Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What to do in the Hospital?

It would be nice if these posting went in the order of the process, however, I am going to have to vary things a bit. 

You have received the call . . . . Now what?!?!?  Depending on your arrangement with the birth mother, she is probably in labor and you are on your way to the hospital.  That hospital could be around the corner, or across the nation.  What are YOU supposed to do at the hospital.  Hopefully you have had time to develop a relationship with your birth mother by this time.  However, that is not always the case.  You may be meeting for the first time. 

While you may be nervous and anxious, remember this time is about her and her needs.  She is facing the one of the hardest decisions she will ever make.  She is in pain, her hormones are very active, she may have anesthetic in her system, and she may be facing abuse from family and friends and even herself for the decision she is about to make.

The hospital will almost always have a social worker on staff.  That person, depending on the hospital and/or the state will assist with things like discharge, medical records, and making certain any decision is voluntary.  In some cases, he or she will simply make a brief appearance. 

If you are working with an agency, that agency will usually have a worker come to the hospital to check on birth mother and you.  However, most hospitals frown on adoption workers "camping" at the hospital.  It can give the appearance of overreaching.  So do not be surprised if those visits are not extended.  However, do contact your agency if you have any problems or concerns. 

You may be stressed, sleep deprived, and overwhelmed.  But it does not compare to what your birth mother is going through.  You must not focus on yourself at this time.  Focus on her and her needs.  She may or may not verbalize those needs.  While she may have told you before birth what she wanted in the hospital, those needs may have changed.  So, ask her.

Would you like us in your room with the baby, or in our room with baby?
Are you tired?  Do you need to rest?  Do you want time alone?
Can I bring you anything?  Food? 

Once the baby is born, your birthmother may start to feel forgotten.  Flowers or chocolates can go a long way towards making her feel appreciated at this vulnerable time.  Show her how much you appreciate her. (Be sure and check with your attorney and/or agency about the laws in your state regarding gifts.)

Your birth mother will be watching you for signs that you love her child.  Fair or not, she will be examining your every action to measure whether she has made a good choice.  So, if she wants to see you interact with the child -- let her.  To the extent you can, stay at the hospital and take every opportunity to bond with the child and every opportunity to show your concern and appreciation for your birth mother. 

This is not the time to have your emotional guard up.  While you may be terrified she will decide not to place, you still must open your heart.  She needs to know that you love this child, or she cannot have peace about her decision.  This applies to adoptive mothers and adoptive fathers.

To the extent she is open to it, show your birth mother the love due to the person who has brought a miracle into your life.