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'There Is Nothing In The World Like Being A Parent'

The journey from expectant father to Dad

It has been a while since I have been able to sit down and get my thoughts into some sort of working order. It is for good reason that I have been so depleted … my son has arrived and life has become quite hectic!

Here’s the story…

During the last month of her pregnancy, my wife had weekly doctor’s appointments. During the 37th week, her doctor felt her baby bump and estimated our baby to be about 7 pounds. I’m not sure if I’ve explained to you before, but my wife is just under 5 feet tall, so a 7 pound baby seemed large for us. This also concerned my wife’s doctor, so
she scheduled an ultrasound to give us a more accurate idea of the baby’s size. Although the idea of a 7 pound baby scared us a little, my wife and I were secretly thrilled at the idea of having an ultrasound to get another sneak peak at our son. The ultrasound was scheduled for the next week.

As the ultrasound technician used her magic wand to figure out our child’s size, my wife and I were able to get a look at our baby boy once again. The sight of him never got old. The technician eventually gave us the verdict: the baby was 8 pounds, 14 ounces. I almost fell over! How in the world could my petite wife be carrying such a large child? More importantly, how was she going to deliver an almost 9 pound child? As we anxiously awaited the doctor, my wife and I voiced our concerns and excitement and laughed nervously, knowing the time was near. The doctor came in and said, “We’ve got to get this baby out!”

“Right now?!” I questioned aloud, my mind racing a million miles a minute. After months and months of preparation, suddenly I felt as though I wasn’t ready. How could the doctor spring this kind of news on me and my wife? We still had some time according to the books. I had to go back to work in an hour! This was not in my plans for the day. Luckily, the doctor informed us that she meant within the next week.

I was relieved for a second, but then the feeling of embarrassment immediately took over as the two ladies room looked at me as if I were kidding. I was not. I tried to play it off as though it was obviously a joke but I think I failed. They let me off the hook rather easily but I think they shot each other the “is he serious?” look when I put my head down.

So there we were – my wife was being induced on Tuesday, April 26th, three days before our due date. We got together the list of final things we needed to do before his arrival and on the Saturday before the scheduled induction, we were off to run errands. One of our errands took us to Riverdale. My wife and I joked about how we were leaving our "comfort zone." For the last couple of months, we did not venture too far from the hospital just in case, but we figured that he was not going to come. The induction was planned for later in the week so we were in the clear.

We were wrong!

My wife and I were walking around a supermarket when she suddenly squeezed my hand and said, “We have to go.” I figured she was frustrated because we were not able to find what we were looking for. I thought that I was the one that acted like this when I discouraged by an unfruitful search in a store. This was not her style at all. She, however, cleared it all up for me when she said, “We have to go to the hospital. My water broke!”

“Are you sure?” I asked. It was another dumb question that received the appropriate look in response. Then, I said, “well, let me see it.” I did not even wait for the look. We decided that I would leave her at the entrance of the store, run across the parking lot to get the car so that I could pull up, get her into the car, and leave immediately.

As I tried to get her into my car, my wife would not get enter. She wanted me to get some free circulars from the storefront to put on the seat so that it would not get ruined. I knew that she would sit down until I lined the seat, so I obliged.

I was not prepared for what happened next. Apparently, in the 30 or so seconds that it took me to bring the car around, the mother-to-be had a conversation with a woman about going into labor. This woman, as it turned out, was a little more alarmed about our situation than we were. As I ran to grab the auto shopper, she started screaming at me, “This ain’t no time to be getting a newspaper! You gotta be at DeKalb Medical Center. What is wrong with you?!”

I was shocked. I was frozen in my tracks. How did this lady know all of this? She seemed to appear out of nowhere. Now she was screaming at me about free car magazines and a hospital in Decatur. Luckily, my wife removed me from this bizarre state and we got the seat covered and I was able to pull away without being struck by this concerned citizen. My navigator told me that she had a similar experience with the same woman and that she was the one that gave her all of the information regarding the impending delivery.

During the forty-five minute ride to the hospital, we both remained as calm as possible, sending texts and making calls to family and friends. We arrived at the hospital and I watched my wife get poked and prodded and hooked up to machines. We were ready to go. It turned into a “hurry up and wait” situation. Thirteen hours, lots of pain, a couple of nurses, an epidural, and one surgery later, we heard our baby’s first cries. It was the sweetest sound we had ever heard. The nurses cleaned him up and read out his measurements. “Eight pounds, 15.9 ounces… 9 pounds!” she exclaimed. My wife and I laughed together. We were worried about 7 pounds, and here he was weighing in at a whopping 9 pounds!

The nurse brought him over and placed him in my wife’s arms and I’d never been happier in my life. Nothing I read in the last 9 months could have prepared me for the emotions I felt the first time I saw my son and held him in my arms. I’ve loved before, but I never fell so hard so fast in my life. It was immediate. He was my boy. He was perfect. Twenty-one and a quarter inches, ten little fingers, ten tiny toes, dark brown hair, and blue eyes.

It’s been two months since Cole Joseph officially entered our lives. He has taught me a ton. I’ve learned how to master the art of changing diapers. I’ve learned how to act fast when a stream of urine is heading my way. I’ve learned I am able to survive on two hours of sleep. I’ve learned how to bathe a soapy, slippery, squirmy newborn. And I’ve learned to love someone wholly, deeply, and unconditionally. There is nothing in the world like the feel of your newborn sleeping on your chest. There is nothing in the world that can make you feel better than getting a big smile from your baby. There is nothing in the world like being a parent.

It’s been quite a journey getting to this point. Thanks to everyone who came along with me. I hope it was an enjoyable ride.

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