I’ve never seen a newborn baby before.
The doctor pulls her from my wife’s belly, through an incision of which both sides bend and contort ever so slightly, as hands drive in and through, gently but purposefully searching; then finding, retracting with force, just enough, and simultaneously a surgeon’s precision.
I don’t know what I see. I don’t know what transpires before my eyes, and in a moment, a tug, a pull, legs and then a body, then arms and a head appear. My daughter appears. I don’t know what I see, it’s so sudden.
I’m in shock, perhaps.
My eyes, without having taken pictures, my eyes might not remember what they saw. The delivery room is chaos and I don’t see faces, I can’t remember names. I’ve met everyone or nearly everyone here before, introduced, looked them in the eyes, smiled, shook their hands.
I don’t remember a single name.
The delivery room is a well-oiled machine, with surgeons and nurses and surgical assistants performing their roles admirably. My daughter doesn’t cry. She scrunches her face. She reaches out with her right hand, her fingers grazing the surgeon’s hand. She looks red, puffy. She doesn’t cry, but she reaches out with her hand. I can’t see if her eyes are open or not.
“Baby A, 1:26,” someone announces. A nurse whisks her away.
I wait. Time passes.
An eternity passes.
I comfort my wife. She’s been anesthetized, locally, and she’s awake, but a sterile, blue sheet blocks her vision. She can’t see her daughter, not yet. She’ll be in recovery for two hours after the c-section.
She won’t be able to see her babies until then.
The second surgeon reaches, both hands in the incision, pulling again with no small amount of force but again just enough; and in two hands, pulls from her mother’s womb my other daughter, bloody and pale from a covering of vernix.
Her arms and legs flop around, her fingers curl, grasping reflexively at the air. The doctor holds her up for my wife to see and I pull down the sheet just a slight bit, so she can see what we’ve made.
I feel a deluge of emotion far too intense to realize or process, but in that mix is one I recognize.
I’ve never been prouder.