I remember the day that my oldest and first daughter was born.
We were at the hospital and after far too many hours in labour, we finally get sent down to the delivery room. Now mind you, this was in Qatar and we were at a hospital that basically resembles a 5-star hotel (and priced like it as well)… we are talking bell boys to take your bags, any little thing you could possible want, you can book a 2-3 room suite or whatever your heart desires. However, I don’t think there was much thought at this moment because all my wife could say is “This chicken is cooked!”.
When it finally looked like this might happen, well, it was Ramadan. And, it was a Friday (2 very special times for a Muslim) and we were looking forward to our little one coming into the world.
I want to start off with 2 things. I have no idea what it feels like for a woman to be pregnant. I have complete admiration for a woman going through 9 months of all of that ‘stuff’ they go through. It felt surreal for me. She would feel the baby moving and grab my hand “See! Feel that?!?!” Ok, ofcourse I felt it… it was cool. But all I wanted was to see this baby. At this point, it was a little alien that was consuming everything about my wife and I really wanted to make sure that something was really in there. As a ‘pending dad’, you can’t really understand it because you are outside this little bubble. i just wanted to see this baby!
Secondly, its very uncommon for the Arab father to be in the delivery room for the birth. Normally, we would just wait outside and wait for the news and light the proverbial cigar. But no, I was going to be in there. The doctors and nurses were a bit unsure of the situation right then and asked if I wanted to wait out. Not quite sure if I knew why but the wife simply said “You will be in there!” (don’t argue with a woman who’s chicken is cooked!). Her little birth plan took a small detour with the cord wrapped around our daughters neck and the doctor watching the monitors intently because she so desperately wanted a normal birth. I had no idea what to expect, what to do, how to sit, who to talk to, where to direct myself if I faint (from all of these needles and things), etc.
The time came where it was the breaking of the fast and the call to prayer. I wanted to have that moment of prayer before our little one came into the world. My wife is Christian and I am Muslim. And, I dont think that regardless of what religion she was, she most certainly wasn’t going to be left alone in that delivery room while I went and had a moment with God. After some well said profanities (I leave that to the mounting pain she was in with an epidural that didnt work on half of he side), she told me to be fast (for the sake of this site, that was the best way to put it) and she wasn’t having this baby without me (Awww!).
I come back into the room and “Let the games begin”. All of the gowns and masks and equipment and legs all over the place. I’ve never been more stressed and nervous in my life.
Saffiya comes out and the first thing she said to me (my wife, not Saffiya) was “Is she ok?”, “Does she have 10 figures and 10 toes?”… before she could even look at her. I tell her everything is ok and Saffiya starts to cry and I’m still nervous and stressed and I certainly don’t know what to do now. I felt scared to hold her. I thought she would break in my hands. I was shaking. All 2.9 kg of her and I was the one that was scared.
I’m a father. I certainly didn’t even know how to feel. Little did I know that my future was starting in the form of this little baby girl…. our Ms. Monkey