Birth of a Son

730 words | 3 page(s)

The sensations I felt following the birth of my son was a roller coaster of emotions including excitement, happiness and a little fear and, to my surprise looking back, I carried the birth itself off with an admirable amount of sanity and lucidness. The trip to the hospital was rushed, the labor and delivery was difficult and there was no time to think to panic. It simply was do the next step. To call the labor difficult is, of course, easy for me to say. It was all mechanical, do what the nurse said, follow the steps provided at the pre-birth classes and support my wife. To say I comforted her would be to assume she could be comforted at this time. I tried though. As the contractions hastened no thought whatsoever was given to the concept of having a son. We had chosen not to be told the gender of the fetus yet I had imagined the possibilities of a mini-me so-to speak. Still, nothing prepares a person for the real thing, particularly at a time when the adrenaline is surging, emotions are racing and a wife is screaming. The feelings I had following the birth of my son was varied, alternated rapidly, some were expected while some were not but all were genuine.

Following the birth, as is customary, the newborn is cleaned somewhat, the cord cut and the infant placed on its mother’s extremely tired body. She is happy though, likely as happy it’s over as she is with the new arrival but that’s speculative. Next, the baby is given to dad. I knew it was a male because the doctor announced it soon after the newborn breathed his first breath yet the fact I had a son hadn’t yet sunk in. While holding him it started to, however. My first thought was a silent promise to him, to always care for him, look out for his best interest and to constantly improve as a dad. I knew I was an amateur father but had wanted a family and now felt the impact of fatherly love so my promises were well intended. He seemed to look up at me with trusting eyes and an instant recognition, as if he knew somehow that we were father and son. The only word to describe that feeling of first meeting is magical. No other event has made me feel quite that way. It was love at first site, maybe for us both.

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After another short meeting with the exhausted new mother the long walk down the hall began. I was allowed to hold the bundle as we strolled excruciatingly slowly down the dark hospital corridor. Along the way, about 15 minutes down a 100 yard hallway (no exaggeration), many thoughts filled the void of my still spinning head. I think my maturation process jumped ahead about 15 year’s worth during that long quarter-hour. We stared at each other the entire time, studying the other’s expressions. His expressions were probably caused by a little gas. Will I be as good a provider, mentor, disciplinarian and friend as this little boy deserved, how could I possibly? Will we have nothing or everything in common and if so will he be as hard for his parents to handle as I was? Yikes.

I distinctly remember thinking: “you’re getting ahead of yourself, just concentrate on getting him home safely.” Probably good advice and we accomplished that. It was for real when we got home. No more relatives, hospital staff and nursery where he spent the night and most of the day. I wanted to be involved in everything from diaper changing to feeding to waking up in the middle of the night with him, at least until the middle of the night came. I thought of my dad, how he was always providing for our needs, all aspects. Suddenly I had a newfound respect for him. I had been piecing together all the things I needed to do to be the dad I wanted to be and it was a never-ending list. My thoughts of responsibility ran alongside feelings of pure joy and excitement. Being the father of a boy for the first time is a roller coaster of emotions. The peaks are high and the lows manageable and tolerable because of that bond of paternity which began the moment the dad’s eyes first engaged his sons.

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