The Day I Became A Dad

Posted: February 3, 2012 in family
Tags: ,

This is the crazy story of the day Crosbi was born. Dudes, I know this may seem girly, but if you show your girlfriend or wife this story and talk about how cute it is, you’re gonna earn points. Plus, if I don’t write down these memories, they’re going to escape me.

(If you want to read Tara’s version of this day, go here)

Here goes.

There have been only two times in our marriage when Tara woke me up screaming. The first time was right after we got home from a quick trip to Seattle. It was March 10. She flung open our bathroom doors at 6:00 am and screamed, “Todd, I’m pregnant!”

The second time was November 21 at 3:15 am. This time it was a more calm, “hey Todd, I’m pretty sure my water just broke”. I vaguely remember jumping out of bed and running into the bathroom and talking to her but I have no idea what we talked about. Ten minutes later it hit me. The realization hit me that this was the day. My nerves didn’t calm down for nearly another 24 hours.

We took all the childbirth classes though so it was cool. We watched all the gross videos and took the tour of the nursery and knew where to park the car in 1 of the massive 3 parking garages. It was cool – we could do this. That’s what I kept telling myself. Ok, I knew Tara could do it. But me? Oh boy. I don’t pass out at the sight of blood (my family butchers a cow every year FOR FUN) but for some reason all that consumed me during Tara’s pregnancy was making sure that I stayed vertical during the delivery.

We tried to go back to sleep since the contractions hadn’t hit yet but that was a stupid idea because we both knew we wouldn’t sleep. We just laid in bed – both of us acting like we were asleep and this was going to be ok somehow. Little did we know, this is the last time we’d fight sleep for several weeks.

About 7:30 am we packed up the car and headed to the hospital. Before we left the house another reality hit – this would be the very last time that it was just be the 2 of us in our house. Tears quickly followed. It was a rainy, dreary day in Nashville but that didn’t bother us at all. Until we realized that it was rush hour in Nashville. On a Monday. Oh, and rain automatically adds about 20 minutes to the commute. So instead of taking the freeway we decided to hop across a few country roads, which we’ll never forget. After we emerged from the back roads, the only thing on Tara’s mind (besides the now 10-minute-apart contractions) was donuts. This is why I married her. We think alike even when we should be thinking about other, more obvious things.

I pulled into the Dunkin Donuts parking lot only to see a line at the drive thru backed up around the block. My quick problem solving skills kicked in and I found a parking spot right by the door and ran in. Here’s my conversation with the lady working the counter:

Me: Hey, I’d like 3 of those donuts and 2 of those, please.
Her: You know, if you get 6 donuts, it’s actually cheaper because you’re getting a half-dozen deal.
Me: No thanks, I just need the 3 donuts there and the 2 there, please.
Her: (to coworker) It’s been a long time since someone has turned down more donuts to save money. I mean, this guy wants to pay more for 5 donuts…
Me: (interrupting) Ma’am, my wife is in labor in the car, can I just get these donuts for her, please?
Her: HOLY SH!T! Here you go, good luck!

I’ve never seen Tara eat donuts with such grace. Although I’m not sure she’s going to like me saying that. Those were the best donuts ever though. And those several times throughout the day that I remembered we were going to have baby, I nearly tasted the donuts again. They would also be the last thing Tara ate for 13 hours.

We got to the hospital, got checked in and I setup Tara’s favorite show, The Golden Girls, on the computer to help ease her nerves. Her mom was flying in over the lunch hour because Tara was scheduled to be induced that night. It was perfect timing. She showed up, Tara cried, her mom cried, I cried, the nurse would’ve cried but she was too weird to cry. It was a touching moment. It was also the ONLY time we had a strange nurse.

It truly was perfect timing because about 2 hours after her mom rolled her luggage into the delivery room, Tara’s contractions really kicked in. Now, dudes, there’s no way to explain the pain behind these things. Tara’s pain tolerance isn’t that high, but when you watch your wife double over in pain (while smashing each bone in your hand because you offered a hand for her to squeeze – and holy cats can she squeeze) when the contraction monitor  hits 35 and starts to come back down, you realize that when that chart hits 100, you better have a hand surgeon nearby to repair what’s left of your phalanges. Watching your best friend go through that breaks your heart. It’s unbearable. But, she knew she wanted an epidural, so we called the nurse and they brought in the drugs that relieved the pain.

Now, no matter what your stance is on epidurals, you have to admit that it’s a genius thing. I’ve had several surgeries and at no point did I think, “you know what would be really manly? If I had this surgery without any pain medication. Go ahead, Doc, slice my knee open and repair what you’ve gotta, because I can get through this! I’m a man!” Nope. Not ever did that cross my mind.

Getting the epidural was a big hurdle for me in the whole not passing out thing. I saw the needle during the childbirth class and I watched the video of the epidural process. But they make the dad sit own and hold the baby’s momma still. Those contractions don’t stop during the insertion of this huge needle either, so how Tara kept herself still enough for this is beyond my reasoning. She curled her body into a hunchback position and put her forehead right onto mine. We both emerged 10 minutes later – Tara the obvious winner. About 15 minutes later, she was numb from mid-back down to her toes. Numb enough that she took a nap. Praise the good Lord for epidurals.

From there it’s a bit of a blur. It’s exactly like your wedding day in the way that you remember vaguely some random details about drinking something or eating something or saying hi to someone, but time disappears. You remember things later and think, “did that really go like that?” or “was I really that nervous?” but mainly your concern is making sure your bride is getting all the attention she deserves.

Somewhere between 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm we switched rooms because, well, that’s one of the details I don’t remember. But we switched. And in the next room I would meet my daughter. Finally. All that time I spent talking to Tara’s belly would be gone and I’d be talking directly to the person who was in that belly.

It's a girl!

Tara was a trooper for a whopping 18 hours. And at 9:18 pm on November 21, Crosbi Adelle made her entrance into this world. At 9:18, her first breath took all my breaths away. She was stunningly gorgeous and with a full head of dark hair. At 9:18 pm the doctor handed me the most beautiful, naked, slimy, screaming baby and my whole world changed. I knew I’d love my child – I KNEW it – but there’s something about holding your child in your arms that makes the word “love” seem so weak. For the first time in my entire life, I was speechless. I couldn’t say anything. This little 8 pound, 11 ounce human wrecked me to the core.

Tara and I spent about 30 minutes, just the 3 of us, praying with her and for her and just thanking God for this perfect day that we had no right being a part of because we’re screwed up people, at best. Our parents were in the waiting room dying to meet their granddaughter, so I brought them in. Another rush of emotion is handing your child to your parents. Holy crap.

During Tara’s pregnancy, I never once thought about the fact that being a parent would make me feel older. Mainly, my thoughts consisted of what I could do for Tara – running errands, making dinner, giving nightly massages for upwards of 2 hours, etc. My only thoughts on age were about how my parents – the parents who are invincible as a kid, who don’t get older, who can do anything, who take care of you no matter what – and how they were going to be grandparents. That was odd to me for some reason. But handing my child to them, and even to Tara’s parents who have been like parents to me for nearly 15 years, was an incredible feeling. I wondered about that feeling while Tara was pregnant and thought several times if this exact moment had crossed their minds when they handed me over to their parents with the same “can you believe this?” feeling that I had.

Tara and I finally got to her room about 1:00 am. What a day. We held our baby girl and inhaled cold chicken strips and a leftover lunchbox sandwich. Tara was a hero that day. She was exhausted and overwhelmed and filled with joy and so many other things.

It was a very long day, but it was the day I became a dad.

Meeting the Fockers

  1. Ashley Chambless says:

    Why I tried to read this while 8 months pregnant, I do not know. Here come the waterworks! Great story! 🙂

  2. Jeanine Atwell says:

    Amazing, Todd! You are a Husband and Father both a little strange to me! God is awesome; you and Tara have an incredible story that God will use to bring glory to His name! Much Love-Momma J9

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