It was about 9:30 PM on Friday, February 10th. We frantically drove to St. Francis Hospital, just outside of Memphis. We were both so nervous. We became even more flustered in the parking lot because our birthmother (who will be referred to as T going forward) sent a text to Scott saying that her mother was dropping her off and that she had not told her she was giving the baby up for adoption. She told her that she was our surrogate. She asked us not to mention anything in front of her.
We raced into the ER, checked in with security and walked up to the registration desk. We had seen pictures of T before, but never met her in person. While we were standing in line, there was a woman in front of us checking in. It was her. Scott tapped her on her shoulder and called her name. She turned around and opened her arms inviting us in for a group hug. We were all so full of emotion. We just stood there, the three of us clutching on to one another and crying like babies. This just became completely real. It wasn’t just a fantasy anymore.
We all calmed down and sat waiting for her to be taken in the back. We met her mother, who walked right up to us and gave us both hugs. She treated us like we were a part of her family. She waited around with us for a little while before going back home. Once she left, someone came out to get T. None of us knew exactly how to proceed. I think it was Scott who asked if we were allowed to be with her in the examination room. He explained the situation and they let us go with her.
It wasn’t very long before a doctor came to check on T. After a while, they finally decided to admit her, we were told that she would be moving to a room in the maternity ward. We went up with her and stopped at the nurse’s station to let them know that we had arrived. Scott and I kind of thought that they would have rolled out the proverbial red carpet for us and have our room ready next to T’s. Boy, were we wrong! Hospital management had received our birth plan from our attorney, but never shared it with the nursing staff. They had no idea that we were coming or how to accommodate us. They were pretty cold to Scott and I, and treated us as if we were there to steal T’s baby. I will just leave it at they were not friendly!
T had previously told us that she wanted us in the delivery room and with her beforehand for support. So, that’s what we did. We sat there in her room and tried to keep her occupied. We chatted and got to know each other better, played games, and watched trashy reality shows. We actually binge watched every season of “Flavor of Love” and “I Love New York.” Those two television shows will forever hold a special place in our hearts. One hiccup was that each time the nurses would come in to examine T, they would ask us to leave. At one point when Scott went out on a coffee run, a nurse came in and said to T, “If they are bothering you, I can have them removed.” T replied, “They are not bothering me. I want them here and they don’t have to leave every time you all come in.” When Scott got back, I told him what had happened. He marched right out to the nurse’s station and let them have it. He said, “I don’t care which one of you said it, but don’t any of you dare say anything like that to her again. You obviously have no idea how sensitive this situation is. We have a legal right to be in that room with her.” The guilty nurse followed Scott back into the room, even though he asked her not to, and apologized to T for being insensitive. We never saw that nurse again the entire time we were in the hospital. Soon after, they finally got a room for us ready across the hall from T’s. We just put our bags in there and went right back to stay with her.
At about 6 AM Saturday morning, a staff change happened. All of the nurses coming in were young and were obviously briefed about our situation. It became pretty apparent that a same-sex adoption probably had never occurred in this hospital. I am not entirely sure that they had ever seen gay men in their natural habitat, either. When they would come in to check on T, they would give us these coy little smiles like the young nuns gave to Delores Van Cartier in “Sister Act.” They were clearly very curious about us. They were very friendly and made an effort to learn our story. Half of the time, they would just come in to chat with us during their down time. They put us at ease and made us feel very comfortable.
Labor became pretty intense Saturday night. T was in so much pain. The epidurals weren’t giving her enough relief. One of the nurses taught me how to massage her lower back in order to alleviate her discomfort. We were approaching 26 hours of labor. T was dilating, but our baby wasn’t dropping. There was a point where our son’s heartbeat became very abnormal. It caused some major concern to the staff and was very scary for Scott and I. I learned to track his heartbeat on the monitor, which I constantly did. I saw that it was irregular and immediately ran to get a nurse. I wasn’t aware that they already knew and were on their way. They asked us leave the room, which we vehemently declined to do. They gave T something medicinal and did some adjusting of her and the baby’s positions and everything came back to normal. It now became something that needed to be continuously monitored.
About four hours later, the doctor decided that they were going to prep for a C-Section. Since T continued dilating and the baby still wasn’t dropping, he thought it was best to get him out. He came in to talk to T about the procedure. She was not happy about it because it meant she would have to stay in the hospital longer than she had hoped. But, she understood that it was necessary for the health of the baby. He then turned to me and asked what it would be like for an African-American baby growing up with two white, gay fathers in Rhode Island. He totally put me on the spot and I was not pleased because he did it right in front of T. I sarcastically replied, “It will not be an issue because up north, we are literate and progressive people.”
After 30 hours of labor, bonding with T, growing our dad bods by eating fast food, and not sleeping; a nurse came with one of those sterile hospital jumpsuits, gloves, cap, and mask. She asked us to decide which one of us would be going in the delivery room because it could only be one of us. Scott volunteered me. He knows how into medical procedures I am and thought I would appreciate seeing it. Then, another nurse came with a second getup and told us that we could both go in and to get ready quickly because it was about to happen. We put them on and sat outside the delivery room waiting to be called in.
Just about five minutes later, a nurse came to get us and brought us into the delivery room. They had two seats for us set up behind T’s bed. I couldn’t believe this was actually going to happen. It’s the first time this entire adoption journey became reality to me. It was surreal. We were about to witness the birth of our son. By this time, both of us were so tired, but running on adrenaline. Neither of us could sit. We just stood there crying and holding hands, eagerly anticipating our son’s arrival.
At 6:10 AM on Sunday, February 12th, we welcomed Taylor Benjamin Jaworski into the world.
We looked at Taylor once and he instantly became the love of our lives. We had waited for him for a long time! I am sure I can speak for my husband by saying that neither of us has ever loved a single living thing more than him at that very moment. Our family was now complete. The nurses cleaned him up, weighed and measured him and then told us to go wait in our room and they would bring him to us.
We waited for Taylor for no more than ten minutes, but it felt like an hour had passed. We both could not wait to hold him for the first time. There was a knock at our door and two nurses came in with him on a portable bassinet. They gave us formula and diapers, some instructions, and left us alone with or son for the first time to bond. I could easily re-live that day over and over again. We were officially fathers. It was the best day of my entire life.
He was the cutest 7 pound 2 ounce bundle of joy I had ever seen. While sitting there staring at him, absorbing reality, I made a promise to my son. I promised him that I would never hurt him, always make him feel safe, encourage him, and forever give him the kind of love that I never received growing up. I wanted him to know right from day one that he was a blessing and that he mattered. I can only hope that he heard me.
Scott and I looked at each other and he said to me, “I can’t believe this is really happening. We are parents. But, now what do we do?” All I could answer was, “I have no clue!”
Now, we had to figure out how to be parents…………………….