Dad Cuts the Umbilical Cord

There are some things in life that life up to the hype regardless of how much you despise the commonplace or trendy.  The top of the Empire State Building, a streetcar ride in San Francisco (and Alcatraz), the drive over Trail Ridge Road (highest paved road in America) in Colorado are on this list.  Another member of this prestigious list is cutting your baby’s umbilical cord.

Cutting the Umbilical Cord

When my wife was pregnant, we took a child birth class. They mentioned filling out a form with our wishes for how we wanted our childbirth experience to go down. One of the things on the form was whether or not the father wanted to cut the umbilical cord. I didn’t really care. It just didn’t seem like it would be a big deal either way. I’ve cut things before, and it isn’t like the umbilical cord is a beating heart or anything.

Wrong, with wrong sauce!  Though there were many intense moments up to the actual delivery of our baby, nothing compares to seeing a tiny human being being held by the doctor and nurses as they frantically go about the post-birth tasks.  There is no frame of reference to any event in your life that comes close, so all the average person can do is stare.  That’s what I did.  I stared at our baby daughter.  My mind was completely blank.

Then, clamps in place, our OB/GYN held up a pair of scissors to my hand.  I took them without thinking.  The second they touched my hand, everything changed.  I had responsibilities.  One of them was to get this cut right.  I placed the scissors in the center of the clamps and gingerly pushed the handles together.  That isn’t the right answer.  The cord is tough and a solid clip is required.  I became firmer and the blades moved forward and through.  When I was done, the scissors were taken from my hand and the baby was moved off for cleaning.

Dad’s Most Important Moment

Up until the cutting, all I had done was the supporting role.  I helped.  That’s what a dad to be does.  He helps.  There are no other useful functions to be performed, but there, seconds after my daughter was born, I was the Dad.  The man who cuts the umbilical cord.  Sure, it’s a no-brainer and that’s why they let you do it, but when you add the awe of seeing your child for the first time to the awe of helping her by performing a task that you have never done before, you get a moment that will forever be seared into your brain.  I can remember every single thing about cutting the cord, the feel, the resistance, the fear, the location of the clamps, everything.

Turns out, we never really used our form.  We wanted most things by the book (we figured doing it by the book gives her the best chance) so the form never came up.  Luckily, they assumed that I’d want to cut it.  I’m glad they didn’t ask, because I might not have answered correctly at that moment.

Keep an eye out here for a full slate of information about the delivery, but for now, take this one thing to the bank.  You want to cut the umbilical cord.

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