She was officially three days past her due date and that baby had seemed like it was perfectly content with just hanging out inside of her. We’d moved into my SoHo apartment, not wanting to share the same house that she’d had with Jordan, but had ended up going to the Greek District to avoid the stairs at my place. I was terrified she was going to fall down the stairs while I was at work, and though she fought me on it, being stubborn as hell, we moved over to her old place and had Mona staying in the spare room while I was at work. My father had said she wasn’t allowed to work when she reached 38 weeks, so she had been sulking and waddling around the house, trying to keep herself busy. She was probably the most adorable pregnant woman I had ever seen.
“Baby,” she said in a panic.
“Yes, sweetie, what do you need?”
“No! Baby. I got up to get something to eat and my water broke.” She pointed at her soaking wet clothes.
“Oh.” I ran over and grabbed her bag. “Let’s get you changed really fast.”
She nodded her head, and I helped her pull on some dry clothes before making our way out to the car. She breathed deeply, the contractions hitting her hard. I reached over and grasped her hand, laughing as she forced a kind of terrifying smile. I whipped through the streets and pulled in front of the hospital. As soon as I got out, I helped her out of the car, grabbing a wheelchair and pushing her into the front. The nurses sent us directly upstairs to the maternity ward, and before we knew it, she was lying on the bed in a hospital gown and with a monitor strapped across her big, round belly. I could see the baby kicking, pushing on her skin like something from a horror movie.
The doctor came in and checked her, looking surprised and then running from the room. I watched the monitor and grasped her hand as another wave of contractions moved over her. She breathed in and out just like the class she went to taught her, groaning as the contraction hit its peak. She was in so much pain, but she held tightly to her beliefs, refusing the epidural they offered her. When the doctor came back, he was dressed in a coat and was wearing gloves, the nurses scurrying along behind him.
“It looks like this baby is ready to get moving,” he said with a laugh.
They lowered the bed, and she scooted forward, sweat beading on her forehead. I held her hand while the doctor told her to keep breathing and not to push just yet. The nurse watched the monitor as the spikes began to rise, looking over at the doctor and nodding. He moved forward on his stool and reached his hands below her gown.
“Okay, when I say so, I want you to bear down and push,” he instructed.
Tiffany shook her head and breathed deeply, feeling her belly begin to contract. As the waves moved up on the screen, the nurse nodded again and the doctor took his position. I leaned down and pressed my head against her forehead and whispered “I love you” into her ear.
“Now,” the doctor said.
ny grabbed tightly to my hand and held her breath as she pushed down hard. She screamed out as the doctor put his hand back in the air to signal her to stop.
“Okay,” he said. “The shoulders are out, one more good push, and you will be a new mother.”
She looked at me with tears pooling in the corners of her eyes. I kissed her lips and nodded my head, waiting for the doctor’s orders. As soon as he said push, she began, and after a few short seconds, he lifted a beautiful baby boy into the air. The baby began to cry immediately, and they rested him on her chest, cleaning out his airways and cutting his cord. Tears filled my eyes as we huddled together, just the three of us.
“I love you,” I said, crying.
“I love you, too,” she replied through laughter and tears. “I am thinking Justin is a perfect name.”
“I love it.” I watched the nurses take him and start doing their weighing and blood work.
They cleaned up the baby, wrapped him in a warm blanket, and handed him to me as they finished up with Tiffany. I walked out of the delivery room and down the hall where my mother, father, and Jordan were all waiting nervously. They looked up as I rounded the corner, and my mother burst into tears, looking down at the sweet blond-haired boy in my arms. He looked just like Tiffany, and even Jordan joked about making sure I was the father. My family took turns holding him before I could take him back to the room. It was late at night, so they kissed us both and went home, promising to come back the next day to give Tiffany love and see Justin again.
By the time I got back, they had moved Tiffany to her room where she was patiently waiting for me to return. I put Justin in her arms and stood back, completely in awe of the two of them. The nurse had her feed the baby before she could finally rest, leaving him to fall asleep in my arms. I looked down at his little cheeks and back up Tiffany, who had fallen asleep right away. I leaned back in the chair in the room and soaked it up, knowing that life wouldn’t be this simple again for a very long time. Justin cooed and smacked his lips, looking up at me as I held him close. The nurse turned the lights down low, and I rocked Justin slowly until his eyes closed and he slept quietly in my arms. At that moment, I couldn’t help thinking about how lucky I was. I was sitting here with a healthy baby, a healthy wife, and the best life I could have ever dreamed. Justin was even more beautiful than I could have imagined, and I couldn’t believe how much you could love someone. My heart was bursting, looking down at his absolutely perfect little body. He had been made with love and brought into the world to two parents who couldn’t have been more excited to have him join the family. Even his Uncle Jordan teared up while holding him, which is something you didn’t see often. Life was perfect. The silence of the hospital was peaceful, but holding him like this, I didn’t want to fall asleep and miss a thing. Instead, I hummed a nursery rhyme to him and waited for his mom to wake up again. She had been through hell, so I wanted to make sure she got enough rest.
Suddenly Tiffany gasped, sitting straight up in the bed and looking around frantically. Carefully, I stood up and walked to her side, taking my free hand and stroking her head. She focused in on me and looked down at Justin in my arms. Her face went relaxed, and she put her hand to her heart, letting out a deep breath.
“Oh, my God,” she whispered. “I woke up thinking I fell asleep with Justin in my arms. I just about had a heart attack.”
“Say, no, Mommy, I’ve been sleeping in Daddy’s arms.” I walked back over to sit down with him.
“It is so amazing watching you bond with our little boy,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine a better father for him. He is going to be so spoiled.”
“Haha.” I laughed. “Maybe not by us, but definitely by his grandma and grandpa.”
“And probably Uncle Jordan, too,” she added.
“Oh, yeah.” I shook my head. “They probably already have a car full of goodies and a lifetime membership to the candy company.”
“Oh, Lord,” she sighed. “Can we make a rule that if you feed him candy, you have to keep him for the night?”
“Sounds legit to me,” I said, looking over at her and laughing. “You give him a sugar high, you pay the price.”