When I saw those two pink lines, he was the first one I told. He was happy. He said yes, when I asked if he willing to raise a child with Down Syndrome. When I would wake up in the middle of the night, crying as I adjusted to the news that our child would have Down Syndrome, he reminded me that it would be ok. He signed up for weekly emails from babycenter so he knew what the baby would be doing each week inside me. He was the one who first called her the Karate Carrot. He would put his hand on my belly when we went to bed, hoping to feel her kick before he fell asleep. As we heard obstetricians tell us over and over that the low fluid meant our baby had a good chance of dying, he held my hand. He crawled into bed with me and held me as we cried together over the fate of our baby.
He stayed in the hospital almost every night I was there, making his commute in snow strewn streets twice as long, just so that he could be there just in case our baby was born. He climbed through knee deep snow in his work pants to get the blanket we wanted to hold her in, because she might come that very night. He rubbed my back, held my vomit bag and stood by my side throughout the pain of labor that brought his child into the world. He cut her cord, artfully creating her bellybutton, the only person I would gladly want to sever the tie between me and my daughter. He listened carefully as the doctor gave the first sad updates that her death was imminent and then came back to me, relaying the info kindly, bringing me down gently out of the optimistic bubble I had built after hearing her cry. He smiled when the NICU nurse said he could hold her. He held her like a champ, like this is what he was born to do. He gave her back to me, even though he wanted to hold her longer, because he knew my chest was the most comfortable place for her to be. He did not flinch when the doctor said it was time. He let them take out the vent, even though he hardly had the chance to get to know her, because he didn’t want her to be in pain either. He put his hand on her back, so she would know her daddy was there with her when she took her last breathes. He gazed at her with such sad eyes after she died and bathed her with such gentle hands. He let the nurse take her, when it was time to say goodbye.
He held me up through her funeral. He played with his little goddaughters in the days after she died because he just can’t not be good with kids. He visits her grave with me and listens as I read to her. As I cry over our daughter, taken from us too soon, he says all the right things. “I know.” “I’m sad too.” “I love you.” He’s my rock, the father of my child. He’s such a good dad.