Fatherhood

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…

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