The BlogFather – The First But Certainly Not The Last
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but just never got around to it. Again, like I’ve said in previous posts, I have to start with a name and work from there and I could never think of a good name for this division of blogging. Trying to think of witty titles comprising the paternal nature but without requiring much thought to figure out what the subject matter would be was pretty hard.
I started with a mental list and ‘The BlogFather’ was the first one. I liked it. I also figured it’d be something others must’ve coined. I was right. The next idea was ‘The Paternity Gauntlet’ – a play on Thanos’ coveted artefact, the ‘Infinity Gauntlet’. Immediately after the idea, I was hit by the horror that it sounded more like a blog pertaining to the paternal pitfalls that no Jeremy Kyle show could do without – perhaps a blog about the antics of a misogynistic man-slut. No, that won’t do. After that, I had only one other name that seemed too obvious and just didn’t sit right. ‘Family Guy’. I couldn’t do the name any justice with my lack of comedic talent. So, ‘The BlogFather’ it is.
This is not a guide to being a parent. If anything, this is he exact opposite. But it is the truth. Growing up, the truths of parenthood were never made abundantly clear. Perhaps it was ignorance due to the fact that it would be at some time in my future but ‘not yet’. Perhaps it’s some sort of conspiracy to churn out additional workers-in-training to ensure the line continues – maybe ‘Children of Men‘ was a documentary from the future to prevent humanity ever hitting that point?
At the age of 24, I became a dad for the very first time. I was excited yet fearful. My then-fiancee and I had been together for about five years. We had talked about and even tried to have kids and it seemed like it just wasn’t on the cards for us. When we stopped trying (by that I don’t mean we stopped having sex, obviously) we slowly realised that our lives would forever change. Neither of us knew what to expect and it brought about an evolution in our relationship. No longer would we be able to just get up and go wherever we want whenever we want. Although that last sentiment was never a consideration until afterwards.
No one can ever prepare you for what follows. I’ve seen on movies and in TV shows, prospective parents having those dolls to simulate the experience and they don’t come close. I’ve seen how labour is depicted in them also…Again, the reality is not captured. To be fair, they can’t. Who would want to watch the actors hang around and wait for the various medical professionals to come and go, wait for the epidural to be sited and play the waiting game counting seconds between contractions? It’d be a fucking boring movie or show. And it’s just as boring in real life.
I remember being called whilst in work to say she was going into labour and I raced from work to the hospital. It’s normally just under a ten minute drive. Like Winston Wolfe (Pulp Fiction) I arrived much sooner. Without speeding, I might add. It was surreal, the three sets of traffic lights en route were all green allowing me clear passage – something I have never experienced again since.
I was expecting a frantic situation where I rush to the labour ward to find her pushing/to have already had the baby. Over eight hours later, our daughter was born. I remember going out side every so often to have a smoke and call/text my family. Being November, the air outside was bitterly cold and snow had started to fall. Midwives clocked out for the new shift to begin and after an agonising wait (metaphorically for me, literally for her) things started to happen.
For the most part, I felt like a third wheel. Think of that unnamed dance we do on the street when we almost bump into someone and we try to go to the right and they go the same way and there’s that awkward bit of banter before you can carry on your journey. It was like that. I was standing by her side, hold her hand [read: my hand being gripped by a vice] and the midwives would come and move stuff and I’d be shifting to allow them to pass/park the equipment. I felt like I was more of an inconvenience rather than taking my rightful place by her side as she pushes out my offspring.
A lot of the details are a bit of a haze now but I remember her gripping my hand so tight I thought she was going to snap my arm like in the arm wrestling scene in ‘The Fly‘. Weighing in at 7lbs 2.5oz, Seren flopped into the world. I remember seeing her purple limp body being dumped onto my then-fiancee’s stomach after they cut the cord. There was no noise and the way she was plonked down immediately had me panicking. Is she alive? Why isn’t she crying?
To make matters worse, one of the midwives left the room promptly and a couple of doctors came in. They quickly picked her up and put her on some sort of heating table. Eventually, after what seemed a stupid amount of time, her shrill cry echoed out. Thank fuck for that. There had been some complications during the labour process – they couldn’t attach the clip to her head whilst she was stubbornly occupying the womb that had housed her for around 75% of the year, she had stopped kicking/moving prior to my then-fiancee being induced. She was 8 days over her due date.
By the time they had cleaned my daughter up and my wife had a shower and freshened up it was almost midnight. I was allowed to escort them to the maternity ward which would be their accommodation for the night and I had a few chances to hold the little life that had just entered this realm. After being told I had to go, I walked out to the car and had another smoke. The snow hadn’t amounted to much, but the thin covering hid any sign of other people coming and going.
After walking across the car park to our Peugeot 107 which was all on its own, I came to realise the windshield had frozen over and I had no de-icer or a scraper. I jacked the heaters up full blast and resorted to scraping the ice away with a CD case – ‘Westlife’. Not mine. Definitely not mine.
I remember driving home and feeling this deep sadness take over. It was my first night alone in my house (except for the cat, Stewie). I waited all that time for a baby that would forever change the course of my life and I got to hold her for less than an hour. It was such a bizarre experience. Nothing could have prepared me for that day. Nothing could have prepared me for what would come next.