Skip to main content

Ethan Philip - Day One

It was 4:26 AM Tuesday, August 11th that our lives changed forever. I sprung to my feet to run to the office to answer my ringing phone. I could see the call was from our birthmother. The voice on the other end of the line was frantic, scared, pleading with me to hurry and come quick. Her water had broke and she was in labor.
Time stood still.
She asked me to call the agency and let them know. 10 minutes later she called again…’Hang on’…muffled voices, breathing, commotion…and the tiny crying of a newborn baby. ‘Is that him, I whispered?’ unsure if she could hear me. She was crying…’he’s ok…come as soon as you can’ I did my best to assure her we would be there as soon as possible and we hung up. I didn’t know what to do first. I was running in circles going between the baby’s room, our room, the kitchen…calling our parents. Trying to sit down to figure out a flight. Trying to pack…brush my teeth. And the tears were flowing…I have never longed to be somewhere as desperately as I did in those moments. So many things were running through my mind. None of it was how we thought. He was 4 weeks early. It went so fast we didn’t stand a chance to make the delivery – labor was only about 30 mins from the time her water broke. I was a basket case.
Thankfully we had washed and packed up our bag of baby items…but we were frantic putting together our own bag. Mom was on her way to help take us to the airport. I managed to sit still long enough to book a flight – frustrated that there were no direct flights that day and we couldn’t make the earliest time. We arranged for friends to care for the pets, tried to empty the fridge etc, made hotel and rental car arrangements…all at o-dark-thirty.  Somehow we managed to gather ourselves and made it to the airport for a 9:40 flight, however checking in I realized that in my frantic state I had booked the flight using Matt’s middle name for his middle and last name on the reservations. Matt Ethan Ethan. Subliminal? Oh the drama. Did you know that this is nearly a show stopper for the TSA?!? Apparently changing a name on a plane reservation is no easy task. Thankfully we were there early, because we stood while the agent was on hold trying to make the change for what seemed like an eternity. All I could think of was that baby on the other side of the country waiting for us. It.was.torture.
Landing in Dallas I turned on my phone to see the first images of beautiful Ethan. He was perfect. 4 lbs 13.4 oz and 18.5 inches long. TINY. Seeing his face for the first time – my heart skipped a beat. Could this tiny little being truly be ours? Oh I just couldn’t get there fast enough. It was a like one of those dreams where you are trying to run but your feet are stuck and nothing will move. The day stretched out forever in front of us as we made our way from Dallas to Tampa. Thankfully we were familiar with the airport and rental cars so we were able to make our way quickly to gather our things…big, checked bag, car seat, carryon bag and hopped in the rental car. And then the torture continued. 5:00 rush hour traffic…we hadn’t eaten since lunch. We hadn’t taken time to even go to the bathroom at the airport. Our hearts just ached to see the baby and his birthmother.
Around 6:30 we finally made it to the hospital where the birthmother was – baby had been transported to another hospital with a NICU better equipped to handle a preemie. We visited with the birthmother – she was so happy to see us. Her mother was there…and she gave us a gift bag full of clothes and blankets for the baby. I didn’t know what to say – it was so unexpected. She said how blessed he was to have us. How blessed we all were to have this new relationship forming.  And how God truly does answer prayers. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was so humbling. So amazing. God was truly writing an amazing story that I just couldn’t have imagined. We were in a scramble to get an ID bracelet for me so that we could go to the other hospital and visit Ethan. The fact that he was at a different hospital complicated the adoption process because technically we couldn’t be with the baby without the birthmother. She called to let them know that we were coming and to let us see the baby. ‘Go see your baby’ she said to me with a smile on her tired and worn out face.  She wanted so badly for us to be with him as soon as possible. It was 7:30. We had until 8:00 to make their visiting hours. It was the longest part of the longest day…EVER.
Finally a few minutes after 8:00, a couple of loving and understanding nurses let us come to see the baby with the social worker. They couldn’t tell us much and wouldn’t let us hold him…but we could see his face for ourselves. Oh my goodness…there he is. He’s here. He’s real. We headed to the hotel dazed, exhausted, starving, and relieved. We had laid eyes on this baby. He wasn’t ours yet – but we were hopeful things were going well with the birthmother. I was the first call she made…bless her heart. In every step of this process she has put our needs and wants first. She has tried to include us, to think of us in everything. Her graciousness throughout this process has been humbling and beautiful. We grabbed McDonald’s at 9:30 and settled in at the hotel to try and grasp all that had happened in that one day. Our lives were changed forever.

Comments

Shelley Skuster said…
And now I'm sobbing at my computer...again...because your sweet family is absolutely PRECIOUS!

What a brave, selfless birth momma who wrote a beautiful beginning to Ethan's life story!

Thanks for allowing us to follow your journey to parenthood.

xo
Angela Foster said…
Wow! What a day it was......Even with all the craziness, at the end of the day you were able to lay your eyes on that precious little boy!!!!! We couldn't be more happy for you guys. Thanks for the post!!!!!!
HopeRKepler said…
I cannot wait to hug you and Matt. Just knowing you are all together now is just amazing!!! I love you!!
Sis
marisel75 said…
So happy for you!!! You've made me cry...

Popular posts from this blog

I Was Born in a Small Town

So we’ve decided to move. We love Ankeny, our house, and our neighborhood so it’s a little bittersweet to think about moving, but ever since Ethan came along - oh how things have changed. When we set out to build a wheelchair friendly house for Matt nearly 9 years ago, we were mainly focused on the functionality inside the house. While of course we wanted the ease and function of zero grade entry, we also yearned for the freedom he would know in a house with wider doorways and room to maneuver the bulky chair. In our old house there were literally rooms he never went into, simply because he couldn’t get through. Our Ankeny home was a dream come true in so many ways. And it was lovingly planned out and put together by so many incredibly generous and thoughtful people. We were humbled time and time again with how things came together for us in that house. I’ll never forget coming home for the first time with Matt after our long, exhausting trip back from China. It was late, we were jet …

Where We're at…Right Now

This whole adoption thing is tough stuff, friends. It is a roller coaster ride like no other. And I have to be honest – I’m still not sure this will be it for us. I want to believe it is…but I’m just.not.sure. Matt and I were on our way to church yesterday, listening to the 90’s station when the cult classic ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ came on. We both giggled…and may have turned it up a tad. Near the end we both howled out a woooo-woooo in near perfect, spontaneous, unison with dear mullet headed Billy Ray. It made me laugh instantly and I blurted out ‘we’re so perfect together’. And honestly – we are.
That thought stuck with me all morning.  We.are.perfect.together.  What we have – our marriage, our friendship, our devotion and commitment to each other….they are priceless. Our union is a blessing. It is blessed. 100% meant to be. No doubt in my mind. There is no one on this planet who could ever know me like Matt. We have been through hell and back together. In the hospital, shortly after his …

Mother's Day Emotions

Mother’s Day weekend is coming and I’m finding myself all sorts of emotional – go figure. I think the anticipation of how I might feel on my very first Mother’s Day after so many years of hoping, waiting, and wondering sort of made it a bit anticlimactic. Or maybe I guarded my heart a little and didn’t fully let the magnitude of my emotions wash over me. Regardless, I find myself MUCH more emotional this time around.
Last night we watched a TV show about children growing up and moving out etc…and I actually cried. All those jerks who told me how fast children grow and how quickly the time moves…were right. Of course I feel how swiftly time moves the older I get…I blinked and now I’m in my (gulp) 40’s. But I simply could not have fathomed how I would feel about the amount of time I have to be Ethan’s mother. It feels finite. Fleeting. Just not enough.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Ethan grow! He is learning and changing and cracking me up all the time. He loves climbing, and runn…