Since I went into pre-term labor in October, I have looked at post-pregnant women differently. Actually, I looked at them like gangsters trying to steal my eyeballs. I resented them - resented the fact that they got to take their babies home, and I was left to return to the hospital the next morning to see mine struggling.
I decided it was time to get over it. I sat outside the doors of Northside Hospital's Labor and Delivery Unit yesterday, and I made myself smile at three post-partum women. The first woman had a big, blue "It's a Boy!" balloon tied around the handlebars of her wheelchair. Her husband took a picture of her smiling and holding the baby. I imagined them putting the picture in their fancy, sticker-laden scrapbook right next to the photo taken a few days before and labeled - "Headed to the hospital!"
The second woman's husband drove up in an old maroon Corolla with a newly stuck on "Baby on Board" sign. Her husband was pushing a grey cart full of flowers, presents, and another blue "It's a Boy!" balloon. Yeaaahhh. I have a little boy, too.
The third woman smiled at every person that looked at her - including me. I didn't even roll my eyes as she passed (I've come a long way!). I just watched how happy she was, as she held on to this sweet, sleepy-eyed, tiny baby swaddled in a pink and yellow polka-dot blanket. I stared as her husband pushed her past me - a little girl. Yes, I have one of those, too.
I know Mike and I will get our time. I know one day we will say goodbye to our nurses and doctors, wires and monitors, and we will leave this place with our pride and strength intact. But, best of all, I know - one day - we will leave with Owen and Eliot. And I am going to take Mike down in a Gladiator-style death grip to get the chance to walk out the door of Northside's Labor and Delivery Unit with our twins in my arms. I want that moment and that memory. I even want those silly balloons.
We are now less than one month away from my 40-week due date - March 18th. This is the target date that the doctors are shooting for, the day we all hope the twins will be home by. Maybe before, maybe slightly after, but March finally feels close. I keep day-dreaming of it, hoping the time between now and then flies by. My arms will be full of bambinos, my face full of smiles; cameras will be taking pictures; we'll have the camcorder rolling . . . and Mike? He will be busy carrying my pink and blue balloons.