I thought I knew what love was. I thought it was flowers on a birthday and romantic music and candles on an anniversary. I thought it was holding hands, whispering sweet-nothings and long kisses in the night. It wasn’t until one midnight hour where I found myself alone, in a dark hospital room, sitting on the edge of a fold-out bed holding our newborn boy and staring at the blood coagulating on the cold, tile floor that I realized I had been mistaken. I had no idea that true love was something much more powerful than all of those outwardly, trivial expressions. I had no idea it was something I believed in.
Daydreams of a restful weekend were suddenly interrupted when my wife called, trying to contain her fearful and excited tears as she was being wheeled under a glass rotunda to the hospital’s labor and delivery ward. She told me the doctor was concerned she might be pre-eclamptic.
In between a storm of complications and botched procedures, a baby boy was delivered at 3:45 p.m. He was healthy and beautiful and screamed at the world in disdain for rudely interrupting his warm, comfortable life.
That evening, close to midnight, my wife rolled over onto her side, dislodged a clot and began hemorrhaging. The nurse nervously tried to tell us everything was alright as she quickly fumbled for the call button to summon more help. Instantly, the room was full of people in white coats and lavender scrubs. Plastic trays and cardboard boxes were being ripped apart and hurled onto the floor as they yelled numbers and dosages to one another. The more people that entered the room, the more frantic it became, and the farther I was pushed from my wife. I paced like a prisoner on death row as my eyes swelled up with tears.
As the team of worker bees unlocked the hospital bed and began pushing her out the doorway, the doctor shouted for an order of blood. My knees shook and I felt faint for the first time in my life.
They paused briefly to allow me to kiss my wife. I caressed her forehead and held her hand as I balanced our swaddled newborn son like a football in my other arm. A blink of an eye and she was gone.
As I stood in the dark crying at the red blood drying on the hospital floor, holding our seven hour son in my arms, I realized, for the first time in my life, what it was like to love someone else more than yourself. Love isn’t about greeting cards and gift certificates; it is about an unbreakable bond between two people sharing one life. I now look at my wife and son and believe I am the luckiest man on earth. I believe I now know what it is like to truly be loved and to truly love someone else. I believe in true love. And I believe I have found mine.
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