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From the Pitch - Fatherhood

By CJ Cochran, 06/16/20, 2:00PM EDT

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Fatherhood

Author - CJ Cochran
CJ Cochran
OKC Energy FC
June 16, 2020

Let me tell you how I found out.

I was sitting on the couch and my wife offered to me to make me a sandwich. Simple as that. But here’s the thing. I was suspicious.

Why?

Well, because she literally never does that. Not in a bad way, mind you, we’re just more of a make your own lunch type of family. So as soon as she offered, I knew something was up. 

As she came my way, I cautiously eyed the plate. My gut told me something was about to happen, but my gut ALSO told me I was hungry... so naturally I accepted it - hoping for the best. But as I went to eat it, I could see something sticking out of the sandwich. I pulled off the top layer of bread and there it was. A pregnancy test.

A PREGNANCY TEST!

And not just any pregnancy test, but a positive one. It was sitting right there. No lie. A literal positive pregnancy test in my sandwich. 

It took me a few seconds to register what I was looking at. Of course the hunger was gone, replaced instead by adrenaline and excitement. I stammered a bit, lost for words, and finally said something obvious like “you’re pregnant”. My wife just smiled – she has a beautiful smile – and replied “yeah”. 

That’s how I first found out I was going to be a dad.

Look, I’m going to keep this short. The reason I wanted to write this story is because I think it’s important to talk about what it's like to become a father in these strange, uncertain times. I want to talk about being a dad, what it really means, how it changes your life, and why we should all consider letting our loved ones know just how we feel a bit more often.     

My wife was induced on May 5, well before the crack of dawn. We packed up and made our way to the hospital. Now let me tell you, these types of trips are stressful under the most normal of circumstances. Add in a global pandemic and everything gets turned up a few notches. 

For weeks we couldn’t even get a clear answer on what the protocols were. At one point it didn’t even look like I would be allowed to be there due to all of the COVID-19 precautions. I was furious. But eventually I was given the clear and when we arrived that morning, we were met with temperature guns and hand sanitizer. 

I won't go into all the details about what happened next, but it’s fair to say whatever stress and anxiety we were feeling before the birth, was amplified significantly in the aftermath of it.

When our beautiful baby daughter – her name is Charlotte – first came into the world, she was immediately whisked away for further evaluation. Her breathing was off, and they only allowed us to see her once during her first 15 hours of life. It was rough. It was an emotional roller coaster. 

All we wanted to do was be with her, but even from afar, behind glass, you could tell she was struggling to breathe. At first, they thought she had some fluid in her lungs, so they took her to the newborn intensive care until to have some tests run. 

It took a while. As a new parent, every passing second felt like a lifetime. But they eventually figured it out.

The diagnosis was that Charlotte had bacterial meningitis, which if not caught early can be dangerous. Thankfully, the doctors and nurses acted quickly and within eight hours she was on antibiotics. She slowly got better and better, and after eleven days in the hospital we were finally able to take our daughter home with us. 

It’s been almost two weeks since we all arrived home together for the first time and I want to say something about all of the doctors and nurses who deal with new parents like me on a daily basis: You all are incredible. As a society we are so lucky to have you. Even in times of great stress and anxiety, you were a calming presence for us, and for that, my wife and I will always be grateful. 

If I’ve learned anything through this process, it’s that moms everywhere deserve a shout-out. Seeing my wife fight through the pain and adversity has been inspiring. She’s incredible. 

To be fair, it also made me reevaluate my own actions. For example, I used to get pretty upset when I’d stub my toe. After seeing what she went through, I won’t be doing that anymore. 

It’s also worth mentioning that Charlotte came out at 9 lbs., 8 ounces. If you don’t already know, that’s really big for a baby. In fact, when the doctor pulled out that baby, she said “oh my goodness!” That was my initial reaction too. I was like where did that come from? Inside of Alana? No way!

But seriously, Alana is going to be a great mother. She already is. I don’t have the words to describe it. She is so much better at this parenting stuff than I am right now. She’s amazing.

But I’m trying to pitch in where I can and my to-do list around the house is a lot longer than it used to be. Plus, I have more free time on my hands that I used to. I’ve been trimming bushes, putting together the crib, assembling curtains. Normally that wouldn’t sound like much fun but I’m enjoying every minute of it. I love being a dad and I want to help where I can. If there’s a silver lining in this whole COVID-19 situation, it’s that I’ve been able to spend more time at home. More time with my new family. 

There’s nowhere I’d rather be. 

I think about my own dad a lot too. We have a really good relationship. We’re close. Any time we talk he always says things like “I love you buddy. I miss you buddy.” I’ve heard those words from my dad for as long as I can remember. It’s something I want to make sure my daughter knows too. 

I also spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of father I want to be. Alana says I’m not going to be much of a disciplinarian. She’s right. As soon as I saw Charlotte, I knew I wasn’t going to be using the word “no” very often. 

Even now, as difficult as these first few weeks have been, I just remind myself that our little girl has been through a lot. And although it’s true that I wish she would stop going to the bathroom on me, I allow it for now.

This is a weird time. We’re all looking forward to a return to normalcy. But for as long as we’re all home, I’m going to enjoy spending time with my family. I’m going to be present and I’m going to make the most of it. 

Charlotte,

Your mom and dad love you very much. 

We can’t wait to watch you grow. 

Love,

- Your Dad

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