The last two weeks have pushed me to emotional extremes I’ve never experienced before. I have never been so happy, so sad, or so worried. This week my son, Adlai John Dwight, came into the world.
It all started in the night when Faith woke up in a puddle. No contractions. Just a puddle. In the morning, we went to the hospital to find out what was going on. The verdict according to the doctors: nothing. They sent us home and told us to ‘keep an eye on it’ (easier said than done). The following day, with Faith still leaking, we went back to the hospital and this time they decided that Faith should be induced. As instructed several weeks ago, we’d written a birth plan and this didn’t exactly fit the bill. We asked if we could go home, have a good night’s sleep and come back in the morning. They (rather reluctantly) agreed.
So after praying for several hours and sleeping for maybe one, we headed to the hospital to have a baby. To our surprise, overnight the doctors had changed their minds and had decided not to induce Faith, but rather wait for nature to take its course. So, once again, we were sent home.
We settled down, thinking it might be several days or even weeks, but that night Faith’s contractions started. Our son was on his way.
By lunchtime the contractions felt less like wind and more like being stabbed (apparently). Rather than pointing out to Faith that she had never been stabbed, I loaded her into the car and headed for the hospital. In accordance with our much talked about birth plan, we were put into a midwife-led room with a birthing pool and fake candles. We never made it into that pool. To be honest, I hadn’t brought my trunks.
Labour continued for what felt like days, but was apparently only hours. It was petrifying and intense. Faith quickly made best friends with the gas and air and was quite incredible throughout the whole process.
Due to the debate over when Faith’s waters broke, her temperature and the baby’s heartbeat were being regularly monitored. We were nearly at the end when things got kinda complicated. Faith’s temperature went up and the baby’s heart rate increased. We were rushed to a more medical type room, where doctors entered and whispered with midwives. The room quickly became crowded before I realized the urgency of the situation. There was talk of an epidural – but that didn’t get far. One of the more senior midwives decided that the time had come to push. The doctor agreed. Two or three minutes later I saw my son’s head for the first time. Moments later, he was out.
There were no pleasantries; no ‘would you like to cut the cord?’
Adlai was rushed to the resuscitaire – an incubator-type contraption. Medical people crowded around him and I stayed by Faith’s side. I think I would have been more anxious if I’d not been so shocked. A few moments passed, and then I heard a little murmur. It was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.
I was a Father.