I've been sharing this blog journey with my wonderful husband, Danny. He is right there with me all along the way, as he always has been since the first time that we met ... in a Good Earth Coffee Shop in Cranston, South Calgary. A blind date ... a set up ... I walked in and we locked eyes and ... well ... for a girl who always hated the thought of set ups - at this point, they are now in my eyes, officially the bomb (...90s girl, sorry). It wasn't long before I found myself falling in love with him. His humour. His strong and protective spirit. His support and mostly, his kindness.
Having a baby together was always something we talked about. For two 30-something, career-focused people (DINKS I think they would have called us? Dual Income No Kids?) ... it felt like there was more to life ... more to the daily grind. We had so many late night talks about this... we both felt that having a child would be the icing on the cake. A way to take what we had learned in life ... to pass it on. To be challenged in a way that a career would never challenge us. We really thought it through, every detail... from diapers, parenting, the nursery and beyond.
And the day I found out.... I franticly ran into the bathroom where Danny was showering, pregnancy test in hand. I opened the shower door and stuck the test inside, giggled loudly and then retracted my hand and ran away. Giddy. Excited. Shocked? I don't know.
We were absolutely 100% overjoyed. We spent the next nine months counting down every single day. When the heck were we going to meet this little bug? As the due date approached we could not contain ourselves. This challenge, this little love, this... everything we had hoped for was about to arrive.
And then she did.
And for all of the struggles I have explained in my past posts in the days, weeks and months that followed - there is something I haven't put much emphasis on, and that is, Danny. I am absolutely 100% so passionate about shedding more light on the struggles that we women go through after birth. About getting it out there, making the tough feelings feel even just a little bit more NORMAL. But, I know there is another page to this story.
Dads, partners, loved ones ... whomever it is that happens to go through the journey of child birth with each of us Mothers ... they have a page, deserve a page in our books.
From every encouraging word through labour, every back rub and every "you can do this" he continued to be right by my side. And as he followed me to surgery, when she was born - via c-section, contrary to everything we had learned in our Birth and Baby classes, they handed her for the first time not to me, but to him. I haven't asked him, but I am sure this moment was terrifying. This new little life, her first time experiencing this world, in his hands.
The days and weeks that followed are a blur. I remember late nights. Rocking her at the end of our bed, praying she would fall asleep. Wanting her to be quiet so he could sleep. So I could sleep. So SHE could sleep. I remember him waking up and taking her from me. Holding her, rocking her. Doing everything he could.
We were searching for sanity together. We both knew we had wanted this more than anything. We both knew this is what we had asked for. We wanted to have a baby. We wanted to endure this challenge. But in these moments, when we were so tired, so very unsure, and completely out of body, we both could not find the reasons that would help us remember ... why?
As I write this I finally feel like I have some answers to this question.
Why? Because she brings us together. We don't always agree. But no matter what the issue is these days, we communicate better for it because we know there is more at stake than ever. We know we consciously made this decision and that this will ultimately be the greatest thing we will ever accomplish together.
Why? Because I have never been more in love with the man he has turned out to be whenever she is in the room. The way he smiles and reaches for her the minute he arrives home from his long days where he works so hard for us.
Why? Because watching my own Dad become a Grandpa, a Papa, as we call him, has literally almost brought me to tears a variety of times. Something about the way his eyes soften as he calls her "sweetie", sweeps her from my arms and proceeds to princess and tea party land.
Why? Because I can look at her and see Danny's Dad's spirit ... a spirit I never got the chance to meet ... an amazing Father, an amazing teacher. She gives me even more love for the man that he and my amazing Mom-in-law raised my husband to be.
Why? Because I can look into her eyes and well, they are Danny's eyes. The same eyes I found comfort in the first day I met them back at that Good Earth Coffee Shop in South Calgary. The same eyes that teared up when I told him I was pregnant. The same eyes that looked into hers the very first time, the day she was born.