A short piece I wrote for the flash nonfiction category at a recent writing conference:
"On the day you were born, I wasn't a mother yet. Not really. It was the day we took you back to the hospital. The day I prayed through every sickened knot in my stomach as traffic crawled through the snow. The day I forgot about bruises and tears in my body and sprinted inside with your little car seat. The day I paced the hallways of the children's ward like nobody existed except you. The day I cried in your daddy's arms and thanked God when we heard: 'He'll be okay.' That was the day I became a mother."
In full disclaimer, the baby had jaundice. Severe enough that it warranted going to the hospital, but mild enough that the doctor (when he finally saw us) didn't feel the baby was ever in any serious danger. At the time we went in, however, we only knew the following:
1. The pediatrician had sent us to the hospital for jaundice.
2. Severe jaundice could lead to brain damage. (We had no idea what kind. We had mental images of our baby in a permanent vegetative state.)
So, yeah, it was tears and prayers all the way to the hospital. I didn't really know what it felt like to be a parent until I knew what it felt like to fear for my child.