The sound of the baby’s heartbeat filling the room seemed to calm me, but not enough I wasn’t strung so tight I felt like I’d snap.
“Oli,” she said softly, and I pulled my focus away from the machines and looked at my girl. “Come here.” She smoothed her hand on the bed beside her, and I was next to her in an instant. I got down on my haunches, my body way too fucking big to be on that little bed with her. I’d crowd the hell out of her, and she needed as much comfort as possible.
“You need to calm down,” she said with a twitch to her lips like she thought it was funny I was fucking crazed right now.
I brought her hand to my mouth and kissed her knuckles. “You know I can’t.” My voice was gruff, harsh. “I worry about you so damn much.” Her faces started to contort from pain, and I looked at the machines, seeing the lines spike. She was having another contraction, so I kept my damn mouth shut, held her hand, and let her ride it out, pissed as hell that she was uncomfortable.
We were in that room for longer than I even comprehended, but my focus was on my girl. Always on Bryn, and when it was time for her to push, I stood where I was told, gave support to my wife, and waited for our baby to be born.
I couldn’t even tell anyone the experience, because it was a damn dream, everything a blur, a haze. All I remember was being directed to move down the bed to help assist in pulling the baby out, and then it was a flurry of motion.
“A boy,” the doctor said and held up our big son.
My eyes were wide as I watched them place him on Bryn’s chest and rub him down with a towel, his scream strong and pissed-sounding.
Yup, he’s my boy with a personality like that.
They did all the shit they do with newborns, cleaning him up, weighing him, then bringing him over to Bryn, his body wrapped in a little blanket.
“Nine pounds, eight ounces. And nearly twenty-three inches long,” one of the nurses said, and I saw Bryn smile.
“He’s gonna be big like his daddy.”
The nurses looked me over after Bryn spoke. I filled this damn sardine can of a room to the max.
And after they gave our son to my wife, they left us alone. I was terrified, scared as hell to hold him, because I didn't want to drop him. Fuck. I ran a hand over my hair.
“Oli, come here and meet your son.”
I moved closer, the tether that wrapped itself around me, that tied me to Bryn for eternity, made the process easy. But shit, I was scared as I looked down at this little baby we created.
“Here, hold him,” she said gently and shifted, a grimace on her face. Fuck, her pain tightened my heart.
“I don’t want to break him, baby,” I found myself saying, then snapped my focus to her eyes and saw she was trying to suppress a laugh.
“Grab a chair, Oli. You won’t break him.”
I pulled a chair close to the bed, sat my ass down, and before I knew it, I was holding my son. Despite his large size, he felt tiny in my big arms. They put a blue knit hat on him, but I removed it, seeing the thick black hair that covered his little head.
My chest tightened.
“He’s beautiful, Bryn,” I whispered.
“He looks like you,” she said softly, a smile in her voice.
“Let’s hope that changes so he doesn't have an ugly mug like mine,” I said but felt myself smile. Yeah, he did look like me.
She chuckled and just shook her head.
I never thought I could care about someone as much as I did Bryn, and although it was a different kind of love for this little boy, it filled my heart. It took residence right next to the love I had for his mother, coexisting.
“Arlo Oli,” she said with this pleased little sigh laced in her voice.
I looked at my wife then, hearing our son’s name spilling from her lips, and my fucking chest broke open then for the thousandth time since making her mine. She owned my heart, just kept that organ right in the palm of her hand. It was hers. It always had been, and it always would be.