I followed my heart and 65 North

Wednesday morning I loaded up my car with a massive suitcase, a container full of brownies and a massive Lands End canvas tote containing shoes and only shoes. I met one of my dearest friends and one of her friends in Indiana, and we piled in to the amazing Chevy Traverse (thanks GM!) for our drive to Nashville.

We were minutes from our arrival at the Opryland Hotel when my first text from my sister rolled in – she’d had a doctor’s appointment, she was 3 centimeters dilated, baby’s head is VERY low.

Um. Dang.

I got a little freaked out but several people assured me, “You can walk around dilated to 3 centimeters for like… a year.” (Probably exaggerating a little)

Okay, fine.

I was still worried – still starting to have those wheels in my head turning: If my sister goes into labor RIGHT NOW, will I make it home for the baby’s birth?

Remember – my sister asked me to be in the delivery room to photograph my niece’s first minutes. My sister, who didn’t want a lot of people in the delivery room AT ALL, honored me by asking me to be there – and it did and does mean a great deal to me.

But, I hung out Wednesday. It’s that amazing feeling of coming together with your people when you’re there. Several of us went out to dinner (and to celebrate National Margarita Day). Margs came to the table and we all whipped out cameras and phones to document our drinks and food. THOSE are my people.

I spent Wednesday evening among friends I love, and yet during the night I checked my phone repeatedly to see if my sister had texted any updates.

Yesterday, while I was about to start the Blissdom PhotoWalk (pictures will follow in another post, eventually), my sister texted and there were updates about effacement, mucus plugs, la la la.

Um. Well. That’s different than just being dilated. More and more I began to think, If she called and said she was in labor now, there’s a good chance I would miss it all. We labor fast in my family (well – I did, my mom did. My sister might not – but yeah, I’m going based on my experience).

Every time I thought of not being there, my eyes filled with tears. I started seriously considering going home. I booked a rental car and I sat with my camera on a bench in the BioDome. That was right about when Casey walked by. “Is everything okay?” she asked.

And then I started sobbing.

The ugliest cry ever.


It was gross.
(I’m sorry, Casey)

She wrapped me up in a hug and I knew that I had to go home. “This will happen again next year,” she said. “Your sister only has her first baby once.” It was the extra reassurance that I wasn’t being crazy – my heart needed to be nearer. I couldn’t miss that moment.

I hastily packed my stuff, said goodbyes to the friends I love (way too soon. I miss them. I didn’t get enough), and got into my awful rental Camry (seriously, Toyota? That’s the best you can do? Who told you to put the cruise control mechanism there?). Ten plus hours of driving later, and I’m home. My sister is not in labor, her contractions have slowed, but I don’t feel like I came home for nothing.

(I’m not enthused about all the snow, though.)

It makes me sad what I’m missing – time with my people, the people who I relate to, my friends, the people who will take a picture before lifting a fork to taste an entree. The people you can laugh with about nothing at all. I see them tweeting about the fun they’re having and sure, my heart is heavy that I’m missing it. (I’m also bummed that I won’t be there to wear my awesome black dress that I would have worn tonight for the party. I look great in that dress. AND NOW I DON’T KNOW WHEN I’LL GET TO WEAR IT AGAIN.)

See? There it is. Yes, I’ve worn it before. But it’s pretty. Sigh. Maybe I’ll wear it someday while eating toaster waffles over my sink.

Gratuitously Wedding Guest

(Gratuitous bathroom photo made classy by the appearance of the hotel toilet. Fancy, right?)

But, having said that – I’d have been immeasurably devastated to miss the arrival of my niece. To miss her first moments, her first cry. And I tell myself that even though there’s a possibility that I rushed home for a baby who may hang out in utero for another week, the peace of mind of BEING HERE makes up for it all.

Oh sweet baby E., I hope you know how much your Aunt Sarah loves you already.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. First of all, thank you for making me cry.

    Secondly, you are stunning in that dress (heck, you’re stunning all the time).

    Thirdly, I would have driven home, too. I couldn’t be there when my nephew was born & cried for days over it. You have one lucky niece.

  2. I can imagine how difficult a decision this was, especially when you had already made the drive and you were in the middle of everything you had been looking forward to. But Casey is right: there’s always next year for Blissdom. Family first, and even if your niece doesn’t “want” to be born for another week or two (gosh, I hope she doesn’t wait that long for EVERYBODY’S sake! 🙂 ), you made the right decision. I don’t know your sister, but having a sister myself I can say with 100% certainty that you boosted your sister up by putting this birth first and I bet she appreciates it more than she can even express it into words.

  3. I’m so glad that we were able to hang out, even if only for that short time. There will always be Blissdom next year, but your niece will only be born once. Had you not left she would have been born. You must follow your heart and your family. You did what I would have done.

    I love you and can’t wait to see you next year. XOXO

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