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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Great Expectations (Part 6)

The contractions started. Then stopped. Then started.

The hospital was half an hour away. Despite Lamaze, our baby-making knowledge was mostly influenced by movies, especially when the baby is delivered in the back seat. We wanted not to do that, so we got there super early. Heather's water broke so they didn't send us home.

I rubbed every part of her body for 15 hours. She was shaking so badly that she needed a little something through the IV. Other than that, it was old school pain management. We engaged the breathing practice, focused on something, she told me to get my breath out of her face. It was a long night. And that carefully packed travel bag lay completely unpacked in the corner.

At some point, she was completely nude, covers on the floor. People were coming in and out but no one cared. Pain trumps modesty every single time.

Close to 5:00 am, Michael was on the way. The doctor arrived in time to catch him. I stayed up top with Heather, my hot breath in her face, as they told her to push. The doctor inserted forceps inside her, clamped his tiny little head to pull him out. It was about that time I became a sobbing mess.

Head on Heather's shoulder, I was snotting into my mask, weeping uncontrollably. Maybe it was the stress or sleep deprivation, but full disclosure: I did the same thing with our following two kids. Complete and utter collapse.

Me losing it when Ben was born. It was the same with Michael.

Michael was a healthy boy.

Illinois law requires three days after birth before adoption papers can be signed. This can be difficult. Heather stayed in the hospital three days. I don't think that happens these days. Her sister and mother were there from Arizona. Her grandmother, too. The birth certificate had to be filled out before we were released. We called Calvin Taylor Grant. His parents named him Michael.

We were a couple of young adults driving back to my parents house with an infant in the back seat. Emotions were turbulent. We had prepared ourselves for this moment, but you can never really be ready for it. We had no doubts about our decision. Michael would grow up with a good family, one that loved him, one that was ready.

It was a long 30 minute drive.

My parents lived on a lake. The backyard was big and scenic. There was a picnic table beneath a sprawling hickory oak and a swing tied to a branch.

That's where Wayne and Cathy met us.

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