Being a father has taken a toll on me and not for the reason most people think, namely that my kids are out of control and drive me crazy. Regarding their behaviour it is the complete opposite, they are fairly good kids that have their moments occasionally. No, my issue is making sure that I protect them the best I can and this brings my anxiety levels up because I know there will be some situations in their lives that I won’t be able to control. My anxious thoughts were put to the test when our son Jeevan was born. In hindsight, everything worked out for the best and it is easy to shrug it all off as a learning experience. But when I think back to the 12 hour period of his birth I am amazed how little control I had throughout the entire ordeal but still was able to cope through the anxious moments.
Jeevan was born via emergency c-section on March 25th, 2017. It was a day spent in doctor offices and hospital rooms for the four of us. My wife Baljeet and I had decided to take our daughters Ravneet, age 6 and Avani, age 3, with us since it was the last day before school would start up after Spring Break. We figured we would head downtown after the appointment and let the girls enjoy their last day before going back to school. Little did we know when we entered the doctor’s office at 9:30am that morning that Jeevan would be born five weeks early at 12:17am the next day, after four hours of non-stress tests, an ultra sound and then waiting five hours for an operating room to become available.
Baljeet felt that Jeevan was not moving as much as he usually had been in the past. Fortunately we had an appointment at the obstetrician where it was discovered his heart beat was low. Many things run though a parents mind when things like this happen, and it is hard not to think of the worst. Further adding to the drama was that we had Ravneet and Avani with us, which at times got our minds off what was going on but also required a lot of strength to keep the brave face and positive attitude in front of them. Children at their age can feel anxiety from their parents a mile away so it took a lot of smiling and laughing at their antics to make sure they were comfortable throughout the entire ordeal.
By 5pm the girls had lost their patience of being in waiting rooms at the hospital and I decided it would be a good idea to drop them off with my parents while Baljeet waited for her ultrasound results. On the way to the car, the three of us told jokes and laughed just like it was any other day. When I started driving away from the hospital I almost forgot about everything that was going on. Key word is “almost”, and it was only a few seconds later that the phone rang from Baljeet’s number?
“ Hi Baljeet, what’s up?”
“ Baljeet? Are you there? Everything okay?”
I knew something was wrong because whenever Baljeet calls me and doesn’t speak it means she is crying. The next voice was I heard was that of the OB looking after Baljeet, she informed me that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and they did not want to take a chance and had booked an operating room for that evening to perform the c-section. She asked if I could come back to the hospital right away.
“ Sure, of course I can. The thing is, I have my two daughters with me right now. Should I bring them back with me or do I have time to drop them off with my parents?
After learning that we only lived 10 minutes away from the hospital, she agreed I could drop them off and come back to the hospital. On the way I called my mom to let her know of what was going on. I could barely speak, I felt like everything was going in slow motion and I was still moving backwards. I mustered out a few words about the baby coming early and that I had to get back to support Baljeet. My mom, like only a mother could, understood my gibberish and calmly told me to get to the house safe and that everything would be okay.
A lot of negative thoughts came to my mind during the next few hours, and they are hard to box out. I tried to think positively but every few minutes my mind wandered back to thinking “ what if?” Like I mentioned earlier, I put a lot of pressure on myself being the protector of my children and for the first time I felt helpless, there was nothing I could do but wait for an outcome I had no control over. I couldn’t protect my son, and like anytime where a person does not have control, it left me fearing the worst.
Fortunately for us, this story has a happy ending. Once Jeevan was delivered it was discovered that the cord was wrapped around his neck three times! We are so blessed with the fast action of the doctors and nurses throughout that day that our baby was born happy and healthy. Sure he would stay in the Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit for 10 days and then move to the paediatric ward for a few more, but it was all worth it because we had a healthy and happy baby boy that was the apple in both his sisters eyes.
Despite the anxiety and negative thoughts that almost consumed me throughout the day, the experience has made me stronger as a person and given me a new perspective when raising my children. I am not perfect and I won’t always be there to protect them in the future. But what I can do is teach them how to love and care about the people around them, not to take them for granted and be grateful for every moment they have with those they care about. The world is theirs to discover, and I can only provide them with the road-map filled with life lessons and guidelines to make sure they stay on the right track.
Photo is public domain from pixabay