John sat in his chair, legs spread and hair mussed. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up and his back soaked in sweat although he had long ago discarded his waistcoat. He rarely if ever let himself get this disheveled, but he had never experienced a day like this before. His wife was upstairs giving birth to their first child and he was here in the sitting room trying not to go insane.
He listened to his wife’s screams and cries and wished he could do something, anything, to help her. He was so tired he could barely keep his eyes open. How must Anna feel?
His mind wandered over the past few months and how they had struggled to find a name for the child. Anna insisted it would be a boy and steadfastly refused to entertain any girl’s names. John had responded with just as much fervor that it would be a girl. They had decided whoever was correct would choose the name.
He had almost drifted off when he heard the most piercing scream yet and then silence. He leaped from his chair and held his breath until he heard the cry. The cry of his child. A few minutes later Mrs Hughes came halfway down the stairs, “Mr Bates? Your wife and daughter will see you now.” The smile on her face was that of a proud grandma.
John bounded up the stairs despite his knee. He burst into the bedroom and made immediate eye contact with Dr Clarkson, “Don’t worry, Mr Bates,” he smiled as he wiped his hands, “your wife and child are fine. The baby is perfect.”
"Just like her mum," John smiled as he approached and kissed Anna. He looked at his daughter and then smirked back at his wife.
"Go ahead, John," she teased tiredly, "you might as well say it. I know you’re dying to."
John chuckled and responded, “it’s not that often that I’m right and you’re wrong Mrs Bates. You must let me enjoy it.”
Anna held the baby out toward her husband, “Would you like to hold her you silly beggar?”
John took his daughter in his arms for the first time. He kissed her forehead and ran his finger across her tiny hand. She gurgled and John had tears in his eyes as he said, “Hello Lily…I’m your Da.”