So remember when Ariel said she knew someone in our book? That whole line of questioning never stopped, we met person after person who knew Ariel or her mom Ardy, or that she used to babysit for. Once in church I mentioned his due date and said she was taking Yoga, and the person we were talking to said, “oh do you mean Ariel?” what? “yeah she is in my yoga class”
Todds mom called us and said, “Todd your cousin Lynette is in a bible study with Ariels mom, should we not tell them?” No one wanted to mess anything up for us, but we weren’t worried about that.
I should mention that we live in a town of about a million, counting all the burbs, so not that tiny of a town, but I guess we ran in similar circles. It seemed like every week we ran into someone else that knew who we were adopting from, We were going to keep his story more private, we learned from Simon that we had probably shared too much, and we should have kept it more for him to share with who he liked, So we mentioned that to Zach and Ariel that we wouldn’t be sharing his story and why, but that was really a moot point.
His official due date was Tuesday April 21st, that day came and went, no signs. Ariel wasn’t feeling anything unusual.
I kept waiting for a call, Ariel and I were supposed to go see a movie on Thursday evening if he hadn’t come yet, but I lost the free tickets I had, so we canceled, she said she still was feeling normal, but soooo ready for him to come.
Friday morning at 4:30am, the phone rang, Todd sat up and said, almost screamed “the phone, the phone, the phone is ringing, where’s the phone?” I was already on my way to it, “babe it’s right here where it always is” Silly boy.
It was Ardy
“Hi Suzanne, it’s time, we are on our way to the hospital, you don’t have to come right now, but we wanted you to know”
“I’ll be right there”
I hung up and told Todd, she was in labor, Since it was so early, we decided I would go, and Todd would come later with Simon, why we didn’t just get a sitter I will never know, we would have had friends more than willing to take him. But I quickly got dressed and marveled at how this day would progress, Todd said, get going already, fine, I’m on my way.
I was driving down the very dark highways, making my way to the hospital downtown, with no traffic it’s only about a 15min drive. I parked in the ramp and asked the receptionist where to find Ariel, she directed me to her room.
I was nervous, I didn’t want to be in the way, I thought I would just wait in the waiting room, but Ardy found me in the hall and took me into the room, there she sat on the bed, with her hospital gown on and her hair all pulled back. She looked just fine, pretty cute even. I felt so how do I say, so…. out of place maybe, just not sure where to be or what to do, we took a few pictures chatted with the few people that were in the room. She was having contractions on and off, but not too severe, at least she didn’t let on that they hurt too much.
It started to get light out, the rest of the city was waking up and it felt like this was really going to happen. I think I mentioned to Ariel that it felt surreal, and her response was, “oh it’s real alright”
Our pastor and his wife had a baby girl the day before so we all took a field trip up to their room, baby Violet was snuggled in her daddies arms, a gorgeous baby, it was humorous that they would be so close in age. After getting back to her room, I was in the waiting room making a few phone calls and signing last minute papers. Cathy, Ariels social worker was explaining to me how it would all happen, she told me that Ariel would like me in the room for the birth if I want to, “Uh, yes please, that would be great!” I was elated, what a cool thing to experience, especially since I missed Simons birth by minutes. We were still talking details when Rosa came in and gathered up Ron (Ariels dad) myself and Cathy and said they just took her in for an emergency C-section, the baby’s heart rate had dropped and they weren’t sure how he would respond to the pushing.
I immediately started tearing up, I know this is major surgery and it scared me, she was just fine, it felt like everything was happening so quickly. We gathered in a circle and prayed G-d’s protection over them both. I called my mom right away and asked he to pray also, I also called my friend Keli in South Carolina, asked her to spread the word online to our mutual friends.
We waited for what seemed like hours, literally the minutes just couldn’t tick by any slower. We finally made our way to a different waiting room closer to where they do the surgery and waited there, Todd and Simon made it to the hospital and we all hung out together, Todd, Simon, I, Zach, Bob, Ana, Rosa, there was a lot of us.
Ardy finally came back and said, the surgery went well, but they had to take him to the NICU, he wasn’t breathing very well on his own, so they wanted to check him out, everything we had planned was out the window, this was scary.
Ariel came out in a wheelchair, they took us all down to the NICU, briefed us on what was going to happen, they would take us in 3 at a time to see him, we all had to leave everything in a locker and scrub our hands and arms then try not to touch anything in the room, there were so many of us it was comical. They took Ariel, and I first. This doesn’t do it justice to how frightening it was, they took off the mask he had to wear, so we could see him, it was scary, it might not have been had I known what any of it was for, they were just making sure that he was fine, yes he stopped breathing at 8 min. old, that is why they rushed him down, then they had to test for all kinds of things and wait for the labs to come back, but he was fine and fighting the whole time, he wasn’t even on the oxygen for 12 hours, he didn’t need it.
After all of that it was getting to be lunchtime and we had an almost 3 year old to take care of. We left to get lunch and let Simon take a nap at home and we planned to come back later that night.
My parents arrived later that day and we all ate together and they stayed with Simon as Todd and I went back to the hospital too spend a little time holding Levi before Todd had a late night show to go to. Ariel was just leaving the NICU once we got there, they had already taken him off of the oxygen and he looked so much better already.Look at those dark eyes.
Todd had to leave about an hour after we got there, So I was left holding this precious little bundle in the noisy NICU, so many machines going on, it’s like a quiet noise, and Levi looked like a giant compared to a lot of the other babies there, he was 7 pounds even, so really big compared to pre term babies. Zach came and we spent a couple hours with Levi, we got to talk and just stare at him, he was just magical, newborns are ya know.
While we were there a few more of Ariel’s friends came to visit, I had no idea that it was possible to have that many visitors, she is well loved that’s for sure.
By Sunday he was out of the NICU and back up in Ariels room, where many more visitors came by, including some of our family, they got there first look at him.He was a cutie that is for sure, we stayed at the hospital until about 8pm with Todds whole family, and Ariel and her mom and dad, we were all tired and hungry, so we finally said goodbye.
We decided to go to Big Boy, just down from the hospital and got a huge table to seat the whole family, Todd and I wondered if this was a good idea or not, it was already Simons bedtime, but hunger won out and we went in, We all ordered and talked about everything, I think we were all tired and sort of subdued. Simon did wonderful, he played happily with some cars from grandmas purse, she is always prepared!!
Monday morning came around and we went to the hospital by 11am I believe. We had been supplying Levi with frozen breastmilk, but that had run out, and I had been pumping and taking meds to induce lactation, well now was the time to see if it could work, we called for a lactation consultant and everyone left the room, leaving just Levi and I and the LC. She taught me how to properly latch him on and had me practice a few times, told me a few things to keep in mind, but he latched on like a champ, she was really impressed and so was I, I said, can you go get Ariel, she needs to see this. SO she went out in the hallway and brought Ariel back in the room and we just stared at him and chatted a bit, I thanked the lactation consultant and she thanked us, she said it was such a pleasure to be involved in this experience, she was in awe I guess of how close we were, I didn’t really ask why, she had tears in her eyes when she said it, I was just so glad for the help and So very glad he latched on so well.
We gave Ariel the outfit we brought to bring him home in and she changed him, got him ready and said they were ready to go, I put him in a sling and we all walked down to the lobby together, put him in his carseat for the first of many times and gave our hugs and thanks and promises to be in touch.
Then we drove away, with two children in our car, we came home with two children, life was now different forever and we loved it. Simon was quite excited about his new brother, and this whole experience sparked new questions for him, he was a little confused and thought that Ariel was also his birthmom, but we explained that his birthmoms name was Shane, and she loved him also, he was exactly 2 years and 10 months, so this question came quite a bit sooner than what we thought it would, but we were prepared because we had practiced telling him since he was a newborn, so when this time came it wouldn’t feel awkward. We got that bit of advice from Todds Aunt Jeri, thank you!