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  • Writer's pictureChristensen

This Side of Parenthood

one of the first pictures of my son
First Cry

When my son was wiggling inside my wife’s womb, I would often imagine what it would be like when he finally came. I imagined myself awkwardly holding the little tike in my arms as he snuggled closer to me. Something out of one of those home videos. I would read him some of my favorite books, even if they were too “advanced” for him (is it ever too early to introduce the Narnian Chronicles to a child?). A little later, I would introduce him to some of the music I like and movies that he missed since he was born too late. I would enjoy just seeing the little guy grow up. Before he came, I thought about what it would be like to be a father, and I was filled both with excitement and trepidation.

He is here now. No more formless abstraction. The life of our son has truly begun, and our realities have changed.

So, how do I feel now? Excited and full of trepidation.

How did I feel when he first entered this side of the womb?

When I first saw him, I was overwhelmed with the experience. My wife and I had rushed to the hospital at 1 am with only maybe an hour or more of sleep for me and none for my wife. So, even though he came only five hours later, I was quite out of it from sleep deprivation. Also, labor is an emotional experience for both the mother and father.

During the labor, the nurses were rushing back and forth with these concerned looks on their face, and I was just left there wondering what was going on. My Korean is not to the level that I can understand medical terms, and so I was only able to piece together that my wife had high blood pressure while our son had low blood pressure. Not good. Later, I was to learn that they rushed the delivery because they were truly worried for both the mother and baby. But all I saw was looks of concern, and my own panic kicked in (but thankfully, I held it together).

Here is just a quick look into the delivery. At one point, they were asking my wife to push. The usual pushing at the end. But then one of the nurses jumped up onto the bed and started pushing down on my wife’s stomach! What the?! I didn’t know that could be done! But that was the urgency to get our little one out.

Because of all this, I think, in many ways, my emotions were a bit out of my reach when my son finally came because we were both just so tired. Don’t get me wrong. I know my wife was more beat than me. No contest! But she will have to write her own blog for anyone to get that side of the story.

When Daniel, my son, started making his way from the womb to the outside world, I tried to sneak a peek. I didn’t see anything because, honestly, I was scared to do so. Would it be too much for me? But I did see him seconds after he fully exited. I was full of awe. Wow! My son had finally been born! I muttered something like that in either English or in Korean. I’m not sure now. But I was just in awe of the experience and meeting the one who we had been expecting for nine odd months.

Second Day

And when they handed me the scissors to cut the umbilical cord, I hesitated. Shouldn’t I do this a bit later? Isn’t it too soon? I read in the book…danggit, just cut it, Chris! And snip, he was free!

The nurse then rushed to clean him off in this sterilized, plastic hospital “crib” that was full of the green towels you often see in hospitals. And she just went to rubbing some life into him. But he was strangely silent. For some reason, he wasn’t in the mood to cry right then. Trust me, he is now! Though, for a good minute or two, which seemed like an hour, my heart was in my throat. Why is my son not crying? The nurse slapped his butt a few times. Hey, stop hitting my son so hard! Okay…relax. They know what they are doing. Right? My heart was panicking. Is he okay? Please, please…say my son is okay!

And when he began crying, I was relieved. He was okay. My wife was okay. All was right with the world.

Since then, his cries haven’t been received with as much joy. Trust me. Now, it takes just a little discomfort for him to find the right octave for my ears to start hurting.

Though, overall, he has been a rather chill kid. My wife has said a number of times that God must have blessed us with a calm and relaxed baby because He knew how anxious and overwhelmed I can get.

After he started crying on his birth day, they placed him back in the “crib” and gave me permission to take pictures and videos of my little one. I had hesitated before then because I was hesitant to break the sanctity and seriousness of birthing. I didn’t think it was appropriate to photograph or video my wife as she was going through the labor. My place was to be there for her; not record anything for posterity. But when I got the permission to start snapping away, I did so with abandonment. Let’s just say that I easily hit 3,000 pics and videos within the first few days.

But probably my favorite video is the one where they introduced Daniel to my wife for the first time. They put him on her right chest near her face, and we, a new family just formed, were able to just meet our son for the first time. It is a precious memory that I will treasure until I die.

I can’t say that I had an epiphany like some fathers say they did. And I can’t say that I promised him the moon or anything grandiose. Maybe I was too tired? I just lived the moment.

Our son is becoming more and more a part of our family. He has pushed himself into it, and even though his father has a hard time accepting it sometimes, he has decided to stay with us.

And I just pray that God will grow me into the type of father this little guy needs.

Father and Son

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