Thursday, March 4, 2021, at 1:05 PM
I felt the coldest, soul-draining fear I have ever felt.
Excitement and joy were replaced with panic and dread.
Not exactly the words you want to use to describe the birth of your son, but that’s the best I can do.
Truth is, I have no words.
I think the scrambling of all the nurses made it worse.
The energy in the room changed immediately upon them, realizing that something was wrong with Harrison. It felt like they were panicking.
It was awful.
I had no idea what was going on, but you didn’t have to look very hard to see things weren’t right. My son looked like a pretzel. His left arm didn’t even look like it was attached.
I was petrified and immediately felt like I had failed.
Failed my wife, failed my parents, grandmother, in-laws, everyone.
Before they even had Harrison cleaned up enough to wrap up, I had the guilt of the world weighing me down.
Not a great combo of unmitigated fear and unbearable guilt.
And just as quick as it hit, I had to do my best to hide it from Jenna so she wouldn’t panic while they were tending to her.
I think part of me was hoping I was just exaggerating and that it would all be ok soon.
It felt like I was awake in the middle of a nightmare.
While they were attending to Jenna, they took me down to where they had taken Harrison to work on him. Trying to clean him up more, get his vitals, all that stuff.
This was the point where I, as Dad, could get those first wonderful photos. Help wash him up, get him all cleaned up, and all that newborn stuff.
But I had to get them to bring me a chair so I could sit down before I passed out.
I just sat there, watching them work on my newborn son. Still trying to determine how to navigate his little body. I’m not sure if or when I finally blinked. I couldn’t decide if I should bawl or scream.
I was in this chair, watching these people, and part of me just wanted to take off running down the hall screaming. Hoping that in some weird way that would change things.
I didn’t know what to do. I was alone. I felt as lost as I’ve ever felt.
The doctor finally pulled a chair up next to me to talk, but honestly, I barely heard a word he was saying.
It all felt so surreal. As if this wasn’t really my life, but something I was watching from the outside.
The man that sat in the chair, surrounded by people who sounded as if they were miles away, thought his world had collapsed, and he was absolutely powerless to do anything but sit and watch.
It’s an interesting thing to sit back and think about that day. To sit and reflect. I can look back at photos and can tell how just completely out of it I was. I have a total of 8 photos of the first two hours of Harrison’s life. Five of those 8 are when they brought him up to Jenna’s face bundled up. I was scared to death that those could have been the only photos of the two of them. I did not know what was going on, just that it wasn’t good.
In comparison, I have 5 photos from behind the “shower curtain” they had put up so Jenna could watch the c-section.
A year later, there are a bazillion selfies of him and his mother, and my camera roll is full of him doing things like sitting up, rolling over, or just being plain ornery.
I will never forget March 4th.
I will never forget the simultaneous emotions and lack thereof.
My heart, my soul, my very essence carry scars from that day.
And it was one of the greatest days of my life.