There’s nothing quite like the feeling of meeting your baby for the first time.
Zahra Damballah of Damascus, Pennsylvania, recently experienced this complicated tangle of emotions after she gave birth to her first child, daughter Ivy Rose. Ivy’s birth was particularly stressful for her family because she was born unresponsive. For six heart-stopping minutes, doctors worked to resuscitate the infant, and even then she didn’t breathe on her own for her first two hours on earth.
Zahra’s partner, artist Ocean Clark, was by her side throughout the entire difficult birth and recovery period. The new dad was understandably worried about his daughter, so after five days of not being able to hold her, he was overjoyed to get her into his arms. Stripping off his shirt for the all-important skin-to-skin contact, Ocean held little Ivy Rose for the first time.
Zahra recorded the moment on her cell phone, later sharing the tender moment on Reddit where it went viral. In the short clip, we see Ocean, unquestionably a tough-looking guy with a big beard and many colorful tattoos adorning his torso, completely melting under his new daughter’s gaze.
You can see the emotions playing about his features as he closes his eyes and squeezes back the tears that threaten to fall. In another room of the maternity ward, we hear a new baby’s cries, which Ocean jokes saying he might be crying more than the newborn! Meanwhile, little Ivy is as peaceful as can be, safe and warm in the arms of the man who already loves her unconditionally.
“Ivy Rose, Ivy Rose, daddy loves you, Ivy Rose,” Ocean sang softly.
After Zahra’s Reddit video went viral, many readers confirmed that tough guys like Ocean are more than capable of turning into big softies when faced with childbirth. “I love this,” wrote one Redditor. “I had a strict no family rule just for this reason. My big, bearded husband needed to bond with his baby without others around. I fell more in love with him when I saw him looking down at his daughter, sobbing with happiness!”
“The hospital my wife gave birth at gave us over two hours in the delivery room where no one was allowed but us,” wrote another viewer. “I couldn’t thank them enough. It gave my wife and I each our time with our daughter that we would not have had. Dad’s need that connection too. She’s currently in my arms asleep at 1 year old because she doesn’t feel well and I love that she wants me.”
Zahra has since shared an update about her little family, letting her new fans know, “Our little one is home, six weeks old, and kicking [butt]! She’s cute, she’s fierce, and she’s not showing any symptoms of damage from her exciting start. Her doctor’s official prognosis is ‘fabulous’ at the moment.”
What a beautiful moment! We’re so happy that Zahra shared it with us, and we hope it encourages all “tough guys” to let their inner softies shine in moments like these. Love is such a precious thing. Allowing ourselves to really feel it with all our heart and soul is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
Watch Ocean meeting Ivy Rose in the maternity ward in the video below, and don’t forget to share.
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