There’s nothing in the world that’s quite like holding your newborn in your arms for the very first time.
“Would you like to take him now?”
They’d just finished checking over my son. I think he took a few more seconds than optimal to start crying when he was born, so he had been moved to the resuscitation table to be checked over. It took about four seconds for me to hear that crackling, gurgling voice break through the air of the hospital room.
I’d just been through a lot, but I’d just watched someone I love go through a whole lot more. Actually, there were two someones now – that took some getting used to. My wife was lying on the bed, wondering where the hell her son was, while midwives fussed over her and tried to get the placenta out. I’d spent those past four seconds wondering what was wrong.
And now I was about to hold him. For the first time.
“Would to like to take him now?”
F*ck yes, I wanted to hold him. This boy that had been popping my wife’s belly out for 40 weeks. I’d felt flutters, I’d talked to him, sung to him and been kicked in the head by him. And here he was. F*ck yes, I wanted to hold him.
I was shit-scared. He was minutes old. I was sure I’d do it wrong and somehow break him. I was sure I’d trip. I’d drop him. My arms and legs would fall off. I’d melt. My arms would disappear and he’d just fall through them…
Because I’d never held anything this important before.
I took him.
He was light, floppy and his skin was too big. His hair was wet and he stank of…. well, I can’t really describe what he stank of. I don’t think there are words for the smell of childbirth. His eyes were closed and he looked like he was trying to go back to sleep. I couldn’t tell if he was dazed or grumpy. He looked like a tiny old man.
And he was the most beautiful thing that I had ever held in my arms. I stood for a second before I inched my way over to the bed, staring at his face. I was trying to take in every detail of him, trying to burn them into my brain. I didn’t stop staring as I walked, and I probably should have been looking at the ground.
I made it over to the bed and he spilled, like jelly, onto his mother. I stood back for a while as he crawled up her, had his first suckle and learned how to breathe.
And as I watched, all I wanted to do was hold him again.