After perhaps the longest 12 hours of my life followed by almost 4 gruesome hours of constant pushing and almost giving up, she was finally welcomed into the world. Gleaming like a diamond gently covered by soft, emerald green silk, her glow outshined even the blinding lights of the delivery table - my Judith.
I can never forget the moment when Sister Elizabeth brought her to me. She looked like an angel sent from heaven just for me - serene eyes; tiny, delicate, rosy hands curled up as if guarding a piece of me she took with her when leaving my body; thick drapes of velvety black hair gently resting on her forehead; she looked perfect.
Sister Elizabeth bent over me and smiled as she gently placed Judith in my arms. I smiled back at her but I couldn’t take my eyes off her beautiful face. I felt a rush of a concoction of probably a dozen emotions, adoration and awe being the dominant ones. Holding her was like holding something exquisite. I still couldn’t believe that Stephen and I had become parents; that this adorable little girl, who would one day grow up to be a wonderful woman, was OUR daughter.
Judith’s features surprisingly resembled neither her father’s, nor her mother’s, nor either of her grandparents; her countenance gave off an air of her great-grandfather, the most compassionate man that I’d ever come across in the 32 years of my life so far and a gem of a human. The feeling of happiness suddenly turned into a pang of sadness; oh, how much he would have loved to hold her, play with her, and most importantly teach her how to be a good human before anything else.
Suddenly Stephen’s hand glided across my right cheek which broke me out of my reverie. It was then I realised a tear had managed to escape my eyes and trickle down. As I looked up at him, smiling, he beamed back at me and planted a soft kiss on my forehead as he squeezed my right hand, which, I realised, he had been holding all this while when the team of doctors surrounding me and I were trying to bring Judith into this world.
Sister Elizabeth helped me move the cloth cocooning Judith so that she could feel the heat from my skin. As I held her, her tiny fingers wrapped around the thumb of my left hand. It was at that moment when I comprehended for the first time what it felt like being a mother. The life of this little girl would depend on me, at least up to a certain point in time, and mine would be incomplete without her.
Judith was not just another baby; she was an extension of who I was; of who we were. She was equal parts of Stephen and me. She was our baby girl with whom we could not wait to make the countless memories we knew lied ahead of us before she grew up into a fine woman and led her own life, her way.