The hours slipped away fast as we laid next to each other. It was the early morning of our last day together on our bi-monthly trailer visit. It would be our last for a time. A pillow separated our bodies. My pregnant wife placed it there for comfort. It irritated me, standing as a semblance of the great divider on the horizon.
For the few days we were together I spent each night as a watchman. Finally being able to cater to my brides needs. If she got up during the night, I did as well. I was her companion waiting outside of the bathroom for her, or sitting at the side of the tub as she took a relaxing soak.
I’ve missed the majority of my wifes pregnancy. I had to find things out about the baby over the phone. I felt my daughters first movements in the womb by stretching out over a small table my wife and I sat at in the visiting room. I heard my daughters heartbeat through the joy in my wife’s voice.
When my wife attended doctor and ultrasound appointments I scheduled my own with a peer of mine who was once a respected gynecologist. For every ailment associated with my wifes pregnancy I conferred with “Doc.” He was instrumental in helping me to understand what my wife was going through. Doc set my heart at ease; giving me advice and remedies to pass on to my wife when the physicians left us with more questions than answers.
At nine am we get the call that it’s time to go. The bags are packed and taken to the van. Our hearts and minds are on the devastating feeling that departure brings. I stuff the sorrow deep down. I’m incapable of processing it. I embrace our sons and hug my wife tightly not wanting to let go. I don’t know the next time I will see her. I palm her belly and speak to our daughter, “Daddy loves you baby girl. I can’t wait to meet you.” Then I kiss her.
I stood at the gate waving at the van until it’s out of sight, then I went back inside to pray for their safe return home.
For the next few hours I clean up the trailer remembering each moment we spent in every foot of it. I’m amazed that the greatest times of my life have been spent behind the wall.
I won’t be there for my wifes next appointment, which may be her last. Tomorrow makes 39 weeks of pregnancy. Our daughter could arrive any day in one of two hospitals-one of which is just over a mile from where I’m confined. It stands there, visible from parts of the prison as a cruel joke. So close, yet so far.
If my relative were on their death-bed, God forbid, I could go and pay my last respects to them. Yet, I’m denied the joy of welcoming my daughter in to the world. I’ve contemplated injuring myself the day she’s delivered so that I’d at least be in the building when she takes her first breath.
I don’t feel like much of a father, more of a donor. I want to be there for my wife. I want to hold her hand as she pushes life into the world. I want to look in her eyes and share the joy of coupling Sophia to her chest for the first time. But I can’t because of the mistakes I’ve made as a teenager.
The fate of my future in my daughter’s life is in the hands of the governor of the state of New York. He can decide whether or not I will see my daughters first steps or hear her first words. I pray he shows me mercy.