This past August my wife and I welcomed our second son into this world. His birth was profoundly impactful in many ways . My oldest sons birth was much more of a whirlwind and I can’t really recall much of the experience. I just remember being so nervous I could barely stand and when he finally came out (after some complication) I cried so hard that without self restraint I nearly toppled over. Baby number two was a whole new scenario because I had a pen and notebook with me. Paragraph after paragraph of highs and lows and long winded thought processes that don’t quite come across as concise. Regardless, I want to write about my experience with my wife during the birth process. Not so much as the actual detailing of the delivery, but more along the lines of what I was feeling. You see, I’m a very anxious person and sometimes my stress level can get quite elevated rather quickly. Needless to say, I don’t do well in hospitals. So when I’m stuck in one, with my wife who is in an exorbitant amount of pain and a child who is coming out not breathing I was on a razor wire tightrope walk across complete mental calamity.
“I sit here, next to my wife hooked up to machines. One adds a liquid that will induce labour. Another is just an IV to keep her hydrated. An antibiotic for an infection she has, My son is on the way!” This is the first sentence appearing in my little birth journal. I completely realize that what my wife goes through and has been through is more than I can ever comprehend. That being said, she can definitely handle stress where I crumble like a poorly played jenga block. So I’m going to try and break down my long night with my wife and our son and just what was going on in my mind. My stress level was pretty much even keel to start the day. It was unusual circumstances to begin with as my wife was at the hospital that afternoon for a check up. I was at work and received a call from her, letting me know that she would not be leaving the hospital without a child and that I need to get my butt down there post haste. When I arrived, she was in a gown and in a birthing ward all ready for delivery. The nurses came in and started hooking her up to machines. The one that gives me the most heart palpitations is (no pun intended) the heart monitor. We actually hear the baby’s heartbeat, unless he moves away from the monitors (which are attached to my wife’s very pregnant belly) or is in distress. There were moments when we were getting no heartbeat at all. In hindsight it was merely the movement of my son. My mind however started to drift toward a very negative reasoning and there were points when my wife had to ask me to leave the room for a few minutes and reconfigure myself.
“Nerves, anxiety, stress, all rolled into one gigantic lump in my chest. I’m not even giving birth here, I’m just “moral support. My hands shake as I write this now, with the sound of my unborn sons heartbeat echoing through my head.” Knowing my family is quite possibly in the best hands available to handle any minor blip in the radar or major meltdown, deep in the back of my mind my world is slowly closing in on me. There are points where I force myself to take a piss in the washroom, meanwhile I’m just standing there either looking at complete nonsense on my phone or constantly running water over my face. “I consider myself lucky to be in the presence of many well educated and fully equipped professionals. They ensure the safest birth possible. However, I’ve been privy to many horror stories that haunt me to this day.” With the rise of social media and the internet landscape that engulfs us all, you hear and see stuff you really don’t intend to seek out. It’s interesting how you never come across a breached birth until two weeks before your child’s due date. Funny how that works out.
“I’m calmer now after a couple of pisses, an attempt at a crap and my wife threatening to kick me of of the delivery room. I get overwhelmed….very easily. Struggle is an understatement when it comes to feeling stressed, especially in my mind. Going zero to my family is dead is a recurring thought right now. I notice myself shaking, dropping things, not thinking clearly.” I can remember writing this passage, roughly on the third time I had dropped my cell phone on the ground. As I was writing this very short little set of thoughts, I could feel myself going from “Ok, I got a handle on this” to “I think I might pass out” in the span of mere seconds. Times like these, I wish I could call upon my inner Sam Harris and go with the “free will doesn’t exist” theory and just go with the notion I have no choice in the matter here. Whatever happens good or bad, my will had no effect on the outcome. For me, that is just an impossible perception to view my life. Holding a child and kissing it and loving it so much you find yourself crying for really no reason at all while you stare at it for half an hour while it sleeps. A child is a game changer, in the best way possible. A kid is the Michael Jordan of life decisions.
Perhaps in the deep dark recesses of my subconscious I believe if I suffer hard enough, really stress the hell out until I’m almost sick with anxiety, I’ll take a little bit of the potential danger away from my unborn son and his journey into this world and apply it upon my shoulders. If that were true, I know for a fact I would do it every day again and again to ensure the safety of my children. I’m ok with sacrificing myself for my children and my wife. If it comes to that, then what better way to go. Letting go of everything beautiful and all you might have accomplished to ensure the survival and betterment of the ones you truly love, a truly devine end. I’ll finish with the last paragraph I wrote before my boy was born. He and his brother have made life worth fighting for everyday. I wake up with a sense of meaningful purpose, a sense to create art and take in beauty. No matter how tense things might get for me, I have my light at the end of the tunnel.
“A true warrior never gives in. I fight everyday in this crazy life. Remain calm and functional though I might bend from time to time. Love my family with limitless affection. Continue to separate work Adam from Daddy Adam. It’s not my sons fault my day job drains his father mentally and physically. I must get stronger in every facet of life. If I continue to achieve my goals and live life to the fullest I get to set the best possible example for him and his brother. That’s one of the many meanings to this life. Live every second of it.”