The entire labor was around 15 hours, which is considered really fast for a first time. It would have been even faster if Emily had experienced stronger contractions. Despite the short time frame, it had been a war for Emily physically. It was emotionally gruelling for me to have to watch the woman I love go through this torture.
But I knew it would all be worth it if we could get a healthy baby. I had been telling Emily through the entire labor that all this work and pain was for our baby. There was going to be a magnificent prize at the end. I’m glad to say that for once on this day, I was right.
Emily only needed one final push after the episiotomy. The obstetrician declared, “As you can see, you obviously have a boy.”
I actually couldn’t see that well. My eyes were slightly blurred. It was the weirdest thing, but Emily’s final push suddenly brought up tons of dust. This dust all went directly into my eyes. The next thing I knew, my eyes were pretty watery and I couldn’t see too much. Dust must also cause a person’s nose to run, because my face was now a complete mess. At this point, the obstetrician started to ask me to do something, but once she saw my less than clean face she moved on to a nurse. But I would shortly have something to do that I had not planned.
Before this entire ordeal, there were two things I knew for sure. The first was there was absolutely no way I was actually going to watch the baby come out. My plan was to safely hide behind Emily. I can’t stomach those surgery type shows, and I was positive there wasn’t any way I could handle watching the delivery. The second was that I wouldn’t cut the umbilical cord. I had an irrational fear I would cut the wrong thing and cause a medical emergency. Plus there was that whole problem of not handling blood (funny enough, I like horror movies). I was happy to support my wife through words and massages, but I would rather skip a firsthand view of the delivery.
This is not how it actually turned out for me. My friend says that my protective instincts kicked in and I had the need to make sure everything was going fine for my wife and baby. I would have to agree with him. The moment Emily started pushing, I found myself checking and watching what was happening. I didn’t even give it a second thought. Now, I’m not going to grab some popcorn and watching some labor videos, but I had an urge to watch my wife’s labor. I never would have expected that I could stomach it. It ended up being the easy, natural and instinctual thing to do. I’m extremely glad that I got to see my son enter into this world.
After watching the entire experience, doing a little umbilical cord cutting was a breeze. Once I was asked if I wanted to cut the cord, I didn’t even think about it before grabbing the scissors and doing some snipping. At this point, everything was one surreal blur. I still couldn’t get over the fact that labor happened 9 days early, we just went through a crazy 15 hours, and now we had a healthy son.
They allowed Emily to have some skin to skin with her son. I finally got a good look at him. More specifically, a good look at the giant gourd shaped head he was sporting. He seemed ready to be transported in time to the Saturday Night Live set in ‘80s where he could star as the baby of the Coneheads. But even though he had a head straight out of a comedy sketch about aliens, he was still the most beautiful person I’d ever seen. I knew this little guy was worth everything we had gone through (which I know is easy to say for the person who didn’t have to push the baby out).
I looked over at Emily and said, “This is our son, and he’s the cutest baby ever.” Then I think some dust flew in my mouth and choked me up a little. There really is way too much dust in a hospital.
They took our baby away to clean him up and check him out. I was able to turn to my wife who never looked more radiant and beautiful. This was the woman who went through war for our baby. She just gave me the most magnificent Christmas gift ever. We now had a beautiful family. It was an amazing moment looking at my wife and realizing how thankful and how much in love I was.
Of course, the most amazing and spiritual moment was yet to come.