After Alex shared his side of Toby’s birth story, I thought I’d share a few more stories from dads. First up is Rob Beesley, husband of my friend Sharon; his adorable and touching story made me laugh…xoxo
Here’s Rob’s story:
Our daughter Ella was born on July 10, 2005 in a small hospital on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. I was a 26-year-old pizza delivery guy who hadn’t yet finished college. Needless to say, her birth changed my life for the better.
What was your role during the birth?
Basically I was in charge of everything easy: change the channel on the TV, get more ice, make sure Sharon’s chords didn’t get tangled while she was going to the bathroom and remind her how to breathe. Anything that didn’t require a medical degree. Or any degree at this point.
What did you do to make your wife feel better? Did it work?
A lot of what I tried to do to make Sharon feel better was done beforehand. I went to the birthing classes and watched videos of women delivering their children. I took a tour of the hospital and pretended to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I also became a master of the classic Hee Hee Hoo lamaze breathing.
During the actual delivery, Sharon noticed she could see my tongue during the “Hoos.” She finally screamed out, “Stop Hooing! I can see your ugly tongue. It looks like a slimy worm.” Fortunately I’d already had nine months of a hormonal pregnancy to prepare me for this moment, and I made sure that my tongue was not seen again for the rest of the delivery.
What were you thinking during the experience? What was your dominant emotion?
I remember thinking, I can’t believe this is happening right now. I’m gonna be a dad. I can’t believe I am going to be someone’s dad. I hope she gets Sharon’s smile. Should I grab the camera? Should I be standing by Sharon’s side or closer to the action? What if I don’t feel anything different when I see her? Why are we naming her Ella? We have less than $300 in our checking account. I hope she gets Sharon’s eyes. I wonder if she already knows how much we love her?
Who else was in the room? Thumbs up/down?
For most of the delivery, it was just the nurse, Sharon and me. Ella was born in Hawaii, and our families were a few thousand miles away. I loved it. Sometimes when people are around, I worry I am not going to have the right reaction. Like when someone gives me a birthday present and I hope my face looks how they wanted it to look when I open it. Not that I am comparing the birth of my daughter to a pair of socks. But that when it was just Sharon and me, my reaction could be sincere.
Any surprising things about the birth that you hadn’t expected?
Sharon’s water never broke and the amniotic sac actually came out intact. It’s officially called an ‘en-caul’ birth. It looked like a jellyfish was coming out! Then the nurse grabbed the sac and popped it with her hands. Immediately after that, I could see the very top of Ella’s head. She had long black hair and for a few minutes it looked like Sharon was going to give birth to a puppy. Sharon pushed some more, and I was relieved to see the face of a baby.
How did you feel right when the baby was born? Freaked? Tired? Happy? Nothing at first?
I felt hopeful. Like this little baby could be or do anything she wanted to be. I wanted to give her that. Like that horrible Creed song, ‘With Arms Wide Open!’ It was the first time I had ever felt instant love for anyone or anything. I was proud to be her father. I wanted to hold her. I was so happy. I had pretty much kept myself together until I saw Sharon holding Ella. I tried to say, ‘Look at my girls,’ but I couldn’t because I started to cry.
What moment do you remember most clearly when thinking back to that day?
There is a moment when the doctor was first holding her and I can still see her little face. She kept sticking out her tongue. I loved that she doing exactly what I had just been yelled at for by my wife. Sharon was even crazy enough to ask the doctor if there was something wrong with her tongue. Nope, nothing wrong he said. Ella just had a worm tongue like me.
If you could do it over, what would you have done differently?
Sharon was induced a week after her due date. We knew exactly when we were going to be admitted to the hospital. In preparation, we rented the movie Danny Deckchair to watch during the induction. Horrible choice that I still feel bad about. There must have been a better option in 2005. If Ella has horrible taste in movies, it’s all our fault.
(Ella has gotten twin brothers since then:)
Thank you so much, Rob! How adorable is this story?
(All photos from Sharon.)