Real Stories: A father's birth story

Fatherhood Real Stories

When baby Pippa was born, dad and professional photographer, Tommy Daspit hit the internet waves to share the good news. We love Tommy’s story because it’s just that, a father’s birth experience. For first time Dad’s trying to prepare or long time dad’s wanting to remember – here’s Tommy, Kelly and baby Pippa’s story.

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My wife, Kelly, and I had long conversations about having children. We had re-found each other after an 18 year sabbatical that began when our summer camp romance had met its ultimate end, and now in our late thirties we had to answer some tough questions – could we do it? What about the added risk of age-related complications?

Kelly was a patient of Dr. Greg Banks at Brookwood Baptist already and having met him I was confident in his abilities, and loved the support structure that Brookwood Baptist provided. Still, at 38 we knew the potential for problems was higher because of Kelly’s age. So with each pregnancy milestone, test and sonogram, we celebrated.

We made it to 39 weeks and Dr. Banks expressed concern about the baby staying in much longer. He presented us with the facts and our options: we could induce labor or wait to see what happened. Inducing meant a greater risk of emergency C-section (which we desperately wanted to avoid), but waiting meant much more to possibly lose. And so we scheduled to induce.

Wednesday, May 7th

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5:00 p.m. We checked into labor and delivery (which was more like checking into a hotel) and the process of dilating Kelly began.

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We kept busy – Jeopardy and Scrabble via iPad distracted us and since I’m a professional photographer and photojournalist I took some time to document everything.

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9:00pm A balloon was tasked with helping Kelly dilate and proved very painful for Kelly. Our nurse, Rachael, was amazing though – always by Kelly’s side and did everything possible to make her more comfortable

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9:15pm While the pull out couch was great for me – the anxious excitement about the day to come was hard to overcome. Sleep did not come for me as easily as it did for Kelly.

Thursday, May 8th
5:00 a.m. Balloon is removed, 4cm and 75% effaced – the Pitocin was administered to start contractions.

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7:30 a.m. Kelly wanted to hold out from getting an epidural as long as possible. She didn’t want to slow down the process. (Induced contractions can be more painful and she was enduring the most pain in her life.) Despite my best efforts to comfort her – the pained expressions on her face made me admire her for her strength, and pained me with guilt for not sharing in the suffering. After two hours of this, she was ready for the relief, and the epidural was administered.

8:00 a.m. 6cm, much closer to the goal of 10. Holli, our delivery nurse stayed by Kelly’s side the entire time –we were amazed at how much she was being cared for and felt confident in the doctors and nurses ability and comforted by the compassion they demonstrate.

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10:08 a.m. Still 6cm but the baby had dropped some. Holli changes Kelly from a laying position to a sitting position — letting gravity do its thing.

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11:32 a.m. 10cm and 100% effaced. It’s time to PUSH!

At this point, I put the camera down and set up my iPod to record the sounds of the birth. I wanted to be an active participant and fully experience the moment my daughter came into the world. So I turned the photographer part of me off – when I’m working my thoughts are on exposure, composition, lighting, and all the other things that make a photograph what it is. As a photographer, I’m an observer and not a part of the story. I wanted to be a part of this story.

11:40 a.m. Kelly’s strength and determination amaze me – with each contraction she pushes for ten seconds in three sets, and they’re coming every two minutes. Holli sees the crown of the baby’s head and has Kelly stop pushing to allow Dr. Banks time to arrive.

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11:58 a.m. Dr. Banks begins to deliver while Divenire by Ludovico Eindaudi (one of our favorite songs) plays and then, our baby girl, Pippa, is here! I let out a sound of relief and joy that isn’t describable as they place Pippa immediately on Kelly’s chest. And she’s completely silent. No crying at all. Kelly is worried, but the nurses and doctor reassure her that Pippa is perfect. And finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she lets out the most wonderful cry.

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That’s it. She’s really here, she’s perfect, and I’m her father. And the emotions surround me – I’ve gone from joy to relief, to love for Kelly and Pippa, to the stark realization that this person… this tiny perfect person, is relying on me to protect and raise her. I know my life has changed and I couldn’t be happier. 

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I discover a brotherhood of pink and blue bracelets (they put a pink information bracelet on your wrist if you had a girl and blue if a boy). You see each other in the elevator and cafeteria. Stories of birth, family, and congratulations are exchanged. Some men are tired, some exuberant, but all were obviously filled with pride and joy.

Saturday, May 10

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9:00 a.m. We are going home. Doctors come and check Pippa out. She passes all of her final tests. She is wearing the same gown that Kelly wore when she was brought home 38 years before. It’s cloudy, gray, and rainy. We are exhausted but we have sunshine and joy in the form of a 6lb 15oz perfect baby girl named Pippa Elise.

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Tommy Daspit is a commercial, editorial, and Google Maps Business View Trusted Photographer in the greater Birmingham, Alabama metro area. His work can be see on his website: tommydaspit.com. He also teaches photography classes and offers photography lessons and tips on his blog. You can learn more on his class website birminghamphotographyclass.com.

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