When I launched this blog back in September of 2014 I obviously knew that I was going to have a kid, because otherwise a dad blog would be an extremely stupid idea. But that didn’t really mean anything to me, in the sense of what it’s like to actually have a child in my possession. I thought it did but, until that little goopy Golem came gurgle splurgling out of my wife’s nether regions, it was all speculation. Then, on 2/25/15, which is a cool ass birthday, numerically speaking, my offspring sprung himself out of the womb and into my arms. Boom, in an instant I become the greatest dad that ever lived. Go me!
That was also around the time I fell in love with an 8lb. ball of slime-covered pink-ish flesh named Franklin Nathaniel Prather IV, aka Four, aka my son.
The birth went down in the typical fashion. Lisa, my wife, informed me that her water broke on a Monday afternoon. She called the groinocologist who told her to head to the hospital. As any responsible adult would, she decided that we’d go the following day, depending on whether or not we’d have time to watch The Blacklist first. Tuesday morning came and she still felt fine so I went to work while she stayed home and made meatballs.
Meatballer, Shot Caller, Bra-ler.
While the meatballs were simmering she called the hospital and they let her know that she should come in right away. So, when I arrived home from work, she suggested that I had time to go to Crossfit before dinner because “right away” is such a vague term. It occurred to me that I might be making a poor decision by going to Crossfit, mostly because my back was a little sore. Oh, and because my wife was having a baby. But honestly, my physique has been looking so good lately that I have to keep my priorities straight, so off to the gym I went. When I returned Lisa had dinner all ready for me, as any good wife in labor should, so we ate some delicious meatballs with her mom then lazily packed up and headed to the hospital.
“Patients ONLY”? Then I’m preggers, bitches. Open up.
Given Lisa’s casual demeanor over the previous twenty-four hours, I wasn’t completely convinced that she was in labor. However, when the nurse performed the examination she confirmed that the water had, in fact, broken. We were here to stay.
Because she read too many hippy birth articles written by women who probably don’t shave their armpits, my fit, tough, Spartan Racer wife had been determined to go through the labor process naturally, sans drugs, in order to fully experience the miracle of childbirth. Unfortunately, they needed to induce labor because, although her water had broken, she wasn’t having any contractions. Once the water breaks, both mom and baby are at high risk for infection so the labor process needs to get kick started. We asked every question you could think of and waited as long as we could, but ultimately the risk of our baby catching an infection outweighed her desire to avoid medical intervention. They started the induction drip and we settled in for the HOLY SHIT WHY IS SHE SCREAMING?
Apparently the contractions are pretty horrific when they induce labor and get progressively worse as they increase the amount of the drug. Lisa went from, “Ouch these are uncomfortable” to, “Oh god, these are unbearable” in about 4 hours”. Now, lest you think my claims of her being “tough” are exaggerated, I’ve seen her complete a 13-mile Spartan Beast on what was essentially a broken foot. Lisa doesn’t just give in to pain. She’s been with me for over five years which I think speaks to her pain tolerance. So, when she looked at me at 3am and said, “Would you be disappointed in me if I asked for an epidural?” I thought what every loving, compassionate husband would think—I may finally get to go to sleep. Epidurals for everybody. First round is on me! Less than an hour later we were both out cold.
Suck it, natural childbirth.
Our doctor arrived the next morning and informed us that we were approximately two hours away from having a baby.
I’d like to order two large pizzas, a side of fries, and an epidural.
At that moment, for the first time, I actually started to get a bit nervous. It seemed like I was going to have a kid before lunch and I eat on a really strict schedule. What if I didn’t get to eat on time? Would the lack of protein cause my biceps to shrink 1/4356 of an inch? Could low blood sugar cause me to feel mildly irritable? What if my tummy grumbled uncomfortably? This baby is a couple of hours away from existing and is already a pain in my ass. My hangry musings were interrupted by the nurse coming in to get Lisa started on her pushing. Pushing real good.
I’d love to have some dramatic story about how it took her 6,000 hours of labor to squeeze the baby out but it went both quickly and smoothly-ish. Lisa’s pushing was pretty effective which I attribute to the fact that
I force her to she works out consistently. I stood to one side holding her leg in an awkward position while offering words of encouragement like, “You get to have my baby!”, “Look how great I am at holding your leg!”, and “I don’t think you’re going to infringe on my lunch hour, good deal!”. Suffice to say that she is a very lucky girl and I am the epitome of a birthing coach.
You’re doing great, me. Stay strong! And that shirt looks really good on you.
When not single-handedly making the labor go well with my leg holding and word saying, I was watching her lady love-tunnel for the appearance of a baby head. A lot of things came out while I was waiting, none of which were a newborn baby. At one point the doctor said he would use a vacuum to suck the baby out which sounded awesome until I realized it wasn’t a Roomba or even a DustBuster. They have some sort of special skull sucking machine that clamps down on the babies head turning it into a living Stretch Armstrong doll. Finally, the giant gooey head of my heir parted her um, parts, and started smushing out. I was transfixed as the
horror unfolded most joyous of events took place before my very eyes.
In every language the term, “miracle of childbirth” translates literally to, “That’s fucking gross.” After the misshapen head rips through an opening that’s ten sizes too small, the entire body basically slurps out like a rubber chicken covered in glop. When it was completely out I panicked for a second thinking that they might try to hand it to me and no way I was touching that thing.
I must have some gorilla DNA because look at his face.
He’ll be swatting planes off the Empire State Bldg in no time.
Fortunately they dropped the creature on to Lisa’s ample bosom for some skin-to-skin before they shuttled it over to a table for a quick weigh in and wipe down.
Apparently they try to see if the babies head will pop off to make sure he’s healthy.
Moments later the grossest ball of snot that I’d ever witnessed in person looked like a tiny baby boy/MMA fighter after a brutal beating. The nurse handed him to me so that I could have a brief moment before returning him to Lisa.
I held him the way one might hold the most fragile glass, or something made of egg shells. He felt almost weightless in my arms. I stared, hypnotized by his little face. In that instant, everything, every person, and every moment I’d ever experienced, ceased to exist. There was only this tiny newborn baby who was more meaningful to me than all that had come before him and all that would come after him. At a healthy eight pounds even, this boy entered the ring of life as the undisputed heavyweight champion of my heart.
A few seconds later I handed him off to his mommy and he was instantly asleep, lulled by the sound of her heart. I stood next to the bed, beaming proudly at my family, and was hit with the most powerful realization of my life.
I am a dad.