Malachi Goforth Carson was born on November 15, 2011 at 6:46 in the morning weighing in at 8 lbs 10 oz. To say that my life has changed in the past week would be an understatement of epic proportions. I’m a dad now, and it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me! I’ve been trying to come up with a word or a phrase that could describe my range of emotions, but everything just comes up short. Suffice it to say that I’ve been overwhelmed, emotional, tired, frustrated, proud, exhausted, overjoyed, tired, grossed out, ecstatic, and tired! It’s certainly been a ride, and I love every minute of it. I want to share a few things about the whole experience, but you can look forward to subsequent posts about Malachi including the origin of his name and the misadventures of parenthood.
The spiritual aspect of childbirth caught me a little bit off guard. I have said all along that having a child is a miracle, but I had no idea how much of a miracle the birthing process would be. I’ll spare you the details, but the fact that the human body can birth another human is beyond a miracle. My mom (Malachi’s grandmother!) referred to the event as standing on holy ground, and I think she is right. In those first moments after he was born, I caught a glimpse of God. Maybe it was God’s presence in the room, or maybe it was just a more complete understanding of unconditional love. Either way, it was a holy moment that was indescribable. God is good, friends!
I suppose I’m qualified to speak to the spiritual nature of childbirth, because I am certainly not qualified to speak on any other aspect. When Jenny told me that her water broke, I entered into a fish-out-of-water state that would last for the next 12 hours. I mean, how was I supposed to know that going to the hospital snack bar while my wife is in labor is a bad idea? (Note to potential dads out there: don’t go to the snack bar (or anywhere, really) while your wife is in labor. Trust me on this one.)
So she tells me it’s time to go the hospital, and I at least wait until she jumps in the shower before I panic. Well, visibly panic. I held it together until she was out of sight. She had put me in charge of packing the bags (Note to potential dads out there: pack your bags before your wife goes in to labor), which I graciously accepted. So I venture over to my closet first, and then I proceed to freak out. I AM ABOUT TO BE A DAD! It was all I could think about. I was frozen. I tried to pick out a pair of jeans, and I couldn’t. And I only own two pairs of jeans. Maybe a shirt would be an easier choice? One would think. I got nothing. Hmmm… I wonder how late the snack bar at the hospital is open. Do they take debit cards?
I was in over my head big time. This was made especially clear when I had to call the pediatrician to inform him that in a few short hours, he would have a new patient. He took down our basic information, then asked me, “which baby is it?” Hmmm… I had run through a list of potential questions that he might ask me before I called, and this one didn’t make the cut. “Uhhhhh, can you repeat the question please,” I asked. “Which baby is it?” Ok, so I definitely heard him right the first time. Which baby is it? Which baby is it? WHICH BABY IS IT? Who does this guy think he is, asking me which baby it is? “It’s my baby, Doc.” Ohhh mercy, definitely not the right answer. I’m not sure exactly how he responded, but what I heard was, “You incompetent father-to-be, they should not allow people like you to procreate. Of course it’s your baby, why else would you be calling me in the middle of the night? Now tell me, is this her first baby?” Welcome to fatherhood.