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Very few moments in life can bring a man to tears on the happiest day of his life. The events that lead up to this day of utmost joy are filled with worry and doubt. We find ourselves worrying about the things that could go utterly wrong and doubting our abilities to cope with the changing of our lives. One of these moments is the day you are introduced to a new life. The day your child is brought into this world in all their perfection and innocents. On this day we learn the true definition of unconditional love.
I sat in a small hospital room listening to the sounds of women screaming in child birth emanating through the door. Nervous and sweating, I did my best to hide my discomfort as I tried to comfort the woman that would bring my son into this world. She had been in labor for three days now. I knew she was in excruciating pain and I would not let her see the worry in my face. This proved difficult as I struggled with my own worries and doubt. My focus, however, was to remain calm and insure that she felt as comfortable as possible while she went through the pain of child birth.
My wife, Arica, was in and out of sleep, not having slept much in the past three days. The pain would come with the contractions but as it subsided she would fall back asleep. It was in these moments of rest that I let my resolve, to hide my worries, slip and the evidence covered my face. Sitting down to compensate for the overwhelming weight that was on my shoulders I looked over at my mother, who was also there to see her grandson enter the world, and she began to comfort me. "As long as you do your best everything will turn out fine." my mother assured me. But before I could answer, I heard the little computer begin to make the tell tale beeping sounds that meant a contraction had started and instantly snapped back into comfort mode. As Arica began to moan in agony and drown out the other screams that could be heard throughout the ward, I jumped back to my feet and quickly grabbed her hand as if I had never let it go.
The doctor was in and out every 30 minutes to check on her dilation and give a brief guess on how much longer it would be. I knew he had to be busy as it sounded like there were at least 3 other women giving birth. As the hours passed I began to find it more difficult to hold in my worries asking the nurse "Does it normally take this long?" She replied with a smile "this child is stubborn and cozy." She then assured me "these things take time." Feeling slightly better I readied myself as I heard the beeps coming from that little annoying computer again.
At long last the doctor re-entered the room and said, "It's time" with a big smile. Taking his little roll around stool, he looked at me and said, "You want to catch him?" Confused and astounded that this would even come up, I remained quiet and as still as a marble statue. Then before I knew it I was being shunted into place next to the doctor.
As Arica began to push I became more and more nervous. What was the doctor thinking? I had no experience in child birth. "What if I drop him?" I asked. "Oh don't worry about it" said the doctor "I'm right here if anything goes wrong." As my child began to crown I knew it was only a matter of time before my inadequate birthing skills were put to the test. Yet before I even had the time to come to this conclusion my son was dropping into my outstretched, towel covered hands. Thankfully the doctor was right next to me. I had not taken into account how slippery a new born child was and as he slipped away from me the doctor stepped in and took control.
As I looked at this beautiful creation time came to a hault. He was perfect in every way. Sure he had a cone shaped head and he was covered in blood, but I knew theses things would pass. I took in every feature of his tiny body, from his tiny, wrinkled fingers to his outstandingly beautiful sky blue eyes. What was probably seconds felt like an eternity and my son was quickly swooped out of my hands. I wanted to protest at this outrage, but I quickly realized that it was for the good of my son.
I took this moment to look at my wife, whom I had stopped comforting after I was asked to demonstrate my child catching abilities. I could see in her face the reflection of my emotions. The absolute happiness and joy of this day would live on timelessly in our hearts. I took her hand again and tried to speak but found my throat blocked. I told myself I wouldn't succumb to tears, but found myself struggling to restrain them. I think she knew what I wanted to say because she smiled at me and nodded her head. And at that very moment the tears that I had been struggling to hold back came out like a waterfall.
The next thing that happened took me completely by surprise. Finally pulling myself back together, I noticed the doctor carrying a five gallon bucket. Showing my ignorance again I asked "What's that for?" Smiling, he looked at me and said "you will see". He moved his little roll around stool and replaced it with this five gallon bucket. Cocking my head to the side in utter confusion I looked again toward my mother for explanation, but she was paying attention to the newborn child being cared for by the nursing staff. Before I could get her attention and ask I heard the doctor say "ok one last good push". I turned back just in time to see a glob of what looked like blood but thicker and almost flesh like. "Nasty!" I exclaimed, having been caught completely off guard and unable to restrain from shouting. My mother hearing me turned around and scowled "Charlie that wasn't very nice". The doctor began to laugh saying "I thought you might say something like that".
After being taken to the nurses station, cleaned and checked by the doctor my beautiful son was laid into the arms of my wife. I could see in her face the absolute love that was filling my heart and soul. Once again tearful and unable to speak, I looked at the both of them lying in that hospital bed and knew this would be one of the happiest days of my life. I finally understood why my parents had put up with me through my rebellious and experimental years. There was absolutely nothing this child could do that would change the way I felt about him in this everlasting moment of pure joy.
On this day I was introduced to the proper use of the commonly used term unconditional love. Prior to this I had thought that the love that I felt for my wife was unconditional. However, I found the love we felt for one another was conditional mutual feelings. It relied on love and commitment which can fade over time. This love, however, was unchanging, undying, and never ending love. Nothing could change the effortless love I felt toward this new life.