“When I Became a Father”
It makes total sense that we ask mothers how they feel throughout their pregnancy and often encourage them to reflect on the 9-month long process, but it’s interesting to me though that we so rarely get a dad’s tale of the same experience. So, in honor of Father’s Day (or Month!), I decided to sit down with my husband and ask him about “how he became a father” and to get his perspective on the journey to parenthood. This is what he had to say.
1. How did Lanie tell you that you were going to be a dad? What was your initial reaction?
It was a Thursday evening and I had just arrived home from my client-site in Pennsylvania. I was tired but went into the bedroom to change, thinking I was just going to run out and meet a friend for a drink or two, not knowing yet that Lanie had called him and said I’d be late. Instead, when I opened the door, I found a stuffed Texans Toro wearing a Foster jersey (baby-size) and Texans bow, a Baylor onesie, and a note that said “Just in time for next season. Baby Towsley Due August 2013.” I was shocked, we had only decided to start trying the month before! I cried and hugged her the biggest hug I could. And then I met my friend at the bar and took a shot.
2. Did you do anything to actively prepare?
I didn’t really do much. I let Lanie do all the research since that’s her thing anyways and she relayed whatever information she found pertinent. We did practice some of the techniques Nina (our doula) introduced to us for relaxation and I did my “homework” by giving lots of massages. Other than that, I asked my friends, who were already dads, if I had questions about things.
3. What are some funny memories you have from during the pregnancy?
HA. I like to call it the “Turkey Incident”. Lanie was supposed to be at an art exhibit, but about 30-minutes after she had left, she comes tearing into the house with a grocery bag and when I asked what she was doing home, I swear I saw fire in her eyes and there may have been some F-bombs muttered. A few minutes later she sat down and inhaled the biggest turkey sandwich I’d ever seen. At that moment I knew the cravings were real and she returned to normal shortly after the first bite. However, I’ll never forget the fear for my life and anyone else’s who stood between her and that turkey sandwich.
4. How did you feel about Lanie’s decision to hire a doula and to choose an unmedicated birth?
I was all for it, 100% supportive. I knew she had done her research and she was passionate about it for her own reasons. The best decision I made during her pregnancy was to realize that she’s the one going through it, it’s her body and ultimately the decision should be 100% hers. A couple of our friends and her sister had hired doulas so I was comfortable when she told me she was interviewing a few of them. In the end, having Nina as our doulas was a great decision because I felt like she helped Lanie in ways I couldn’t or wouldn’t have known about.
5. Describe your reaction when Lanie went into labor.
Well, I don’t really remember it because it was 3 a.m. and I was half asleep. I vaguely remember opening an eye and seeing the biggest grin on her face when she announced that her water had broken…and then quickly filling with the dread at the realization that the A/C had broken…in August…on the day she went into labor. I also remember the howling laughter from the nurse when I called a few hours later and said, “I’d like to report that my wife is in labor!”
6. What do you remember most about the Labor & Delivery room?
This probably sounds bad because it’s another food memory, but at one point she just couldn’t live without M&Ms and again I saw the fire in her eyes. I went on a hunt for peanut M&Ms because she wouldn’t eat any other kind and, again, she returned to normal after the first bite. Her doctor later thought it was pretty funny when she asked for one while pushing. I also vividly remember the fear she conjured up in the residents who made the bad decision to walk into the room while she was in transition. F-bomb after F-bomb after F-bomb… Oh, and everyone told me not to look…but I did, and it was pretty cool.
7. Describe the first moment you saw your son.
I don’t really know how to describe it, seeing him on her chest for the first time. I know I was crying, she’s shown the pictures of that enough times. Honestly, I’m not sure I want to share that moment with anyone but her.
8. If you can remember, what were those first days and weeks like?
Ummm…tired. A blur. Scary. It’s all kind of a black hole, really. Breast pump parts, poop, creams I’d never heard of or wanted to know about. Sleepless. Yeah. But awesome.
9. What advice would you have for new dads?
Every child is different and you will go through something totally unlike what I went through. I learned that after listening to my friends’ “advice” and realized it didn’t apply to us. Nothing they told me really prepared me so walk into it without expectation. It will be hard and exhausting, but it will also be the best time. Also, support your wife and let her cry when she needs to. Let her make “crazy” demands and tell her she looks beautiful even with spit-up in her hair. And just know that it will end and it will get better. And then they’ll turn two. (groans.)