One second, two, three. No cry.
I glanced at my husband and he smiled at me. But it wasn't full of joy, it was filled with pity and worry. I strained to see around my delivery room doctor and ignored the resident who chatted away incessantly in my ear. My first born had arrived six weeks early due to a preterm premature rupture of membranes.
"Don't expect to hear him cry, he might have to be intubated; at this gestational age it's a toss up to whether the lungs will be mature enough to breathe on their own"
Fifteen seconds, sixteen, seventeen. No cry.
I couldn't see what they were doing. There were so many people that they occluded the view of my son. I searched out my husbands eyes once more but he refused to look at me.
Thirty seconds, thirty one, thirty two.
Come on breathe. Oh please breathe. Please, please, please.
"Scott" I whispered and he took a few steps away from me and towards our son. I could see it took all his will power not to muscle his way to the back of the room. Nurses and doctors stood all over the place, anxious faces, stiffened bodies, fake and cheerless smiles.
It was our first introduction to what it would be like to be parents. The anxiety, worry and fear. The everlasting hope that somehow our children would make it through - if only given the chance.
Please breathe, please breathe. I don't know how to be a mother without a baby. Please, oh God...just breathe.
A minute passed maybe more.
Finally the waiting was over.
His screams shattered the oppressive silence and every person in the room relaxed at once. They wrapped Gabe up and let me hold him for a few precious moments before taking him to the NICU. I sang "Baby Mine" to his sweet little face and three nurses cried.
My husband stood beside me, stroking my head, "What should I do?' he asked.
"Go with him" I answered and not a night has gone by where Gabriel didn't know the sound of his father's voice, or the gentle caress of his hand, or the love he has for him.
You have given me the courage to stand tall when I felt like our life was crumbling. We have shared laughter in our best moments, and during some of our worst. And the one thing I am sure of is that our children are blessed and so damn lucky to have you.
Happy Father's Day my sweet, beautiful husband.
We love you.