They say that there are three kinds of men when they find out that they are going to be a daddy. The first one is overwhelmed with joy the moment they find out, the second needs to see the ultrasound for reality to sink in that he will be a dad, and the third one gets his paternal instincts as soon as the baby is born in the delivery room. I was neither. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy and looking forward to fatherhood, but it did not hit me until way after he was born.
First, I think it is important for you to understand where I am coming from. All my life I thought I never wanted children. Unfortunately, it runs a bit deeper than just not wanting them. When I was a little boy, I had an accident. Can’t really share something I don’t remember. All I know is that I suffered from testicular trauma and needed surgery. As I got older, I knew I was a tad bit different but it never really hindered me from living a “normal” life. I was not insecure or uncomfortable. I remember my pediatric physicals were normal, the doctor would do the normal check up but never say anything to me, and then have private conversations with my mother. It was not until I was older and had my own insurance that doctors would ask me questions, questions that I did not have answers to and they would always have the same conclusion, that there was a high chance that I would never have children.
At first, I don’t think that it affected me. I was in my early 20s and children was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to enjoy my 20s as much as I possibly could. I wanted to meet new people, travel, go out, and have fun. I didn’t even want to be in a relationship. But as I was getting older and I kept hearing the same conclusion from my doctors, I hated hearing that there was something in life that I could not have. So I did what any normal person would do and said that I did not want children and I got really good at believing myself. I got good at believing that I did not want children and it went hand in hand with not getting married. I thought that there was not point of getting married if children were not in the equation. I didn’t think that was fair to whomever I was going to share my life with but I thought I would cross that road when I got there.
But of course, life always has a way of showing you how wrong you are. When I was in my late 20s, I met someone who completely changed my life. She ruined my plans of being single and carefree in my 20s. She made me see that there was more to life, more to love, more than what I thought I wanted. Before her, I was selfish (not much has changed), was pessimistic about love, did not have faith in humanity, and never did I think that marriage and children was going to be a huge part of my life. She made such an impact in my life and I could not be any more grateful.
After five years of being together, we decided to try to have a family. The hardest part was letting her in on my past, telling her that there was a chance that it may never happen. The worst part was that she had been wanting this more that anyone I knew and I had to bring her down to my reality and possibly crush her dreams of being a mother. How do you even start that conversation? How do you tell someone that they can’t have something that they have been yearning for? How do you tell the person you love that you can’t make them as happy as they have made you? It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I was nervous, sweating and weeping as I was sharing something I grew to be ashamed of. As I finished, sitting there, with my head down feeling less of a man, she came up to me, raised my head, told me she loved me and said that if we were meant to have children, then we will have them. I did not think I could love her more than that day.
In December of 2015, I remember I was on the phone with a friend and my girlfriend said that she needed to show me something. So I hung up the phone and began to follow her and she turned into the bathroom, and laying on the countertop was a pregnancy test that was positive. I definitely was not guy number one. I stood there, white in the face, did not say a word for a few minutes and when I came back to reality I saw the disappointed look on her face (about my reaction) and I just hugged her. I remember telling her how happy I was.
I will admit that I thought it was going to take longer to get pregnant. I did not have enough time to mentally prepare myself. I was not ready to let go of being selfish, self-centered, or materialistic. I was not prepared for my life to change so drastically from one day to the next. I mean, I barely just got a grip on my life, being a homeowner, being an adult, and barely taking care of myself, that the thought of being a dad and teaching someone else made me hyperventilate. The thought of my spawn, which I called him for many months, terrified me because what if he turned out to be like me? It was a lot to take in that when I heard that we were expecting; it felt like an out of body experience. It felt like I jumped out of my body and saw her expression on her face as she looked at mine and thought to myself, “Say something fucktard!”
My most vivid memory was our first doctor's visit. I have always said that I was dead inside and after that visit, I thought that there had to be something wrong with me. I remember sitting patiently as they called our name to see the doctor, holding her hand, trying to keep calm so she can be calm and telling her that all was going to be just fine. I knew that her biggest fear was losing the baby and even though I was not mentally “ready,” I did not want that to happen. They called our name, I took a deep breath, and followed the nurse into our room where we waited what felt like hours to see the doctor. As the doctor came in, a nurse followed her with the ultrasound machine. My better half and I looked at each other like, “Holy shit, this is really happening.” As the doctor prepared everything and started looking for the baby, I saw the worried look on my fiancé’s face and just out of nowhere an image appears on the screen and the doctor says “Here’s your baby,” words that made me feel like I was dumped in ice cold water. As I was staring at the screen, I can see my fiancé’s staring at me as tears were rolling down her cheeks with joy. I stood still, in awe, statuesque like with no emotion. You are probably thinking to yourself, “I bet she gave you hell when y’all walked out of the doctor's office” and honestly, she did not. She asked me if I felt anything. I told her that I did not feel any emotion good or bad, that I was just in disbelief. She kissed my temple as we were walking to our car, wondering what we were going to have for breakfast. That rules out father to be number two.
Some people think that when the guy sees his baby for the fist time that fatherhood just smacks him in the face. Unfortunately, for me that was also not the case. By this point you are probably thinking, “What the fuck is wrong with this guy?” Well, a lot. However, that is a story for another time.
So you can try to see it from my point of view, I have to tell you about our time in the hospital. The doctors thought that it would be best to induce labor since we were about two weeks over our due date. They told us to come in on a Tuesday but he did not want to grace us with his presence until Friday just past 3 AM. It was exhausting! Nothing compared to what she went through. I mean, they were inducing her, which means that they were trying every single science to force this baby to come out. I don’t want to get into the details of what they did because if I would have known that might be an only option, I probably would have opted out. It was quite gruesome and inhumane even. Be that as it may, she was so strong and took it like a champ.
It was Thursday night and we made a decision to try to get some rest. Our stay at the hospital was not the best. We went through seven nurses in our stay and at one point, there was not one doctor on duty. But that night, we decided to try to get some rest. We felt like the next day was going to be the big day and to our surprise, a few hours later, as soon as Friday even started, the doctors sent her in for an emergency c-section.
As I was getting ready to enter the delivery room, I saw her laying on the delivery bed and for the first time, I saw this worried looked on her face. She was scared and trembling uncontrollably. She told me that she could not feel a thing with a fake smile on her face. At that moment, I knew that even though I was panicking inside, I had the be the strongest I had ever been. I sat right next to her, caressing her head, holding her hand and making a few jokes to make light of our situation. I could not help but stare at a glass case that was in front of me. It reflected the procedure and I could not help myself but look at what was going on. There were some images that I wish I did not see. Then I saw this nurse get on top of her and started pressing down as hard as she could to push the baby out and after a few pushes, he came right out. As he started to cry, I heard the doctor say, “Uh-oh, we have a situation, bring in the specialist.” They quickly cleaned the baby and rushed me and him out of the delivery room. I recall telling the nurse that I did not want to leave her, that I wanted to be by her side, and I clearly remember her telling me that from now on, my only priority is my baby. That did not sit well with me.
They put us in a space behind a curtain and all I could do is stare at this baby that was right in front of me. I was just fixated on this stranger in front of me and I heard sounds coming out of the nurse's mouth but I could not stop staring at him in awe. She repeatedly asked me if it was okay if she started examining the baby and if she could give him his vitamins and all I could ask was what happened with my fiancé, why isn’t she here with us? She tried to reassure me that all was going to be okay and that I had to focus on my baby. She said that she was going to step out to get what she needed and if I wanted to hold him, that it was fine. I had no intentions or desire to hold him. I was thinking to myself, “He is fine,” “He does not need me to hold him.” I just kept thinking about my fiancé. I wanted to be with her and I was worried. After all, she has been in my life for five years and this little guy just got here. Throughout the whole pregnancy, I had never been so worried as that moment. I just kept staring at him, feeling guilty about enjoying the moment that I get to hold him, hug him and kiss him with out the one person I wanted to enjoy it with.
When the nurse came back with the vaccinations and the vitamins, she told me that my son had pooped in my fiancé as he was coming out and that the doctors just had to make sure that they cleaned the infected area very well. that she heard that it was all under control and that she would be joining us very shortly. As I waited for her to come out, I saw the nurse beginning her process with my kid and I kept staring at the clock above us. It felt like hours were passing by and she would not come out of the delivery room. As soon as the nurse was done I saw my fiancé being wheeled out by some nurses and she was covered in blood. She had this relieved look on her face, like the worst was over. I saw that all she wanted to do was see her son, hold him and kiss him.
It wasn’t until a few hours later that we were being shown to our post pardum room and as we settled in I saw how excited she was to finally get a chance to hold our new born son. I picked him up. I took a big whiff from right on top of his head and handed him over. Tears started to roll down her cheeks as she was smiling and talking to him and at that moment, I could not be any more tired and happy.
The nurse came in to check up on us and she was saying how she was impressed that my fiancé went through every stage of inducing labor and that most women have opted for the epidural a lot sooner. The nurse then looked at me and asked me that if I wanted to do skin to skin with my son. As I looked puzzled, she told me that is the most effective way to build a bond with my child. I took my shirt off and held him for the first time after hours of him being born right on my chest and that was the moment that I knew that I just did not have him as my son, but he had me as his dad. At that moment, nothing else mattered, all my worries were all gone and my dad pants came right on. From that moment on, all I want to do is hold him as long as I can and never let him go.