It was 4:00 a.m.
I laid there, on the hardest mattress I've ever felt, and tried my best to will the hands of the clock to move forward. No matter how hard I tried to make those hands move, they hardly budged. I spent the day trying to make those darn clock hands move and by the time 2:00 p.m. finally arrived, and we met our guide and the other families in our group, I was exhausted from doing nothing more than waiting.
We boarded a bus and drove to the Guangdong Civil Affairs Office.
This was the day Eric and I would finally meet our girls and become parents for the first time.
We entered the building and took a small elevator to a fourth floor conference room. It was July in Southern China, and the room was warm and stuffy. A long, highly-polished conference table stretched down the middle of the room and seemed way too large for the space.
Our guide called the first family in our group and a nanny entered the room with a baby. I took pictures of the smiling parents with their new daughter. A second family received their daughter and then a third. More pictures were taken and the room started feeling heavier with heat and humidity.
Our guide called out, “Shuang Bo Tai,” the Mandarin word for twins.
It was finally our turn.
Eric and I made our way to the front of the room. A nanny in the doorway was holding Michal's hand. She was wearing a pink-flowered dress and matching sandals that were much too big for her feet. I reached down and picked her up. Kenna stood just behind her holding the hand of a second nanny. Eric lifted her up. She softly patted his back as he held her.
“Hi, baby girl,” I said to Michal. I’m your mommy.”
She stared back at me but didn’t cry.
Eric and I traded babies and now a small, sweet hand was softly patting my back. I felt fiercely protective of these two little girls and had the slightly unsettling knowledge that I would stand in front of a speeding bus if it meant sparing either of them just one moment of pain.
Motherhood, it struck me, is that miraculous moment when indescribable love overwhelms you and you know nothing will ever quite be the same again.
I wanted the moment to last an eternity.