Just after 8:30 on Aug 10th, a nurse tapped me on the shoulder, said "Here she is," and set you in my arms.
It was not the first time I'd laid eyes on you. A few minutes earlier, the skilled surgeon performing the C-section that brought you into this world held you up, above the screen separating me and your mum's head and shoulders from the operating area a few inches away, so that we could see you. What a glorious sight you were!
Then they took you away for some initial care and assessment. And my attention returned to your mum. We chatted excitedly - a girl, how wonderful!
When the nurse placed you in my arms, I was flooded with a jumble of confusing emotions. Most obvious, to me anyway, was terror at my inexperience in holding something - someone - so tiny and fragile!
There was relief at your safe arrival, mixed with anxiety for your mum, for whom the good doctors still had several more minutes of work to do.
I also felt gratitude, for answered prayer - both for God's blessing that gave us a child, and for God's day by day work knitting you together, from your hairy head to your so-small toes and fingers.
And joy! You are such a gift, and I look forward to knowing more and more the unique person God has made you to be.
There may also have been a passing ripple of trepidation, for when the day comes that you first ask for the car keys, or bring home a boyfriend? Fortunately I have years yet to get a handle on those fatherly anxieties!
And a thread of insecurity about the responsibilities I now have, with this tiny life depending on me in ways new to me.
There were also hopes and hints of future plans and dreams - the world is an awesome place, and I want to show you some of its wonders! The smell of fresh-baked bread; the feel of a crisp sea-breeze; the arid wilderness landscape; mountain sunsets; and so much more.
And over and through it all, a new kind of love, something for which I have no adequate words to express, beyond this humble effort.
Welcome, little one! May God continue to watch over you, your mum and me every minute of every day.