It is impossible to explain to people how profound a moment it really is. I completely lost control of myself. The feelings were so intense that I burst into big, slobbery man-sobs that shook me to my very soul. A potent combination of rapture and an overwhelming sense of complete helplessness took possession of my senses and I couldn't see or think straight. It was an all-encompassing fog of un-earthly power and the bond it formed between my wife and I is the strongest thing we have together.
Through the hardest times of our marriage I re-visit that moment and I remember not only how much I love her but also how powerful that love can become when it is given substance in the form of my daughter. The birth of my daughter is the single strongest thing I have ever experienced.
Plus, how happy was I that my mother-in-law wasn't there to watch me turn into a slobbering, snotty man-mess.
As for bringing a video camera, let me tell you two things from my own experience.
First, I am a video professional. The first thing you realize as someone who takes a lot of video is that being behind a lens takes you right out of any event. You cannot participate in anything from behind a camera and this is not an event you want to miss.
Second, you don't want to videotape it. There's a moment right after the baby is born and you've cut the cord and you follow your baby and the nurse over to the "Baby Checking" table that you will look back at your wife. Brace yourself, it will not be pretty.
The bed your wife will be put on was designed specifically for birthing babies. When it's time to push, your wife get's put into stirrups and the front half of the bed folds down, leaving the sheet hanging straight down to the floor. After your baby is born, there is still some after-birth that needs to come out as well as anything that occurs during the whole pushing thing. When I looked back, all I could see, hanging underneath my beautiful and very tired wife, was a scene from a horror movie. The sheet was so generously spattered with gore that for a second, I thought a serial killer had murdered someone beneath my wife. It was a Jackson Pollack of blood and mucous.
Still want to video tape it? Bring a normal camera, that way you can control what you save for later.
The first time I went through the nine months leading up to my daughter's birth was an intense and scary one. I was afraid of the things I was thinking and the emotions I was feeling, everything seemed so irrational and I felt so very helpless.
I remember sitting down with my father around the seventh month and telling him all the things I have told you now, about how irrationally territorial I was and how every second would bring a new danger to my wife and child that I would need to protect them from and mostly about how completely helpless I felt about the whole thing. He told me that when he was expecting me, he felt the exact same way and that it would pass. He told me that I, as a man, was already equipped with everything I would need to be a good father. I'd like to think he was right.
I hope this has helped you if you are going through this or want to go through this. I hope you add your two cents in the comments section if you have already gone through this yourself.
But mostly, if you are lucky enough to be there when your child is born, be prepared to turn into the biggest crybaby mess that has ever existed.
Note to the reader: This article was written 7 hours before my daughter was born.
Tim is a proud father of two beautiful girls. When he's not getting his pigtails braided or his make-up re-touched he likes to write about trying to not be fat, trying to be on reality TV Shows and trying to be a good Dad.
Copyright © Timothy D. Riel. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org. Image Credits: Marie Josée Bourassa