It's taken me a while to write this post, but I"m coming out of my deep dark hole and finally really processing how I am feeling and what I can do about it. So please, bare with me.
It's been three weeks since the day Baby S had surgery, and I'm still processing exactly what happened that day and how I feel about it. There were a few moments that still threaten to make me break down, no matter how hard I try to shove them into the back corner of my head and not let them bother me.
The first was the way everyone looked at me. The doctors know her adoptive parents well. They have seen them every week, or every other week, for the last 5 months, and their relationship is solid and unchanging. I'm the stranger. I don't like feeling like the outcast in an already tense and uncomfortable situation, like my beautiful baby having to have open heart surgery. I hate the way they look at me; I can just see the questions on their face "who is this girl and what is she doing here?"
But mostly, there's the things that people say. The little things, things that wouldn't bother any other parent, but that bother me because I"m not the same. I'm not the mom who didn't give up her baby because of a medical defect. I'm the mom who gave her baby to someone else to raise so that she could move past this pregnancy like I was supposed to from the beginning.
When I was sitting in the waiting room, while R and T were in the room with Baby S right after surgery, there were two other women there. Now, it was a small room, so there was no way to not hear what they were saying. I came to understand that each of them had a baby that was in the hospital, and had been for a while. One was a little baby girl, maybe about 3-4 weeks old, the other an older infant. The two women had obviously seen each other in the unit before, because they talked easily, they knew who each other were. This I expected; families with children that are having long-term stays in ICU usually bond with each other. What I didn't expect was to hear part of a conversation that would crush my heart and bring back all the guilt and indecision of the last few days before Baby S's adoption went through.
"Our doctors strongly encouraged us to terminate" out of the mouth of one mother.
"So did ours" from the other.
"How could I give up on my baby?"
"I don't understand how anybody could say they would do anything other than have and take care of their child".
And there I am, the mother who 'gave up' my baby. The one who fought past the talk of termination just to give her to another family to raise.. because she was too complicated and too difficult to do it myself.
I know, I know, how were they to know? They didn't know Who I am, why I was sitting there waiting for someone to tell me I could go see my Baby S. But there they were.. and how those words really really hurt. They're right. How could I? How could I give up on her and give her away so easily?
That conversation still haunts me. I see those women in my dreams, I hear their voices in my head all the time. And no matter how many times I justify to others, and to myself, that I did the right thing.. this thought of 'how could I?' still hangs over my head.
I know logically I did what was right.. and I know that nobody in the world would dare think that I gave up on Baby S after all all the fighting I did for her, but the battle in my head is bigger and stronger than I really know how to handle. I feel myself slipping down that slippery slope, and I am fighting so hard to stay afloat. I just hope I find a foothold soon.