She saw me first
It is said that new fathers become attached to their child when he holds the child for the very first time. So at my daughter’s birth I was fully expecting a rush of adrenaline when the midwife handed me my child. Reality, as always, had other plans.
August 3rd, 2018 in the afternoon, my wife was having contractions in our basement. Since we are having a home birth there is nothing else to do except start to fill the birthing tub we rented. This physical activity was a god-sent because it kept my mind off the anxieties of the expectant father.
Fast forward to when my wife was ten centimeters dilated. The midwife gave the green light for “Push with all you’ve got!” My wife extended her arm down and said:”Oh I can feel her head! Oh she has hair! So much hair!” That is the precise moment when this woman I love became a mother. She pushed and groaned and screamed and yelled. She felt our daughter’s body; she saw hope; she was bathed in light; she is enveloped in the motherly power that is passed down to her through thousands of generations. Her leopard pattern bras were showcasing her primal womanhood.
At that moment I was dumbfounded. I have not heard the baby’s heartbeat for some time now and was not sure what this powerful squeezing is doing to our precious cargo. All I could do is to hold on to my wife’s hand when she is giving all she’s got. Our friend K suddenly tapped my shoulder and said: “I think you want to be here.” She was holding a flashlight for the midwives behind the birthing mother. I hesitated because I was not sure if I wanted to see the intense scene that haunted my teenage years after our sex ed class.
I was glad I did move over. What I saw was a tiny little face emerging from between my wife’s legs, underwater, in perfect spotlight. That was the first time I laid my eyes on our daughter. That image is imprinted in my memory forever. Water ripples, light and shadows distorted her face. But unmistakably, there is a little human face followed by the rest of her body dropping down to land on Earth.
My wife reached down and caught our little angel. Then she brought her up to the surface. As soon as baby sensed air she opened her tiny little lungs and cried. ‘Oh yes, healthy baby.’ I thought to myself and started breathing myself. I kneeled down by the pool to touch the tiny fingers of the newest member of our family.
Just as I was ready to pop the champagne bottle on a job well done the midwives reminded me that the battle is not over yet. We still needed to birth the placenta. By this time the umbilical cord has stopped pulsating and I was handed a pair of scissors. Cutting the cord was an unexpected magical moment for me. Even though I was severing the physical connection between mother and child; even though I was dividing two human beings now and forever; yet the connection is unshakable and unmistakable.
Now comes the big moment I was waiting for. They wanted to give me the baby so mom can birth the placenta. I extended my trembling arms and received a warm and wet little human. I expected a jolt of lightning to shoot through my body as we touched. I wanted to feel the explosion of hormones rushing through my veins. Instead, what I got was calm and peace.
Our daughter opened her crystal clear eyes and stared at me. In the briefest of time she saw me first. Before I could react she told me with her eyes: “Hi Daddy, there you are.” I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and contentment. Our daughter knows I am her daddy. That is all I needed. That is all I cared for. She cuddled on my bare chest like a little tree frog. Instantaneously we exchanged body heat, smells, vibrations, heart beats, sounds, pheromones, energy and spirits. Our biological handshake was completed before I could even comprehend what was happening.
Before I could see her properly, she saw me first as a spirit and chose me for her daddy forever. This is the unfathomable mystery of life. This is the magical power of the universe. This is the unimaginable force of nature. This is the reason why we believe in Love at First Sight.
Before I could show her love she loves me first. For she comes from beyond the threshold, in a place full of light and power.
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Once again I feel the immense beauty of your language Zhen. I am humbled and impressed at the same time. Welcome to the bond of fatherhood. I love it. May you relish it with all your flavors of live and love. Thanks for sharing your words with me. Mark
This made me cry it was written and photographed perfectly! You three are amazing!
Love Angela Kerry and Rafe
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Thanks Angela and Fam. You little boy Rafe is looking very good too. Hope to meet him soon.