Monday, September 21, 2009

Thirty-Five Days of Fatherhood

Perhaps the loneliest time in my life came around 10:20 on the morning of August 18, 2009. There I sat, covered in hospital garb from head to toe awaiting entry into the operating room where my wife Kathryn was in the midst of having a spinal injection to numb her from the pain of a c-section. In that moment, I had roughly five minutes of time alone to myself, perched on a clean wooden bench just outside the room where my wife and a team of doctors and nurses were prepping for what can be described as nothing less than an awe-inspiring moment.

I spent that time alone avoiding thoughts of anxiousness as I awaited the go ahead to enter the room. I thought about a million things: the doctors performing the c-section, the discomfort of being draped in a long paper robe, what I had eaten for breakfast, if we were choosing the right name for our child, etc. I thought about the thousands of other husbands that had sat in the exact spot I was sitting, pondering whether or not they were really good enough, strong enough, stable enough, mature enough, and gentle enough to contain the blessing that was about to change their lives.

I thought about how life can be unfair. How nearly 6 years ago we had gone through a miscarriage, and just this past Christmas were scared it was happening again. I thought about men who never get to experience the joy of this moment. I thought about the women who try for years in heartache and frustration, only to find they'll never be able to birth a child of their own.

From the time I was summoned to join my wife in the room surrounded by masked men and women who all likely spent half their adult lives to gain access to perform such invasive tasks to the human body, I was numb. Partially scared, yes, but mostly feeling so unworthy of the very moment I was in. Of feeling nearly ashamed that I would be given the great responsibility to care for another human being when so many times I had failed in taking care of my wife and even myself.

But that's part of the beauty of it. God was gracious enough to see past that and carry out His plans. His will was taking place, and none of my feelings of inadequacy would change that.

And so at 10:52 a.m., Macy Claire Becker entered this world without much of a sound, just a few small whimpers. It wasn't but a few minutes later the nurse handed this seven pound, 19 inch bundle of wonder to me, almost as if she presumed I knew what to do with her.

Now movie scripts and poets will describe such a moment in flowery language, as if some magic spark had taken place. I suppose you could say that's true, because I'll never forget the first moment that baby girl looked into my eyes with curious wonder, unsure of the cold surroundings around her. How witnessing a miracle first hand could change a man.

As these days and weeks have passed, I've completely fallen in love with her. The way she smiles when she's sleeping, the noises she makes as she eats, the exploratory nature of kicking feet and arms flinging. How every single movement she makes is ordained and planned by God.

And the beauty of it all is that I've only got 35 days down, with an eternity still to go.

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