Family has always been important to me. The relationships that I have had with my siblings (from childhood until now) have been instrumental in my development as a person. Being able to call any one of them at any time of day, to spill my heart out without fear of persecution, is so special. As the years have gone on, my siblings have created families of their own. Nieces and nephews have grown and turned into adults. One niece even with a child of her own. Seeing my siblings grow emotionally with each child, transforming them quickly into adults. The realization that you have another life form to care for has that affect on someone. I’ve also been in awe of their true devotion to their children. At moments in my life, I had questions on if I would ever get a chance to show that devotion. In my twenties, I looked to find my own identity. My early thirties came and I continued to grow and evolve. Learning that one of my favorite things in life is to help others find their way. I became more and more excited of the possibility of having a family of my own. Finally in my late thirties after marrying, I had the opportunity to make an amazing bundle of joy and bring him into my family.
Pregnancy was a period of time that probably effected my wife more than it did me. The hormones mixed with constant doctor appointments and the alteration of her diet, had to be challenging. I’m still proud of her for making her way through pregnancy. I feel a sense of awe in the fact that a human being can carry another human being inside of them and live through it. A male that thinks they are the stronger of our species, has to only look at pregnancy to deny that presumption. I couldn’t imagine going through this time frame. Not only a sense of grit to get through everything mentally, but also the wear and tear on the body itself. My wife did an amazing job at this feat and it impressed me so much. Her willingness to go to a brewery to appease me, without temptation to have a beer herself. Nights of vegetarian sushi or mouth watering prosciutto. Working late night shifts at work, all to help carry the load of our California lifestyle. Month by month, enduring the exhaustion mentally and physically of carrying a child. As we began to get to the close of the gestational timeframe, it was becoming closer and closer to the date that a little body would come forth.
The day came where our doctor made the decision that my wife needed to be induced. The day of a fairly large regional visit at work. The anticipation of the delivery of my child far outweighed anything going on at work. I made the call to my boss and was quickly off to the races to get home and take my wife to the hospital. When I got home, I noticed the luggage was packed and my wife and mother-in-law were ready to go. That’s when the anxiety hit me. I’m about to be a father. How was I supposed to act? Did I prepare enough for this day? Am I ready to support delivering a baby? These thoughts rang in my mind as we made our way to the hospital.
The first two nights were pretty uneventful. Several types of medication were used with my wife to help with contractions and dilation. When I thought of my wife being induced, I guess for some reason I assumed that it would be a quick process. An idea of a nurse placing a shot of medication into my wife, several hours later she would then be ready for labor. I must have missed this part in the movies. Actually now that I think about it, is there even a movie that involved inducing a pregnant woman? Maybe if there was, I really could have prepared better for the several days of laying around in a hospital room. I could think back and say, “Wow I remember when I saw this exact moment on a movie!” Instead, I lay still in a hospital room switching between Jeopardy and The People’s court. To add to the scenario, the television was highly perched about 20 feet away from our bed and it was blurry. I’m glad we were some of the few that got to experience being induced back in the 1990’s! We should have paid for the upgraded 2022 room.
On day three, we started to make some progress with our scenario. My wife went from 1 cm dilated to 3. This led to a call from our nurse to our doctor. The doctor made the decision to break my wife’s water as we headed into the evening. In my mind, I had the thought that water would gush down from her across the table and splash onto the floor. A perfect Hollywood movie in the making. In reality, it was far from a silver screen premier. More like a Disney short film. In a span of an hour, it went from a relaxing engagement of another night of Jeopardy, to a thrilling saga of giving birth. The contractions became extremely strong. Strong enough after 45 minutes to say, I think it’s time for an epidural. Now another key moment in birth, the infamous shot that can cause a man to faint. Not for the queasy, this large shot goes into the spine and makes this process a whole lot easier. The debate can be had on whether or not to get an epidural, but it was right for us. The agony of the contractions just seemed a bit too much to bare for my wife.
Around 2am on Wednesday, I was startled by the nurse as she entered the room. She started her examination on my wife. Surprised by what she found, she quickly said that my wife was fully dilated. This baby was going to come sooner than expected. Halfway asleep, I couldn’t fathom the thought of a baby coming. Not sure if it was dream or reality when she first said it. The doctor was called and we were ready to go. My thoughts of the movies where they place a gown on you and sterilize before coming into contact, obviously was way off. In reality, I had a pair of jogging pants and a Hakuna Matata Lion King shirt on. It means no worries my ass. Mufasa obviously was in the other room when Sarabi had Simba. Moving through the steps like I tried to act like I knew what I was doing, I steadied myself and went into full support mode. The pushing came much smoother than I thought. Now, I wasn’t the one pushing, so maybe I should place that caveat into it. Twenty minutes of back and forth during contractions and I started to see a babies head make way. The doctor grasped the babies head and began to move the child into the light. Before long, I realized a baby was crying in front of me. “Would you like to cut the umbilical cord?”The doctor asked me again, “Would you like to the cut the umbilical cord?” I felt like Ralphie, in A Christmas Story when Santa asked what he wanted for Christmas. I finally got a reply out, just as fast as Ralphie did (no I didn’t reply that I wanted an official Red Ryder carbon action 200 shot Range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing that tells time) I simply replied yes. What a surreal moment. Cutting the lifeline of your child from its mother for 9 months. Knowing that it was almost a symbolic passing of the torch. Cutting this cord, I knew that I had to support this child. I grasped the scissors and took a deep breath. Taking it all in as I heard my baby take his first breath and cry for the first time. It then hit me, I’m a father. A father of a boy that I have a responsibility for. A responsibility to develop and teach him to be an amazing human being.
The experience of going through child birth was magical in a way. The pain and agony of child birth culminating in a happy ending with a little baby being born. The tears of a mother out of pain, quickly transform to tears of joy as she views her child for the first time. There is no book to read or story to be told that can prepare you for this step of your life. I had images in my mind of what it would be like to look down at a newly born child. Your imagination can’t do it justice. As I look back to the stories from my friends and family on child birth, I see the transformation that takes place. Just as the child is breathing air for the first time, as parents you breath air into a new life. There will be mistakes along the way, but so many triumphs. As a parent you are a super hero, a person to look up to, to learn, to grow, to transform. Today begins our story of life for our special baby boy. I can’t wait for that special day that my boy tells me he has a baby on the way. Nothing I can ever tell him will do justice for what he will experience. When he looks into his babies eyes and sees a perfect form of innocence, he will know that his life has begun.