I wanted to share with you the timeline and some details from June 16th to today and also some really cute pictures. Let's start with the timeline of events:
June 16 - I texted E to ask how she was feeling. She had just started antibiotics for a UTI. She responded that she was starting to have mild contractions and cramping. She thought we had a few days based on her past experience delivering her other 3 children. Jarred and I decided that we would go ahead and head to Florida because E told us she wanted me in the delivery room. As we were driving to Lexington KY where we planned to fly out the next morning, E texted me that she was headed to the hospital. The next thing I knew, we were getting a text that Levi was born at 10:27 pm on June 16! I could hardly sleep that night in the hotel in Lexington knowing my son was already born and in Florida. It was wonderful and hard all at the same time.
June 17 - We flew from Lexington, KY to Orlando Florida to meet our new son. I was so excited and nervous I could barely contain it. Jarred and I met our adorable Levi around 6:30 pm on Sunday night and had our first face to face meeting with E. It was wonderful to hold him and look into his beautiful face. Jarred held him for the first time and I wanted to explode with happiness as I looked on the two wonderful boys in my life :-)
June 18 - We were given a hospital room directly across from E. E was discharged but decided to stay an additional night to spend time with Levi before she signed the papers. This was a difficult day as we all knew that E still needed to sign the papers that would officially make him our son. We were rapidly falling in love and bonding with our handsome little man, but were so very nervous about the papers. My heart also broke for E as I saw her struggle with the emotions that come with a mother who is giving her child to another family. We ended the night with a Pizza Party with E in our hospital room.
June 19 - This day was one of the most wonderful and most difficult in our lives. We sat in our hospital room while E was across the hall with the adoption agency staff, hospital case workers and the most adorable baby boy I had ever laid eyes on. The paperwork was started and we were sitting alone, waiting and hoping she would go through with the signing. It was the longest 40 minutes of my life... I was so nervous and my heart broke for E. We were terrified she would change her mind and she was struggling emotionally with the toughest decision she ever made. Every time Jarred and I heard a noise outside our door, we jumped and held our breath. Finally, Elisa (from the adoption agency) somberly entered our hospital room. I couldn't tell from her face if E had signed the papers or not. It was probably only about 8 seconds of waiting for her to say anything, but it felt like eternity. Finally, she quietly asked, "Would you like to come and see your son?" I started sobbing and squeaked, "She signed?!?" With tears in her eyes, Elisa said "Yes, she signed." Jarred and I both started crying as we walked across the hall to hold our son. It was official, Levi is OUR son!
The day ended with tears and hugs from E and promises between 2 Mothers. E and I have a forever bond and have a love and respect for each other. One of the happiest days in my life, was one of the most difficult in hers. I was finally a mother and she selflessly gave us our son. After E left the hospital we thought we were going to be discharged, however, Levi was quickly turning into an orange pumpkin :-) So we spent another night at the hospital with Levi receiving phototherapy (like a tanning bed) that helps him rid his body of what is causing him to be jaundiced.
June 20 - We are finally discharged! We went to the condo that was so generously donated for our use. It was a relief to drive away from the hospital. Our awesome friends, Kyle & Kim, were with us in the condo and were the best support we could ask for. They had decorated the condo with a beautiful banner and balloons:
June 22 - Friday was an emotional day. We started our day out at the Pediatrician's office and were told he might need to have more phototherapy. We took him to the outpatient lab and had a blood draw to see what his bili levels (what causes him to be yellow) were. We had to wait a few hours for those results. While we waited for the lab results, we went to get family pictures taken with E, her family and our new family of 3. It was a very emotional photo shoot. This was going to be the last time that E would see Levi until our first yearly visit next year. The pictures turned out great and I loved getting to know her 3 other children.
We then went back to the condo after the pictures and anxiously waited for the lab results. We dreaded the thought of being admitted to the hospital. The pediatrician finally called with the great news that his levels had decreased and we didn't need to do anything except continue to sun bathe our little man. The good news just kept coming and we then received a phone call from Edna with our agency and she said we were cleared to go home to Indiana! She asked who we had praying for us because, we had set a record for the amount of time it takes to be cleared to go home. It only took 1.5 days and the average is more like 4-7 and could be as much as 10 days. After getting that good news, Jarred and I were finally able to relax and breathe a little easier. We both took advantage of Kyle and Kim wanting to hold Levi and took a stroll down to the beach and jumped in the ocean waves for about 15 minutes. I was able to enjoy the ocean for the first time since our trip to Florida. Did I mention our condo was on the beach...
June 23 - We fly to Kentucky! Flying with an 8 day old baby is quite intimidating, but we did survive. We had issues and a delay at the ticket counter because Levi was under 14 days old and wasn't allowed to fly without a doctor's note. We had to wake up the Pediatrician at 7am on Sunday morning and have her call the hospital to fax a note to the airport. It was about 30 minutes of torture while we waited but were finally cleared to fly with Levi. I prayed that the rest of the flying experience would go more smoothly and God, as always, answers prayer and it went wonderfully. From the super nice security man who helped us get through with no stress to the nice passengers who were excited for us and flying home, we had a stress free flight experience after the ticket counter fiasco. On the plane we sat next to a sweet lady who was actually adopted herself, and she shared her story of adoption. Levi slept through the entire flight and didn't make a peep at all. We have a great traveler on our hands :-) We then drove to Jarred's hometown and started the parade of Levi meeting wonderful family.
June 24 - We continued to hang out with Jarred's family and enjoyed our time with them.
June 25 - We are finally headed HOME! We drove home on Tuesday and were glad to start the next part of our parenting experience at home. We arrived to more streamers and banners courtesy of Deborah and Leanna :-)