Start of D-Day
Any first-time dad can’t shake out the experiences of this day so it makes sense for soon to be first-time dads to be aware of what they are in for. Trust me, I have been there.
The below first-hand experience article is more the exception than the rule, so do not get alarmed at the unfolding circumstances.
It is always better for a 1st time dad to be prepared for the worst, so you can cover all eventualities which may happen. Most pregnancies can be so routine for a dad that it makes a trip to the dentist to be more nerve-wrecking. Moms will disagree, but we digress.
Most pregnancies would be via the normal delivery manner where the baby is pulled out through different means in the Labor room. However, these days, mothers and doctors are opting for Caesarian section at the slightest hint of trouble so the pain of labor is hardly felt.
The actual day can be defined into 2 distinct phases
- Before water-bag burst
- Actual delivery / operation to receive baby
12 hrs from Water-bag burst July 7, 2007
Attempting to put down what happened that day in perspective itself is strange, since the day was a literal roller coaster ride.
It started with me having to pick up wife’s father-in-law from the airport as D-Day was approaching 2 weeks from July 7th.
So when her call came as I was travelling back with dad, I was expecting she wanted to speak to him in her eagerness. My heart sank when she said her water bag burst. At first, I thought she meant the water pipe burst and my first thought was where will I get a plumber at this hour?
My wife, knowing how naive I could be in such matters, told me in a calm voice not to send off the cab once we get to the house as we would need to go back in the same cab straight to the hospital. So the relaxed moment on seeing a relative after a long time transformed into anxiety in the very next minute.
We arrived in the hospital at 8.30 am and the nurses gave us the briefing (in a matter-of-fact way) that my wife’s contractions were going on smoothly and my first-time dad heart contractions subsided and we began waiting game patiently. The nurse would come every hour, do her checks on the missus and inform us that the opening hasn’t reached the desired width for the doctor to be activated.
So I listened to wife as she in her happiness got back to What-should-we-name-the-baby game, while her parents waited outside and started praying, being the devout spiritual couple.
As the clock ticked, my wife’s moods changed from baby-naming to swear-word-calling as she clutched me tight. The pain started hitting her.
It is difficult to describe how bad the pain is, but I know her nails were biting into my flesh. Truth be told, I was more anxious seeing her face then feeling the numbness in my hands as she gripped me.
The nurse recommended an epidural to numb the pain and we promptly asked her to go ahead. We went back to some relief after the epidural but 3 hours later when the nurse did a check at 7 pm (and shook her head), both our contractions, hers between the legs and mine between the ribs reappeared.
The doctor’s arrival at 8pm sort of reassured me as I was asked to step out for 10 minutes. After 15 minutes, the doctor told me that we have no option but go in for an Emergency Caesarian. That was when all Hell broke loose.
After 8.30 pm, July 7 2007
The announcement over the hospital loudspeaker to all members of the Operating Theatre that this was Green Alert was being broadcast as I broke the news to my in-laws.
I tried my best to hide the panic, but seeing the urgency of the hospital staff and listening to the Broadcast message and my wife being wheeled out from the Maternity ward to the Operating Theater, was enough to send both in-laws down on their knees in the waiting room. I retreated to one corner of the room trying to remember the ‘Our Father’ prayer, but the only words running through my head at that time was ‘Why? God, Why?’. Believe me; I can’t remember a second of what happened from around 8.45 pm to 9.45 pm except watching my in-laws going through a series of prayers.
At around 9.50 pm, the doctor came out and as he approached me I really felt a heart-sinking phase (if that’s what it feels like).
I didn’t even remember that wife had gone in to deliver a baby as all I wanted was just to see again the woman whom I was happily discussing baby names moments ago. So when he shook my hands and said “Congrats Dad, it’s a Boy”, the first thing I blurted was “How’s my wife, doctor?”. I felt relieved when he assured me that “She’s fine and the delay was due to her bladder being full”.
Then the moment came. The nurse appeared with a wailing baby boy.
As I looked at the baby, he sort of looked back at me, stopped his wailing and then unleashed a clean stream of water right in front of my astonished eyes!
I could only mutter to myself, “This must be the modern-age son. That’s the sort of respect he has got for his dad !”. No proud feeling of achievement at that time even for a 1st time dad,. Just a subsiding of all the anxiety as my heart finally resumed its regular beat.
Little tip: Make sure you have handy all your immediate relatives & key friends’ contact number. This would save you time. You can prepare a text message in advance as well, but only the most optimist of dads would have been so prepared. Make sure your phone battery is charged full.
Do not forget your wife amidst the joy of looking at this new creature in your life. She needs all the moral support you can give her (she probably expended as much energy spent as a fight with Mohammad Ali). There used to be 2 of you and now there is 3 and 3 is more company than 2.
To all first-time dads: Bon voyage on your nappy-changing trip!