Labor was intense, pushing even more so for these first time parents. After hours of laboring, baby J was born in a fast and furious five minutes of pushing.
Mom needed some recovery time. So did dad. Then we asked, do you want to do skin to skin with the baby while we tend to your wife?
No, no, I'll drop him. I'll hold him in a few weeks.
We let it go, and baby went over to the warmer. Dad had some juice and breathed.
About ten minutes later, I said to dad, come with me. We walked over to the warmer, and peered down at his Father's Day miracle.
Look, he has toenails! Dad said. Yep, I said, and reached out to hold and stroke his tiny foot. Look, you can touch him here. See? He won't break. Dad reached out one shaking finger and gently touched his toes. He's so soft, he breathed.
I won't let you drop him, I promised.
They swaddled baby J in layers, and we sat dad in a chair. He held his son gingerly, afraid to harm him. Remember how tight he was inside? I said, he's going to feel the best when you hold him tight now that he's on the outside, as I snuggled baby tighter to his chest.
Baby J opened his eyes and stayed alert, watching and breathing with dad. Slowly Dad relaxed, and gazed at his new son.
Later, mom was breastfeeding, and holding Baby J for the first time. I'm so tired, she said, I'm going to drop him.
Don't worry, said Dad, I'm here, I won't let you drop him.