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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Lasting Imprint Of Birth On Fathers

We were hanging out with our great neighbors and we were chatting about our birth experiences.  As I was talking about Johnathon's birth, I tensed up as I always do.  What I didn't expect was the way that Michael tensed up.  I saw his jaw go tight and his hands clench.  I was surprised.

I shouldn't have been though.  Why wouldn't he be bothered by the same things I was?  He had to watch me go through it all.  He had to be helpless off to the side while everything I wanted for my first birth went to pot.  Looking at it from his side, I couldn't imagine being in his shoes.

My friend Jessica was there also, but she hadn't had to listen to me for my entire pregnancy speak about how I wanted this birth to go.  :)  She didn't have to go home with me after and deal with the mess afterwards when it didn't go how I wanted. 

I didn't want much.  I wanted to have a intervention free birth.  I had always wanted to have a homebirth, but after our loss I decided to trust a doctor with the life of this baby.  The doctor did as best he could during the pregnancy and for most of the birth.  It wasn't all his fault.  The hospital wasn't the best, the doctor could only fight so hard against the hospital policies, my water breaking before labor began, Johnathon being early, the management by the nurses was terrible and we just didn't know what to do.

I won't go into it all right now, but Michael watched me cry in pain and be called a liar by the nurses.  He saw my epidural botched and me cry again.  He went without sleep just as I did.  He watched our dream of a normal birth go out the window.  He sat next to me and listened as they surgically removed our first born out of my belly.  He watched me cry when I was told that I would never breastfeed our son.  He was there while I tried to heal and take care of the precious baby that we had made.

Why wouldn't he be as changed by it all as I was?   He had the same fears and anxieties as I did going into that birth and even more coming out of it.  Johnathon's birth changed me forever.  I have come to realize that it changed Michael too.  He just doesn't show it or express it as I do.  

He is the love of my life.  We have gone through a lot and we haven't even scratched the surface of our life together.  I will try to do better at remembering that it isn't only me going through these life changing moments.  He has changed right along with me.  It feels good not to be alone in my thoughts.

One thing hasn't changed.  He can still make me crack up with just a look.  Or a dance.  :)

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