< Chapter 4:6 Chapter 5:1 >
A son? A daughter? It didn't matter. It took less than a second from hearing the words “I’m pregnant” for me to know that whether Lori and I were going to be together, or not, I was going to be a part of my child’s life. My father had abandoned me, and I would not do the same thing to my child. We made arrangements to get together and talk about options, about whether we should reconcile or not. And the decision was made that we would not. I think we both knew deep down that we were worlds apart.
We also discussed that I would be involved in my child’s life. As I left her house that night, my head was spinning. A new life was coming into this world, and I was going to be responsible for it. How would I be a parent? I still couldn’t understand life myself, how was I going to guide a child? What needed to happen? What would the next step be?
Due to respecting the privacy of my daughter’s mother, all I will say is that next nine months were a whirlwind of learning about responsibility, and preparing myself to be a father. And that even though we had committed that I would be a part of my daughters life, Lori was not receptive to having me involved in many aspects of the process before my daughter was born.
The date was April 20, 1992. I had moved back to Swissdale to cut expenses for when Sierra would be born, and was working in a computer store in Williamsport. Lori had been scheduled to see her doctor that day because she was past her due date. I was waiting for a call so I could find out what was going on. We had spoken the night before and she knew that if they decided that they were going to induce labor, I wanted to be there when my daughter was born. It was getting close to the end of the workday, and on an instinct, I called to check the messages on my home answering machine. There were two messages. “Will this is *****, they’re taking Lori into delivery, she’s going into labor.” The second message was marked 20 minutes later. “Will it’s ******, Lori just had the baby, it’s a girl.”
I sat there with the phone pressed to my ear. My heart sank, and my anger rose. One of the only things that Lori had agreed to in all my requests regarding the pregnancy, was that I would be there when my daughter was born. I had asked to accompany her to a Doctors appointment, to Lamaze classes, for a sonogram, and to be there when the baby was born. Out of those requests, the only two she agreed to were that I would be able to go along for one of the sonograms, and that I would be there when the baby was born.
I slammed down the phone and sat at my desk for 15 to 20 minutes with a rage building inside of me. I finally picked up the phone again and called a sober friend of mine. You see, one of the important things I had learned by that point in my sobriety was that sometimes, when you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, it is a good idea to find someone who you can lean on. I knew that I was not thinking rationally and I didn’t want to do anything I would later regret. I had never in my life been so angry as I was at that moment.
Kevin joined me and we drove to the hospital. As we were getting out of the elevator we were met by Lori’s brother Jimmy, and his girlfriend. Behind them was the girl who had left the message, whose name I seem to have blocked out of my mind. Jimmy’s girlfriend came running to me and wrapped her arms around me to give me a hug and congratulate me on the birth of my daughter. I can remember standing there like a marble statue. No emotion, no response. I asked where my daughter was and they led me to the window where I saw my daughter for the first time.
I can remember looking at that gorgeous baby, and the rush of emotions. She was beautiful, lying there wrapped in a rainbow-patterned blanket. She was so tiny, and so fragile. But soon, all I felt was hatred towards her mother for robbing me of the experience of seeing her born. I turned to Lori’s brother and asked where she was. My voice and body language definitely expressed what I was feeling inside because within seconds, a nurse came and asked who I was and then told me that Lori was still in recovery and I was not allowed to see her. I remember looking towards the fire doors that were by the elevator, looking to my friend and saying, “Get me the fuck out of here”. As we left I actually kicked the doors open smashing them against the wall.
We drove in silence for about 30 minutes to an AA meeting where I walked in the door and immediately launched into a tirade. Now I want you to understand, I love my daughter deeply. One of the most magical moments was the first moment I held her, which I will talk about later. Yet, at the moment all of this was going on, I was in an emotional hurricane like I had never experienced before. I knew that I was on the edge of losing all control, and I did not want to do anything that I would later regret. By leaving the hospital and going to this meeting, I gave myself the room to breathe, to get rid of my anger in a healthy way, and also get constructive suggestions on how to deal with the whole process.
Later that night after dropping Kevin off, I returned to see Lori and my daughter. The nurse led me to the room where Lori was holding Sierra, and I walked in, in silence. I can remember the way that Lori looked at Sierra and the smile on her face as she turned to me. With this big smile she asked, “Did you see her yet?” A thousand thoughts ran through my mind, and my body began to tremble with anger. “Did I see her yet? Why the hell didn’t you call me before you went into deliver?” I said in a quiet, tense, and measured voice. She told me that she thought her friend was going to call me. She had given her the numbers to reach me. She seemed to have no idea. She looked at me and asked, “Do you want to hold her?” And I said no, and walked out of the room.
I need you to understand, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to hold my daughter, I was dying to hold her. I also knew that my body was shaking uncontrollably with anger, and I didn’t want my daughter to have that anger being the first thing she sensed in me.
When I returned the next day, I held Sierra for the first time. It was the most amazing experience in my life. And I know I would not have appreciated the moment as much if I would have gone against my instincts and held her when I was angry.
As I held my beautiful daughter for the first time, the sun was bathing the room in a golden light, and she was lying comfortably in my arms. I can remember the sensation as she tilted her head back, her gorgeous pink cheeks and nose radiating warmth. She opened her mouth and took in a huge breath of air as she began to yawn, and at that same moment when she began to exhale, without realizing it, I had begun to inhale, and I will always remember that sensation of the sweetness of the air that was coming out of her tiny lungs as it entered my nose and filled my soul just as her air filled my lungs. Today, when I am asked to recall the greatest moment that I can remember in my life, every outward accomplishment is outweighed by that moment in time as being the most magnificent memory I have.
Since then I came to learn that Lori did actually tell her friend to call me at work, and it was her friend’s decision to not call. She had her own issues with me, and I guess this was her way of dealing with them.
Today I hold no hard feelings. My daughter and I have a wonderful relationship. And over the years, Lori and I have kept our word that no matter what was happening with us, we would always keep Sierra’s best interests ahead of our own.
< Chapter 4:6 Chapter 5:1 >
The Warrior Sage Chapter/Section
Who Is Willard Barth?
Preface - Exploring Strength And Weakness
Chapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-Awareness
Chapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child Development
Chapter 2:1 The World Changed Forever
Chapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle Begins
Chapter 2:3 Losing Faith
Chapter 2:4 My Dark Secret
Chapter 2:5 Where Is The Love I Was Promised?
Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol Dependence
Chapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood Behind
Chapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride Ends
Chapter 3:5 Living A Duality Begins
Chapter 3:6 Out Of Control
Chapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To Insanity
Chapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking Begins
Chapter 3:9 Facing The Music
Chapter 3:10 A New Beginning
Chapter 3:11 More Lessons To Learn
Chapter 4:1 The Final Party
Chapter 4:2 A Moment Of Clarity
Chapter 4:3 My New Life Begins
Chapter 4:4 Sober, Time To Face The World
Chapter 4:5 The First Year Of Sobriety
Chapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year Two
Chapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992
Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's Birth
Chapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice Inside
Chapter 5:3 The Empress Hotel
Chapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life Begins
Chapter 6:1 Finding My Way Home
Chapter 6:2 Falling Into Place
Chapter 6:3 A New Awareness
Chapter 6:4 Personal Finances And Personal Development
Chapter 6:5 The George Washington Story
Chapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can Grow
Chapter 6:7 The Wrap Up
Jump HOME from My Daughter Is Born