Apart from my new book, I’ve also eagerly anticipated the arrival of a real baby for many months. The baby technically belongs to my dear friend Farin, but her sister-in-law Toby and I have declared him ours, too. I was anxious the baby would arrive while I was on vacation earlier this week, but he waited. Farin was scheduled to be induced the day after my return.
Toby and I set up camp in the delivery room, along with dad-to-be Shereef and others who rotated through. We shared uncomfortable seats, meals, and jokes as we waited, and kept friends and family around the globe updated with emails and texts. Our friend Hania in San Francisco expressed her jealousy that she wasn’t with us and urged us to “just go home.”
“Yeah, right,” we laughed.
But the hours ticked by and baby wasn’t budging. In the early morning, the Doctor found that very little progress had been made. Against our wishes, Farin sent Toby and me home to rest.
“I need to lay eyes on this baby as SOON as he gets here,” I warned her. She promised that she’d call with updates and we could rush right back to the hospital. But neither of us slept as we kept checking our phones. We came back to the hospital, and finally after more than 30 hours, Farin was ready to push.
Against our wishes again, we were sent to the waiting room, where we stared at our watches. Over two hours later, Toby shouted, “He’s here!” Shereef had sent a text message saying that the baby was born. We decided to get more details before sharing the wonderful news with the rest of the world. Toby texted back and asked him to send us a picture to tide us over as we waited to be allowed back into the room.
A few minutes later, my cell phone rang.
Hania: “I’m going to fire you guys! The baby’s here and I’m finding out on Facebook…”
Me: “What? There’s a picture on FACEBOOK?”
Toby: “Shereef is dead.”
We logged in and sure enough, there was a picture of baby lying on his mother’s chest on freaking Facebook. There were already 10 comments and a dozen likes. And there we stood, staring at this beautiful, perfect little boy on a tiny digital screen, 30 feet away from the room where he was born. Hania was right! We could have just gone home.
Shereef didn’t end up dying. He explained that he was trying to text the photo to us and only uploaded it accidentally. We believe him. Mostly. Soon enough, I did get to see our baby for real and, even better, hold him. And that was more than worth the wait.