Once my baby was born, I was wheeled into a room. My mom and MaryAnn, my birthing coach, went with my baby girl. I remember laying in the room thinking, "Ok.... I just had my baby. Now what?"
During my whole pregnancy I knew I was going to place my baby for adoption. Once I held her in my arms, everything changed. How could I love this sweet little baby girl so much when I had just met her? I never wanted to let her go! I named her Rachel Kristine. I picked the name Rachel from a book my godmother gave me called The Missing Piece. The name Kristene was after my sister, Kristen.
My mom was able to stay with me and Rachel at the LIGHT House and we had a glorious nine days with her. I was so fortunate to have that time with her. We gave her baths, fed her, burped her, snuggled her and just loved on her. We had a baby dedication for her, and a bell ringing ceremony. My mom was so great during that time. She helped me in every way imaginable.
During our nine days I spent a lot of time trying to decide exactly what to do. My mom came to me one day and sat on my bed. She said she was going to talk to me as a mother and then as a friend. As a mother, the grandmother to this darling little girl, she could make the basement of their home into an apartment. She and my dad would help care for Rachel while I worked and during the day I could help around the house. As a friend, she reminded me what it was like for her when she got me. As adoptive parents, they couldn't have been more thrilled and they loved me as if they had me themselves. She told me that an adoptive home would have more to offer Rachel, and as an eighteen year old, I was young. She told me she would support me in whatever decision I made.
Wow. That made it harder. I had no idea how I was ever going to make such a decision. I won't go into all the details here, because they aren't important. But I will say that something happened that made me realize that I wanted better for Rachel. She deserved an amazing mother and father. I knew instantly what I needed to do. The next few days were devastating. Everything we did from that point on was heartbreaking because we knew it was only for a short time. Every feeding, every bath, every time she fell asleep in my arms... I cried.
The last day was one of the hardest days of my life. I can't imagine how I would have done it without God and my mom right beside me. We watched the social worker drive away with Rachel in the backseat. My heart ached... How was I ever going to live without her?
I knew I made the right decision, but the pain was unbearable. Even writing this now, I can remember myself back then and it was hard.
I could make this a great story and tell you I got right back on my feet and lived happily ever after right away... but that isn't the truth. I went into a funk for about two months. I didn't know how to live with this hole in my heart, I didn't know how to go on. But I will tell you that it just took some time. Sure it took awhile, but it got better with each passing day. Some days were harder than others, but eventually I was able to be happy again and have fun.
Peter and Patti, the couple who adopted Rachel, sent me letters and pictures the whole time she was growing up. It helped me heal. I knew she was loved and happy, and that helped tremendously. I will write more about them later.