The registrar gave me an odd look. I thought about it when I walked out of her office, and went to the pub with my workmates, who didn't know what to say to me. That was OK, because they were willing enough to ply me with drink. I got a lift back to the hospital again. It was only then I realised that under my coat, which now had a freshly-printed birth certificate in one pocket, I was still wearing my pyjamas. You'd have thought someone would have mentioned it.
One in every 25,000 they said. A rare occurence. A whole decade would go by in their maternity ward before another one would arrive. When they told me that it made it worse. Nothing had gone to plan. Everything had gone wrong. And yet. She was beautiful. I was raging and terrified. But she was beautiful.
This song transports me back there. Wires, by Athlete, written by the lead singer about the premature birth of his daughter:
"Running, down corridors, through automatic doors
Got to get to you, got to see this through,
I see hope is here, in a plastic box,
I've seen Christmas lights, reflect in your eyes,
Down corridors, through automatic doors
Got to get to you, got to see this through."
I wish I had known then what I know now. It would have made those long, dark days and nights easier to bear.
"First night of your life, curled up on your own,
Looking at you now, you would never know.
I see it in your eyes, I see it in your eyes,
You'll be all right."
And she is, you know. All right.
Oh, and there's one other song, too, that I'll forever oddly associate with this time. Alone in the tiny room in the middle of the Special Care Baby Unit, attached to the noisy, industrial Black & Decker-sized breast pump, I had to hum something to keep myself amused:
Video is Madonna - Express Yourself