The day my daughter was born was the greatest and worst day of my life.
After welcoming in a safe, healthy and happy baby there wasn’t much more I could have hoped for. After hearing Little Steele cry/squawk/squeal for the first time I couldn’t stop laughing, smiling and tearing up.
My wife had been incredible throughout everything. Not long after delivery we found out she needed some surgery to prevent further bleeding. Nothing major. Fifteen to thirty minutes and she would be back in the room with our newest member to the Steele Clan.
As she was being wheeled out of the room, we exchanged kisses, a hug and a massive high five with our midwife for all of her support.
I promised my wife I would wait for her to get back into the room before introducing our little girl to the family. She left the room and I stood there beaming and not really knowing what to do.
Fifteen minutes came and went. We were moved into a room we would be staying in for the next few days. I distracted myself by cuddling the little girl. It’s safe to say I was more than a little worried she might break if I put her down.
Thirty minutes came and went. Nothing to worry about, the doctor had estimated that long. Plus, I thought it might take a little bit of time to wheel her up to our floor.
Sixty minutes came and went. Some lunch got dropped off into my room and I managed to do the ol’ Juggle the Baby and Food routine (without dropping either).
Ninety minutes came and went. I’d started pacing the room while trying to work out if they could have mixed up the rooms and dropped my wife into a different one.
I convinced myself the nurses would let me know if there were any changes – everything must be fine.
I spotted my parents waiting in the corridor and felt torn…I wanted them to see Little Steele but I didn’t want to break my promise. Standing there holding their grandchild away from them felt horrible. I didn’t know what to do.
I turned, found a chair to collapse in and considered my next move.
It was as I was moving to sit down that it hit me. They couldn’t bring my wife to us because something had gone wrong.
It was then I was faced with the terrifying prospect that my wife might have died.
I was frozen. I sat still and tried to focus on the kid in my arms. Everything else faded away.
One hundred minutes came and went. I was no longer sitting still. Panic had made its way from my stomach into every muscle. Standing and rocking Little Steele progressed to continuous pacing around the room.
At this point it moved from being a thought to a fact when I started saying aloud, “I can’t do this on my own…I can’t do this on my own”.
I remember looking down at Little Steele and the hugeness of what lay ahead of me suddenly became clear. Paralysed in the middle of the doorway thoughts and questions came at me from every direction:
What went wrong?
How will I tell her parents?
There’s no way I can organise the funeral…
Little Steele will never know the sound of her Mum’s voice.
What would I have to do to go on welfare assistance?
How will I tell my principal I can no longer teach?
What the hell do I know about raising a kid?
I stood there in the doorway with my eyes welling up and arms slightly shaking. A nurse, who noticed my pale and concerned face, came over to see me. After stammering something about checking on my wife she hurried away to make a call.
As the call was being made a trolley rolled around the corner.
I’ll never forget that moment when I saw her face, grabbed her hand and made her laugh as I placed our daughter on her chest. I still laugh when I picture her look of shock as it became real – we were bloody parents! (No going back now!)
All of the pain I had been holding in and fighting back disappeared.
Relief. Delirium. Joy. Excitement. Peace. Pride.
All at once, somehow…literally the greatest feeling I have ever experienced in my whole life.
We were so incredibly lucky.
My amazing wife was okay.
My partner in crime was okay.
And life now felt much more than okay.
Hey, we’re trying to do a classic social media thing…you know a humble brag?
(Okay, humble brag that wasn’t really #humble is now over)
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