"Did you get the car seat?" I asked as I glanced into the back of my tiny car.
The sun wasn't up yet, but the sky had lit the air in an eerie glow. We drove silently the fifteen minutes it took to get to the hospital, passing the same exact scenes that I'd been staring at through the window of a fast moving car my entire life. Same trees, same buildings, same river . . .
I remember looking at the pastureland as it whizzed by. Everything was the same; just as ordinary as it was every day that came before this one. I placed a hand on my belly - not feeling ready to be free of it's swolleness, tightness, roundness.
Though the day before, as I lay recovering from an attempt at turning my baby into the right position for birth, I would have given anything to be done - the pain, the cramping, the bruises left by the doctor's hands before he decided that it was just better to stop.
I didn't know then that I'd have 2 more tries at this whole pregnancy thing. Those thoughts, to a first-time mom, were abstract beyond my vision, blurred like the passing scenery and impossible to see clearly, especially in the early morning light.
If I knew that it was normal for a baby's movements to decrease so much in the last weeks, I would have savored them a little more. If I knew that the day I went to have him turned would have been my last day of being pregnant, I would have cherished it a little more.
But I knew that the car ride in that morning would be the last one like it. I knew that when I walked through the double doors to the operating room with my flimsy blue hat on and the IV pole in my right hand, that nothing would ever be the same again.
Three days later when we were taking our son home for the first time, I became acutely aware of my new responsibility. Although I'd driven around with him in utero for months, the enormity of protecting his tiny life meant more to me now. Was his car seat buckled in tight enough? Was his head flopping forward? Was his hat out of his eyes?
That was the slowest drive of my life.
As we reached the top of the first bridge, I remember worrying about getting over it. Every other car on the road was a threat. Each driver a possible deterrent in the task, my job, of getting my newborn son home safely.
What was merely a fifteen minute ride from one town to the next became a game of skill, littered with obstacles and traps.
I was never so happy to see the front door of our home. When I walked around to see if our little baby was fine, if he had survived the car ride, the sight of the sun and, oh yeah, the germs, he just smiled up at me, without his hat in his eyes, and I knew that all would be okay.
Or maybe, it was just gas.