All of my children were born via Cesarean section. I am eternally grateful that my husband was there with me, holding my hand through all of the births and looking down at me with such pride and love in his eyes.

My husband held our children first in the delivery room. I told the doctor to let him hold them first. I am often met with a look of confusion and disbelief when I tell people this. But, let me explain.

I had carried our children in my womb for nine months. I personally felt that I had held them first. I was able to feel the movements of my children from within. I felt every punch, kick, stretch, and hiccup. I physically grew these children from conception to birth. Nine months of love, nine months of bonding, nine months of feeling a connection to our precious blessings. My husband didn’t have any of that. Although he has loved our children from the moment I told him I was pregnant, he didn’t have the connection to them that I did. He was an outsider looking in as he did everything he could to ensure that I was comfortable and happy. I already had an attachment and I felt that by giving him those first few moments when they took their first breaths, I was letting him start his connection. I felt like my husband deserved those first moments with his children to feel more involved. He helped me create life and he had waited long enough to be able to hold those beautiful children.

More than that, Cesarean sections are hard. So hard.

As I was lying there on the table, it took all my strength to focus on my surroundings and take in everything that was happening. I felt weak from my blood pressure changing from the medications and I tried to ignore the pushing and tugging from the doctors trying to put me back together. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and relax after having to endure the anxiety of the process. Having my husband there holding our children allowed me those moments of settling myself that I needed. I could relax while knowing our children were safe in their father’s arms, alive and well. I was anxious to be moved from the operating room and even more anxious to be able to raise up as the pressure from my abdomen weighed heavily on me, even with the baby removed. Our children were well cared for and well-loved by their father, allowing me to feel at peace in those minutes in the operating room.

He was the first to hold our first and second babies. However, when the third was born, she was handed to me first and although I loved getting skin-to-skin right then, I didn’t feel like I had the strength to ensure she was safe on my chest as I laid flat and had little energy. I told my husband to take her from me as I feared I would pass out or drop her. He eagerly obliged. When our fourth and final baby is born, I will once again ask for him to be the first to hold her.

He deserves it.

Anastasia Smothers

Anastasia is a mother of four children under four and a proud wife to a veteran. When not with her children, she works full -time and also has a part-time position as a substitute teacher.