Happy Father’s Day to my love.

My husband is in the military and currently he’s attending a year long training where it’s tradition to get a tattoo once this training is completed.  He didn’t have any tattoos and he didn’t want this to be his first.  He had an idea for a tattoo that he wanted. It was to get our son’s footprints on him from the ink blot card we recieved in the hospital.  I loved the idea, I thought it would be very sentimental and meaningful.  What better time to get said tattoo than Fathers Day weekend? 

Friday evening after he got out of class we drove to the tattoo parlor and had the tattoo done.  I was impressed how decisive he was.  I went through all the typical emotions most people go through before getting their first tattoo. I had a little panick attack before they started because this is a decision he’s going to have to live with for the rest of his life!  I had similar emotions with naming the baby.  Derek wasn’t nervous at all because he had put so much thought into it and was sure about this.

When I saw the completed tattoo for the first time, I was surprised at my reaction to it.  I saw so much more than just ink in a cut, I saw a story, a memory of when he became a father.  A flood of emotions came over me, and still does everytime I look at it.  I think today in honor of Father’s Day I will share some of this story.

Before the birth of the baby I had a serious obsession with natural childbirth.  I had some medical complications and my Dr. felt induction was necessary.  I was very reluctant, but followed through for the safety of myself and the baby.  As it turned out I was a “speedster” (definition of my type of labor in the book, Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way) meaning that when labor started, I immediately started at the most painful part.  My husband was so wonderful helping me handle the pain, but when I had no relief from the contractions I started to consider the epidural.  He reminded me of my wishes to go through this naturally.  This conversation was so memorable to me.  I told him that I wanted it, and he was supportive. 

My labor was quick.  I was fully dilated and ready to push by 2 p.m.  When I first started pushing, it turned out the baby was facing my side, so they decided to let me rest until he turned on his own.  6 hours later the baby still hadn’t budged and it was really time to get him out now.

I pushed as hard as I could with every contraction for an hour and a half.  My husband and the nurses cheered and praised me with every push.  The baby still hadn’t turned despite several attempts by nurses to turn his head as I was pushing.  Finally my Dr. had to leave, and his partner was to help me.  She was master of the vacuum extractor and it had come to the point where it was the vacuum or cesearian.

Several pushes later the baby still hadn’t turned and had made very little progress.  He just couldn’t get over my pelvis. The Dr. took a serious tone with me and said “I can only use the vacuum with a few more pushes and then we’re going to have to consider our last option”.  I panicked knowing she was referring to a C-section.  I looked into my husband’s eyes and pushed with all the energy that was remaining. 

My  husband looked down, looked at me and said, “I can see his head!  He’s almost here!  You only have one more push to go!!”  These words of encouragement changed everything.  As I saw the emotion on his face, I witnessed the moment he became a father.  Derek had seen part of his baby and that moment he realized how real it was that he was almost to meet his son for the first time.

They removed the vacuum once the baby was crowning.  My husband was right, one more push and out he came.  After he was breathing well, he brought our baby to me.  The three of us shared some very special bonding time.  It was far too short however, and the baby had to go to the nursery for his newborn exams.  Derek was able to carry Dylan to the nursery and stayed by his side the whole time.

Meanwhile, I was getting stitched up and missing my family very much.  I was crying tears of exhaustion and sadness.  I called the nursery several times because I wanted them back.  When I heard a baby crying in the hall I immediately recognized it as my own.  There they were, Father and son.  Derek was carrying the ink blot cards and pushing the baby who was in the bassinet.

I was so impressed with how immediately we all bonded, all three of us.  The next few days (and weeks and months) we enjoyed each other.  Once we got home, Derek took such wonderful care of us.  He cooked and cleaned and did everything he possibly could to make things easy on us.  The military was so great, he had so much time off.  He didn’t have to work for a whole month.  After that he still had plenty of time off to be the the baby and me.  He had so much time off because he was preparing for this intense training and we were in between moves.

We chose to try attachment parenting for our parenting style.  This has worked so well for our family, and we have all three slept by each other’s sides every single night.  This nightime bonding has made up for how much he works while he’s in this training. 

Every day he never ceases to show his love.  He chooses to spend all his time off with us, and our weekends are very special because of him.

He always has such wonderful things to say, constant praise and support for our decision to breastfeed.  He never fails to make me feel special and always tells me I’m a great mother.  Dylan adores his father.  His face lights up and he squeals everytime his daddy comes home from work.  That boy really loves his daddy.

I love Derek so much.  The past 8 years have been the very best of my whole life.  We have a very close relationship.  Not only do we love each other with all our hearts, but we are each other’s best friend.  I didn’t think anything could improve our relationship.  Once the baby was born, it changed everything.  Now we share a closer bond and more love for each other and our son. 

I hope Derek has a very happy first Father’s Day.  And I hope he knows how much I love him.

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