Whether you’ve watched it on TV, in movies or experienced it first-hand, you know the absolute elation that comes with welcoming a baby to the world. Parents smile, they cry, they look at their newborn in wonderment. And Dalo, aged just 17, felt the same way when his partner delivered their child.
But, just as he found himself feeling that uncontainable joy of fatherhood, Dalo’s world would come crashing down. His partner had a secret, and he would have to discover what it was while being filmed for a program to be shown on national television. Her secret could change their entire relationship – more so than their newborn baby.
Prior to their baby’s birth, Quintana and Dalo had signed up to appear on Vier Handen Op Eén Buik. The reality show, which means “Four Hands on One Belly” in English, has been running on Dutch TV since 2012. The show connects teen moms-to-be with famous women who are also mothers. They provide guidance during the teenagers’ pregnancy through to the early weeks of parenthood.
Dutch singer Giovanca started mentoring the young couple while Quintana was still pregnant. In the episode, which aired in February 2017, the pair seemed happy together – Dalo even pulled out his guitar to serenade his partner and the future mother of his child. Quintana was all smiles, too, not at all hinting that she was harbouring a secret.
Her partner wouldn’t find out what that secret was until after the birth of their child, either. Indeed, thus far, the only shocking thing about this young couple was the fact that Dalo seemed absolutely terrified to watch his girlfriend in labor.
Cowering in the corner of a delivery room is nothing unexpected for a first-time dad. But the 17-year-old seemed to have a lot more trepidation than a typical father-to-be. Perhaps this was understandable, given that Dalo was welcoming his first child at such a young age.
Dalo lovingly stroked Quintana’s hair, but backed away as her labor became more and more intense. He cupped his hands over his mouth, barely watching as she pushed to deliver the baby.
And, without even watching the young mother in the midst of labor, an observer would know when the baby started appearing just by watching Dalo: his eyes seemed to pop out of his head as he watched the newborn take its first breaths.
He continued to remain at a distance, even once the baby had been placed on Quintana’s chest. The purple-hued newborn waited a few seconds before letting out its first cries, at which point Quintana looked back and smiled at the baby’s father.
Even with her reassuring smile to guide him, Dalo approached his partner’s hospital bed with considerable wariness, his hands still covering his mouth in apparent shock. Finally, he stepped closer to the wiggling baby, whose cries had at last begun to quiet down.
Dalo summoned enough composure to ceremonially cut the baby’s umbilical cord. With that task completed, he finally cracked a smile, taking in the fact that he was, indeed, a first-time father. His fear seemed to be wiped away by the elation that hits all new parents.
He even kissed Quintana on the head after she gave birth. “Ik ben zo trots op jou schatje,” he said to her in Dutch. This translates as “I’m so proud of you, baby” – a sentiment expressed by partners worldwide after watching a woman conquer the incredible task of childbirth.
But after the joyous birth of his baby, soon Dalo’s happiness once again hung in the balance. As Quintana rested up, Dalo swabbed his mouth with an extra-long Q-tip: incredibly, he’d found out that he might not be the father of the baby after all. A paternity test was in order for the young couple.
Paternity tests compare the DNA of the baby – collected via a blood sample – to the DNA of both parents. The baby will have 50 percent of the mother’s DNA, and 50 percent of the father’s DNA. If the half from the father wasn’t a match to Dalo’s DNA, it meant another man had fathered his partner’s child.
And, because they were on a documentary-style reality show, the couple would find out whether or not Dalo had fathered the baby while the cameras rolled. They sat down with their mentor, Giovanca, who read them the results.
Giovanca took a very long pause as she read the news, likely because she quickly scanned the page and knew she was about to confirm the 17-year-old’s fears: he found out on the TV show that he was not the father of Quintana’s newborn baby.
No one can blame Dalo for his emotional reaction to the news, either. He was so overcome by his shock that he had to leave the room. Quintana shed tears of her own at the news, too.
Giovanca immediately knew how big a blow this was to the young couple, and how it might hinder their relationship going forward. She gave Quintana a reassuring hug, though no one knew at the time what the pair’s fate would be.
However, after their episode aired, Dalo and Quintana had yet more shocking news for viewers. Many who watched the program might have assumed the young couple wouldn’t be able to reconcile after the paternity results came back. But it turns out they had remained together, despite the baby’s DNA.
On top of that, Dalo has become a viral sensation on the internet, too, thanks to his cartoonish reactions to Quintana’s labor. Almost four million people watched a now-deleted Facebook post sharing the video of his facial expressions. It seemed viewers could relate to him: many of the commenters tagged partners who had acted in a similar fashion when they welcomed babies of their own to the world.