My wife and I were supposed to deliver our son on February 22, 2018. For a little over 8 months everything we thought about our pregnancy centered around that date. I requested time off from work starting on February 21. Our parents were planning to make alternate trips to visit us based on the expected due date. When we were deciding on how and when to paint his nursery, we used February 22 as our benchmark for how soon we needed to get things done. For almost a year, everything in our lives centered around February 22, 2018, so imagine my surprise when we were sitting in the doctor's office for her 38-week examination on February 13 and the nurse who had been monitoring my wife's blood pressure throughout the appointment came into the room and proclaimed, "It’s time for you to have this baby. The doctor is going to admit you to the hospital today." I immediately said to her, "Wait...What? We don't have anything ready yet!" Our hospital bag was packed, but we didn't have it with us. The nursery still wasn't quite finished. Who would walk the dog? What about work? I just wanted to ask, "Doc, can we get a do over?" My wife and I were both more than willing to come back the next day and try it again.
Once the doctor explained that there was no negotiating the timing, we quickly realized that none of the things we thought were so important really mattered. The fact of the matter was that regardless of what we had or hadn't gotten done, the baby was coming and there wasn't anything that anyone could do about it. It was at that point that I quickly learned my first lesson as a new dad: Always expect the unexpected because things don’t always work out the way you plan them.
After being in labor for over 20 hours, our son was born on February 14, 2018. While we would have showered him with our unconditional love regardless of when he was born, there was just something special about having a child born on Valentine's Day. While Valentine’s Day is usually reserved for romance, this year it proved to be a time that we will forever remember as the day we were blessed with the next chapter of our legacy.
We stayed in the hospital for six days after our son was born. When my wife and son were finally released from the hospital, his nursery wasn't finished--most of the things that we had on our to-do list never even got done. The one thing we did have plenty of was love. As we walked into our home with our new baby, I realized that his birth will serve as another lifelong lesson to me that regardless of how inept I may feel as a father or how unprepared I may be for what my fatherhood journey will bring, the one thing that truly matters to my child is love.
From the moment we found out we were expecting a child, I was very intentional about being present for both my wife and our son. I never missed a doctor’s appointment; I asked lots of questions; I listened to his heartbeat; and, throughout the pregnancy, I used my love for them to help drive my actions and show them that I would always be present.
As long as I have love in my heart and my legacy as a father on my mind, I can never go wrong because my motivation will always be based on those two things, and my actions will follow. Love...and legacy!
Dion Chavis, Celebrity Media Personality, The Glad Dad, LLC