I think I’m getting my feet under me as far as scheduling is concerned, so my posts should start to return to some semblance of normalcy.
That said, I’ve a confession to make.
There wasn’t exactly an insta-connection between my daughter and me when she was born. Yes, I thought she was beautiful. And yes, there was a desire to protect her. But I’d feel the same about any infant, you know? They’re pretty helpless. I’d probably feel the same about a kitten or a puppy…
“Wait, you’d what?”
I was actually starting to become concerned about this lack of attachment. Like there was something wrong with me. How am I supposed to be a good father when I’m quasi-indifferent to this little mewling thing? How can I will myself through sleepless nights if I don’t care about her? Am I not wired properly to be a father? Have I made a terrible mistake?
A pair of nurses came into our hospital room, and explained that they were going to take Daphne for a cardiac screening. They picked her up, placed her into a little lucite box on wheels, gave her a pacifier, and told us they’d be back in about 30 minutes.
Out of nowhere came pangs of nervousness. I swung bolt upright on the thin couch that I’d been sleeping on, and questions started ricocheting around my head.
Where exactly are you taking her?
What are these “tests?”
Who’s doing them?
How long will they take again?
Can I come with you?
But I verbalized none of these questions.
Instead I narrowed my eyes to slits, gripped the vinyl padding on my “bed,” and became so irrationally furious at them that I growled. Yes, growled. My throat warbled a menacing, guttural noise at these women as they took my daughter away. It wasn’t conscious, and it certainly wasn’t intentional. It also wasn’t exactly human-sounding. And I’m very glad they didn’t hear me.
Because it frightened me a little when I heard myself.
While she was gone I sat there, motionless, and glared hatefully at the clock until they finally wheeled her back in 20 minutes later. Crying. And without her mittens on. As such her face had been scratched from swinging her little hands around in an effort to protect herself from whatever they were doing to her.
I indelicately shouldered the nurses out of the way, pulled her from the bassinet, and backed both of us into a corner until they left and she stopped crying.
Later, when thinking back on this exchange, I realized that I had absolutely nothing to worry about with regard to feeling disconnected or nonprotective of my daughter.
Quite the opposite, actually.
For example, she’s had to have blood taken a couple times since we brought her home. And I’ve found that I cannot be near the phlebotomist who’s squeezing the blood out of my little girl’s foot. Because both times they’ve stabbed her I’ve started that strange growling again, and white-knuckle gripped the strap on my diaper bag…all while willing myself to not lift this random person up by their neck and crush their windpipe for making my daughter bleed.
The human part of my mind understands that what they are doing is necessary. That they are actually there to help. And that they don’t like making her cry either. Thankfully that rational part of my brain has, so far, retained control over the rest of me.
Hopefully this part will get easier. Because if it doesn’t there’s going to be a trail of mauled nurses in my wake.