This morning I woke up to the sweet sound of you playing and jibber-jabbering in your crib. It was 4:45 AM, and I was reminded that a year ago this very day, I woke up to a much different sound: silence. I had hardly slept the night before in anticipation of your arrival. Our bags were packed, and when we left the house for the hospital it was still dark. A bitterly cold morning, we drove to meet with Almira who would be coming along to pray in the waiting room with all of your family. You were going to be born in Moncton, New Brunswick. I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, but I remember being so nervous we had to stop at the Irving in Salisbury so I could go to the washroom. My stomach was unsettled. I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. I had wanted to get your Daddy and my on video on the way to the hospital, but was disappointed to discover that in the midst of all of our preparation we had forgotten to put a tape into the camera bag. That is why there is no video tape of the day you were born. Perhaps it was only meant to be captured in photographs.
When we arrived at the hospital, your Auntie Wendy, who is your biological Mommy, was already gowned up and getting prepped for her C-section (surgery). Nanny Sandy was with her, but left and allowed us to have some time together. It was only the day before that I had watched them take blood from your Auntie in preparation for today and had no problems, but my anxiousness got the best of me when I watched them give her an IV for the surgery, and as a result I passed out! I remember waking to the sound of a nurse saying, “Could somebody help me?” only to discover it was I who was in need of help! Needless to say, your Daddy found it quite amusing when he came into the hospital room to find both your Auntie Wendy and myself with cold presses on our foreheads and looking rather peaked. I could tell the nurses were concerned about whether or not I would be strong enough to support Wendy in the delivery room, and I was worried myself about how things would go. I have never passed out before, so that just goes to show how anxious I was to meet you. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to be in the delivery room for your arrival due to my nerves, but I wanted so badly to be there. I prayed and prayed and in the process drank the lemonade they gave me in hopes that the sugar would do its work and perk me up. Your poor Auntie Wendy must have been worried herself. Would I be the support she needed?
It was almost time to go into the room for surgery. They suited me up, and gave me an opportunity to go out and see the family. Here is a picture your Nana Crockett took of me:
So off I went. They took your Auntie in first to get her ready for the surgery, and then they eventually told me I could go in – camera and all. Since I had been weak with nerves and emotion, they gave me a chair to sit on next to your Auntie Wendy. I couldn’t see what they were doing to get you out of her tummy, and since I was worried watching would make me pass out again, I sat and held Wendy’s hand, praying silently as we both waited for your arrival.
9:48 AM we both heard your cries for the first time. The doctor told me I could stand and take a picture. I did, but I won’t post it on here as it’s quite personal seeing you fresh out of the womb! I immediately began crying and telling Wendy how perfect and beautiful you were. She was crying too. They took you into a nearby room to check you over, but I stayed with your Auntie telling her how proud I was of her. Then they brought you out and handed you to me, and she and I both looked at you in awe. James Benjamin – that is the name your Daddy and I had chosen, and that is the name your Auntie Wendy and I knew was meant for you at that moment as we watched you in wonder. It was a very special and emotional time for us both.
After the surgery they took your Auntie to get her ready for her hospital room, and they gave me an opportunity to bond with you. First they weighed you, and then they put you on me, skin to skin, with warm blankets so that you could cuddle with your Mama.
I kept asking for your Daddy and wondering if they had told him you were born. They hadn’t. Eventually a nurse came in and said to Wendy, “There’s a man out there wondering if he can come in. I think he is your father. He has on a cowboy hat.” Well, it wasn’t Auntie’s father, it was mine! Your Papa Graham was tired of waiting to find out, and being the man he is, he decided to take matters into his own hands and see what was going on.
I asked if your Daddy could please come in first and they finally sent for him. When he held you for the first time, he told me he was thinking about how much he loved you and couldn’t wait to take you hiking and camping.
He was so proud of you. He was so pleased to be your Daddy.
I have to admit, James, that when I heard the waiting room was going to be full of everyone from both my side of the family and your Auntie Wendy’s, I wasn’t sure how I would handle everything. Would I be emotional? Would I be worried that they would want to keep you and be nervous when they held you? All of these feelings I talked to God about beforehand, and when the time came, God took away any fears I had. I was so proud of you and so proud of what your birth Mama had done, that I couldn’t wait for them to see you and hold you. It was an incredible time of joy and sadness all at once. Joy for my side of the family that you were going to be with us, and sadness for your Auntie’s side of the family that you would be leaving to come live with us. They were happy you would have a nice home with a Mommy and Daddy, but sad that they would miss out on the wonder of you as you grew. Here are some of the pictures your Nana Crockett captured of the time:
Here are some pictures I took:
So as you can see, son, there were a lot of people there waiting to see you. In fact, they took up the whole waiting room. There was a lot of love in those precious moments. Everyone was proud of what your birth Mama Wendy had done and grateful to be there in those bittersweet hours. It wasn’t how I had imagined things to be. It was better.
I can’t fully explain what took place that day, but I can say with confidence that God was there bringing two families together who had never met before and enabling them to share in the miracle of you. People may never fully understand the dynamics of our family, son. They may never understand why we continue to invest and grow in our relationship with your birth mom even when it’s difficult, but they don’t need to. God did a special work in our family’s hearts. I know there will be seasons in our relationship with Wendy and her family as even in this short year there have been, but that all comes with the ebb and flow of life. Auntie Wendy stayed away for around 8 months because she was finding it hard to be around you. Not because she didn’t want to be with you, but because she loved you so much it hurt. She missed you. She had carried you in her tummy and bonded with you, and she now had to let go and let your Daddy and me bond with you. She chose to give you everything she wanted you to have but wasn’t able to provide for you at that time in her life. She loved you more than her own wants and desires. It takes a remarkable person to do what she did for us son.
Someday, you will better understand. The decisions your birth mom Wendy made. The decisions we have made. It was all for you. We want you to know where you came from. We want you to know how much you’re loved.
The circumstances surrounding your birth into this world are all a part of an intricate plan that God weaved together. He took what was a complicated circumstance for Wendy’s family and for ours, and he wove it into something beautiful. Something unique.
May you grow up knowing that the world doesn’t revolve around you, son, but that you were meant to make a difference in the world. May you grow up with a heart to serve others, as others had to serve in preparation for your arrival. May you grow up knowing God had a purpose for you, as He does for every baby born no matter how easy or how difficult the circumstances concerning their arrival is. May you grow up knowing that your purpose doesn’t involve living for you, but living for God, for you are covered with His fingerprints. Every time I look at you I see them: the fingerprints of God.
I love you James Benjamin. I always will.