So I’m that guy, staring into the huge eyes of his newborn daughter, oblivious to the ways she will change his life for the better.
I had known the day was coming for the previous nine months, but I don’t think that time prepared me for the significance of the birth of my first child. My wife and I had been married for a year when we found out we were expecting. We hadn’t made any specific plans to get pregnant, but we had stopped preventing for a short period of time. Looking back on the ease of getting pregnant from our current reality of infertility, it almost seems like another life.
We found out shortly before our first anniversary. We had been planning a trip to Jackson Hole Wyoming to celebrate our first year together and we chose to go through with it. On that trip I made the realization that pregnancy tests are evil. Everything can be totally fine, there are a few symptoms of pregnancy that nudge a couple towards a pregnancy test, but I am convinced that once she takes that test and it is positive, it becomes the catalyst for “Morning Sickness,” or as in our case, “All Day Sickness.” Needless to say, the trip to Jackson would have been better had we not taken the test.
The pregnancy progressed normally and all went well for the nine months leading up to the birth of our daughter. Another miracle, as we have not achieved a healthy nine month pregnancy since.
It started when my wife was already a week overdue. The contractions hit slowly one evening and by 1 a.m. the next morning, we felt they were close enough to make the trip to the hospital. We had a 30 minute trip to the hospital, as we walked out the door I joked, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we got pulled over on the way to the hospital?” The state highway was almost empty as I went from a 55 mph zone to a 45 mph zone. I left the car at 55 mph and sure enough the only other car on the road was driven by a Sherriff deputy.
He pulled me over and came to the car window. I said, “Officer, I’m sure you probably get this a lot, but my wife is in labor and we are trying to get to the hospital.”
The officer shined the light into the car and onto my wife’s pregnant belly. He said, “Well okay, I am going to let you go this time, but it won’t do you any good to rush to the hospital if you never make it.” I was disappointed there was no offer of a police escort, but glad there was no added cost to the late night trip.
We did make it to the hospital safely and after checking my wife, they said she was not close enough and sent us home again to let things continue to progress. A few hours later we went back in and once again they said it would be a little longer and sent us home. Finally, about 24 hours after the contractions had begun; we were admitted to the delivery room to have the baby.
Once my wife was able to get the epidural, the pain was much more manageable. We both slept for a few hours and were woken up at about 1 a.m. when it was time for her to push. It was a slow process, and the umbilical cord was apparently wrapped around my daughter’s neck, because every time she pushed her heart rate would drop drastically. After 2 hours of pushing the doctor’s decided to use forceps and they were able to pull her out.
That moment, when I saw my daughter for the first time, is etched into my memory. It was a beautiful moment and very scary. I saw her in the doctor’s arms and she was struggling to breath. Her chest was contorting and she was making efforts to breath but she couldn’t get the air to her lungs. For those 30 seconds, that seemed like a lifetime, the doctor and nurses set her in the warming crib and worked at clearing her airway. Finally, there was a cry. She was breathing and everything was okay again.
After cleaning her up they put her in my arms. Her eyes were wide open and she stared at me through her huge blue eyes. I can’t put the happiness I felt at that moment into words, but it was one of the best of my life.
I cannot finish this post without saying how amazing my wife is. She is the one who had gone through 9 months of pregnancy and 33 hours of labor to give our daughter life. I love you babe.
Looking back, almost ten years later, I am still amazed at the miracle that happened that day. She is now a beautiful young woman who has changed my life for the better. I am proud to be her father.