Our first child was a girl and was born after having 2 miscarriages in the 2 years immediately prior to her birth. My wife was in labor for a long time (~ 14 hours) – and definitely apprehensive about the pregnancy finale of actually giving birth. I did try to remind her, on numerous occasions, that women had been doing this for eons –and that it was not really such a big deal. Billions of people had done it before her – and billions would continue to do it after her. Ah, yes – she did NOT appreciate or find compelling my well intentioned, but unsympathetic logical male perspective on these occasions….
We had attended Lamaze classes to prepare for the Big Day – so I was also being the dutiful husband and doing all the things we learned – in addition to my previously unsuccessful attempts to reason with her. Things like holding her hand, reminding her to breathe and that despite the pain – getting a baby at the end of the process was a really good deal and something we very much wanted! In the hours before the birth I joked with friends and family that I was the one in real pain – as my wife had crushed my fingers squeezing my hand so hard during many of the contractions.
Eventually, it came time for the delivery. The obstetrician arrived and was wonderful and calming – bringing a much needed air of routine confidence to the room. After several sets of contractions with intense pushing from my wife – a beautiful little girl was finally born.
I was truly amazed at the entire process and that I did not faint! Years before I had volunteered in a local emergency room – and nearly fainted seeing shards of broken glass being removed from someone’s scalp. Maybe it was because I knew my wife and soon-to-be-born child needed me, or maybe it was pure adrenaline, but either way – both my wife and I had pulled through the experience.
The doctor was holding the baby and offered to let me cut the umbilical cord. I eagerly took the opportunity – and feeling emboldened by the fact that we were now out-of-the-woods and everyone was healthy – I suggested that maybe I should also finally sever the cord that still seemed to be attached between my wife and her mother. Yea. All the women in the room weren’t impressed either – and just glared at me with the evil eye…..
After the nurses and doctor inspected and measured our little daughter (like a prize winning trout) they gave her back to my wife to hold with all the vernix and everything still on her. She was amazing and peaceful little miracle. My wife and I looked at each other – and I don’t know if it was her or me that suggested the name first– but we just looked at each other and agreed.
By the grace of God we were given a little daughter – and her name would be Grace!
And so this journey of parenthood would begin for Melani & me, with many wonderful, challenging and unexpected adventures along the way!
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