"Oh, no! You just missed out on the best room. It had the best views and now you're just looking at the road," lamented the midwife as she wheeled me into room 59.
I stood and moved to the window, the peak hour traffic rushing and halting with the lights, just beginning to sparkle in the fading daylight.
""No, this is great. It connects me to the real world."
Because it's hard to feel connected after you have a baby. Time stops. You and this tiny new life are everything. The world revolves around you. Often literally when you are in hospital.
You are cared for, fed, the temperature of your body is noted, the level of your pain enquired after regularly.
Some women don't like hospitals. They can't wait to get home.
Me? I love hospitals. I love the bad food and the amazing midwives.
I loved my single room, my view of the traffic lights, the train station across the road. I loved the tiny television, the bed that I could buzz up and down.
Of course, I could not wait to get home to my sons. Each night when it was time for Bren to leave, I felt sad.
But I knew that this was a sacred time when it could all be about me and Harlow.
In hospital, everyone understood the enormity of what had just occurred in my life. They circled around me to honour that, to care for me, for the tiny new life I had brought forth. Some of them had been there, in that very moment when my life changed (for the the third time) profoundly and irreversibly. They understood.
A new baby brings a rawness to a woman's soul. She is laid bare, vulnerable, even as she may be feeling she has just demonstrated the greatest inner strength she has ever known in order to birth her child.
Returning home to the reality of life, the simple joys, the mundane, can be jarring. The fanfare is over and life must go on. And yet….and yet, you still feel the rawness, the wonder. The birth plays and replays in your mind and, like a miracle, with each passing day, the memory becomes sweeter, something you could actually contemplate going through again.
And then there is the tiny baby in your arms whose precious face shreds your composure, every nerve ending alive with her wants and needs, your heart shattering and rebuilding over and over again. Because she is just that beautiful and somehow, she is yours.
So I sat on my couch and I cradled my newborn daughter. I watched as my sons walked out the door, a trip to the park with Daddy, in their wake the words, "Bye Mumma! Bye Harlow Rose!" and I held my baby ever closer and I sobbed because I have everything, absolutely everything I have ever dreamed of and yet part of me wants to climb back into that hospital bed, my baby in her perspex crib, and remain buffeted from the world. Warm and cocooned in this world where the miracle I have just taken part in can live on just a little longer.
Swaddled and held close. She needs it. Baby….and Mumma, too.