This was the question that I asked right before I found out I was going to be a Dad for the first time.
Christine and I had been dating since January, right before I deployed for 6 Months. I’d known her since December 2009 and in June 2010, she was pregnant. Holy crap what the hell is going on!
I was at work when I got a text, “hey do you mind coming over tonight I want to talk to you”. Now where I come from that means one of two things, I am going to break up with you or I’m pregnant. Fortunately (at the time I thought unfortunately) it was the latter and Christine was 5 weeks pregnant. I think I’d been back in country for 6 weeks so do the math!
A few minutes pass and I can’t handle it, I give her a call. “What’s up” I ask, “nothing, I just want to see you” I get back. This goes on for a couple of minutes until I ask the question that will change my life forever “What’s wrong? Are you pregnant or something?” “Yes” I hear from down the phone.
WHAT THE F**K!
This wasn’t meant to happen to me! I’m not ready for kids! Do I have to marry her now? What the hell am I going to do!
Just a few things running through my head after that phone call and I’m sure if you’ve ever been in that situation you would have had similar thoughts.
So I left work. “Boss, I’m taking the rest of the day off” (Luckily we had nothing on and I had a good boss, thanks Jon!) Driving to see Christine, more thoughts. What are we doing? We can’t have kids together. I should mention, at the time Christine had a beautiful 4 year old Tahnee who I now consider my own and I am looking to legally adopt her in the coming year.
I called my mum, “Christine is pregnant” I shouted down the phone in a panicked voice. “Oh James, don’t worry, you’ll make an excellent dad”. Thanks for the encouragement mum but I’m not sure I can be a dad, I can’t even organise my own life let alone another person’s. I was 22 when all this was going on mind you.
What do you want to do?
There was no doubt in Christine’s mind. She was having the baby. I think because I am so good looking it was too good an opportunity to pass up. She’ll argue otherwise.
Being a complete newbie at kids and pregnant women, we discussed what was next and left the bigger picture stuff to another time when emotions and thoughts weren’t running circles in our heads.
Needless to say, we proceeded along the pregnancy pathway. Months and months passed, Christine’s belly grew bigger and bigger. My nerves grew bigger and bigger.
We found a place and moved in together. This wasn’t too hard for me, as living on a ship with 15 men in a room the size of a bathroom for months and months. Tahnee (Christine’s daughter) was all a bit lost I think. Suddenly she was moving into a strange house with a man her mother had been dating for 8 months, although 6 of those he wasn’t around and she was pregnant. Needless to say, Tahnee was excited to have a little sister.
26th March 2011
It was a Saturday. Christine was 3 weeks out from her due date. Her back pain was excruciating. Her knees were collapsing and I was scared. Last thing I needed was her falling and hurting herself. I should mention, I was deploying for 4 months in 7 weeks. Admittedly it was to Hawaii but I was leaving my now Fiancée for 4 months with a new born.
I rang the hospital, “look she needs to have this baby now! She’s collapsing all over the place. Enough is enough!” I politely shouted down the phone to the midwife. “I’ll ring the doctor and see what he says and call you back”.
Longest 5 minutes of my life!
“Present to the hospital at 0800 tomorrow”
That’s what it felt like. Right what are we doing with Tahnee? Is the car seat in the car? Is your bag packed?
Then I remembered. Crap! I am on my promotion course tomorrow and I can’t miss it. Please be a quick, uncomplicated labour! That night, I tossed and turned and tossed and turned some more. I was ready, well I thought so.
The next afternoon, Mikayla Grace Tew was born, 2.8kg heavy or for you non-metric types, 6lb 2oz.
My first, biological daughter. I held her, listened to her cry and the midwife asked “Would you like to feed her?” “How do I do that?” I asked being 100% serious. The midwife chuckled and told me it was simple.
As you can see in the photo, I was scared as hell.
Nothing you do will prepare you for the first time you hold your own child
I thought that I could read books, blogs and watch videos. But I’ll say it again. Nothing will prepare you for that first time you lay eyes on your child.
They are fragile, beautiful (even with cone shaped heads), vulnerable and looking for food. Go with the flow. I know in my situation I was scared as hell but it’s all about going with it. Sure, having a bit of background knowledge probably helped, but every situation will be different because if we were all the same, life would be boring.
Do a bit of research, but don’t expect it to be all peachy. Mikayla came out not breathing. We were lucky but a lot of people aren’t and my heart goes out to all of you. But as the saying goes, prior preparation prevents piss poor performance.
Also, listen. Listening is the best way to learn. If you don’t know, ask. The only stupid questions are the ones that aren’t asked.
Most importantly. Keep a level head. Nothing worse than falling apart in front of your partner/wife who is literally falling apart in front of you.
Have you got any tips or opinions to share?
Let me know in the comments below.