The making of this mama has been a very unexpected journey.
I must admit, at the first sign of the pink line, I had piles and piles of books on pregnancy; you know the ones that tell you what to expect. Yep, I had those! We took Lamaze classes; you know to help with the breathing and all! Hah! I thought I was so prepared with literature and breathing techniques, boy was I ever wrong! I didn't know what to expect with any of my boys! Here we go!
The spring of 2000 would bring me to the delivery room for the first time! Excited, scared and definitely not sure what to expect, (although I had read all of the books on what to expect) I gave birth to our first son, Nathan. He was beautiful, almost 9 pounds of beautiful. The delivery was pretty fast and I was able to pull him from my womb and put him directly on my chest. It was amazing! That was definitely unexpected as the doctor asked me if I wanted to pull him out. I remember freaking out for a half of a second and pulling him to me the next!
I remember being so afraid the hospital would mix my baby up, I remember being obsessed with his hairline and his beautiful chubby cheeks. I remember flowers, beautiful flowers and smiling when I heard the lullaby played over the hospital speakers.
I remember the PURE JOY that we experienced and that we held. Life would never be the same.
In the fall of 2004, we were building our new home and received some unexpected news that we were going to be having another baby! We celebrated and adjusted the house plans for a nursery. Life was great!
The summer of 2005, I would enter the delivery room again. This time the unexpected would not be pulling my son from my womb but losing my son due to a uterine rupture. Although I delivered another almost 9 pound beautiful baby boy, he lost his life and I nearly lost mine. I was in and out of consciousness but remember screaming “why isn't he crying?” Something was wrong, terribly wrong. The delivery room was a nightmare, hell on earth. There was death, not life. There were no beautiful flowers and no need to worry about anyone switching babies with me. Mine was gone. The lullaby never played.
That nightmare would never end. This nightmare was now part of my life, part of my journey to motherhood, the making of this mama.
Losing Matthew changed me forever. Losing my health due to the loss of Matthew would never let me forget the pain of that day and the moments I would live with after. I sustained life altering permanent injuries along with the biggest hole in my heart. I left the hospital two weeks after Matthew passed away with a pillow in my arms and not my son. I kept saying “But I just went in to have a baby.”
Three weeks later, we buried Matthew; life would never be the same.
Fourteen months later, our phone rang…
Our determination to seek a baby girl through adoption was clearly going to work, right?
I answered the phone, and it was our social worker. She said she knew I wanted a girl because I never wanted to replace Matthew, but that God kept telling her to call me. So she did! She had a baby boy! She had a baby boy that was ready for adoption right away! Whoa Nellie! I was in shock! I calmly (not so much!) walked to the door and told my husband to come inside that we needed to talk. He walked in and after we talked we made a phone call right back to her saying “Yes!”
We didn’t tell our parents at all about the phone call. We only told our siblings. We knew this would happen fast if it was going to happen. For 23 hours we would wait by the phone and pace and cry and smile and freak out a little every now and then, and almost throw up a lot! We were filled with anticipation of not knowing if we were going to have a baby the next day! We were also guarding our hearts for we know how hard it was to let go of Matthew. We were afraid of being hurt with the adoption not going through. So we waited and prayed and prayed and waited.
During the 23 hour period, we said “if this is God’s will, then it will happen” hundreds of times! Seriously! I think that is all we knew to say. We had no boy names! Only a girl, because that is what we thought we were going to adopt. When the final phone call came in, our social worker said “come and pick up your son!” We cried and held each other and said “it is God’s will, and he is now OUR WILL!” We knew right away, his name would be William… Will, OUR WILL!
We arrived to the office just minutes after that phone call and when we walked in tears projected from my face and didn't stop for a long, long time. It was such a beautiful moment. I cherish that moment so much.
I sat down and our social worker walked over to me and placed our son in my arms. I held him close to my heart and my cheek and I said “he is so warm!” Emotions were all over the place as I remembered the very last time I held a baby boy, it was Matthew and he was so cold. This warmth that radiated from Will was amazing! He was alive and he was mine! He was the most beautiful gift ever! His birth mother loved him so very much that she chose life and chose to give him what she couldn't. I will never forget her or the selfless love that she had for him.
At just a little above 5 pounds, Will fit in the palm of our hand yet at the same time occupied our whole heart!
We were bringing little Will home. Life would never be the same.
When we were on the way to the attorney’s office to meet our son, we called our siblings and told them we were ready to throw a party and SURPRISE our parents with their new grandson! It was Grandparent’s Day, after all! What a gift!
So, they ordered pizzas and drinks and had our home FILLED with family and close friends! All but our parents knew we would be walking in with a baby! Everyone was gathered as we opened the door and Nathan shouted “Happy Grandparents Day – welcome William Gray Weatherly to the family!” Holy moly, I thought our parents were going to pass out! What a SURPRISE! We did some major rejoicing! Major rejoicing! Last time we were all together was when we were saying goodbye to Matthew and now we were saying hello to Will! It was amazing!
Within 24 hours, our home was so full of baby items! Diapers, formula, clothes flowers, yes and beautiful flowers! If you needed something for a baby, we had it! The outpouring of love from our family, friends and community was incredible! Truly incredible!
There was no greater celebration… so we thought!
Ten months later, we would find ourselves in a courtroom awaiting the finalization of the adoption. I was so nervous as I had no idea, once again, what to expect. One by one, we were sworn in, under oath to accept the responsibility of being Will’s parents. The feeling of PURE JOY heightened as we neared completion of the judge picking that gavel up. Anticipation escalated and tears streamed down our faces as Will’s adoption was in the last stages. This was it! This was the moment that brought me right back to the delivery room in the hospital when I pulled Nathan from my womb! This was IT! This was THAT! This was a MIRACLE and in that moment, the JOY that was taken from me in the delivery room with Matthew was given right back to me in the courtroom! THERE WAS NOT ONE BIT OF A DIFFERENCE! Not one! I have goosebumps typing this!
I am a proud mother of three boys! Two that I birthed in the delivery room, one that I birthed in my heart and in a courtroom! I love each one the same! My love grows for each one of them daily and will continue to do so. I cannot hold Matthew in my arms, but I certainly do in my heart. I could not birth Will from my womb, but where Matthew was planted, he grew! He grew straight from God’s hands to my heart!
I remember being so afraid to adopt a baby boy because I thought I would be trying to replace Matthew. I now know that God needed to heal my heart and it would be done through the most amazing little boy that we are blessed to call “ours!” I believe that sometimes to heal, we must revisit the place that hurts the worst. Those baby blue blankets and little baby boys hurt the most after losing Matthew. God knew what would heal my heart and that was Will. My husband’s words, “We are so thankful God gave us what we needed instead of what we thought we wanted!” Amen!
This paragraph from my book “Facets of Life; What I Didn't Expect When I was Expecting” sums up how we have lived our lives through some pretty hard stuff, we live trusting God. “We know the importance of loving with all of your heart, we know the pain of letting go and we know the necessity of taking a risk even though you are unsure of the outcome. For in those three elements lies the true test of faith…trusting God. He sees what we cannot, and in that comes a great peace that we have also learned we cannot live without.”
I always need a minute when I read that paragraph… if you have suffered loss or taken a risk with a pregnancy or adoption, you will understand those profound words all too well.
My journey to motherhood has been unexpected and off the charts all over the place, but it has brought me many places I never thought I would be. Today, I am here with you all sharing my story with hopes that it will encourage someone along the way. If you are a loss mama, I am so sorry. If you are seeking to adopt a child, hang in there, quit reading horror stories online (I so did that!) and seek the good ones! There are so many good ones! If you are a birthmother, you are amazing! You are cherished and I pray God will bless you more than you can ever imagine for choosing life and giving life! If you are not yet a mother and desperately wanting to be, I wish you hope and a lifetime of chasing little feet around your home.
I can’t help but smile and cry as I have reflected upon my story with you all. It has brought me to my knees once again, my heart full of gratitude and grace. The making of this mama has not been defined by birthing my babies or being able to hold them all in my arms, my boys have proved that, but rather defined by the unconditional love that I have for my three sons, Nathan, Matthew and William. From my arms to my heart, from my womb to my arms, or from my heart to heaven, this mother’s love remains the same. From the delivery room or from the courtroom, this mother’s love remains the same. This love knows no difference! And this love is forever!