As I lie on my bed, my little prince fast asleep next to me, I find myself thinking back to 25 September 2015. The day our lives changed forever. It may be 4.5 months later, but I remember every detail of that day like it was yesterday. I remember how it was a sunny day. I remember Jason had the day off. My boss at the time offered for me to have the day off – but I said no. I needed the distraction of work. My job started at 6am, and we were due to meet our baby at 9am. I needed the distraction of serving guests breakfast, so that I wouldn’t burst with the mix of nerves and excitement I was feeling.
I remember Jason coming to fetch me at 8:30, so that we could head on over to Child Welfare. I remember the little bear (a gift from Jason’s family in Cape Town) we had packed in the car (along with a 12 pack of tissues), so that we would have something to give to our baby – a gift to keep in his cot until he came home forever.
I remember we were both too nervous to have any kind of breakfast. But we were 15 minutes early, and starving, so we stopped at the garage and got a packet of chips and buddy Coke each – we needed it! I remember getting closer and closer to Child Welfare, and the butterflies getting bigger and more.
I remember the nervous excitement as we pulled into the parking lot. I remember taking a photo of the little bear, on our dashboard, with the Child Welfare offices in the background. I remember Jason saying a little prayer before we got out of the car – it’s amazing how much calmer we felt after that!
I remember walking into the offices, asking the receptionist for our social worker, and being asked to take a seat while we waited for her. I remember feeling anxious as we waited longer and longer. I remember thinking something is wrong. They’ve changed their minds. They don’t want us to meet him. I remember sharing my anxiety with Jason. And he squeezed my hand, smiled at me, and said, “Don’t worry, Pooh. Everything is fine. (Our social worker) will be down soon.” I remember feeling a little more reassured after this, and a little less anxious.
I remember hearing footsteps behind the closed door we would be walking through soon. I remember seeing the door open, and our social worker walking towards us with a big smile on her face. I remember walking through that door, the butterflies in overdrive. I remember walking up the stairs, and into the room, with a file on the desk. And that file contained everything we needed to know about our baby.
I remember taking our seats and our social worker chatting to us about how we were feeling, what was going through our minds and how we were doing. And all I could think was, “Hurry up so I can meet my baby!” Once the small talk was over, I remember our social worker saying there had been a slight mix up. Que my heart dropping to my feet! But we were quickly informed that the mix up still meant that we would meet our baby – we would just meet him at the baby home, and not at Child Welfare. No problem there – we could deal with that.
I remember our social worker then opening up the brown file in front of her. And my eyes were immediately drawn to a photo of the most precious little face I had ever seen! I remember seeing a tiny baby, in a blue baby-grow, lying in a small hospital cot. I remember how small he looked – yet he had the biggest eyes I had ever seen. His eyes were what I saw first – just big and absolutely beautiful. I remember I was in love with that sweet little face immediately.
I remember hearing his story, finding out his brief medical history, and my heart breaking for his birth mother, all the while bursting with love for the little angel, and feeling so thankful that he would be ours. I remember so many mixed emotions. I remember going to speak to the paediatrician at Child Welfare about his health and wellness. And after what felt like forever, I remember our social worker finally saying we could head out to the baby home – they were waiting for us!
I had been to the baby home he was at once before, and knew exactly where to go. I remember being so thankful to God, that he was at such an excellent home, and thankful that the home was so close to us – it was meant to be! I remember driving from Child Welfare to the baby home, my heart wanting to burst right out of my chest – we were so close to meeting our little prince!
I remember Jason pulling up to the baby home. I remember taking the little bear and 3 packets of tissues – you can never be sure! I remember exactly how I felt as we walked up the driveway on our way to ring the bell – there are simply no words to describe the feeling…joy, peace, excitement, nerves, love. That’s the best way for me to describe it. I remember the gate opening and walking up the stairs , being greeted by the friendly, smiling faces of the ladies who ran the home. They knew why we were there, and didn’t waste any time in showing us to the cot, where our little boy lay, fast asleep.
I remember looking at his sleeping body, and feeling like the luckiest mom in the world – there lay my little prince, Noah! I remember thinking I wish he wasn’t asleep! But Jason couldn’t wait for a cuddle, so after checking with the ladies, he bent down to pick him up and get his first cuddle. Noah woke up, no tears. I remember him looking at us both – sizing us both up. But he wasn’t anxious, he didn’t try to get away from us. He was comfortable in our arms. I remember looking at his sleepy little face, and thinking we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect baby.
I remember my first cuddle. Taking him from Jason. All I could smell was the glorious smell of baby. I remember how perfectly he fit into my arms, resting against me. The love I felt was indescribable – I finally knew exactly what friends and family had spoken about when they said you cannot understand the love a parent has for a child, until you see yours, hold yours for the first time.
I remember playing with him, for 2 hours, before I absolutely had to get back to work. In those 2 hours, in between chatting to the ladies from the home, we spoke to our baby, played with him, made him laugh, heard him speak to us for the first time – he had (and still has) the sweetest little voice. I remember taking an endless amount of photos and videos. I remember the ladies saying they had never, in all the months he’d been with them, heard him talk and laugh as much as he did with us – it was meant to be!
I distinctly remember how difficult it was to leave him, and head back to work. But the thought of returning in just a few hours, to bath and feed him, helped. After work, driving to Baby City to buy some little boy treats, I got a message from my sister saying her daughter kept staring at the photos of Noah, and kissing her mom’s phone. That’s when it hit me, and I cried for the first time.
I remember it all. So clearly. So vividly.
* All photos are my own.