A Squeeze That Changed Everything

I’ve been meaning to try and put this into words for quite some time now – four months to be exact. I’ve wanted to join the quite excellent community of dad bloggers online. I’m sure a lot of them will understand when I say it’s just been finding the time that’s been holding me back. That, and a fear that I’ll never be able to put what is such a magical experience into words.

But hey, I’m willing to try.

This opening post is the story of how everything that I’d ever known changed in one magical moment. It may not exactly be a unique tale, and it may be littered with cliches, but I’ve done my best to put some pretty overwhelming feelings into something other people can read. Whether it’s people who have already been through the experience and may know just what I mean, people who have a child on the way and don’t know what to expect, or just those curious enough to read, I hope you enjoy.

Our pregnancy was pretty much plain sailing throughout. There were no blips, no scares and no emergencies, and for that I’ll be forever thankful. The only issue that we had was that the little man was just far too comfortable in his little home and, once we were ten days past our due date, we made our way to the hospital for my partner to be induced.

I was naive about this whole process. I thought, somewhat foolishly, that it would kick-start everything right away, and by arriving there at 8am that morning, we’d have our little baby by the afternoon.

Instead, we had a long and frustrating day, with very little happening. However, when I received a call at 3.30am to come in to the hospital, things were finally progressing. I’ve never been so excited and frightened at the same time in all of my life.

It’s not easy seeing your partner in a lot of pain. Even though there is such an incredible reward at the end of things, it’s really difficult to stand and watch her having to go through it all, and I’m sure I’m not alone among fellow dads and birth partners in feeling useless and helpless at times during the whole procedure.

As my newborn son was born, I seemed to see her in a slightly different light.

I can’t explain how much I loved her right then – or do now – but I was swelling with such pride that she’d come through this and created our little man. I’d never felt anything quite like it.

The moment that my little boy was born was, unsurprisingly, incredible. All of a sudden the screaming and midwives voices had gone, and I was in some kind of emotional tunnel.

Though that sounds silly, it’s arguably the best term I can think of to describe the feeling. Everything closed in around me, my eyes focused on this little blueish character and… I began to panic.

My partner was pretty out of it at this point. She was just relieved that it was over and was riding a gas and air high. She hadn’t noticed concern on the faces of the otherwise incredibly friendly and chirpy nurses. She hadn’t noticed them pulling the alarm chord as he was born, and though she was beckoning me over to the nurses table where he lay as the midwives tried to coax his first breath, she wasn’t as painfully aware as I was that things hadn’t been like they were in films so far… There was no piercing scream… There was no scream at all.

I, like every expectant parent before me, had laid awake at night thinking of everything that could go wrong. Hundreds of thousands of ‘what if’s’ consumed me right then, and I couldn’t face turning around to check on him. I was desperate to see his little face, but I just couldn’t’ look at him until I knew everything was okay. Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do. Maybe it was cowardly. I don’t know.

In what seemed like hours, but was probably only a couple of seconds, I heard a succession of tiny gasps, and tears overwhelmed me as the midwives waved away the extra help. Though he was a little drowsy, my little man was brought over to me and my partner, and our dreams became a reality.

alfie fingerAs he was put onto his mum’s chest, I held out my little finger, and his tiny, wrinkled hands wrapped themselves around it.

In that moment the panic was gone. My little boy was there for me, and I’d always be there for him. I can’t describe the love that I felt thanks to that little squeeze. I was no longer just me. No longer just the guy who goes to work everyday and for the occasional pint at the weekend. No longer just a guy who gets up, goes about his business and goes to bed. No longer someone who watches too much TV and plays too much Playstation.

From now on, I was a daddy. I was his daddy.

Each and every parent will have their own little moment in time that connects them to their children, and that was mine. It’s permanently etched into my brain. I can close my eyes at anytime and be returned to the moment that I knew my little boy was going to be okay.

It was the smallest of movements, but it was a squeeze that changed everything.