This is the part you've all been waiting for - Brighten's birth story. I would like to preface before I begin that the next and last two parts of Brighten's Storie will be amazing, but also not a complete picture. Jason and I aim to be transparent, and we have been from the beginning of our adoption process, but this is the point where we make a sharp left turn and our story intersects with Brighten's and Birth Mom's. There are parts of Brighten's story that are for her to share or not share when she reaches an age that she can make the decision, and Birth Mom's story is her's to share or not share if she so chooses. So, buckle up, because this is the best part yet, but know that there are a lot of details that will be left out because this is from my perspective as an adoptive mom, as Brighten's mom, and it's only one fraction of the full, incredible story. If you ever have questions, I'll do my best to answer them if you email me here.
September 21, 2016: 8:30 P.M.
Around 8:30 Wednesday night, I got a text from Birth Mom that she was settled in her room and we could come on up there to meet her whenever we were ready. C (remember, that's our mutual friend from Brook Hills who is Brighten's brother's adoptive mom) was just getting to town and said she would meet us there too so that she could visit with Birth Mom and make the official introduction.
We made the 15 minute drive to the hospital and did our practice run just in case we needed to get there quickly the next day. Jason even made a comment that I would be mad if we had not run through the drive if Birth Mom called us to come up there in the middle of the night, which is funny because...well...just keep reading :)
Around 9:30 P.M. (C went to the wrong hospital, silly goose!) we walked into the hospital room to meet Birth Mom. I thought I would be nervous, but I wasn't. We talked about why Jason and I chose adoption, got to feel Brighten move in her tummy, and met the labor and delivery nurse, "Roll Tide Sharon". Birth Mom asked us if we are Alabama or Auburn fans, and she was happy to hear that we "roll with the tide," as Jason likes to say. Turns out that our L & D nurse was also an Alabama fan, so we called her Roll Tide Sharon since we had another Nurse Sharron later on.
After about an hour we agreed that we'd call up to the nurse's station the next morning around 7:00 and see how things were going and figure out what time to come up to the hospital based on that. We were told to "sleep in" and "make sure we got lots of sleep" by the hospital staff and I wanted to say, "Fat chance, have you ever adopted a baby before? There is no shot that I'll be sleeping much tonight!" But everyone was happy with the plan, so we went back to our hotel and went to bed.
September 22, 2016: 5:57 A.M.
This is the text I woke up to on Thursday morning. I read it, sat up, and said, "Jason, get up, she's coming quick!" Thankfully I had already laid out my clothes for the day so I was able to get dressed quickly. Jason was extremely disoriented, but once he got dressed he made the best decision of his life and decided to bring his toothbrush and toothpaste to the hospital instead of brushing his teeth at the hotel.
We got in the car and I seriously considered putting on our emergency lights as I drove crazily down the highway. The 15-20 minute drive took 9 minutes. I pulled up to the front of the hospital and ran in while Jason parked the car.
When I got up to the room, I walked in and Birth Mom was already pushing. Roll Tide Sharon told me where to stand and what to do. Right about that time, C poked her head in the door and said, "Heeeyyy....OH we're already doing this!" and she came in and took pictures and helped me know what to do.
Right about the time Jason got up to the room (he was not planning on coming in, but he wanted to stand outside the door just to hear when she's born) the doctor said, "I see some brown hair!" and a few seconds later, Brighten Storie Morales took her first breath.
With tears in my eyes, I watched as they handed Brighten to Birth Mom, and someone handed me some scissors to cut the cord. My hands were shaking and it was hard for me to even focus on doing that because I just wanted to look at Brighten. I've always thought that I would be totally freaked out by the whole birth thing, however in that moment, it was the most beautiful thing, and it didn't feel weird that it wasn't me. I've always wondered with adoption if I would feel more like a spectator, but in that moment, it all felt right and just as it should be. God gives us peace like that, and I'm so thankful for it.
Jason heard them say, "Time of birth is 6:25 a.m." and then went to brush his teeth. How crazy that in just 28 minutes I got dressed, got to the hospital, and saw Brighten be born?! I've never been more thankful for my husband having stinky breath.
Brighten weighed 7 lb. 1 oz. and was 18.5 inches long. She was, and is, absolutely perfect.
After she was cleaned off, she did skin to skin with Birth Mom, and then she was wrapped up and handed to me. Jason came in shortly after, and we just looked at her with complete awe. I think Jason's face says it all in our first family photo...
Also, at this point C decided that she was going to change her name. She'd been saying all along that she felt like a grandma...however we all protested that A) she's not old enough to be Brighten's grandma, and B) I'm not her daughter. We kept telling her that she's more like an aunt, but since Brighten has my sisters as her aunts, she didn't want to be called that either. So we settled on the name, Auntie Grandma, AG for short. Therefore, C will now be referred to as AG :)
September 22nd: The day our lives were forever changed, several times
The rest of the day was a constant whirlwind of people coming in and out, papers being signed, phone calls, text messages, baby holding, and nonstop smiling. We also learned how to burp our daughter and a lot of other first-time-parent things in front of like 232,322 people. It was crazy, but I wouldn't change a thing. Seriously, I wouldn't. There are so many different ways adoption happens, and I was afraid that I'd walk away feeling like something should have been done or handled differently, but even when it was stressful or I was anxious, I wouldn't change any of it. We have an incredible story to be able to tell our daughter about the day that she came into the world, and for that I am eternally grateful.
September 23, 2016: The beginning of more waiting
We slept at the hotel on Thursday night and got back to the hospital Friday morning bright and early. There were more visitors that day and my parents got to town, which was so special. We were discharged around 3:30 P.M. and began the wait for all of our paperwork to be approved in Texas and in Alabama so that we could bring #brightentobham.