This will be the first of many posts in which I try to pull together the wave of emotions that fall over you when you become a dad. Sam was born by C-Section on March 9, 2015 at 10:02 pm. He weighed 7 lbs 6 oz and was 20.5″ long. When I first saw him he looked like a little alien, all purple and covered in … stuff. The whole process is hard to even put into words because it all happened so fast. Just so we all get to remember it, I’ll write it down.
Stephanie and I went into the hospital to have a baby on Sunday, March 8 around 8pm. We got the call at 7 that they were ready for us to check in and we immediately sprung into action. We threw our bags together and drove to the hospital, ready to roll and hopefully having a baby sometime on Monday. If I had my way it would be Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go that way.
We spent all of Monday dealing with different kinds of pains, monitors, pregnancy balls (those sitting ones you can use,) decisions, and all kinds of other wildly difficult things. Stephanie decided to get an epidural about halfway through the whole process, sometime around 5pm or 6 after they manually broke her water. That was intense. They let us know that he wasn’t low enough for them to break her water earlier in the day, and they were worried that if they tried, there could be some major complications. Like the cord being pulled out first, or the baby turning and sending his foot or arm out before his body. They ended up waiting just a little bit and finally got to where they could do it without worrying about anything bad happening. Around 4 pm, they said he was on his way but it would take some more time.
Five hours later, homeboy hadn’t done anything. He hadn’t dropped and Stephanie hadn’t dilated anymore. It was decision time, but there really wasn’t any decision to be made. If we wanted to have a baby, we would have to have it by c-section. I remember feeling sort of terrified, but relieved all at the same time. We were going to be having a baby in an hour, and our lives were going to change.
They started prepping Stephanie for her C-section while I started putting the ridiculous amount of bags into a pile so that the hospital staff could bring the stuff to our post-partem room. By the way, if you ever have a baby, just bring essentials. I brought all kinds of stuff that I thought I would use while Stephanie was laboring and I don’t think I looked at anything. I didn’t pull out an iPad to look at comics, or use my laptop to do anything. My entire day was spent texting on my iPhone to let people know how Stephanie was doing and whether we had a baby yet.
They wheeled Stephanie out of her room and had me sitting around in a waiting room, watching Better Call Saul and putting on scrubs. We had only slept about 3 hours by this point so we were both kind of loopy, and I was dreaming. I really didn’t know where I was or how I got there. It all seems like such a blur looking back, and I still remember being fairly calm about the whole thing. C-sections are pretty common and I figured that everything would go just fine. I really didn’t know what to expect either so there wasn’t any sense in worrying about it.
Then the nurse came to get me. That was terrifying. Things got real very quickly. I remember following the nurse into the operating room. She threw the doors open and I was all of the sudden in a massive room with peach walls. It kind of reminded me of an auto garage, but I really didn’t take much time to take it all in. They pointed me straight to this little stool over by Stephanie’s head. There was a big sheet up so that she and I couldn’t see anything on the other side. I really didn’t want to see my wife’s guts, no matter how much I tell her I love her for the inside. I’d like the inside to stay inside. I sat there talking to her and reassuring her, and within two minutes we heard our baby cry for the first time.
This is where things got fuzzy. I can’t decide if it was adrenaline or confusion, but I really just floated from one space to the next. I was completely overwhelmed by the degree that my life had changed in a matter of seconds. They brought him to the ‘head side’ of Stephanie and let us look at our new son for the first time. He was a wailing purple alien, but he was OUR wailing purple alien. The emotions were incredibly complicated. The crazy thing about c-sections is that everything happens so fast that they don’t really let you get yourself together. By the time I looked at Stephanie and was ready to cry, they got me up to take me into another room where they were cleaning Sam up. They told me to take pictures and then swaddled him up for me to carry back to his mom. I took him back in the room, ignoring the fact that I could see his mom’s guts all over the table, and took him straight over to her. I sat down with this fragile little human and showed him to his mom. Apparently, I wasn’t doing it right becuase moments later, the nurse grabbed him from me and held him straight up to her face. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever witnessed. A mom meeting her little baby face to face for the first time.
After they got her all stitched up, they took me to the recovery room so they could clean him off, check his temperature and all the other things the hospital does. They wheeled Stephanie around about 10 minutes later and it was then that the wave of responsibility hit me. I’m responsible, not only for the well-being of my amazing wife, but also of this brand new baby human. That’s a huge thing to figure out in just a few minutes of time. My whole world was laying on hospital beds and getting worked on. Honestly, it’s a feeling that was beautiful but terrifying. To think that everything that means the most to you is currently in a hospital and in various states of wellness.
All that being said, this was one of the most incredible moments of my life. Surrounded by family and receiving my first child into the world. He’s incredible, and the fact that he exists is a miracle to me. God’s letting Stephanie and I borrow him for a bit and try to raise him right. We’re going to do the very best we can to raise a good man. At the end of the day, that’s the main thing I want for him. I don’t care if he is an astronaut or a janitor, I just want him to be passionate about the things he pursues, resolute in completing the things he sets out to do, and compassionate in his dealings with other people. I think that can make a pretty well rounded guy.
Here’s to the adventure we just started. I can’t wait to see where this goes.