Watching Elliott come into this world through the most amazing person I know was the most wonderful thing I have ever been a part of.
It truly was life-changing, that moment when I saw the first little bit of his hairy head working its way through his mama. I will never forget seeing his crown and then leaning in close to Ash and saying, "He has hair! He has hair!" Next, I saw an ear, then a shoulder, then his waist, and then with one final push, Elliott's whole body was out and within seconds he was crying for his mom. I don't know how a person stays the same after seeing something like that.
Two plugs from the birth:
First, to Ash:
Ash was incredible; I am so proud to call her my wife. When she went into labor, Ash put on her game face. On the way to the hospital, she looked at me and said, "I think this is going to hurt," but she never once lost her cool with anything. Even when we couldn't get into a room, even when the midwife didn't realize how far into labor she was (even though Ash was saying, "I think I am going to have a baby soon!") and with every little change in plan, she just rolled with it.
And second, to ANMC and the amazing midwives who work there:
For those of you who know Ash and me personally or have read Ash's post here, you know that we wanted a natural at-home birth. But because Ash tested positive for Group-B Strep and required an IV during labor, we decided to birth at ANMC, and we are happy now that we did. The midwives were amazing during the birth. They were there for us when we needed them but respected the fact that we wanted a natural birth. Even after the birth, the care ANMC gave us for the 48 hours that followed Elliott's birth was great. They checked in on us every hour on the dot while at the same time giving us space to get to know and love our brand new son. If anyone were to ask me for a local recommendation on where to birth their child, I would wholeheartedly recommend ANMC's prenatal care and maternity ward.
Returning to the question of whether or not I feel any different now that Elliott has arrived, my answer is a yes on many levels. I felt different from the moment when Ash and I were sitting in our Brooklyn apartment and the pregnancy test read PREGNANT. (We looked at each other and just said, "Awesome.") From that day on, I felt like I was under deadline for a dream client. I still feel this way and probably will until Elliott is old enough to start telling me how it is, a day that could never come soon enough. I can't wait for the day when Elliott can teach me a thing or two, show me a photo he has taken, or tell me about some book he's fallen in love with. I can't wait to see where his dreams take him; mine and Ash's have already taken us pretty far.
My photography has even taken on a new meaning to me now that Elliott is in the frame. I have to trust my work and myself to support my son and wife, and I know Ash feels similarly about her own work. Before Ash and Elliott, I was only providing for myself (and my expensive camera addiction). But now I pursue some clients that I wouldn't have two years ago, and I accept jobs that sometimes I'm not as excited about. But it's Ash and me. And it's Ash and me and Elliott. And that's what matters. Even on the not-so-exciting shoots, I still feel pretty blessed that Ash and I are both able to do what we love and often able to do it together. I'm excited for Elliott to see his parents doing what they love and loving each other.
In short, all I can really say to anyone who wants to know how I've changed or what I'm feeling now is that it is certainly a new and exciting time for the Adams family. Ash and Elliott are the best wife and son a husband and dad could ever imagine having. I feel beyond blessed, and I can't wait to see where Elliott and life brings us.
One thing I want to close with is for expecting dads: Treat your lady like a queen. Sometimes you are going to want to complain about the extra work that is being asked of you. It is not worth it. I regret every time that I grumbled to Ash before doing the dishes, before picking something up, or about being the only one able to empty the cat littler (it's true; that's another thing pregnant women aren't allowed to do!). It is not worth it. She is working harder than you are, way harder than you are, and if you don't realize that towards the end, you will the moment you see that baby come into this world. Appreciate her honesty; if she can tell you when she needs something from you, be thankful that she's asking. Love your lady and take care of her. This might sound like an obvious or trite thing to say, but it is important for her to know that you have her back and you aren't going to be another baby she has to look out for. And at the very end of it, she will look at you and say, "We did this." And she'll mean it.