RAISING A DAD – 21 February 2014 (part two)

You couldn’t make it up

Our parents are all here for the weekend which is amazing.

As my mum and dad come to the bedside to meet their first grandchild I tell them “we’ve named him Kasper Graham White” – I don’t know what I expected. When my friend recently told his parents the name of their child they were moved beautifully and both began to cry tears of joy and pride…

My mum turns to my dad and said;

“Don’t listen to him, he’s having us on, there’s no way they’ve called him that.”

If you know my mum you’ll be able to imagine her saying it.

If you don’t, you’re very unlucky – she’s brilliant and I wouldn’t have her any other way.


RAISING A DAD – 21 February 2014 (part one)

Special K

We’ve gone backwards and forwards on a name.

For a long time The Dude was going to be called Barnabus or Barney.

That was it.

End of shortlist.

Maybe we lived with it for too long, a couple of weeks ago we decided to think again and make a list.

We added Oscar.

I vetoed Bo (I love the name and why it was suggested but Bo White is too close to Snow White)

My wife vetoed Scooter (apparently he’d have felt pressure to become a pro snowboarder).

He became known as Barry by friends and family.

And all the while another name sat quietly on the list not making a fuss or shouting it’s case.

Patiently sat there, just in case.

Today we named our son.


I’ll work backwards;

WHITE is our surname so he’s stuck with that one until he’s old enough to change it to Scooter.

GRAHAM is the name of both our dads and is my middle name…remind me to tell you the story of the time Christina ended up having to convince someone my middle name was Gary.

KASPER is the Danish iteration of the name Casper which comes from Gaspar who is believed to have been one of the wise men in the Nativity story. I love that story, every time I read it or think about it I learn something new about me, the world and what life is all about…the name means keeper of the treasure. So he’s our little Danish wise man.

We loved the name, and having met him and slept on it we knew he was our little Kasper with a K.


RAISING A DAD – 20 February 2014 (part five)

It’s time

After over twenty hours of false hormone induced labour we’re still here.

We’ve worked hard to create an atmosphere of calm and serenity in our birthing room. The lights are low, soothing music plays in the background and everyone who enters whispers and finds ways to look after my beautiful wife without needing harsh light or loud noises. This is almost what we imagined…

Suddenly a large man with no ID, no stethoscope and no introduction bursts into the room…he takes a look around, looks me in the eye and says “No midwives here” before leaving.

I’m so exhausted I wonder if I dreamt it but a few moment later he walks back in.

He switches on every light he can find and as he enters the room his phone begins to ring.

He is either a man who doesn’t change his ringtone when he buys a phone or a devotee of early 90s house music…either way the serenity is over.

After a brief examination he asks me my name, and then says this – “Matt, you need to explain to your wife that she needs a c-section…” – this is our surgeon.

We briefly discuss and it’s clear that’s where we’re headed. I make sure over and over again that this is what my incredible wife wants and she assures me it is. And so we say “yes”.

What follows is a blur of projectile vomiting and a stream of new people entering the room.

As we prepare to leave for theatre I hold my wife’s hand, kiss the top of her head and pray…in case you don’t know, I’m someone who prays, so this wasn’t that odd for me, and as I stand there surrounded by noise and activity I needed to pray.

We move to theatre and are separated for the first time in hours.

I’m taken to a room and scrubs are given to me.

I fumble with them, head spinning and ask the surgeon “do I put them over my clothes or take my clothes off” He gives me the same look as earlier and says “I don’t care”.

As he leaves he turns back, perhaps he’s going to tell me it’ll be fine, not to worry or attempt to calm my obvious nerves…

“Don’t leave any valuables in here.”

I put the scrubs on over my clothes and wander the hallway waiting to be called in. I text family and friends, sharing information and asking them to pray.

I get called into theatre and a seat is set next to my wife. She’s awake and we begin to chat. We’re both scared but after only a few moments we hear a cry…

“Is that him?”

I really should’ve known it was, what did I think was happening in this room? Where would another baby be – assisting the surgeon?

That was my son.

I keep my eyes on my wife. She’s still being operated on.

To my right The Dude is being looked after by staff.

I feel genuinely torn…I’ve got my wife’s hand in mine and I have no intention of letting go.

On my right the staff have finished so have left The Dude and he’s crying.

What do I do?

My wife tells me to go to him, I can’t.

She’s not messing around – I go to him.

I lean over the cot and there he is…

And that’s it.

In a moment, a lifetime agreement is sealed.

As long as I live I will always love that boy lying there screaming.

I’m told he’s fine and I get moved out of theatre and into recovery.

My wife is quickly stitched up (for what it’s worth our surgeon is brilliant…direct, honest, terrible ringtone – but brilliant!) and wheeled into recovery. I notice she has started shaking.

Our recovery nurse, Fiona, assures us we don’t need to worry, but we need to get levels lowered and the shaking will subside.

After a few very quiet moments of deep breaths things are settling…

At this point our midwife brings The Dude in…when I say brings him in…

She screams “I have the baby – I have the baby-waby” and begins singing a song about the baby-waby and how she’s got him. I’m no expert but I think the recovery nurse finds this counter-productive.

After a few moments of holding my son (and taking a picture) we move onto a ward…but we’re not done yet…



RAISING A DAD – 20 February 2014 (part four)

A spare part

It’s been several hours and my incredible wife is living up to that billing.

Her pain is immense, and I feel totally helpless.

A mixture of fear and exhaustion mean I’m struggling to keep it all together.

In the midst of it all she looks at me and says “I want my mum”.

I want to tell you that I held her hand, told her everything would be okay and did all I could to help…

But I feel rejected.

Like a petulant child I begin to sulk.

Why aren’t I enough?

Doesn’t she know how much that will hurt my feelings?

I’m doing the best I can!

I say nothing…and pride myself on saying nothing like that should be praised or I should be nominated for husband of the year.

In truth – it’s pathetic!

My pride is telling me I’m not doing enough and this simple expression of pain and wanting a mother compounds it – now I know I’m not doing enough.

And so my ego kicks in and I begin to internally combust at the indignity of the perceived rejection…

Maybe I’m not ready to be a dad…


RAISING A DAD – 20 February 2014 (part one)

Today’s the day

I’m heading back to hospital this morning.

I got kicked out at 3am. The first stage of induction has been carried out and I wasn’t allowed to stay any longer.

We’re tired and not happy with how the hospital has treated us so far.

I feel like a nuisance…I get ignored…if I ask a question it’s a quick and sharp reply…

I feel useless…surely today must be better…I’m not so sure.