As a mere male, it has never ceased to amaze me how pregnant women always seem to come in packs. We had five of them in our church when my wife announced she was pregnant, and in that split second, I realised my world would never be the same again.
I ramped up my prayers for my wife, I prayed for our unborn child, and I prayed for the doctors and nurses who would care for her. I read all I could about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting – not just medical books, but the Bible as well. Oh yes, the Bible has a lot to say about babies and mothers – no, really it does. Take Psalm 139 for instance, ‘for You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’
‘D-Day’ finally arrived and Kate dragged me off to the hospital like a lamb to the slaughter. No, I’m just kidding, I went to the hospital full of expectancy – if you’ll pardon the pun.
The nurses kept fussing over Kate and giving her the strangest looks.
‘What’s their problem? Kate muttered, ‘I’m only having a baby.’
The nurse decided to time the contractions. ‘Tell me when one starts dear.’
‘Well, it’s either a contraction, or I have a plague of butterflies playing leap frog in my stomach – take your pick.’
The nurse walked away shaking her head in disbelief at Kate’s apparent heresy. It wasn’t many minutes later that things really started moving, and I stood in awe of my wife as she joked through her labour – well, I thought she was joking until she yelled at the doctor, ‘It’s all Eve’s fault!’
After three hours of pushing, straining, sweating and muttering what she intended to say to Eve when she caught up with her in Heaven, Kate and I gazed in wonder at our beautiful baby girl and rejoiced that she had red hair just like her mother. She was beautiful – possibly the most beautiful baby ever born – so soft and smooth and, oh so tiny.
Two weeks have gone by since we brought our daughter home from hospital, and every day, my love and respect grows as I watch my wife – this new mother – care for our little girl. Her confidence as a woman has grown immeasurably. She is no longer the quiet, shy person everyone thought she was. Motherhood suits her – she revels in it.
I came into the kitchen after getting ready for work this morning, and found Kate singing to our daughter. She looked up smiling and put our daughter in my arms, ‘You go to Daddy, while I get his breakfast ready, she cooed, kissing the tip of Lucy’s nose.
Being an independent sort of guy, I’d always just grabbed a slice of toast on my way out the door – despite Kate’s daily protests, but these days, she insists that I have a proper breakfast.
‘How else are our children going to learn good eating habits,’ she asked, ‘if they see their Daddy racing out the door waving goodbye with a slice of toast?’ She poured me a cup of coffee and deposited a plate of bacon, tomato, mushrooms and eggs in front of me with one hand, while scooping Lucy up with the other with such dexterity that I could only marvel.
‘Eat up father of our precious daughter; you’re going to need your strength.’
I wondered what my wife knew that I didn’t, but I had a feeling I would soon find out. I looked across the table at our daughter nestled in Kate’s arms, watching her little mouth make sucking movements even in sleep.
It would have been a perfect day if I could have spent it with my two girls, but I had to be content with kneeling next to them to kiss them both goodbye, and take one last deep breath of Lucy's sweet, fresh, baby-smell, feeling her little hand hold onto my little finger with a grip that surprises me. She is so like her mother. The same red curls, the same dimple on her left cheek, and if she grows up to be half the woman her mother is, the man she marries is going to be blessed indeed.
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