Dads in the delivery room; a concept that wasn’t heard of until the 1970’s and in some places, the 1980’s. I personally am beginning to wonder if that archaic way of thinking should come back around after what I just saw a few months ago. Just kidding, it was honestly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and I don’t understand anyone who wouldn’t want to be in the room to watch the birth of their child if they are able to.
Of course, with the most incredible thing ever happening in your life does come some terrifying, hilarious, nauseating, and angry events that lead into the arrival of the little bundle of joy. Let me walk you through the magical journey that I experienced as a first time dad watching my little girl coming into the world. **Disclaimer** future father’s experiences may vary.
Started as a normal Wednesday night. My wife and I were watching T.V. and suddenly, my wife felt something happen, and noticed her mucus plug came out. Now, at that time, the concept of a mucus plug made me want to pass out, but now being 4 months into having a baby, that was just amateur hour for the lovely bodily functions to come. Anyway, once that happened, I had a feeling life as I knew it was really over, so I decided to go to bed and get my last full 8 hours of sleep.
Around 2:00 A.M. I felt my wife get out of bed and move to the couch, which was normal because she had been sick the entire pregnancy and the couch was one of the few places she found comfort. Thinking nothing more of it, I went back to sleep and waited for my alarm to wake me for work. When I did finally wake up from my deep sleep to go take a shower for my day, I walked past the living room and my wife was on a palate ball bouncing and breathing. First thing she said, ” you definitely aren’t going to work today”.
Great! Is what I thought. I had some projects I was in the middle of and didn’t feel like working on them anyway, so this couldn’t have come at a better time. Her contractions were light at the time, so we just hung around the house for a bit. My Dad also felt the need to come over and drop off a teddy bear and flowers for my wife and daughter. Sweet, I know. However, from my wife’s perspective, nothing like having your father-in-law come in mid-contraction while your spread eagle on a palate ball, but his intentions were good.
Eventually as the contractions got more intense we went to the OBGYN to have my wife checked, and BOOM, she was 3 centimeters and we had to get to the hospital ASAP. I was kind of expecting it to be like one of those movies where you rush to the hospital with a screaming wife after the water had broken, but that wasn’t the case. My wife was very composed, and although no one believes me due to my driving record, I drove very carefully to the hospital. We checked in and during her first exam she was already up to 7 centimeters.
At this point it was a bit of a waiting game, so in the midst of us pacing, walking around trying to move the process along, constant squeezing of my shoulder when a contraction would hit, we had our first visitor. It would make sense if it was either my parents or hers, even a sibling or two, but no. It is my wife’s uncle who we don’t particularly care for or speak to much. So yes perfect timing to show up now to say “hi” right during mid contraction. We might as well just hash out all the family drama at this point to add to the contraction pain. Luckily, pregnant woman freak him out (his words not mine), and he left.
Now we were ready for the good stuff; the epidural.
My wife and I are big fans of Beat Bobby Flay on the food network, which just so happened to be on T.V. Nothing relaxes you more than watching people make gourmet food in 20 minutes. That’s a lie, I always get anxious that the food is going to be under cooked and salmonella might ensue. Anyway, as my wife is getting the epidural put in, the anesthesiologist becomes a little bit overly fascinated with the show. At one point I see him looking at the T.V. wondering how they are going to make sea food Paella with a citrus infused salad in time. Personally I’m more concerned that my wife might become paralyzed, but what do I know. To add to the ridiculousness of the situation, once my wife can no longer feel her legs, he decides to stay and watch the rest of the show until a call comes over the intercom that he is needed urgently. Spoiler alert: he did come back after the baby was born, not to see how she was doing, but to find out who won.
Once Shannon beat Bobby Flay with an impressive sea food paella medley, my wife was at 10 centimeters and the time had finally come to begin pushing. Right as she was about to begin, there was a knock on the door, and my wife and I were asked if two nursing students could sit in and observe the birth as it would be a great learning experience. Obviously, I left that decision up to my wife, who I assumed would give a flat no, being that she is pretty conservative and is not one to be legs up in the air for strangers even if they are nursing students. Well, I was very wrong. “Sure! Why not!”, she said, which I assumed was due to the elation having the baby. As she began to push, the sickness that tormented my wife from the day she found out she was pregnant to now decided to give her one last round.
So now I suddenly went from living my every day life with my wife who I have been with for 12 years, to experiencing the most life changing event I will ever have, and it consists of me holding my wife’s legs up because she can’t feel them, her throwing up into a basin which I am assisting holding and wiping her mouth, attempting to watch my daughter being born, but fighting for a view among the students and other nurses, and trying to calm my wife down all at the same time. Talk about life changing.
Once the baby really started to come out, the doctor did some things that I won’t explain because I enjoy having a reading audience, and BAM! She was here! 7 pounds 10 ounces of pure cuteness. I got to cut the cord, change the first diaper (holy crap, literally), and do all the other dad things you hear about, including attempting not to lose it when I saw the placenta. I know it’s full of nutrients and is “beautiful” and what not, but not for me. I was totally fine not looking at that and letting it go away in the shiny metal bin.
Once it was time to enjoy our baby alone after our families came in, we were told we were being moved to the recovery bedrooms. Keep in mind that during our tour of the hospital, we were showed these amazing renovated rooms that just got finished, so we were excited! As we approach the room, the nurse tells us that unfortunately all of the new rooms were filled so they only had the one room that was not renovated left over. That pretty much is how are luck goes all the time so I wasn’t too surprised, however I was definitely not prepared for the pile of bricks I had to “sleep” on that they called a dad bed. I couldn’t complain though because I got to be with my beautiful daughter and enjoy my first few hours of fatherhood…
That was until my wife and I realized we don’t give this baby back! It was ours and our responsibility. Sure we could send her to the nursery to get a few hours of sleep but we quickly noticed it was pointless because the nurses kept coming in anyway to check on my wife! We would close our eyes for 2 second then Knock Knock, how is Mom feeling! Close them again, Knock Knock, time to check your vitals! We might as well have just kept the baby in the room.
In all honesty, the nurses were amazing and we couldn’t have gotten through the experience without them. We just now know to politely ask them to get the heck out of the room while the baby is in the nursery and come back when we have her again.
When I was going through everything, I was on such a high of excitement and fear that I didn’t notice any of this stuff at the time, but as I sit back and reflect on it, I realize how funny it really was. Please don’t mistake my jokes and humor for being crass or arrogant, I just try to poke fun at things when I can. The birth experience from my perspective as a first time dad was not only beautiful, but it was hands down the best thing I have ever been a part of. I have the strongest wife in the world, and I am so happy I got to see my little girl come into the world.