I didn’t sleep that night.
I knew I should.
And I was certainly tired enough.
I even went to bed early.
I hoped I would be able to settle.
That I would relax.
But instead of drifting off, I watched the minutes on the clock change.
My mind raced.
I could feel my blood pumping through my body.
I tossed and turned, pulling a giant body pillow with me.
At 5 am, I dragged myself out of bed.
We had to leave in less than an hour.
As I packed the last few toiletries and closed my bag, I looked around our room.
I wouldn’t be back for several days.
But it felt like I would be gone longer.
My husband carried my bag to the car.
And I crept behind him, silently, as we made our way to the car in the dark.
When we got into the car, my husband closed his door, loudly.
The sound echoed through the dark.
I rolled my eyes.
We were trying not to wake our son, who was sleeping inside.
I had said goodbye to him the night before.
And I expected to see him later that day.
When we pulled out of the driveway, my husband looked at me and took my hand.
I was nervous and scared, excited and optimistic.
“Are you ready?,” he asked.
And I was.
It was time to go have our baby.
There is something absolutely surreal about going to meet your child.
It is unlike any other experience of my life.
I’ve made that drive to the hospital under two circumstances.
The first was full of the drama and pain of a natural labor, the expectation that everything will go smoothly.
But this trip, the second, was for a scheduled repeat cesarean section.
My head was clear of pain.
And I was wiser in ways I wished I never knew.
It felt like a dream.
Six months ago, today, we made that drive.
We parked our car in a parking garage, illuminated by fluorescent lights.
And I wobbled to the night entrance of the small hospital.
We talked to a friendly woman in reception, who went over the details of my preregistration.
And we headed to the labor ward.
And two and a half hours later, she arrived.
Ready and determined to join our family.
On that day, she was beautiful and indignant and cuddly.
She demanded that I care for her.
And she offered her complete love in return.
In the past six months, nothing—and everything—has changed.