my journey into fatherhood

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9 months doesnt seem like a long time, but I assure you, it is.

That's 270 days! Thats 6,480 hrs!!! I mean yea, its not so hard on my part. I can still eat whatever I want, Im not going through hormonal changes, Im not carrying a person inside of me, Im not feeling morning sickness and I dont have to let a 7-9lb baby out of me! But the woman beside me is! Coping with a pregnant woman is no joke! lol. Im just glad I love the woman I impregnated! Every single stress or pain she goes through, I felt a good chunk of. Anyone who has a child knows what Im talking about. 

Toleration, consideration and patience. Woo sah.

But men go through their own stresses too. Fortunately for us, its not physical. I was nervous though. How do I support her? How do I not make her feel alone? How do I show I care without being too intrusive? What does she need from me? She's sick, what do I do? How can I help during labor?  What do we need to buy? Can we afford that? How is my life going to change? How will she be after the baby is born?  Am I going to be a good father? Am I actually ready for this?

For me, I saw Julie and Benjamin as my mother and myself. To support Julie was to support my mother. To abandon her and Benjamin was to abandon my mother and me. I truly believe in karma, even in reverse.  

My 9 months was filled with arguments, happiness, planning, doctors appts, ultrasounds, shopping and more arguments. lol. It was one hell of a roller coaster ride. But Im not mad. I know this isnt supposed to be easy. I accepted that the day she told me she was pregnant. With all the changes that were going on from within and outside her body, we're bound to lose our cool at some point. 

We took pre-natal classes. Although its nothing like what I seen on Friends, it was still helpful. It made me feel a lot more confident as a partner when I was able to know how I can help her and be supportive. She's doing all the work, the least I can do is find out how to make this a little easier for her. Plus, you never want to go into anything blindly. Knowing what to expect allows  you to be prepared and calm, which in term keeps her from going into panic. 

When we found out she was pregnant, I told Julie I wanted to marry her. At first she thought I was only marrying her because I felt obligated to do so. In my opinion, we had already been together for awhile now, and I knew I was going to marry her anyways. Ive told her that on several occasions. The way I saw it was, if we're going to be married anyways, why not make it official now. Why not give her the comfort of knowing that Ill always be with her. That this child is the beginning of our future together. It was me accepting my reality, embracing it and doing what I felt was most fitting. 

Like I said, I believe in karma. I have a little sister and I might have had a baby girl. But you bet your ass, that the day my little sister or daughter ever tells me she's pregnant that Im going to ask this young man what his plan is. Aint no one getting my sister or my daughter pregnant and not own up to their responsibilities as a man. Thats not the way life works. Not in my world anyways. Where will you live? How will you support her? Whats your commitment? Show me.  

Imagine he said "I dont know. This was an accident and I dont have time for this."? Someone would be riding home in a herse. No lie. lol.

I may have been raised by single parents, but I understand how hard it was for them and all the things I missed out on. I wasnt going to let my child go through what I went through. 

I wanted Julie's parents to know that Im a man. That I could accept my new responsibilities to their child and our child. And on my side, I wanted my parents to know that they raised a son with good values and morals. So I asked her parents for her hand in marriage, and I told them that even without these circumstances, it was always my plan to marry and look after their daughter. It was important for me to let them know, because I know it would have been important to me had this situation been with my little sister or daughter.

To have a child is a beautiful thing and I wanted Julie to know I was committed. Not only as a father. But to her as a life partner. I wanted her to know that I was going to be beside her every step of the way from now on. I wanted her to have comfort and security. I wanted her to know I would always be here for her.

I remember spending nights staring at her while she slept, thinking about all thats about to change in our lives and how exciting it was. I also remember staring at the crib and wondering when Benjamin would be here and when he would start sleeping in it. 9 months felt like an eternity to me. It was so long that I almost forgot what Julie looked like when she was pregnant. You know when you watch a cartoon show, you know how time never really exists. Like Bart Simpson is the same age forever even when he has his birthday. And that even if his leg broke this episode, the next episode he was still regular Bart? Thats what I felt about Julie. I felt like I was just dating a pregnant woman. Like some people date bartenders or teachers, and I was just dating a pregnant woman. lol. At times, I forgot we were even having a child. I just got used to her having a big stomach. lol. 

One night I asked her "are you nervous? are you scared to go into labor?" She responded "No. This is a part of life. If this is what it takes for me to meet my son, then so be it. I just want to meet him." I admired her so much for saying that. I would have been like "Hell yea Im scared!" lol.

But I remember the morning when her contractions started. What Ive learned? Its not like the movies. She doesnt have a cramp and then have a baby. Her water doesnt break and the baby's out in 5 minutes. Noooooo. No no no. Julies contractions went on for another 26 hrs until we went to the hospital. Once we got to the hospital, she laid around waiting for another 8 hrs. She hadnt slept since her first contraction and hadnt eaten anything solid since then. I felt so bad for her. She was in so much pain and all I could do was just hold her hand. She was exhausted and drained. And after 34hrs of contractions, she finally gave in and took the epidural. After that, she was normal. lol. Cracking jokes. 

She was cool and calm for the next 3 or so hours and then suddenly Julie says "Babe, I think I have to poo." Coincidentally, my mom calls and asks how Julie's doing. I said she's fine. But she has to poo. My mom goes "OMG! When I was in labor with you, I had to poo so bad but the nurses wouldnt let me! But I said, I have to poo, let me up. They said no. But I didnt care. I got up and ran to the washroom. I only poo'd two little pieces and the nurses grabbed me and put me back in the bed and then I had you!"

lol.

So the nurse comes in and I tell Julie "Is there something you want to tell her?" She goes "uumm. I think I need to poo." The nurse goes "Great! That means its time to push!"

The nurse left the room and came back with some stuff. She says to me, stand beside her and hold her and asks Julie's mother to stand on the other side and do the same. But there was only the three of us in the room. I was expecting like 6 other doctors and nurses. Lights and tools and equipment and machines and noise and panic...but it was just us 4. But like I said, its not like the movies. 

The nurse turned down the epidural so Julie could feel the contractions again and start pushing. At first the pushing didnt seem to tough. But then I started seeing how purple Julie would get and how much it took out of her to push that hard. Like I said, she hadn't slept or ate for almost 37 hrs. Try pushing a baby out after that.

Julie was pushing and pushing and you can tell she was feeling as if her pushing wasnt doing anything. She would push and push. She started pushing so hard I thought she was going to pass out. The nurse kept on saying she was almost there. But who knows if she really meant it. She delivers babies all day. Im sure she has her motivational techniques. Julie began to let out cries and tears after pushes and in between contractions. She kept saying it was hard and that she couldnt do it no more. I felt so bad. I couldnt do anything but pat her on the back and tell her it was ok and that she was doing great. I honestly felt so useless.

The whole time she was pushing, I kept watching the heart rate monitor. Ive watched too many movies where bad things happen during labor and I was nervous as hell. Labor is a nerve wracking experience. Take my word.

Julie later told me that just before I said I saw Benjamin's head coming out, that she was going to quit and ask for a C-section because she felt like she was doing all this pushing with no progress. But apparently once she heard me say I saw his head, she got her second wind. Shortly after that, Benjamin came out.

Honestly, seeing a baby come out of a vagina...I dont know how to describe it. Im sure I was frozen for a split second in total disbelief. I felt like I was day dreaming because something so big couldnt come out of something that small. I was amazed and in shock. All of a sudden there were 5 nurses in the room, running around, grabbing this, setting up that and whatever. The main nurse pulled Benjamin out by his head but his umbilical cord was wrapped around his shoulder. So they cut the umbilical cord and then blood blew up all over his face! And I was like...WTF! They pulled out the rest of his long body. Benjamin was kicking and started crying.

I was still in disbelief with what I saw. Julie was crying in relief and I was still in a daze. lol.

One of the nurses say "Come with me Daddy." Blankly, I just followed her. She was talking to me, but I think I was so amazed that I was looking at my son that I couldnt hear her. She hands me a pair of scissors and says, "its kind of tough." in reference to me cutting the umbilical cord. So I grab the scissors and I try to cut. Of course it doesnt just come off. It felt like I was cutting a really stale gummy worm. Benjamin started crying and they placed him on her chest while they started doing their post delivery procedures. 

I was amazed. I really was.

I was a father and this was my beautiful son. 

9 months. Julie actually did have a baby in there. It wasnt going to be a giant belly forever. lol.

Everyone asked me, did you get like this overwhelming feeling like OMG my world just changed and my life flashed before my eyes and this was the most insane feeling in my life. Like when you seen your baby, did your whole world change? Did you become a new person.

In all honesty, no. That overwhelming feeling didnt happen. I was happy and in shock at what I had witnessed. But that feeling for me already happened before this moment. For me the only crazy part was me having a short out of body experience and seeing Julie's pain and struggle as my mother's when she had me. Like...this is what my mother had to do to bring me into this world. I caused her all this pain? It sure made me appreciate my parents a lot more. 

After Benjamin was out, I called my parents and told them they were now officially grand parents. My dad asked me how Julie was during delivery. I said besides her being in pain during contractions, she was pretty calm and happy in between them. My dad said I was lucky. He said my mom was just mean and crazy while giving birth to me. She was yelling at him, cursing at him and saying all sorts of crazy stuff. lol. Well knowing my mom, Im not too surprised. lol.

Its been 2 months now and I must say, nothing in my life has ever felt more rewarding than being a father. I dont sleep much anymore, in fact, its 4am right now while Im writing this. My shift with Benjamin ends at 7am, so I stay awake until Julie does the switch with me. I love seeing him grow. Watching him drink milk. I love seeing the faces he makes when hes pooing and when Im changing his diaper. He peed in his own face the other day. Although I felt bad for him, I couldnt help but laugh at him. I enjoy him depending on me. I love his chubby cheeks and the faces he makes when we're bothering him. I love hearing his coo's and seeing him all relaxed in his bathtub. I love his huffs and puffs and his kung fu hands and his random bicycle kicks. I love his curious eyes and his solid grip when he holds on to my fingers and that mischievous smile he has on when I just changed his diaper and then he immediately poops in the new diaper. 

He's become my everything and everything I do now has that much more purpose.  

I wouldnt trade this feeling for the world.

To Julie. I love you. You are so beautiful and strong. I am beyond blessed to have you as my future wife and even more so as the mother of child. And we did pretty good huh? lol.

And to Benjamin, Mommy and Daddy love you so much. You mean the world to us and I hope you never forget that, especially when you're going through puberty and you think the whole world is in on a conspiracy against you. You are our pride and joy. Dont grow up too fast ok? ...sigh. Im really going to miss holding you in my arms while you coo at me. Hugs and kisses. 

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