This is a story written by a 18-year old dad in Yakima County about his experience finding out he was going to be a dad, supporting his girlfriend through labor, and meeting his son for the first time.
I was expected to do something with my life coming out of a family of five well educated brothers. When I found out that I was going to become a dad of a young little man, I was scared to tell my parents and brothers. I was only turning 18 and she was 17 when we found out we were pregnant. I was happy and sad because I saw my future pass by me like crazy. I knew I had to make some changes as I grew up to become an adult and a teen dad. I had to learn real fast what it meant to be there for my family as a father, and a son to my parents.
I couldn’t let her go with the pregnancy alone, I had to go through everything with her…from the early wake up calls because she didn’t feel well, to the late nights where we would just spend hours looking at her belly move around. I can still remember our son stretch for more space…seeing his feet, letting him punch me in my hand. It felt like I spent quality time with my son even though he wasn’t in my arms yet.
January 21st was the greatest day of my life, even though she was in labor for 13 hours. I was talking to the baby telling him “come out already because your dad really wants to see you.” It was the only day I didn’t want to get in an argument or fight. But I ate in front of her, which was a big mistake on my side. I heard over my shoulder, “why are you eating instead of being here next to me!” That’s when I knew I was in trouble. I had no clue what I did wrong until her mom told me to put down the chicken and just go and hold her hand. I started to laugh as a way to show her that I felt really sorry for what I did.
When the doctor said it was time to have the baby out I was super happy! But then the doctor said he just wouldn’t come out, and we needed to do a cesarean section. I was super scared. I waited in the other room, it felt like forever. I thought of everything that could go wrong. But then the doctor came out and I was so excited to see my son. I held him in my arms for two minutes rocking him back and forth talking to him. He didn’t come out crying, just with wide eyes looking at me like “who the heck are you.” It was a special moment with him, only two minutes old and we were already spending father and son time.
From a father's point of view, I would have to say childbirth was exciting and scary. But knowing you have a support system with you it makes it feel much better. I can honestly say having a child is challenging but also shows that as a teen dad I can be very responsible by completing high school with no regrets. I’m proud to call myself his dad.