Daddy’s Delivery Day

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The arrival of a baby is a much anticipated occasion—and as soon as the first guest arrives, mom takes the stage to tell the heartwarming story of how her bundle of joy first saw the light of day. Amidst all the excitement, however, it is often forgotten that there is one other participant in this momentous day—Daddy! From a father’s point of view, childbirth is a nerve-wracking experience punctuated by feelings of helplessness, nervousness, and overwhelming joy. Here, three dads recount the crucial moments leading up to delivery day.

Melfred Hernandez, father of three, doctor, and singer, remembers the birth of his firstborn, Matthew, as one of the most photographed and the most documented in their family history. It was probably also the longest and most awaited. He explains, “When Matthew came into this world, he chose to do it on his own terms. He chose to define for his mother what ‘prolonged labor’ is, and the words ‘labor watch’ were never the same for the father after a series of false alarms, admissions and discharges, and the longest labor in history.”

That this happened during Ramos-era brownouts only contributed to the expectant parents’ anxiety. He says, “After the umpteenth false alarm, after the 1 cm that took almost forever, after cervical stripping and numerous cervical-ripening procedures, after a series of contraction-inducing Oxytocin drips, after calling out to all the saints and the Immaculada Concepcion for intercession, the couple did what every nervous, anxious, sleep-deprived, starved, emotional wreck of would-be first time parents would do in the comfort of their fully air-conditioned bedroom.”

It was intervention certainly not of the divine kind, and soon the couple found themselves at the hospital once again; this time for real.

He says, “You can just imagine the knowing, loving, fidgety, and mischievous look Matthew’s parents threw each other as they were asked by their wonderful (and relieved) obstetrician, ‘When did your water break?’”

Melfred does not remember what exactly it was he told their obstetrician, but it does not matter really. What he does remember is taking pictures and videos of the first of his three boys being born into this world.

Mark Christian Parlade, dad of two, public relations professional, and blogger over at crashtestdaddy.net, also suffered from some form of selective amnesia, but of an entirely different kind. He recalls, “After spending about two weeks in a hospital room for premature difficulties, my wife was about to give birth and I suddenly, mistakenly thought we had bought nothing for the baby.”

Mark hurriedly went to a department store and proceeded to grab everything in sight. He says, “I gave the salesladies a tough time asking for tips, for the best brands, the proper sizes, the right textures, and they all had to be blue! Just as I was about to approach the cashier, I realized, I remembered that Nike, my wife, had already bought everything we needed and tucked all of little Noah’s supplies in a corner at home by his crib. I remembered I was even with her when we bought some of those things!”

What Mark experienced was a case of the jitters as he realized that he was soon going to be a father. He explains, “Though I was with Nike for every prenatal checkup, I suddenly felt unready, inadequate, and afraid. What kind of dad would I be? The reality hit hard. I’m going to be a dad. I cried a little and said a silent prayer asking God to not let me screw up. Then I realized the salesladies were staring. But right there, at Cashier 17, a father was born.”

Mark made it back to the hospital in time to cut the cord. He shares: “I’ve been staring at my son ever since, every night, thinking what good things I could’ve done to deserve such a beautiful blessing.”

Elijah Mendoza, dad of two and product marketing manager, talks about the birth of his second son. He shares: “I was ecstatic that we didn't have to wait long for our second son, Milo. I was at work in Makati when my wife gave birth to him. She was already 8cm dilated which is why we agreed to just meet at the hospital rather than to have her wait for me to get home to pick her up.” “Needless to say, it was the longest cab ride of our lives (too bad we had to endure it separately). We arrived at the hospital 15 minutes apart, but in that quarter hour we officially had 100% more kids and our lives became 100% more awesome!”