30 for 30: Day 24

3

From the moment I learned Dom was pregnant, the idea that I was going to be a father always seemed far away, just sometime in the future. Even as her stomach got bigger, even as we built a crib and picked out names, fatherhood never felt immediate. Today’s 3F3 is from one of the first quiet moments I shared with my son. I remember…


The year is 2017. I’m 37 years old.

It’s 4:00 a.m. on Cinco de Mayo when the contractions start in earnest. Dom gets up and snacks on some watermelon to distract herself.

“I think this is it,” she says.

Me, giddy, hopes so. Still, the idea that I’m going to be a father hasn’t clicked.

We call the nurse line; they tell us to come in. We arrive at the hospital, they do a quick check, and tell us the baby is coming.

It’s time, and still it doesn’t click.

We are shown to a private room, and while they get Dom hooked up to every machine they have, I start making calls.

Family arrives sometime later. Our friend HJ is taking photos to document the moment. Dom starts pushing mid-morning.

Still.

No click.

Hours later, there’s a small problem. No emergency, but natural birth is no longer on the table. They take Dom away to prepare.

A nurse comes in and hands me an outfit. I put it on.

All morning, I had been waiting for our baby to be born, but there was no set time. It was still distant, still on the horizon. But now, I’m certain. In less than 30 minutes, we’re gonna have a child, and we’re gonna find out whether that child is a boy or a girl.

Matador is born. Matador is a boy.

I hold my son for the first time, show him to Dom.

The next several hours are a blur. Forms to sign. Things to learn. Diapers to change. When night comes, and everyone leaves, it’s just us in our room.

Dom falls asleep, exhausted.

I sit nearby in a chair holding Matador. The lights are down. He’s sleeping.

This is the moment it happens for me. This is the moment I realize there will be times when it will be just me and him. Seven billion people in the world, and right now, I’m the one who is taking care of this boy.

I’m responsible. I’m a father.

It clicks.

About the author

Daniel Verastiqui

Daniel Verastiqui is a science fiction author from Austin, Texas. His novels explore relationships and identity in the context of ubiquitous technology, pervasive violence, and frequent nudity. His next book, Brigham Plaza, is planned for a Summer 2020 release. He recommends you start getting excited about the new book now.

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