I have been thinking about featuring birth stories written by dads for a while now. My goal with The BIRTH Project is to empower women but I don’t think that should exclude dads. One of the most empowering things during my birth experiences was hearing afterward how my husband viewed me during labor. It was incredible to hear that he was in awe of my strength while enduring contractions and delivery.
Below is the first birth story I have published written by a dad. Danny Lesslie of Dadswagger wrote this story about his first-born daughter, Rue. Dadswagger empowers fathers to be present with their families. His Instagram account features images of dads being dads in their everyday lives, and illustrates the power of a present father.
As I lay here with my 5-day-old daughter on my chest sound asleep, and her beautiful mother by my side, which by the way is the definition of magical, I am thinking back to the moment she came into this world.
I have been thinking about a way to describe what went on Saturday night for days now. I had no idea what we were in for on the way in on Saturday. We took birthing classes and talked to people and thought we were super informed, but there is definitely a reason that people talk about a “Rite of Passage.” You just don’t know until you experience it.
I want to make an attempt at describing to you the power and the beauty of this night. I have always respected women since I was young (kudos to my mother and father on this one). I have a whole new respect and wonder for women after this past weekend, however.
The contractions just kept getting stronger and stronger as the day went on. I have never seen such effort, such struggle, such calm, and such chaos all in the same moment. Each contraction was like a whole roller coaster, and there were a lot of them. The intensity and anticipation in the room built for hours. I was getting tired. I can not even believe what my wife was enduring. Then came the point of doubt, when she was beginning to falter in her struggle. You could see the battle in her eyes, and the exhaustion in her body. She pushed through.
Then, things got real. It was “go time.” All of what had been endured was just getting her and us ready for what was to come. With every push I think all of our hearts stopped. The intensity in these moments towered over all that we had seen. Then, the baby’s head started to show! If you can imagine all of the instruments in an orchestra playing as loudly as possible with all the stage lights flashing, followed immediately by cold silence. This was each moment.
I am not sure how many contractions there were, but it had to be more than 20. With each one, the excitement would build and build, and then drop. It was like a drumroll getting faster and faster each time, and then just going away. Then with exhaustion thick as a deep fog, I want you to close your eyes and imagine sitting in a dark cold cave with no light, cold enough to see your breath. When you realize you’re really alone and you shiver and begin to doubt your safety. Then, I want you to imagine a lion roaring right behind you, the depth of that sound, the primal rawness to that sound, the majesty in that sound. It is unmistakeable. It engulfs you. It can only be seen and experienced in the wild. All of the hairs stand up on your body, you can’t move, you are in it, and your heart is beating out of your chest.
This is the moment.
When my wife screamed on the last contraction, this was the sound, this is what I felt. This was the surge of warmth, and vibrance. This was the most powerful, beautiful, raw, and joyful moment of my life. This is when we met our baby girl. I am forever indebted to my wife for this moment and this gift. All changed on this day!
To all those moms out there. This one goes out to you. What you do … well, there are no words that can do it justice!
Written by Danny Lesslie