I got home from work on September 15th and checked the messages on the phone. There was one from Z's caseworker - she said that Z was in the hospital. I didn't get the call until almost 5pm, and by that time the caseworker had left for the day. She had said on the message that she would get back to us when she had more information. I called Steve at work to let him know. I remember my mind was going a mile a minute. Somehow I managed to call our parents, siblings, and some friends. I called my substitute and my boss, too. Once Steve was home, we were in a whirlwind! Both of us just felt like we needed to keep busy until we got the next call. We managed to finish packing, clean up the rest of the house, return some messages, and make a dinner to freeze. Finally around midnight or 1 a.m., we decided to try to sleep. We hadn't heard anymore at that point.
On Wednesday, September 16th, we both got up at our normal times. Steve went into work just to tie up some loose ends. I tried calling the agency again, but it was too early. A little before 9 a.m., Z's caseworker called and said congratulations. Z had had a baby girl! I can't remember everything I said; I know I was crying. I asked how Z was doing. I asked what we should do next. We were told that we needed to be at the hospital at 1 p.m. so that we could visit with the baby and with Z.
Steve got home from work. We left the house at 11 a.m. We stopped and picked up a bouquet of flowers for Z. We started our two our drive to the hospital. We found it pretty easily and made our way (very nervously) to the nursery. We checked in at the nurse's station and they gave us a wristband. We were told that Z wanted us to spend some time with the baby and then we would hopefully see her that afternoon.
Seeing Zoe for the first time was amazing. The hospital staff allowed us to visit with her in a room that was inside the nursery. One of the nurses wheeled her over in her little bassinett. She was swaddled in a couple blankets and had a purple knitted cap on her head. It was probably twice the size of her head but looked too cute. She was so tiny - 6 lbs., 8 ounces. She was 21 inches long. The nurse pulled out her little hands to show them to us. She has such long, thin fingers. She pulled our her little feet - which are actually kind of big for such a tiny baby! But still so so cute. We wrapped her back up and just looked at her. The nurse said we could hold her. So I sat in a rocking chair was able to hold her for the very first time.
The whole experience was surreal. Surreal in this crazy, unbelievably good way. Steve held her for the first time and my heart just melted. He's so wonderful with her. He got to feed her her first bottle. She was so tiny I don't think she even drank 1/2 an ounce.
We spent about 2 hours with her, just holding her, looking at her, being with her. Her birthmother, Z, asked to see her, so the nurse came and wheeled her down to her room. We stayed there because Z's caseworker was on her way to meet with us. We also met with the hospital's social worker and a pediatrician on staff. Z asked her caseworker to send us down to her room for about 15 minutes.
We gathered up our things and the gifts we had for Z. We walked down the hallway to her room. When we got there she was holding Zoe in her arms and feeding her. We went in and sat down with her. We only had a few minutes. I tried to say thank you through all of my tears. Thank you for the time she gave us over the summer. Thank for letting us get to know her and her family. Thank you for letting us have time with the baby at the hospital. It was very hard to say everything we wanted to say. I explained about our gifts that we had brought for her. Z gave us a gift from her mom, Zoe's birth grandmother. It's a beautiful sleeper and blanket. So pretty and soft. Just perfect. As we left, we hugged Z and said we would keep in touch just like we've all agreed. We walked out of her room, around the corner, and bumped into Z's mom. We hugged her tight and talked some more with her. I can't say enough how lucky we are to know Z and her family.
We left the hospital and got some dinner. We made arrangements to stay at a local hotel.
In the morning, we headed back over to the hospital to be there for 9:30 a.m. We were allowed to wait in the nursery, though, and they brought Zoe to us. We were able to get her dressed in her coming home outfit. She is so tiny - she really could have worn a preemie outfit home! Z's caseworker met with us and had us sign some paperwork that would allow Zoe to come home with us. After that we bundled her up and got her in her little carseat. She looks so tiny in it! We walked down to the parking lot with one of the nurses and the caseworker. We put her in the back of my car, and drove over the agency's other office. We had them sign some health insurance forms for us and then we were on our way.
We were driving home with our baby!
She slept the whole way. We got to our house and had a few minutes to settle in before my parents arrived. What a wonderful feeling...to be home with our daughter.