The Former 'Pregnant Man' Debuts His Baby
07/23/2008 AT 09:15 AM EDT
On June 29 at 8:55 p.m., Beatie, 34, a former female beauty pageant contestant, made cultural history as perhaps the first legally transgender male to give birth, bringing into the world a 9 lbs., 5 oz. baby girl named Susan Juliette.
"She's so precious, I just can't stop staring at her," Thomas tells PEOPLE in his first interview since he and wife Nancy returned with their bundle from Bend, Oregon's St. Charles Medical Center. "Just holding her is the best feeling in the world."
Susan – named after Thomas's mother and conceived through artificial insemination with donor sperm – arrived after 40 hours of labor, with Nancy at Thomas's side acting as his coach.
"When Susan finally came out, it was like in slow motion," says Thomas. "I was full of wonder." Echoes Nancy: "There were tears of joy."
Both father and daughter came through the birth in perfect health. "I weigh two pounds less than I did before I got pregnant," adds Thomas. "And I don't have a single stretch mark!"
At home, the couple is adjusting to their new nightly schedule: Nancy breastfeeding (by induced lactation, a process using hormones and physical stimulation with a breast pump) and Thomas keeping company while watching TV.
Crows Thomas, "Susan is a miracle! And we're finally the family we've been dreaming of."