Two very different women, separated by a few hallways and doors. One works as a neonatal nurse, and the other one works harder than she probably ever has before. She is giving birth to a child she always knew she couldn’t keep. And today was the day. It was way too early. But it was happening.
This is where the story gets cloudy for a few moments in time. I could never really picture the moment I was born. I tried. I tried so many times over the last 40+ years. I never wanted to paint that picture in my head. It seemed, I don’t know… disrespectful. I always understood to a certain extent that there was something so sacred about that very moment. It was private, personal, and only meant to be shared at some point by the only one who knew what that moment was like. My birth mother.
As things come back into focus for me, one set of arms have already released me. And one set of arms prepared to receive me into the hospital nursery. Wheeled down the hall in an incubator, I was all on my own in this world. But not for long. You see, the world works in the most mysterious ways. And this is where my ‘story’ becomes the only life I have ever known. That busy nurse down the hall that I told you about? Well in a few minutes, we would both change the course of each other’s lives forever.
I was a very sick baby, and she was trained to take care of babies just like me. I needed round-the-clock care. Ultimately, all of the nurses joined forces to ensure I made it through each day, but one of them led the pack. She found herself wanting to go to work early, and she stayed late. She held me in her arms whenever she could.
Sick baby Jane Doe. Surrendered at birth. No family. No home. Slim chances.
At some point, I was given a name by the other nurses on the ward. That infamous song on the top of the charts seemed fitting somehow, which is funny if you know the lyrics. But they loved the song and called me Jolene. And it stuck. They all knew that I wasn’t going to be adopted easily. I was too sick. And not many families would he interested, or qualified. And what if I didn’t make it? What if I died? That was a real possibility. Surely, nobody would sign themselves up for that kind of heartache. Would they? Well one woman certainly did. If I were to die, she knew I would die being loved, with a name and a family of my own. I would complete their family. It was meant to be. I was taken from one set of arms, and placed into the arms of the only mother I’ve known. You see, that nurse became my Mum.
People tried to talk her out of it. So many people cautioned her. She had already lost two babies, and nobody wanted her to go through that again. She had a boy and girl at home, they said. Her family was complete. Why would she want to adopt a baby like me? But she knew. She knew it in the way that any mother knows their child when they hold them for the very first time. It isn’t something you can explain. There are no words to describe it. But she knew. And thank God she did. Because if it wasn’t for her, I know in my heart that I wouldn’t be here.
She had to talk to her husband, and she prayed he would feel the same way.