They say there's nothing quite like it, that it's indescribable-- that first moment when you lay eyes on your first child, a life brought into the world by you and your wife-- a life you're suddenly responsible for. Whoever "they" are, they're right.
Everything I thought it could and would be-- completely blown out of the water by an intense maelstrom of pure joy and unconditional love.
Monday night, June 1st, 2009: 8:14 pm-- hidden behind a surgical curtain as doctors carefully make the necessary incisions, I was holding my wife's hand, providing words of comfort. Then I hear it, a baby's cry-- at this point I still don't know whether it's a baby boy or girl.
The doctor gives me permission to stand and look behind the surgical curtain, obstructing my view and for the first time I see my little girl... Right then and there, I'm a goner. The tears well up and start pouring out of me. She's absolutely beautiful and I'm already in big trouble because she already has Daddy wrapped around her little finger.
After cleaning her off, she's given to me so I can introduce her to her mother as she's being stitched back up. The nurses briefly take her back to take some blood and run some tests on her.
As they finish stitching up my wife, my daughter & I wait in recovery for Mom to join us. Her eyes are as open as my heart as I offer her soothing words of comfort and encouragement. I decide to try out a couple of possible names my wife had picked out on her.
"Olivia?" She screams at the top of her already very strong lungs. Apparently, she's not a fan.
"Samantha?" She quiets down and looks me in the eyes... Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke I try again.
"Olivia?" Again my eardrums are pierced by pitches I'm still getting used to.
"Samantha?" And again she goes quiet and looks me in the eyes. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have a winner.
When my wife finally joins us in the recovery room, I tell her that I left the name completely up to our daughter and told her that our daughter was Samantha.
I continued holding Samantha as my wife recovered, feeling a little guilty that my wife had done all the hard work, but I was the first to enjoy the results of all that she had been through and was continuing to go through. At the same time I felt well and truly spoiled that I was getting this precious bonding time with my little girl so soon after her big debut.
Almost three weeks have passed and I'm enjoying every precious second I spend with my little girl whether my wife & I are watching her sleep, or she's wide awake at 3 am ready for a feeding and watching us trying to sleep. When she's awake she's alert, her eyes looking around and taking in all these new sights, sounds, and smells. When she's feeding her eyes lock on my wife or my eyes. When she's asleep her arms raise above her head in what we've come to call "the hockey pose" as it resembles a hockey player cheering after scoring a goal.
I've already started her "musical education" with a bit of Supertramp and Steely Dan. While I'd love to introduce her Dream Theater, I don't think she's quite "there" yet so that will have to wait a bit. In the mean time she'll learn about Chicago, Toto, Little River Band, Poco, Boz Scaggs, and Genesis (and if her Mommy gets her way U2 and The Rolling Stones as well).