From April 2012: Drew Magary's "Pain Is A Gift, And Other Notes From A Terrified Father During A Seven-Week-Premature Birth," the essay that grew into his new book, Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of 21st Century Parenthood.
When the baby cried, I knew it wasn't gonna die. They had just pulled my son out of my wife and whisked him over to one of those fancy hotel pans that you put newborns in, and there was a brief moment when he said nothing, which you don't want. You want the baby to cry. You want confirmation that the child can take air in its lungs and then blow it back out. You want the baby to cry the first time. After that, you want it to be quiet so you can get some goddamn sleep, but the first cry matters. The first cry means it's gonna live. So it cried, and then I did. I cried and cried until it felt like my face was gonna split open. I yelled out, "He's crying!" to my wife, and after that everything was all right.
I have three kids now, and I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that the day your baby is born is automatically the happiest day of your life. You're not happy every waking moment of a child's birthday. Quite the contrary. Rather, it's the most intense day of your existence, by a healthy margin. It's one of those days that doesn't get left on the cutting room floor. And because it's such a blindingly serious occasion, it's hard for me to remember things cleanly. It's like being concussed and then playing the rest of a football game. You never know what hit you. You have to go back and piece together all the moments. Nothing is linear. Here now is my best attempt at piecing it all together.
Read the whole story here.