The Best Day of My Life; Part 2

Part one

This was news to me. He wasn’t supposed to come for two more weeks. The day before this I told Reba that I wasn’t planning on going to the beach party since it would be at least an hour drive back from the beach in the off chance she needed me. She had been put on bed  rest (which she didn’t obey; not even close) a few months ago due to these early contractions she was having, and I didn’t want to risk anything. But she said I was being silly, that there was no chance the baby would come this early, and that I needed to go.

I sped home, stopped at the apartment to grab a quick shower and a few things for her, then onto the hospital. Not too long after that, they wheeled Rebecca (who, as corny as it sounds, truly does glow when she’s pregnant) into the OR, and set up a curtain over her torso to protect my inexperienced gaze from the scene of the crime. Reba was scared, which is understandable given what was soon going to be done to her body. I’m amazed at the fortitude of the female race; treating pregnancy and birth upon pregnancy and birth as not too big of a deal. Men are brave in their own way, but not in that way. I’m certain The Creator gave this task to the right half of us. Having another human grow inside you and then pushing it out through a tiny orifice, or having it cut out of your stomach; that’s heady stuff. I will always stand in awe of women for their role in perpetuating humanity.

Behind the Fainting Curtain I tried to make casual conversation with Rebecca to distract her from her anxiety. “So have you heard Jay Leno’s zinger about Rosie O’Donnell and the Sasquatch?” No, I can’t remember exactly what my material was, but I think I told her about the beach and the Ipod and the dweeby but buff husband of the HR lady who awkwardly had his shirt off all day long even when everyone else was clothed because he was in his 40s and super buff and this was the time to show everyone (and who can blame him?). Then, just from looking at Rebecca’s face, I noticed her body being tugged around quite a lot, which surprised and nauseated me some. In these fancy days of sharp scalpels and Japanese robots I don’t expect a whole lot of pullin’ and pry-barrin’ and forcin’ in surgery, but the “experts” seem to feel differently.

After a minute of this the Dr. said “Ok dad, you better stand up and get the camera ready.”

I stood and peered over the curtain in time to spy them pulling out the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. He was bloody and purple and shriveled like all babies, but the miracle of this event and my involvement in it overwhelmed me. I had heard it was common for fathers not to feel an instant bond with their offspring so I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t surprised at being immediately overcome with the purest love and most primal connection with this baby.

Many people will say their wedding day was the best day of their life, and my wedding day was awesome. But when you really get down to it, weddings are symbolic things. You knew and loved your spouse for some time before your wedding day. I think the birth of one’s first child is the most singular and meaningful thing that will ever happen to a person. One second they aren’t there and you don’t know them, the next second they are and you do and you’re totally responsible for them. Nothing in the human experience can rival that.

I was concerned with how roughly and hurriedly the nurses were treating my young squire, but I deferred to their judgment in this matter. After a bit of bathing and debuting Oliver to his overjoyed mother, I followed him into the room where they do all the, I don’t know what to call it, processing, I guess; the weighing and measuring and pinching and prodding. Eventually the nurse left and I was alone with my boy. He was a calm, angelic baby from the start. I doubt the next fifty-some years of my life will offer me a sweeter, more serene, more profound thirty minutes than those I had singing and talking to my little boy and stroking his face as he lay looking at me through sleepy eyes. I couldn’t get over my duty to this baby. I needed to work hard to become a stellar example, a great husband and father, because this little fellow deserved all that. I still feel this. I’m light years away from where I want to be as a person but nothing motivates me to shed my flaws and mediocrity more than the thought of my doe-eyed darlings.

Oliver is three and a half now. He makes me laugh every day, which is one of the best things someone can do for me. He is an endlessly unique, fascinating, beautiful little boy. Part of me is curious to see him grow and age. Part of me wants to eternally freeze him where he is. I don’t like the flippant and insincere way I often hear people use the word “humbled,” so I don’t use the word lightly, but the thing that humbles me most in my life is the undeserved privilege I’ve been given to be his daddy, and I will always cherish that first day I had with him.

Oliver 3

Oliver 4

Oliver 5Oliver 7Oliver 8Oliver 9Oliver 10Oliver 11Oliver 12Oliver 13Oliver 15Oliver 17Oliver 18image3

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27 Responses to The Best Day of My Life; Part 2

  1. Christian says:

    Author’s note: For the 17 of you who read the post early this morning; in my first edition of this post I said “I will always stand in awe of women for their role–which is the main role by a factor of 20–in perpetuating humanity.” I meant that women do 20 times more than men in perpetuating humanity, not that their role as mothers is 20 times more important than the other things they do in their lives. I later realized that was unclear. Don’t be offended.

  2. Skewsome says:

    Great story Chris, thanks for sharing that. You captured the moment very well.

    Now I’ll just address the issue before any of you start to point fingers at Chris regarding the shower he stopped to take while he was in route to the hospital.

    Consider the following:
    1. Sand between the toes is really uncomfortable and is only comparable to the pain a women experiences during chi– well, scratch that one.

    2. If Rebecca wanted ensure a timely arrival of Chris to the birth of their first child she would have called earlier.

    3. They would have other children, what’s the rush?

  3. Eliza says:

    Christian, I might be a little out of control emotional right now, but wow I am crying that was so beautiful and tender and sweet and true! You captured it so well and it was so touching to me that even though you didn’t actually give birth and didn’t carry it you could still have that much of a instant bond, I didn’t know dads could, I always thought it took awhile. That description made me so excited to have this little one and experience that surreal moment all over again. Seriously beautiful.

    and lol to skewsome. good point.

  4. Troy says:

    Now let’s hear Davis talk about when they got Lyla and compare stories.

  5. Davis says:

    Troy, we encourage humor in the comments, but i think your inappropriate comparison of an amazing, life-altering moment to something as trivial as giving birth to a son is below you.

  6. Davis says:

    And Skew, yes, I was thinking the same thing. Kook, you’ve got some explaining to do.

  7. Braden Bell says:

    That was a great post, Kook. Well done, bro. Well done.

  8. Braden Bell says:

    LOL, Skew! I had exactly the same thought.

  9. Ryan says:

    Now I’m wishing I wouldn’t have suggested that Kook edited out his original line: “I sped home, stopped at the apartment to grab a quick shower and a few things for me and some buddies, headed back to the beach, and then, after the party, remembered about the hospital.”

  10. Ben Pratt says:

    Beautiful, and I concur on the instant daddy-baby bond. It might take time to master the dark arts of bathing an infant or getting the diaper genie to not stink, but loving one’s offspring is immediate.

    It’s actually kind of like a sudden, violent death, only backwards and wonderful.

  11. Rebecca says:

    that was actually the first time i have heard him recount this story and some of those details i never knew happened.
    the “quick shower”- don’t get me started. i was just sobbing in the pre-op room because i didn’t think my husband was going to be there for the birth of our firstborn. he literally made it there as they were about to wheel me in the OR.
    great, great day, though. childbirth truly is a miracle and the most exciting thing on earth.

  12. Christian says:

    Davis and Skew, congratulations, you have just won the “Worst Friend and Brother of The Year” award. Your pooperoni pizzas are in the mail.

    Reba dear, you are misremembering. You told me the doc said we had some time and you wanted me to stop by the apartment to grab some things for you (and I got there at least 30 minutes before you were wheeled into the OR. Trust me on this). I literally took a 50 second shower. Not showering the sand and sunburn off would have been like having the Chinese sand and sunburn torture done on me.

    I’m starting my own blog, a private blog, for those of you who didn’t try to make a circus of my best day ever. I’ll email those of you who are invited.

  13. Sherri says:

    Do you really clean windows? Becuase you can really write. Loved this.

  14. Davis says:

    Kook, you can’t hide from this. The people want to know more about the shower.

  15. Andrea W. says:

    Such a sweet, sweet post, Christian. It’s so great to read what I assume many fathers feel at this major milestone. It’s also so interesting to me to see the difference in how you men felt versus the feelings I felt as a Mother. I loved seeing all those pictures of Oliver and the two of you together. I also love that you were naive enough to assume that mentioning you stopped for a shower wouldn’t get noticed. Sorry, it’s just one of those things you can’t win. I think most people would have done exactly what you did, but it just doesn’t sound good. Sand in your toes compared to childbiirth, especially c-section – you’re going to lose everytime.

  16. Christian says:

    Sherri, yes, I truly do clean windows. Which is what happens when a prodigy grows up under the oppression of two jealous, no-talent older brothers.

    Davis, I hope you your dog enjoy mail bombs.

  17. Tyler says:

    Very beautiful post Christian. I went through a somewhat similar experience 5 months ago and will further confirm the absolute bravery women have while preparing, and giving birth. When it comes down to crunch time in that situation, women look the task striaght in th eye and get it done. Very amazing.

  18. Katherine Lewis says:

    I loved it. Every word it. It’s okay that you stopped to take a shower. I can picture Scott thinking that a shower at that time would be a necessary thing to do. A little surprising that you admitted it and included it, but you made it to the hospital in time. You wouldn’t have been in a WORLD of hurt had you missed the birth by 50 seconds. I loved hearing this story. I look forward to these entries and comments everyday.

  19. Christian says:

    Ben, I was so caught up in ShowerGate that I forgot to mention loving your description:

    “It’s actually kind of like a sudden, violent death, only backwards and wonderful.”

    I love that. Very true. The only thing in our life as singular as birth is death, but birth in singular in the awesome sense.

    Andrea, I actually did think about it when I put the shower part in there. I thought “hmm, I wonder if this will sound weird since I talked about what a rush I was in,” but I decided to leave it in there because my readers deserve the unvarnished truth from dddt. Which is why I do exposes on innocent families from my old neighborhood. Skew’s is next, btw.

    And for the sake of full disclosure, I will freely admit that I also intended to get a pedi, but the Vietnamese place by the apartment was closed.

    Tyler, was this your first child? Boy or girl? Congratulations, man. They look it in the eye and get it done. True story. That’s a pep talk I give myself about my colds sometimes, so I don’t think I could do pregnancy/delivery.

    Katherine, it’s great to see you on one of my posts instead of Davis’. I hope ShowerGate has shown you how rude and smug he is and this will become a permanent switch. Anytime you talk about Scotty it makes me either smile big or laugh. Anytime you compare me with him it makes me feel proud and happy.

  20. Dave says:

    Christian,

    Thanks for sharing the best day of your life. I can totally relate. Madison was also C-section. I never thought of the wedding day NOT being the best day of my life, but I really like your perspective on that. I agree.

  21. Jenny says:

    I loved this post. It’s very cool to hear the story from the dad’s perspective. As a recipient of the big C, I recall the pulling and tugging. It’s hard to describe… just surreal.

    The shower comments are hilarious. I was wondering the same thing. He stopped for a shower??? Should that count as a dumb thing?

    I’m glad you made it.

  22. Christian says:

    Thanks Jenny. Did feeling the tugging make you queezy at all?

    And the shower comments weren’t hilarious. They were inappropriate.

  23. Jenny says:

    Nope, no queasiness, just a feeling of “I can’t believe this is how it really works”. I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t the push/ pull/ tug equivalent of me working in the yard. My son was huge, 10lb9oz, and the doctor was tiny, ~90-100 lbs on a good day, so I was sort of amazed by her strength.

  24. Danica says:

    A) What a sweet post, and you really are a gifted writer (as are your brothers). Loved your perspective and your insights were spot on.
    B) Oliver is so cute, and I loved all the pictures. I have to say I’m jealous of how cute and tan Reba looks right after giving birth…
    C) The part about the dweeby but buff 40 year old was so hilarious.
    D) Obviously you’re super righteous and the Spirit told you to plug your phone in and check your messages so it also surely impressed you to take a shower before meeting your firstborn.
    E) My son’s 3.5 years old too and I also want to freeze time and keep him this awesome guy who cracks me up all the time and is so sweet most of the time.

  25. Christian says:

    Dave, maybe my wedding day would have been my best day ever if one of the two families hadn’t been too cool to let loose on the dance floor at the dinner. I’m just saying.

    Danica, WELCOME BACK! I was about to send some police officers over to your place to make sure nothing had happened to you.

  26. maria says:

    I couldn’t even be married to a person that thinks the birth of child is a merrier occassion that our wedding day, not to mention someone that will out family needs above those of his marriage…. Sorry, but reminds me of the reasons why, as a woman I decided not to have children in the first place….. Then again, I am at the wrong page, am I???? If the woman really had to go through half of what this guy tells here, I am not cut out for it, either…

  27. Christian says:

    Maria, you cut me to the quick.

    Mostly I just mean that the birth of your first child is the most singular experience you’ll ever have. One minute everything is normal, the next minute you have a human being in front of you that you created and are totally responsible for. Marriage day is awesome. Especially if your grandpa tells a story at your wedding dinner about your conservative mom getting caught water ballooning; a story that has nothing to do with you but is simply one he felt like telling at the moment.

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