist and the stay-at-home mom.

How would I do it? There was an awkward silence over the room. If a pin had been dropped, we surely could have heard it. When the silence was broken, it was John speaking. He said to me, “I had a long talk with God and He promised to take care of us. We’re taking OUR son home with us!” My pain turned to exhilaration. I could take my baby home! At that moment I forgot about everything- the pain, the other couple, everything. I now had my son and he would be called Patrick. I held John and Patrick tightly, not wanting to ever let go. I had everything I wanted and I had not had to take the risk.

I was anxious about taking Patrick home. We had hidden my pregnancy from everyone, our boss, our friends, and our families. We would surely have a lot of explaining to do, but it didn’t matter now. I cried a lot that day- tears of happiness for me, but also tears of sorrow for the couple whose heart we would break. I cried thinking about our family members who had been excluded from one of the hardest periods of our lives; who hadn’t been able to help us make the right decision from the beginning. A lot of feelings would be hurt by this, but we had to tell everyone what happened.

Three months later, John and I were married and living in a new town for a new boss who did not care that we had a child together. Everything was different, but it didn’t matter. John and I talked of how differently our lives would have been if we had not taken our son home.

Both of knew that the pain we each would have felt would have been too much of a burden for our relationship to last. Not only would we have lost our son, but also each other. We now have a daughter also that we love very much, but it isn’t the same.

Every day when I look at my son, I see what I might have lost. Every time he tells me that he loves me, I think of him saying that to another mommy and it tears me up. John and I both gained so much more in this little boy than we lost by keeping him and I thank God every day that He gave us the strength to make that decision.

John was right, God has taken care of us ever since.


(c) Traci Hayes All Rights Reserved

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