It happened four years ago today in the wee hours of the morning.
My wife woke me with a gentle nudge. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and looked dreamily over at her. Something was wrong, but I couldn't quite process what I was seeing. She was bent over, hands on knees, huffing and puffing as if she just ran a long distance.
"I think it's time to go to the hospital," she said with a pained grin.
I jumped up with a start and just like every cliched movie, I stumbled around the room like an idiot.
We loaded our son (only 18 months old at the time) into the car to take him to my wife's grandmother's house. I called my wife's physician on the way, left a message and did my best not to speed or run stop lights. When the call came back, I flinched so hard that had my window not been rolled up, I would have thrown my cell phone into the street.
We dropped our son off then sped to the hospital.
The contractions were coming fast now. We had to stop a couple of times during the short trip from the parking lot to the hospital doors so that my wife could breathe through the pain.
You see, this was our second child, but it was night and day different from the first. Our son was overdue and labor had been induced. It was calm and organized. Show up at this time and have a baby. I won't say it was easy, cause my wife will tell you different (and likely pull my bottom lip over my forehead), but it wasn't quite as chaotic as the second time.
I'll skip the gross parts, but let's just say that 45 minutes after we walked in the hospital doors, we had a beautiful baby girl. She came into the world on her own terms, and still seems to live that way. She is smart, strong and radiant with a good helping of mischievousness blended right in.
She is one of the best things in my life. If you ever need to find me, just check this girl's little finger. I'm usually wrapped around it.