Friday, June 19, 2009

The Day He Became a Father

We interrupt our regularly scheduled blogging to bring you a post by the rarely heard from Heathen Family Daddy.

After being unceremoniously removed from the birth room, I wandered down the hall to change out of my medical gown. I walked out to my mother and Kelly’s Aunt TeeTee, in a haze of 35+  sleepless hours. They asked me what was going on, what happened, and I explained.   The epidural failed, they had to put her under.

I sat there and wondered, and felt the crushing pressure of fatherhood fall upon me like a bad film. I tend to daydream in epic, sweeping movie style.  This was like one of those crying movies that men don’t voluntarily go to see. I heard nothing about Kelly (or Violet ) and I began to worry. I created a mythical (although possible) fantasy of problems.

Violet rolled by me in her bassinet and nothing was said, I didn’t know it was her until later. After about 30 minutes a nurse asked me to come with her. She walked me to the “baby room” and told me:
“We don’t normally do this, but we have decided that it is important for you to see your daughter.”

If you know anything about baby areas in hospitals (and if you read mommy blogs, you probably do) babies are matched to parents with bracelets, and are low-jacked to the hospital with sirens and lights. I like to think they have a S.W.A.T. team of attractive, well-armed nurses. I was not “matched” to Violet yet, and they were violating every hospital policy to let me see my baby.

There I was.  Standing in front of my baby, one hand upon her bare chest feeling her small heart beat thump in time with the pulse in my hand, knowing that my wife was dead, and it was just she and I forever.

Now in case you think that I skipped part of the story, I didn’t. I had become convinced in my exhausted state that the reason no one was saying anything to me, that rules were being broken was because something serious had happened.

There was no doubt in my mind that Kelly was dead.

I cried. I cried for my daughter. I cried for my wife. I cried for our families. I cried for myself. I began to ask questions about Kelly and got answers like, “we haven’t heard yet”, “we will check again”. This was, as you can see, confirmation that Kelly was gone, and the doctor was coming soon to pull down his mask and say, “Mr. Crabtree your daughter is fine, but your wife didn’t make it.”

 I was living a bad country music song (and they all are).

After hammering on the recovery door, accosting every doctor that came out, I was taken to Kelly who was fine, and coming out of twilight sleep. It was an anticlimactic ending to be sure.

That day, I lost my wife, gained a daughter, and then regained a wife. For just over an hour Kelly was gone. It is a feeling that I cannot explain, and wish it on no one. The experience of gaining a daughter and a wife within an hour is a joy I cannot explain.  I’m thankful every minute, and appreciate my family every day, its cliché, but it’s true.

Kiss your baby’s father today. Without you, he is lost. He is a mess. Even if you aren’t together anymore, he needs you. He might be a good father, a father that tries hard (not always effectively), he may even be a piece of shit, but without you he is nothing. He is not a father.

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