Six years ago yesterday (the daughter’s birthday) was one of the hottest, and oddly most breathable (and, needless to say, breathtakingly beautiful, for an obvious reason) summer days I ever experienced. The previous night (leading into that day), I recall the splash of water breaking on our laminate floor, the incredibly frustrating traffic experience from home to hospital, the teeth-gritting and hand clenching throughout the early hours of labour, how much more calm things suddenly became when the epidural kicked in, the sheer admiration I had for my spouse for enduring the process, the anguished cries of this surprised-to-be-breathing baby girl, she clenching my left pinky finger in her hand while trying to nurse, the self-consciously dumbfounded look on my face when the midwife offered me the placenta (I mean I understand some people see it as a meal but seriously WTF?) and the nurses giggling at my weird (and failed) attempts to calm the infant by making “bear” voices.
And then, as we’d read in many modern texts on birthing, and as was reviewed in our birthing classes, about two hours after the birth, my wife was in much need of rest, and so it was my turn to hold the baby. Now, lying in the warmth of the morning summer sun, baby slept on me, skin to skin. I gingerly took a few pictures with my Nokia (which was also used to video baby’s first moments) of her fat newborn head, passed out on my chest. Then I stared out at a cloudless, bright blue sky, fringed with emerald Northwest Coast foliage, and daydreamed like never before.