First Time Dad

Posted on September 10, 2012


Labor and delivery is hard on dads. Not more so than for Mom and Baby, but it is still hard. At first everything seems manageable. She is in a little pain that lasts about 30 seconds and I can find the right spot to push on and it helps. I  feel like I am making a difference. I continue making preparations, finish packing, think about doing that project… only then the contractions come more frequently. All I have time for is to get set up for the next one, trying to keep Mom fed and hydrated.

As labor really starts to move I feel my effectivity becoming less and less. But the demands keep going up. Then there is that awful moment when she whispers “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” A cold knot forms in my gut. I am helpless, there is nothing I can do to take this pain away from her.

Then things really start to move quickly and soon they are telling her to push. She is screaming. I want to yell “Stop this! You’re hurting her!” instead I find myself saying “You can do it, you’re almost there!” Inside there is a terror of this thing that is causing her so much pain, and there is a sensation like Christmas is coming.

As Clarissa pushes for the final time a new sensation grips me, a different kind of knot in the stomach, and the world begins to feel more distant. Valencia comes rushing out, her head red with blood, her body  white with the newborn wax and the umbilical cord a pulsing spotted green vine into her stomach. I reach out and touch our little alien, my hand slips along her slimy body, and I know what I have to do.

In moments I am kneeling before the porcelain goddess, praying I will not have to confess to vomiting when my first child is born. This vain thought and deep breaths enable me to regain my composure. I return to be offered to cut that waxy green cord. I am back at the goddess praying again. And again I am able to regain my composure.

I emerge to find Valencia somewhat cleaner and able to be held as Clarissa is too exhausted at the moment. I pick her up, and I am in love. She has deep red hair that I hope she does not lose. For those first few hours she is alert in a way that she has not been in the days since. She stares at me with wide eyes that have yet to take on their color.  She cannot in any way earn the love I have for her. In fact she is destined to be inconvenient. To cry at night when I want to sleep, for reasons that are beyond my ability to discern.

She will not tangibly add to my life for quite some time. My heart though is filled with affection for her. I am enamored with her little toes, and fingers. I can not get enough of kissing her cute little cheeks. Just holding her some times makes me tear up.

I have become a complete softy in seconds since she has been born.

Posted in: Africa, John, Valencia