Wow. What a day.
Yesterday started earlier than expected with a 2:30 a.m. wake up call. We were told that Gabrielle was being taken to the hospital because she was having contractions that were close together and strong.
Fortunately, all our bags were already packed and we were ready to go. It took us about an hour to get to the hospital where we met both of the birth parents. Labor was indeed in full swing.
Our dear friend Ally met us there shortly after to help as a birth doula during the labor. I don’t what we would have done without her. She’s a prime example of the difference between a cheerleader and a coach. We had some sweet cheers for Gabrielle, but Ally brought the graceful instruction needed to put Gabrielle at ease as she endured her contractions.
After a short walk around the halls of the hospital we came back to the room and were surprised to hear that Gabrielle was almost ready to start pushing. Only two hours after arriving to the hospital this was about to go down! Originally, the plan was for Gabrielle to be induced at 6 a.m., but Asher decided to arrive 20 minutes early. We can’t help but wonder if that was the first indication of a competitive personality!
Asher came so quick and strong that he retained some fluid in his lungs that usually gets flushed in the journey through the birth canal. At first, it created some issues with his breathing and oxygen, but after several hours and a couple good cries everything normalized and was great.
The rest of the day was to be expected. Many visitors from Gabrielle’s family paid us a visit to see Asher and welcome him into the world. Being an open adoption, there were mixed emotions among the visiting parties. While some were delighted to say “Hi”, others were preparing to say “Bye”. Even with a few emotional moments, there is no doubt Asher knew he was surrounded by A LOT of love.
I’m no psychology expert, but throughout the day I couldn’t help but think about the importance of our first day on earth. Our tiny brains are informed by the immediate environment we are brought into. Synapses and neurons are making connections based on whether or not basic needs are being met. In our first moments, our brains are asking “Am I safe? Am I warm? Am I dry? Am I tended to? Am I noticed and heard? Is there someone here for me? Will someone hold me?”. The answers to these simple questions set a life long trajectory and provide our brains and bodies with the information we need to know how best to respond. If our world is safe and full of love, we are free to be cared for and comforted. If our world is hostile, we learn quickly that we need to spend our days fighting for ourselves.
The name Asher is a name we liked even before we knew the meaning. We were excited when we found out it means “happy” and “blessed”. Even later we found out that Asher is a biblical name and he was the second son of Leah’s servant Zilpah (Gen. 30:13). Leah named him Asher because she was happy to love him as her own. The very name comes from a story of adoption.
As I held Asher against the skin of my chest, we were able to listen to the song “Abba” on repeat. I was praying that the reality of Asher’s new environment would settle into his tiny brain, heart, and spirit. I prayed that he would feel adopted and chosen in the very fiber of his being.
Later in the evening, it was a highlight to watch Noah meet Asher for the first time. He was super excited to meet his little brother, but was clearly more excited to open up a brand new Transformer truck “given” to him by Asher. Noah’s gonna be a good big brother.
Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement over the couple days and several weeks. We’ve been blown away by all of the support coming our way. Altogether, with our Adopt Together fund you all have blessed us with over $4,200. Astonishing.
Good days are ahead!!