Welcome to the blog series; Daddy’s Issues, from Indie comic creator, Johnny Craft. Come along chapter by chapter as this comic book writer explores the journey of expecting his first child and all the emotions and creative challenges that come along with it.
Saturday, August 25th was Induction Day.
Everything was already prepared. Car seat installed, diaper bag packed, and my overnight bag was stuffed full of snacks, comics, and anything else that would keep me entertained for the unknown amount of anxious waiting that I had ahead of me. The fridge and freezer were loaded up at home with easy, quick-to-make, foods for our upcoming first weeks of parents. We made sure everyone important knew which hospital we would be checking into. Jovelyn and I were ready to have our baby!
The problem? Our anxious asses prepared everything days in advance and finished up the small details the night before. The appointment for the induction was at 7 p.m. (as in the afternoon, wait around pacing all damn day, p.m.). We nervously walked around home, cleaning every small thing we could and quintuple checking all of our supplies. We went to an early dinner at four o’clock and decided “fuck ‘em”, heading to the hospital at around 5:15 with the attitude of “they won’t turn us away and we may even get an early bird special”.
The hospital only made us wait a short while before finding us a room, setting up the equipment, and settling us into our new home for (what seemed like) the next 46 years. The stay itself wasn’t actually terrible, it was only made to FEEL terrible when you took Jovelyn’s uncomfortable hospital bed and my “what the fuck is this cushion made out of, used condoms stuffed with hay?” fold out couch into the equation. The important thing was, we were there and it was only a matter of time before we got to finally see what our boy will look like.
Jovelyn was incredibly uncomfortable all night, due to a combination of her shitty bed and the drugs they gave her to induce labor. Plus, nurses were coming in to check on her every two hours or so, which started to become kind of annoying when I started thinking “Shouldn’t she be resting up for that whole, inevitable, pushing ordeal?”. But the mother of my soon-to-be child is the love of my life for a reason; she took the whole experience like a champ.
The next morning, I had a horrible breakfast in the hospital cafeteria, and took a short trip back to our apartment while the nurses poked and prodded my lovely lady. I felt okay to leave for a bit, since they gave us an ETA of 5 p.m. for Push Time. I checked on the cats, to make sure they didn’t shred the apartment. To my fortune, I only had to clean up a tiny pile of puke and refill some water dishes. I also took a tiny smoke break before returning to the hospital, where I was hoping to have a small nap on condom-couch to help the day pass more quickly.
By the way, I hate to do this, but I’m going to take a “time-out” to pat myself on the back. I was back in the comfort of my apartment, where I had access to a headful of herbals and a very comfortable king size bed (all to myself, mind you), but I chose to go back to the hospital and take my nap next to Jovelyn on the most uncomfortable piece of furniture I’ve ever experienced! It was just the obvious choice to me. She’s in labor pain, the least I could be is slightly uncomfortable and unable to sleep. Seriously, though, fuck that hospital couch.
I would also like to take a moment to address everyone who gave me a variety of “What to Expect…” style advice. Why THE FUCK did you NOT tell me to bring my own toilet paper to the hospital? The stuff they stock there tore my asshole to ribbons! After this baby comes out, both Mommy AND Daddy would be looking at weeks of recovery below the waist, for entirely separate reasons.
I got back to the hospital, checked on Jovelyn, and let her know the status of everything at home (without mentioning the cat vomit). She was in her usual position, with her frequent visit from nurses, but now her sister Jessica had shown up to keep her company. There was seemingly no update on her labor status, so it was looking like nap time was upon me.
It was a little after 1:30 p.m. by the time my headphones were in and I was lying on my side, the only way my skinny ass could fit, on my awesome guest couch/”bed” (yes, the quotes are necessary). I figured I could squeeze in at least an hour worth of rest into a two hour period, if I tried hard enough. I wanted to have as much energy as possible when my girl started pushing, so I could be her biggest and most enthusiastic cheerleader.
It was right at that moment that the hospital door opened for another routine check-up. Instead of ignoring it and trying to continue with my nap plans, I decided to get up to see what the nurse had to say this time. Strangely enough, it wasn’t the nurse who entered the room. It was our doctor that we weren’t expecting to see until it was time to…
“You’re dilated and the baby is sitting pretty low,” she said. “It’s time to start pushing.”
“It’s time to start pushing.” … Holy shit!
We were about three hours ahead of schedule and no one even hinted at this being a possibility! It caught us by surprise, causing us to look at each other in complete shock… and then completely nervously.
We were about to have our baby!
The nurses came in and set everything up. I wish I could go more into detail and find something funny to say about the equipment, or the nurses, or pretty much anything that goes into preparing a woman to start giving birth, but everything was one giant blur. The details, in my mind, were as simple as “We’re here and suddenly there are bright lights everywhere. Hey, fuckface, go ahead and hold that left leg up for us”.
It was a very overwhelming and intense experience. Despite the several people in the room, it felt like Jovelyn and I were alone in our own little bubble of surreality with just a faint voice guiding us to do what needed to be done.
Jovelyn was pushing with all of her strength and smiling through the pain. That’s not an exaggeration, she was literally smiling during labor. She was THAT excited to finally meet our son. I can’t blame her, seeing as how I was my own brand of excited, but more of the slack-jawed and stunned variety.
It’s hard to explain the emotions that go into watching your dream woman squeeze a baby out of herself. I’m also certain it’s not a universal feeling, and probably varies from person to person. I know a lot of people who say it’s gross, but I didn’t think so at all. I can see how some people would get freaked out, seeing a head emerge from a vagina, but if they’re thinking sexually in that moment then I don’t even know how to relate to a person like that.
For me, watching the head start to come out was a moment of victory, accomplishment, and the first appearance of our baby boy into the world. It started with a tiny bit of skin that I could barely see, but unmistakably knew was the top of a little head.
I made a point to choose my words wisely. Obviously, I’m no expert and the first thing I could think to say was “You’re almost there!”, but decided to go with something else in case the doctor wanted to tell me to shut the fuck up and remind me that I had no idea what I was talking about. I just assumed, top of the head is showing, so we are probably just a few pushes away.
“You’re doing it, my love!” I told Jovelyn. “I love you so much. I can see his head. You’re doing it!”
Jovelyn gave a few more major pushes and then… Woosh!
Max Morrison Craft, covered in blood and miscellaneous goo, made his way into the world at 2:17 p.m. on August 26th, 2018. Jovelyn Jade only had to push for nine minutes, with a smile on her face every second of it… and she didn’t even smear her makeup.
They cut Max’s cord and the second he opened his eyes, he looked directly up at me. I was the first person that my son laid his eyes on. That is my first shared moment with Max and it’s something I will carry with me forever. For my little guy to see me before anyone else, EVER, was a moment that filled me with overwhelming pride for the new life we had created together.
Then things got… really… really… scary.
I did find it odd that he didn’t cry when he came out, and I guess I didn’t notice that Max was born with his cord wrapped around his neck. I could see nurses scrambling, out of the corner of my eye and there were a lot of mumbles that were clearly not meant for Jovelyn and I to hear.
I looked over and saw two nurses frantically wiping down my new baby, who still had yet to cry or make any sort of noise.
Jovelyn and I looked at each other with concern and asked the doctor if everything was okay.
“They are just trying to get him to breathe on his own,” she responded… way too fucking casually!
That shared look of concern turned into a shared look of terror.
The nurses brought in some kind of incubator, light box looking thing, to put the baby in. I was starting to think things were a bit more serious than the staff was leading on.
I demanded answers, while trying to remain calm, and talk to my son to somehow let him know that his dad was there for him. Even if he couldn’t understand me. Even if I was just talking to make myself feel better, I had to let Max know that I was his dad and I was going to do anything I can to make everything okay.
“Max, it’s Daddy,” I said, crying. “Remember me? I love you. I’m going to make sure you’re safe. I love you so much. I’m your dad, Max. I’m going to help you.”
They took him away for some kind of testing. Jovelyn and I cried, together, mainly out of joy but it would be a lie to say that there was no concern in those tears as well. We created a beautiful life together and they just took him away from us, leaving us completely in the dark as to whether or not Max was going to be okay.
By this point, both our families had shown up to visit. Jovelyn’s family came in first. I accepted all the congratulations, but didn’t stay too long, as I had to go to the hospital lobby to bring my own family up to the room. My mom, dad, and niece met me downstairs after a few minutes of waiting for them. I told them about everything that was going on, downplaying my fear, and then led them up to the room.
As soon as I opened the door to Jovelyn’s hospital room, I heard my love call out to me.
“Johnny? Is that you?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I brought my family with me.”
I couldn’t see anyone, due to the strangely angled curtain in room when the door is first opened, so I was incredibly surprised when she asked…
“Do you want to hold your son?”
We walked around the curtain, and there he was, Max Morrison Craft in the loving arms of his mother. Healthy. Perfect. I immediately snapped a picture or my two loves, sanitized my hands, and held my baby for the first time ever.
“Hi Max, it’s Daddy,” I said, looking into the beautiful brown eyes or our sweet baby boy. “I told you I would make sure you were okay.”
Granted, there was either nothing VERY wrong with him to begin with OR the doctors sorted everything out, but I just feel like fortune was doing me favors on that day. I may not have directly done anything to ensure his safety, but I do know that I wanted it more than anything I’ve ever wanted in life.
More testing happened, and all the necessary, routine hospital things. However, 24 hours later, Jovelyn was given the option to sign discharge papers and come home with me and our new roommate. We took Max home on Monday, to give him the grand tour of his new place, and to show him all the things we’ve gathered for him over the last few months.
We had our son. We had him home. Jovelyn left our place pregnant and came back with another human life. Our pregnancy journey was complete.
Our life together truly starts, now. Jovelyn and I have had one hell of a journey, to get to this point. We’ve known each other for fifteen years! I always knew we had the potential to be THIS, I always wanted us to be THIS, and now we are. It’s amazing what persistence, timing, and a hefty helping of luck can do for a person.
When we first became a couple, I remember talking to my friend Hannah, who knew us both from high school. She talked about us being perfect for each other, and I remember gushing about all my feeling for Jovelyn to her. Just a few months ago, I got a Facebook message from Hannah asking me if she remembers what I said to her in that conversation. Barely, but Hannah had no problem reminding me.
“I’m going to have a baby with her.”
And I did! I’m no psychic, it was always just obvious to me. Jovelyn Jade should be my wife and have my babies. Nothing else has ever made perfect sense in my world. I’ve never met anyone else I’ve ever wanted to create a life with and felt comfortable literally doing that.
This whole pregnancy thing took us both through the ringer. Physically, emotionally, financially, and even romantically. We had to be less sexual with our intimacy and it brought us closer together as an already close couple. Then I got to see the life we created together and it made me love her even more! THEN I saw her hold Max for the first time and it made me love her EVEN MORE! We continue to grow closer and closer by the day, loving one another more and more.
We have Max. We have a family. Our pregnancy journey may be over, but there is still so much life to live, lessons to teach our son, and plenty more Daddy’s Issues for me to discover.
This is only the end of the beginning.
Johnny Craft is a comic book writer, who is constantly looking for new talented artists to bring his scripts to life. Johnny’s physical composition is made up of 20% ambition, 30% talent, 40% coffee, and 10% illicit drugs.