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June 11, 2013

There are very few things in life that compare to the moment of discovery that you’re going to be a parent, that moment of realization that someone in this world will depend solely on you and suddenly every decision carries more weight than ever before. The consequences of those decisions immediately become more threatening and ever present. The nine months leading up to Madison’s arrival passed more quickly than any other nine months of my life… every week I found myself falling in love with Allison all over again. Each milestone along the pregnancy trail I watched her belly grow and, simultaneously, I could feel my heart expanding to house an amount of love I never knew was within my emotional range.

Four days after her projected due date, Allison woke me up on a Tuesday morning to calmly say her water broke and that she was getting in the shower. Wide eyed I asked her if she needed anything. What could I do for her? What happens next? Why was she getting in the shower? Even though the answers to all of those questions had been discussed in length for months leading up to this very moment, my memory (and every part of my being) immediately turned into complete mush.

We were ready… as ready as we could be. The car seat had been installed for almost a month. The bag of essentials and a corresponding checklist sat packed occupying a space by the door for several weeks. Madison’s first set of pajamas (and the dress she would come home in) was decided upon and eagerly awaiting to be worn. A set of contacts were combined in my phone appropriately named “The Labor List” of friends that wanted quick updates via text along the way.

Allison mentioned a few times during the pregnancy that at this moment in the journey she would want to take a shower before going to the hospital, an option I felt wasn’t out of the question or uncommon… until this moment arrived. She called the midwife who said to come in shortly for a quick office visit before rushing to the hospital in a cloud of panic (a decision that was undoubtedly bouncing around manically in my head). Allison then took a shower, painted her fingernails and toenails (a feat deserving of a medal given the obstacle of an overdue pregnancy belly) and adjusted her hair.  I don't want to look like a complete mess and scare her the first time she sees me was her reasoning.  Meanwhile, I tried to remain calm and mentally prepare myself for leaving as a family of two and returning as a family of three.

In a few hours we were pulling up to the hospital, after speaking with our midwife, only to drive into a construction zone located in front of the Labor and Delivery wing. We slowly continued rolling into the parking lot when a guy in a yellow construction hat and a vest decorated with reflective tape approached Allison’s window. As the window glided down I heard him say something about parking in another area when before he finished speaking Allison quickly informed him “I’m in labor!” to which he immediately had us pull up to the glass doors and called for valet.

A grand adventure is about to begin.
- Winnie the Pooh

We checked in filling out all necessary paperwork before being told we would have to wait in a triage room until our designated room was ready.  While waiting in a room with multiple beds used for sorting and assessment purposes, Allison was given her IV and fluids and told our room would be ready shortly. Allison made sure the nurse promised her our baby would not be delivered in this room. A room with four beds divided by half wall curtains hung by chains from a track maze attached to the ceiling. Two patients later who were also in labor, one in agonizing pain incapable of answering simple questions and the other whose toddler found the curtain dividers amusing as he ran underneath and between them all, I found my patience had surpassed its limit and I was on a hunt for our room.

Not ten minutes later, we were in our room (a room just for us with a TV we wouldn't have time to watch and a couch where my sleep deprived body would later come to rest and a private bathroom).  Allison was started on Pitocin while we watched her contractions reflected on the monitor.  While she said they were painful, they seemed manageable. The nurse and midwife would stop in periodically and after a few more hours decided to check her progress discovering she had dilated 3 centimeters which then led them to finish breaking her water.

The next hour was full of excruciating pain. The room inhabited by Allison and myself, a nurse and our midwife… we asked our family to wait in the lounge area as we didn’t want anyone else in the room during the delivery. The midwife noticed the contractions were building in intensity and coming one behind the other with very little time between them. Allison asked for an epidural and the nurse put in the request informing us the anesthesiologist was in surgery and would be here as soon as possible. I pushed heat pads into the lower portion of Allison’s back per her request while our midwife held her hand bedside.

 I felt helpless.

After one solid hour of the worst pain of her life, Allison was finally given the epidural she had been screaming for and almost instantly her demeanor changed. Relief. The midwife checked her again and was surprised to find she was dilated 10 centimeters - a full 7 centimeters in an hour!  Allison was allowed a much deserved nap to prepare for the pushing portion of the delivery and I grabbed a quick bite to eat updating our family in the waiting room (and The Labor List). Another sixty minutes passed before the nurse and midwife returned to the room and we woke Allison up to start pushing. She pushed for an hour until our baby girl made her appearance.

Finally.  She was here.

Madison was born four days overdue on a warm Tuesday night and before the clock collected enough minutes to qualify as Wednesday morning, I found myself in love with someone I just met. Together, her mother and I gave her life yet she returned the favor instantaneously by giving us purpose. A reason to live. A desire to be the best people, the best spouses, the best parents we never knew we could be.

She was perfect.

She was the perfect addition to our family. I remember pressing my lips against her forehead to experience what a perfectly sealed kiss felt like. I squeezed her into my chest for the definition of a heartbeat. I inhaled deeply, in hopes I would smell Heaven in that moment. After all, she was a gift from God.  She was the missing piece to a puzzle we didn't know existed.  She completes us.


  1. What lovely words to describe your daughter's birth. I could feel the overwhelming love and emotion throughout. (I can't believe Allison had time to paint her nails and toenails!!!!) Such a beautiful baby!

  2. Your writing brings literary beauty to the world of Daddy Blogging. Write on.

    1. Thanks, Peter. That means a lot... more than you know.


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