Birth Story: The Perfect Child
They put the baby on my wife’s chest and as I beheld her for the first time, I thought, “Wow…she’s perfect.” I cried uncontrollably when my first daughter was born because I was overwhelmed with joy. The joy was still the same for our second, but I didn’t shed a tear. Looking back, I think the peace God gave me when our friend said the child would be perfect was the difference. For our first, I was so worried about her health – it’s hard not to be paranoid when you read about all the things that can go wrong in development and birth. So when she came out healthy and let out a strong, healthy cry, 9-months of build up was released. For our second, I had no such worries and enjoyed the development and birth process.
As a frugal dad, I was happy it was a girl since we wouldn’t need to buy new clothes and toys.
I noticed our second daughter (from hereon, I’ll be referring to her as D2 and our first as D1 for simplicity) had a hairy back and ears. D1 has the same birthmark my wife does on her left forearm; D2 doesn’t. If we have a 3rd child and he/she has the birthmark, I imagine D2 will be teased about being adopted. D2 had really long fingers and toes, and nails, and her hair was black with light brown highlights. I rubbed her skin with the back of my hand – I’ve yet to touch anything that feels a soft as baby skin. I took a step back, looked at her and marveled at this gift God has given me; I fell in love.
The midwife clamped the cord and gave me the shears to cut it with. It takes 3 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop; it takes 2 strong snips for me to get through the umbilical cord. I said a prayer and welcomed D2 into the world.
The midwife and nurse told my wife what a wonderful job she did and said, “That was a perfect birth! We didn’t have to coach you to push or anything! Just perfect.” They insisted they weren’t just saying that, and that the methodical way my wife pushed out the baby was perfect. She did tear a bit however, as our baby girl’s elbow nicked her perineum on the way out.
D2 eventually found her way to my wife’s nipple and it’s amazing how a baby instinctively knows how to feed. The nurse looked at the latch and said, “Her latch looks perfect.”
We had a pool of names picked out and with the birth being symbolic of something being birthed in this generation, we chose a name that meant something we wanted to see for the next generation of kids.
A few hours later, our family began to arrive. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law came first. Later, my mom and my sister brought D2. It probably wasn’t the best idea to wake D2 up at 4:30 in the morning and bring her to the birth center. I gave D2 a big hug and spent some quality time with her before taking her in to meet her new sister.
I imagined their meeting would be all sweet and cuddly. Instead, the look on my daughter’s face was like the face most people make when they walk into a porta-potty and see the pile of crap that has amassed in the blue-turned-green liquid. Whenever D2 cried, we all paid attention to her and D1 picked up on this and began to cry whenever D2 did. When anyone held D2, D1 asked that person to pick her up. Imagining the emotions that D1 was experiencing, I began to cry. But I took solace in the fact that I knew they’d be best friends eventually.
I took a quick nap in the birth center. Well, maybe it wasn’t very quick because in that time, my wife was able to nurse, shower, change, and grab something to eat. Shortly after I woke up, they weighed and measured D2: 8lb5oz and 20″. While she was being measured, D2 pooped. When she was placed on the scale, D2 pooped again. Then just before we put on the diaper, she pooped again. At about 7:30, after running through a few things with the nurse, it was time to go home.
As we got to the door, D1 asks, “Daddy, is baby going to stay here alone with the doctor?” “No,” I told her, “She’s family and she’s coming home with us.” When we got home, my daughter asked, “Daddy, are we going to leave the baby in the car?” This difficulty adjusting totally caught my wife and I by surprise. At one point when we were waiting for labor to begin, my wife asked if I had any regrets for leaving the retreat early. I had none because I treasured the last days I got to spend with my family as a family of 3. And now with the range of emotions D1 was struggling with, I’m so grateful to God that I had a few days to love on my firstborn.
We took D2 and D1 to our pediatrician later that morning. The nurse examined, weighed and measured D2. Later, the pediatrician came and said, “So she’s in the 80th percentile for height…and 80th percentile for weight. She’s perfect. And for her head circumference…50th percentile. Just perfect.” Being Korean, having an average-sized head, especially when her Pop’s head is far above average, is a pretty big deal.
Over the next few days, we heard that word a lot in regards to D2. Being the dull guy I am, I didn’t really notice but my wife brought it to my attention and it will be something we both treasure in our hearts for the rest of our lives.
It’s not so much that our specific child is perfect, but a reminder that children are a perfect gift from God.
Parenting isn’t easy, as it can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. And I’ve made so many mistakes with D1, that I’m thanking God for the mulligan He’s giving me with D2.
I’m far from a perfect parent, and my children aren’t perfect either; but they are God’s perfect gift to me. Every now and then–usually every 3 hours when D2 wakes up–I miss being married without children. But overall I’m happy to be a dad and I’m going to try to be the best dad I can be.
As I’ve reflected on D2’s birth story over the past week, it’s amazing to see how God was guiding each step. And knowing that He’ll guide each step hereafter, gives me incredible peace. I may not be perfect, but God gave me a perfect gift, and He has a perfect plan.
Thanks for reading!