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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Granite State of Mind, #8: Maternity Ward, Exeter Hospital, Exeter

I feel like we did really well in free agency.

The evening of January 3rd, 2008, was extremely cold in seacoast New Hampshire - below freezing. I can remember watching the returns from the Iowa Caucus as (a very pregnant) Sarah debated whether her contractions were the real deal. They were, and we bundled a mile up High Street to Exeter Hospital. I dropped off my wife at her room and, as it was around midnight, moved my car into overnight parking on the other side of the hospital. Of course, the main entrance was closed, and I had to make the mad dash with our bags around the whole campus in frigid temperaturs to get back inside. A few short hours later, our first son Bobby would be born. As any parent can tell you, there are no experiences in life that compare to welcoming your child into the world.

Almost exactly two years later, on December 23rd, 2009, we were back at the same hospital - in the same very room, as our second son, Xavier, made his debut. This time I was bold enough to participate in cutting the cord - two years with an infant and then toddler had stripped me of all manner of squeamishness. We'd spend Christmas Eve in that same room before heading home on Christmas morning as a family of four.

It might be odd to consider a room in a hospital as one of the most special places in your life. But that room is where I watched one of the three great loves of my life, the strongest woman I know, a woman I've seen crush marathons and graduate from medical school and serve her country in Afghanistan, crash through two childbirths like the Kool Aid man through a wall. And that room is where I first laid eyes on the other two great loves of my life on their first day at this crazy carnival. You don't forget places like that.

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