“When I was a young man, I didn’t think about having a family. My wife and I were too poor to have babies. Then all of a sudden, one came along and scared the hell out of us because we had no money. Once the baby arrives, you make do somehow. You fall in love with the baby and life adjusts itself. You find you don’t need as much money as you thought. When that happens, you can ask the questions that should have come before the baby. ” ~Ray Bradbury
The whole process scares me, which might surprise some of you if you know my general easy-going, care-free nature. But it does. It scares me; so many things could go wrong. However, this was our third time so the fears were a little less, but not much less.
The labor is almost surreal. It’s hard work but it’s hard work that I just watch. I feel no pain physically except that if I let Michelle hold my left hand, she squeezes hard enough to make bruises around the edges of my wedding ring. I probably shouldn’t complain about that. My only real pain is mental. Some for Michelle, as I watch her. Some for me, as I wonder how long it’ll go on forcing me to watch.
The pushing is pure elation. After laboring for hours, to push is a relief: a relief to Michelle because it’s the culmination of her hard work and relief to me because it’s nearly over; the scary-ness, I mean.
Then the crowning moment; literally, the head crowns through and you can see the hair, then shoulders and then he’s out. Crying almost immediately; a good sound. All the scary thoughts of what could be right or wrong with him are nearly over as he appears to be healthy.
Now Michelle to worry about; will she fare well here after the birth? She appears fine but there are lots of internal things that I can’t see going on. A little time passes and she’s fine; pale and tired but fine.
Judah is being weighed and checked and poked and wiped. He cries, which is wonderful music. Now I have to take him and Michelle and Collin and Elsa home to keep them all healthy and happy and loved.
It all seems so precarious. The perfection of it all is fragile in my eyes. With the health of bodies and souls in my care, I’m aware that every decision, every action, every question, every word matters more than I can predict. Sometimes I wonder if I’m coming up with the correct answers because I’m not sure if I’m yet asking the correct questions of myself. But I have good parents, good in-laws, and good friends so their presence stiffens my resolve to do well at fatherhood. And I have a creator God who loves all of us and who puts purpose into our steps.
The whole process scares me but I intend to walk well. Thanks to all of you who are walking with me.