During labor and delivery, you don’t really pay attention to the dads. It’s sort of like when a bride walks down the aisle — all eyes are on her. In the throes of childbirth, our moms are the stars of the show, and deservedly so. Dads are usually forgotten until it’s time to cut the cord or take the first picture.
But there was a moment the other day, right before one of our patients delivered, when she happened to glance up at her husband in between pushing.
“You look like you’re about to cry!” she told him, a little note of surprise in her voice. (It was her second child, his first.)
I looked at him as soon as she said it, and sure enough, he was doing all he could do not to cry. He’d run his tongue against the inside of his cheek, clench his jaw, swallow hard again and again. Sheer force of will that one, because the tears never fell. Never. He just stared at her and stared at her, all this love burning in his eyes, trying so hard not to cry as she delivered their daughter.
And I remember thinking that if I could, I would stay in that moment, in the path of whatever it was that lived behind that stare. Forever and ever and ever amen.