I have a friend I met almost four years ago through a job. Carrie and I were hired within a month of each other and had an immediate connection. We’ve talked about our souls being connected in the past and I knew she came into my life to help fill in the gaps of my own inadequacies and I to help her in the same manner. We only worked together for about a year before some political drama and employment cuts ended up with her out of the job. The situation makes me cringe to even think about and I could easily go into a downward spiral of hatred considering what happened… So I will stop there and move on.
Our friendship continued although, our face to face contact became more dispersed. She and I talked about the possibility of a business venture since our personalities complimented each other so well. She is slightly older than I and sometimes it felt like she had a lifetime more life experiences. There were times I would smile and nod at her question “You know what I mean?” hoping she wouldn’t recognize I knew nothing before I could puzzle together some context clues. Carrie has a knack for getting her needs met, her southern drawl could reel anyone in and convince them of whatever she was requesting. Her dark curly hair is the kind most women would lay down big money to duplicate, and this is on the days she claims she didn’t have time to fix it her own way. She has warm brown eyes, a bright smile, rounded face and naturally tan skin. Carrie’s outward beauty barely begins to exude the beauty within, as she has worked her life serving others. Her career has involved advocating for those who cannot do it for themselves, and she is exactly who I would want representing me if I were incompetent to make my own decisions. Sounds like I have painted the picture of a wonderfully warm and generous human being who speaks softly, with manners and always kind and gentle. Yes, this is true of Carrie in many ways although I would warn you… Don’t cross her, she can outwit you and pull the totem your pride was standing on before you can catch your next breath.
These characteristics have served Carrie professionally and recently in a deeply personal way as well. This story is about the ultimate determination I have witnessed in my friend and an incredible journey to parenthood I am so honored to be able to report. Seriously incredible and worth making into a movie, I told Carrie she would be played by Angelina Jolie.
Two years ago Carrie talked to me about her desire to be a mom. She had been in a number of serious relationships throughout her twenties and thirties, none of them amounting to “the one” worth marrying. Since she was well into adulthood, built a professional career and firm foundation, Carrie felt the tug of parenthood greater than the need for following society’s approved order of becoming a parent (i.e. relationship, marriage than baby).
Haters – stop right there. I know some people immediately get all judgmental when someone acts out of the realm of what is traditional. Need I remind you a large number of youth grow up in single parent households in the present day, single moms can do just fine providing all the emotional, physical and financial support a child can possibly need. AND there is no such thing as a traditional household anymore – family make-ups are all unique and no one is better than another – just different. There is no specific recipe for what ingredients make for a healthy child – love and resources in what ever form they may come.
So Carrie began with looking at her options. She wanted the experience of being pregnant, of feeling the baby growing and kicking, and delivering it into the world. She submerged herself into research about the medical advances in using donors and insemination. She met with doctors and began preparing her body. She revised her diet and workout regiment, she was religious about vitamins and necessary medications.
I can’t recall all of the details of each insemination attempt. I know there were many and I know a few took to pregnancies and all ended in miscarriages. Between attempts she became well versed in the medical terminology, being able to converse intelligently with her doctors about what tests they were failing to administer which increased her chances the next time around. She submitted her body to a strict regiment of shots and medications to prepare for and retain the pregnancies. With each attempt Carrie was more hopeful and then more upset with each loss, feeling dreams of motherhood crashing. Feeling pregnancy may not be an option for her she looked into adoption. Adoption also appeared like a hopeless path as adoption agencies look for two parent households. The foster-care into adoption situations would only consider her for older children, sibling sets or children with special needs all of which she felt unprepared.
I heard her talk about “This will be the last try,” leading up to the most recent medical procedure, and I was elated to hear the positive test results several weeks later. Without trying to sound pessimistic I questioned how she and her doctors felt this one would hold better than the last and if she would on-going increased care. I so wanted Carrie to experience to joy of being a mom, to carry a healthy baby and experience the terrific pain of childbirth, I just had a sinking feeling this might not work. In March Carrie told me the news, there was no heartbeat on the sonograms and this pregnancy also ended in a miscarriage. It was devastating to hear and I cannot even begin to imagine how she was feeling. Weeks went by before I heard from her again, and this time it was a phone call I will never forget.
The day before Easter Carrie called to tell me she was going to be a mom and her baby is due by the end of the month. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hug her through the phone, I wanted to be there with her getting to see the expression of joy she had to be having. Words wouldn’t even formulate in my mouth to ask appropriate questions of – how did this happen? She provided me with some background and wanted some information, since she had spent two years working on how to become pregnant she missed the nine months women usually have to prepare for the baby.
Through this phone call and conversations we have had since I understand the bizarre and amazing connections which brought my friend to motherhood. Even greater, the determination my friend sustained throughout this journey demonstrate she can tackle whatever challenges a parent may face.
Carrie and her mom learned of a young woman who was pregnant and wanting to give her baby up for adoption. The birth mom was addicted to a multitude of prescription drugs and knew she couldn’t be responsible for the infant after the birth. She used throughout the pregnancy and had no prenatal care at all. Shortly after meeting with my friend she agreed Carrie is meant to be her baby’s mom.
Carrie scurried to get all of the necessary legal documents completed including a home inspection and began making purchases for a nursery. She paid for a hotel room for the duration of the pregnancy and time afterwards since the birth mom had no stable living arrangements. And she took the birth mom to buy food and to doctors appointments where she learned she was having a boy.
The birth mom reassured Carrie about how even the baby knew she was his mom, when he would calm his movements when her hand was on the belly. She the only person who provided calm for him in the chaotic environment his birth mom surrounded herself with. Carrie said there were various times when several women and handfuls of children would also be staying in the hotel room when she came by with groceries. During one such visit an ambulance was called when one of the birth mom’s guests had a gran mal seizure. The way Carrie described the individuals she interacted with, they sound incredibly intimidating. She certainly wouldn’t let any fear show, as she was there for her son.
The estimated due date provided Carrie with about a month to prepare, except two weeks early she was rushing to the delivery room with the birth mom. The hospital staff requested Carrie’s cooperation to help the birth mom through the labor as she was the only one the panicking woman would respond to. For hours during active labor Carrie was on her knees on the hospital floor to bring her baby into the world. One Monday, at a perfectly healthy weight and size her baby was born, miraculously showing no effects from the drugs or withdrawal symptoms.
You might think hooray, and it ends there… Not for Carrie, with adoption it’s not over until the paperwork is signed by the judge.
Court was scheduled for Thursday, leaving four more days in the hospital. Carrie snuggled her newborn and got to enjoy the first feedings and diaper changes, while in a separate room birth mom recovered. The hospital social worker was obviously disapproving of the adoption arrangement and questioned the birth mom “wouldn’t you want your son to have two parents?” When her questioning wouldn’t budge the birth mom’s decision she talked about child protective services coming to speak with her. After the conversation with the hospital social worker, and without the knowledge of Carrie or any hospital staff the birth mom eloped from her recovery room.
Once the social worker and director of nursing became aware of what was happening they approached Carrie about taking the baby to the nursery, because she was not a legal guardian for the child (yet.) The social worker and DON were no match for all Carrie had been through in the last two years for this child, and she made sure they understood how they had failed this child by making the birth mom feel insecure and allowing her to walk out. She made sure they understood she would not allow her son to be punished by removing him from her care because of their mistakes. Carrie tolerated the babysitter/security they staked out in her room for the remainder of the days leading up to the court hearing.
A head hospital administrator learned of the events taking place on the nursery floor and came to Carrie with an apology. He offered two $10 gift cards to the hospital cafeteria as a gesture, ha – as if that could make up for the furry Carrie felt toward his establishment.
On the Wednesday evening before court the lawyers began drawing attention to the birth mom’s absence and her unresponsiveness to calls. It was clear if she didn’t make it to court, the proceedings wouldn’t happen and the baby would become custody of the state. Carrie’s mom stayed with the baby while Carrie went on a chase. She drove to every sight she had ever been to with the birth mom, contacted each connection she had made with the birth mom and followed every possible lead to where she may be. Around 2am Thursday morning Carrie found herself in a trailer park with some shady characters looking high out front. She found the birth mom inside a trailer passed out and helped her regain enough consciousness to get into the car and return to the hotel room.
Despite the roller coaster of emotions during the week and a sleepless night before the hearing, Carrie made it to court with the birth mom. In the meeting room before seeing the judge the birth mom continued to try to put her head down and sleep, with the lawyers looking on frowning for fear the judge may postpone the date. Carrie insisted she stand up and jog in place with her to stay alert and ensured all of the final paperwork was signed and approved.
My friend Carrie’s story of becoming a mom is the ultimate determination. Her son is as lucky to have her as she is to have him, and I am fortunate to have her friendship. Carrie’s dedication to fulfill her dream is an inspiration to me and to so many others who have witnessed her journey.