December 15th, 1989, I remember as if it were yesterday. The whole experience was so fast that I never had time to realize what was happening. I was twenty-three years old. I had been married for sixteen months. My wife and I had been together for a little over two years. Life with her was great. I never imagined it being any better. Boy was I wrong.
In March of ?89 my wife informed me that she was pregnant. I was in shock; I didn?t know what to say. I was thrilled, excited, and shocked all at the same time. Just as soon as she told me the news, about a thousand questions rushed through my head. Am I too young to be a father? How will I handle the responsibility of taking care of a child? All of my questions would be answered in due time.
As the next nine months passed, we tried to get everything prepared. I took care of getting the baby?s room painted and decorated. I filled it with all the furniture that was needed, a crib, a dresser, and a changing table and of course, a rocking chair. While my wife took care of getting baby clothes, bottles, and a diaper service. Everything we did now focused on bringing a baby into this world.
I can remember one of the visits to the doctor?s office. We were able to listen to the baby?s heartbeat. It was a very rapid beat, almost twice the speed of my wife?s. And we were able to see the ultrasound, a very strange looking picture. The baby was very hard to make out, but once the doctor pointed it out I was able to see it. My wife and I had already decided we did not want to know the sex of our unborn child. So when the doctor asked if we would like to know, we looked at each other, and as if we practiced it, we both turned and said, ?No.?
Eventually we had to take birthing classes. This was by far one of the strangest things I had ever seen. The classes taught us how to breath properly, to help breathe out the contractions. It was strange looking around the room and seeing all these couples doing the breathing exercises. When the time came all that breathing worked.
I was up late the night of December 14th watching a movie when my wife woke up. She came into the room and told me she wasn?t feeling very well. Neither one of us thought much about it, but she was having a contraction. A few minutes later she was complaining her stomach was hurting again. Finally it occurred to me that she might be in labor. The next time she felt something, we checked the time. The contractions were about two minutes apart. So I called the hospital, grabbed her bag, and loaded my wife into the car. At this point, we both realized how important the birthing classes were, and she started to breathe out her contraction.
When we arrived at the hospital, the people from admission had her paperwork waiting for us as we walked in. They wheeled my wife up to her room. After we got settled in, I called all my relatives to tell them it was time. Within thirty minutes everyone was there. They were all excited and nervous.
As I helped my wife with her breathing, we looked into each other?s eyes; I could see how excited she was. She was going to give birth to our child. We had been preparing for this for the last nine months. All the classes, the advice from others, nothing prepared for the feelings we had when we got to see our son, Andrew James Duncan, for the first time. It was an overwhelming feeling rushing through my body. I kept saying to myself, ?This is my son, this is my son?. It was incredible. The feeling that I am now a father rushed through my body.