Ready for Part III?
If you’re not up to date, Part I is here.
I’ve weighed about posting this. Really gone back and forth. But, I realized I had to. We live in a world that isn’t always adoption friendly. And there are places that that can’t be a thing. Yet, here we are.
Around 1am things changed quickly.
Just a few things going forward, I will refer to our birth mother as H and birth father as M.
H has a history of high blood pressure. However, the nurses didn’t seem to listen or care. There was a medicine she had said she couldn’t have.
Shortly after we arrived, the epidural had fully kicked in. Except H seemed fuzzy. She kept telling the nurses she was ready to go. It was time to push. The nurse ignored her, and said the doctor could determine that when he came in. This drove me bonkers. Our child was her 5th. H was no stranger to pregnancy and birth. Around this time, my husband found a waiting room. He was not comfortable seeing H in such an intimate way.
At one point a nurse came in and said H needed to sit up. H didn’t want to, because she said it was uncomfortable.
The nurse said to her, “Your comfort is not my priority. It’s for that baby we are going to get out of you soon. You may not care about that baby, but I do.”
I was shocked, but let it go. The baby was in distress, so they got H to sit up. The next thing I know the room flooded with medical professionals. H was asked who would stay. Her mother and myself would be by her side, and everyone else was to get out of the way.
H’s mother rubbed her back. I kept rubbing her hand. Telling her what a Rockstar she was. First push. It was the doctor’s birthday. He’d never delivered a baby on his day. I couldn’t wrap my brain around how cool this was. 2nd push, and there was a baby head, then shoulders.
They brought the baby up to me, clamped the cord, and handed me the scissors. Cord cut. They flipped our sweet baby around, and my jaw dropped.
My bestie and I yelled in unison, “That’s not a girl.”
The nurse announced, “IT’S A BOY!”
H was at a loss and kept apologizing. “Is that ok?” Hell. YES. It. Was.
From there, if you haven’t read the birth story, you can do so here.
Fast forward to after Jase being measured, and such. 90% of the medical professionals were gone. It was crazy for me that they were there for the baby.
H’s monitors went crazy out of nowhere. I was with the pediatrician checking out our son, and look over. H had hemorrhaged. She was having a seizure. I learned quickly a nurse tried giving her that medicine she said she couldn’t have. I about lost my mind. H coded. She was dying. Thankfully, they got her back.
She coded all because they didn’t listen to her. They treated her like a drug seeking patient. Nobody comes to the hospital looking for blood pressure medicine. And nobody starts saying they can’t have a blood pressure medicine, because they don’t “prefer” it. I was furious.
Shortly after, H was back and talking. She was going to be fine. They put her on magnesium because of the seizure. The side effect of this is I knew she was going to feel like complete garbage. After birthing a baby. Lovely. This also meant we were saying on the L&D floor longer so they could observe her a little longer.
My bestie and I left to go get some food around 3am. When we got back, H was asleep in bed with the baby. We learned quickly she couldn’t be left alone. What she thought was “no big deal,” actually was.
I spent the next few hours snuggling, changing, and feeding this precious boy. Lots of interaction with a particular nurse. As awful as she was to H, she was amazing to me. She made sure the name WE gave him was on most things, instead of simply Baby Boy. She continued to be rough with H, and I did my best to stay calm.
After our next trip to go get a snack, bestie and I came back to an empty room. We learned H and the baby had been moved to another. We packed up our stuff, and moved along.
We get settled in the new room, and a baby nurse comes to visit. Bestie recognized her IMMEDIATELY from the previous birth experience H had.
“Hey, mama! How are you doing today? Let’s get this baby out of the bassinet and in your arms. Get that oxytocin flowing.” I realized she was not speaking to me.
H informed her I was the adoptive mother. The nurse said boldly, “I don’t care who she is. You need to hold your baby.”
The look on H’s face almost broke me. The baby nurse put my son in her arms. The attending nurse read the room and shortly took the baby back, and gave him to me. H went back to sleep.
I went over to the baby nurse and said, “I hate to be a bother, but can I have one of the big plastic hospital water cups?”
“No. Only the Moms get those.” This felt like someone punched me in the gut.
Shortly after, the same attending nurse came back and we learned the doctor was prescribing her a smaller dose of the trouble medicine from earlier. If bestie and I hadn’t been there to advocate for H, I am not sure she would be here. We argued with that nurse and told her DO NOT administer that medicine. She went and got the doctor and told him what had happened before. Told of H’s history of high blood pressure. He chose a different medicine. We learned that the L&D didn’t properly communicate what had happened on her chart.
H had been very annoyed that M had left, and was nowhere to be found. He had said he’d be back in about an hour. It had been 4. H wanted a fan, because of the magnesium, she just couldn’t get cool. The nurses couldn’t care less. Bestie went and got H a cold wash cloth. When she went to hand it to her, she found a needle in H’s bed. It was the kind that should have easily been put in the hazard’s disposal upon the completion of the medicine administering. Clearly it had been dropped. We’re not talking a syringe. It was the IV needle type. That was my last straw. Why were they treating H with so little empathy and care?
Throughout the day, H had continually said she was going to leave as soon as M got back. That would be a problem for us, as the attorneys had not worked out paperwork, and gotten any signatures. I started texting to get an update. Our attorney had court all day, so we would be assigned to another. I called our social worker, and told her everything that was going on. Apparently, the hospital social worker had been scheduled to stop by HOURS before. That clearly hadn’t happened. The new attorney called and got an update. Since H was threatening to leave we might have to change our plan a bit. We had to get documents signed before she left that hospital.
Jason called to check in. He’d be leaving work soon, and would go home first and let Riley out. He wanted to see if bestie and I needed him to bring anything to the hospital.
This was hard on H. She had been blowing up M’s phone to try and find out where he was. Nothing. He wasn’t responding. But, here was my husband who was making sure his wife AND her friend were taken care of. I could see it.
When the pediatrician came to check out Jase, we learned he was having some breathing issues. Something that was common for premies, but still concerning.
When they told H they wanted to move him to the nursery to keep him under observation, H lost her mind.
She looked me dead square in the eye and said, “I have no idea what your problem is, but he breathes just fine when I hold him.”
The nurses and doctor looked lost.
I ignored H and said, “Doc, didn’t you say you needed to run XYZ tests? Can we get those going, and see if his breathing gets better?”
As they took him away, I followed the attending nurse, “We’re moments away from having power of attorney. Please do not bring him back to the room, if you can keep from it.”
I immediately got on the phone, and got our social worker to the hospital to the get the power of attorney signed. She said she’d be there within the hour.
I start to head into the room, and I walk up on the nurse’s station. There were a few talking, but I could only see the faces of one. It was the baby nurse who was so pleasant earlier.
“I don’t get girls like H. They just find rich white ladies to throw their babies away to. She’s going to regret this for the rest of her life.” Baby nurse.
I was frozen. Then I started feeling heat go up the back of my neck. Did I just hear her correctly?
I find myself back in the room. H was still threatening to leave. I looked at bestie, and she realized I needed a break. It was almost 5pm, I was hungry, frustrated, and had gotten about an hour of sleep in the last 36 hours. What had been the happiest day of my life was becoming the most challenging.
Jason got to the hospital with a bag of supplies. Camera. Phone charger. Slippers.
I asked bestie if she’d stay and wait for the social worker. Jason and I went to the cafeteria to catch up on the day.
When we got back our social worker was there, she learned what she was walking into. Bestie’s hubby and our godfather showed up, so we took him to the nursery to meet Jase. This was around shift change, so we didn’t have to deal with that baby nurse anymore. I told bestie what was said. She said they had similar issues with her after the birth of H’s last boy our friends adopted.
We met our social worker in the lobby of the floor, and signed the Power of Attorney paperwork. H no longer had a say in what the medical team did or didn’t do with our son. He was staying in the nursery until we left. We were able to say that if she were to visit him, it had to be in the nursery. Shortly after, M came with his niece and told Jase goodbye. He thanked me for making sure he’d have a great life.
After his godparents met our son, we left for the night.
Fast forward to the next day. I walked into a pediatrician who told me that Jase’s tests weren’t fully back. That was a lie she made because she claimed to be “unaware” of the power of attorney change. I would learn later that it had been handed to her specifically to be put in his file. So, not only was it a lie, it was a big one. Not the way I wanted to start the day.
I met with the hospital social worker shortly after arriving. She explained how things would go. Said they wouldn’t keep the baby away from H, but she said she had no problem making sure he had to stay in the nursery since he would be on oxygen anyway. She updated me on all the tests that had been run on him. A few things were less than ideal, but he was going to be fine. I filled her in on what had happened over the last 36 hours he’d been alive. She said I needed to tell the nurse supervisor of both floors. That she had heard of multiple violations in the short time I spoke.
One of my favorite nurses of our stay happened to be assigned to the Moms that day. Julie was in the nursery doing charts. She asked me if I wanted a cup for some water, because I was losing my voice with how dry it was. Needless to say, that hit me in a weird spot. I told her what I’d be told the day before.
“You are his mother.” When I got back from meeting with the social worker, the water cup was by my purse.
They liked being known as an adoption friendly hospital. And she understood why I didn’t see that. But, she was going to keep her eye on us.
The same baby nurse was working that day and had been assigned to us. I noticed Jase had an incredibly red tushy. I knew our friends’ son had issues with Desitin, and that is what the hospital used. I asked that they bring me something else to use. The baby nurse disregarded my request. I also asked when he’d be getting a bath, and she said that since he wasn’t breast feeding, he needed to wait.
Jase was eating like a champ. He was not breathing like one. But, he was smart. He didn’t like the oxygen tubes, and he kept figuring out how to wiggle them out of his nose. The rest of the babies each got small pieces of tape holding down their tubes, but not our boy. They had to tape it completely down to his face.
Fast forward to the next day. I got to meet with the nurse supervisor. She was livid about everything going on. I was told I wouldn’t have to deal with that baby nurse anymore. We were assigned to my favorite nurse Julie. I told her about the Desitin. She threw away the bottle in his drawer.
Our boy was in the hospital for almost 6 days. We experienced the good, bad, and the ugly. Experienced some things that no natural birth parents would.
Nurses who treated us like visitors. Nurses who doted on us. Those that treated us like we were doing something magical. Those that treated us like we stole something.
That original baby nurse decided she wouldn’t anything but Desitin on him. He had a fiery diaper rash by day 3. We left to grab dinner, and when we came back, I could hear him screaming as I came down the hall. When we got in the nursery, the original baby nurse was sitting at a computer, and said, “Oh, perfect timing, MAMA. Your SON needs to be changed.” Why wasn’t he already getting changed when she knew he had the rash?
We had nurses that were tough. Boston was told to give our boy his car seat test. She told me she wouldn’t. When she saw my disappointment, she exclaimed why. If he didn’t pass, he probably wouldn’t go home for at least two more days. If we waited another day, he’d probably go home the next day. Patience. Its all I needed.
Another nurse was incredibly kind. There was a night Jase was the only baby besides one getting their car seat test. Our night nurse spent hours with us. Showing my husband how to feed, swaddle, and change our son. She had 30 years experience being a nurse. A few days before she had heard me talk about our son not getting a bath. I came back the next day to him bathed.
The world needs angels among us like these ladies.
H went home on Friday. I never imagined it would be hard getting upstairs to see our son. Security guards kept referring to her as “the mother.” It was like a kick to the gut every single time.
When birth mothers come in and say they have an adoption as part of their birth plan, nobody should call them any maternal word. It is hard on their mental health. It is confusing. And if the adoptive mom is there, it’s just harder. There has to be a way to make a note in the system, so it’s clear to everyone who interacts with both.
The last day in the hospital, we got to security. We showed our name tags. She said, “the mother had gone home.” She needed to make a phone call. She called about the wrong child, and they told her that the baby had moved to the NICU. I about lost my mind. He had been fine when I left the night before. Finally, a security guard that had been incredibly kind to us all week, recognized us. She told the other guard to let us go. When we got upstairs, he was halfway through his car seat test. He had had a GREAT night. He just had to get through the next two hours, and he would be leaving. We had been told the only reason he’d have to go to the NICU is if he stopped breathing.
In a matter of 5 minutes, we had been jerked around regarding his wellbeing. Over the course of 5 days we were lied to by an attending pediatrician, nurses, and security guards. We were made to feel less than as parents. Our boy’s care was subpar by those because of it. And we had witnessed our birth mother be treated less than. That just isn’t ok.
I learned a lot of lessons through all of this. It was my first experience fighting for the wellbeing of my son. It was confirmed I had it in me. Simple kindness to nurses goes a LONG way. And sometimes that kindness looks like fresh from the oven cookies from your caterer friend. Another is that hospitals need to just do better in how they treat adoptive parents.
I have not told the name of the hospital we were at on purpose. If you’re a hospital administrator, social worker, etc, and you’re curious that this about your location, you can contact me directly. I am happy to come to your location to help consult on anything plan of a training session.
This experience solidified the need for this blog. The need for someone in this area to advocate for fellow adoptive parents. For me to just be an ally. Ear to listen. So here I am. A mom ready to help.
Jason Squared's best girl. Jesus freak. Dog mom. Auntie. Screaming loud for STL Cards and Battle Hawks, Nashville Predators, Kentucky Wildcats. Dancing hard at concerts. Just a girl living out loud. On purpose.