He scrubs up ok

The moment the forceps came out, he fainted, clean on to the floor.
Waking, he stumbled out of the delivery suite and in to the hospital hallway, desperately seeking an exit.
He pushed through a door, hoping to be hit by a blast of fresh air.
Instead, he found himself in the placenta room, slops of afterbirth dotted around the benches.
Vomiting into his own mouth, he made a quick exit from there too.
Where was I while all this was going on?
I sure as heck wasn’t the one with her legs up in stirrups pushing a baby out.
Nope, I was the tiny baby in question, trying to force her way out of her mother’s body.
The man I’m talking about was my dad.
We’ve all heard stories about men during childbirth.
“He was my rock.”
“He passed out and needed his own bed.”
“He was terrified.”
“He hated seeing me in such pain.”
“He couldn’t stop laughing, hysterically.”
“He had no idea what to do.”
“He knew exactly what to do.”
I had no male anecdote of my own from when Master Seven was born.
The moment he emerged, my two hands were being tightly squeezed by my mother and one of my best friends.
And, besides my friend spending my labour nervously gobbling down the whole box of chocolates she’d bought for me, I have no real stories to tell.
They didn’t faint, didn’t seem frightened.
They just did what I’m sure most expectant fathers do in those last moments – watched and waited.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Learner Dad.
I knew he’d worry about the pain I’d experience but that he’d be there every step of the way.
As it turned out, an induction quickly turned into an emergency caesarean so the visions I’d had of him trying to help me through painful contractions quickly dissipated.
Now neither of us knew what to expect.
I was suddenly flat on my back, being stripped of my clothes, the midwife furiously scrubbing nail polish off my toes as a nurse tried to quickly insert a catheter.
Learner Dad was ushered into a bathroom to put on scrubs.
Terrified tears slid out the corners of my eyes as I stared at the bathroom door, willing him to emerge.
Coming out to a panicked partner, distraught at the prospect of having her tummy cut open, he started making jokes.
He wandered over to me, telling all the ladies in the room he looked like George Clooney from ER.
He didn’t.
He looked better.
In fact I’ve never found Learner Dad to be more handsome than on the night our Li’l Fatty was born.
You see, I don’t think there’s anything sexier than seeing a man become a father.
Women spend so much time being strong and capable, running a family.
Being a single mother had made me particularly independent.
But that night I’d discovered what it was like to just let go and rely on someone.
With Learner Dad sitting next to me in the operating theatre, I knew he’d make sure everything was ok.
And when Li’l Fatty decided to hold his breath in protest at being born, I didn’t hesitate in telling Learner Dad to ‘follow that humidicrib’.
Sure, I needed him.
But our baby did more.
And so, from the very first second of our new son’s life, I was experiencing what it was like to have a co-parent, someone with an equal share in the human being you just created.
I barely saw Li’l Fatty for the first 24 hours of his life, but you know what?
I slept peacefully.
Because he was with his dad.


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