The day I was born, my original mother had gone to the beach with one of her friends. I like to think that is why I feel such a connection to the ocean and the calming effects of the waves lapping on the shore.
When she got home and was standing in her kitchen, her water broke. Having been at home when my water broke with my daughter, as a 25 year old, I can only imagine the terror she must have felt as a just-turned-17-year-old-the-week-prior teenager. I too was alone when my labor started, but unlike my original mom, my family knew that I was pregnant and that the clock was ticking down.
She called my grandmother and told her that she needed to go to the hospital…immediately. My grandmother, not having a clue what was going on, asked her if something had happened at the beach and she told her, “No, my water just broke”. Thus began a flurry of activity… She was brought to the hospital and later in the evening, I made my grand entrance into the world. Except it wasn’t grand. My mother had already made the decision that would change her life and mine forever. Her parents were understandably upset, but my grandmother told her that if she wanted to raise me, she would help. I imagine I was passed around from relative to relative until, one by one, they left the room. And for one full night, it was me and my mother together. She has told me that during those precious hours, she told me her stories and secrets so I would know her.
For the next five days, I have no idea what my newborn life was like. Were the nurses and doctors kind to me after my mother left the hospital? Did they take the time to cuddle the infant that had no one else? Did they call me by my birth name? Was I Elena Katherine Allen to them, or just Baby Girl Doe? I’ll never know.
But what I do know is that five days later, I was taken from the adoption agency, driven to my new home with strangers to start a new life.
Wasn’t I lucky?