Just as five pregnancies brought with it different emotions, going through five deliveries brought with it different memories and emotions too. Below is the story of the birth of my first child…
Obviously the birth of your first child is an unforgettable experience. My wife and I were young and the first amongst our friends to have a kid so we had no clue what we were doing. In fact, I rushed my wife three times to the ER thinking we were gonna have a kid only to be told to go back home. Well one night my wife’s contractions are two minutes apart each lasting about a minute for two hours so off we go.
Note to readers…during the pregnancy my wife decided that she was not going to use an epidural. We BOTH agreed that I would leave the delivery room after she reached 10 cm. Long story.
So we get to the hospital and check in. While the nurse is taking us to our room, the woman next door is screaming in a way I have never heard a woman scream before. I start crying thinking that my wife was gonna go through that too. I get seated and my wife is laying in her bed hooked up to a machine that reads her contractions. We didn’t go to lamaze class but I did rent the video (VHS back then) and studied the breathing techniques. While the contractions come, I tell my wife to focus on the tv and breathe…heh…heh…heh. She isn’t doing them and is squeezing my hand like crazy.
Note to readers…tv and movies always get deliveries wrong. Very exaggerated. However, the woman squeezing the husbands hand with the death grip is very true. Men…make sure you take off your ring before holding her hand.
I was wearing my wedding ring so she is crushing my bones. I slip off the ring and tell her to keep breathing. She isn’t doing what I am saying. So I say, “Come on. Breath. Focus.”
My wife leans over and whispers into my ear, “SHUTUP! It doesn’t work.”
So I shut up. My wife hits 10 cm and I am outta there. The nurse asks me where I am going and I tell her that we had an agreement that I would not be in the room while she pushes. She looks at me like I am crazy. She tells me that I will be missing the most important thing ever. I smile and say, “NO!”
The nurse is shocked so she goes to my wife and asks, “Don’t you want your husband here honey? I think he should be here.”
My wife explains that she would rather that I stay outside too. The nurse thinks she is just covering for me so shakes her head at me as I stand outside the door of the delivery room. While I am standing there she says to the other nurses, “That guy isn’t going in.”
They ask, “Is it because he is scared of blood? It is his kid. What’s wrong with him?”
I say, “I am standing right here and can hear you!”
The nurse walks over to me and says, “We can cover her so that you won’t see anything. It will be just you and your wife on the other side of the cover thingy.”
The midwife arrives and looks at me wondering who I am and why I am standing outside. As she goes in the nurse tells her that I am a pansy and that she should cover my wife with a drape. The midwife says, “Drape? I haven’t used those since the 80’s. I don’t have a drape. Why doesn’t he just come in?”
The nurse comes out and tells me everything is ready. So I go in because I am tired of being judged. Turns out they lied. No drape. I walk right into the actual delivery from a perspective I was hoping to avoid. I sit next to my wife, hold her hand and she brings into the world our first child.
From the beginning of the pregnancy we made a decision to not know about the sex of the baby. We wanted to be surprised. So after #1 is born, the midwife lifts her up and says, “What are you having dad?”
All I see is goop and blood and this thing coming out of my kids belly button. I am so disoriented the midwife asks again, “What are you having?”
I finally see that its a girl. Its a girl! The nurse asks me to cut the umbilical cord and I smile and say, “No thank you. You are the professional.” I run outside and tell our parents that its a girl and that mom and baby are healthy. My dad has a huge smile and says, “Baby is having a baby. That is so funny. Baby is having a baby.” That’s his way of saying this idiot is a father now.
I will never forget that day. That day I loved my wife more than all the days before combined. Watching her carry that child for 9 months (technically 10 months for those of you who don’t have kids yet), going through labor…I dunno. I was filled with love and appreciation for her in a way I cannot explain. I have talked to other dads and they all say the same thing.