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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

For Unto Us A New Life in the New Year

Updated: Jan 4

Guest Post by Ben Killoy

At-Home Dad, Transformational Coach, and U.S. Marine Veteran

Welcome to our world, Evan!

EDITOR'S NOTE: A version of the following post appeared on Ben's Facebook page on December 23, 2023. It has been reformatted and edited for clarity and is shared here with his permission.



What a crazy day it was. Induction day for kid number four.


I remember waking up thinking that today was the day everything was about to change. Trying to get the kids up and going wasn’t as easy as it needed to be earlier in the morning. We had to have them up by 6am so we could be at the hospital by 7, and hope they all got on the bus on time at 8. Despite my planning that morning, I somehow failed to put Lillian's lunch I had made the night before in her backpack and, instead, left it in the refrigerator.


We got to the hospital just a little after 7 because I wanted to stop and get an Egg McMuffin from McDonald's, and to my surprise, the woman in front of me, who had originally cut me off in the drive-through, ended up dishing me some irony from the universe and paying for our order.


Arriving at the hospital, they make you wait in the lobby while someone from labor and delivery comes down to get you. It's a hard wait because all the thoughts are going through your mind about what is really to happen today. And if you are a first-time Dad, this is even more magnified.

I remember waking up thinking that today was the day everything was about to change.

The Nurse comes down, takes us up, and helps us get settled in the room that will soon be the room where we get to meet our son.


Waiting for labor to start is such a unique time because, as the husband, you don’t have much part to play other than moral support. And you see all of these things happening to your wife from tests, checks, and needles.


We started having labor induced around 8am on December 19, 2023, and then the waiting began. You don't know if you can go grab lunch or if you're going to miss it. But you hope with each check, she is progressing more and more. I did end up going downstairs to grab lunch as you don’t know if it will be eight hours, five, or 24. So, to be ready for the potential long haul that night, I grabbed a quick salad, got it down, and headed back upstairs.


After all the years of doing the work, I felt so much more present than before with my other kids. With Evan, I could feel a deep sense of joy coming from the well of my soul. A thought that went through my head a lot was how long I had prayed, hoped, and dreamed about this day coming well before we were even able to get pregnant. It was a day I didn’t think was ever going to come and that it was a dream I would have to one day grieve and let go.


But here I am getting ready to step into it and have it all come true. I remember thinking in the months leading up to this day having all these crazy thoughts like:


What kind of crazy is this?

Who does this to himself, willingly?

Will I say when the day comes, "Ugh, I thought that would feel different?"


Here I was getting ready to test all those questions that were, by most standards, shitty.


Time kept going by that day, and she got more and more ready to deliver and start pushing. Then the time came she was 10 cm, and it was time to push.


It is a crazy moment to be in when so much is going on around you from nurses getting ready to take care of him when he is born to people monitoring my wife to others watching that everything down there goes back together properly. So, the last thing on most people's minds is being present. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed and stimulated that it's easier to just check out and wait for it to be over.


For me, it was the opposite. It was as if I was able to slow down time in that moment to see it all happening and feel all the rush of feelings come through me.


I remember my eyes turning into a waterfall of joy during those few minutes at just how beautiful an experience it was. I remember looking into my wife's eyes and loving deeply just how much love went into this moment and welcoming this new life that was created out of that love.


I often tell other Dads who are getting ready to have a baby to slow down and look into their wife's eyes and honor how much they love her and how much love it took to create this little human. Life will get hard, either as a parent or in marriage, and it will take this moment that almost seems like it contains an infinite amount of love to tap into and draw on when the tough gets going.


Fast-forward a few minutes, and Evan came into this world with little fanfare and crying at 3:53pm on December 19, 2023. It was almost 48 hours before he started testing his lungs. I remember staying by my wife's side and looking over as they cleaned him up, checked him over, and checked his vitals.


I remember thinking how perfect this moment was and how it was a moment that almost wasn’t. I remember the first look of my wife’s eyes as she got to hold him for the first time and just thinking how pure and good that moment was. I remember the first time I was able to hold him and look at him and just think how perfect he was and all that we would experience together in the years to come.


It was about 7pm when we got transferred to our next room where we spent the night. That first night was so incredible because, as I sat in the chair holding him all wrapped up, I felt this overwhelming feeling of peace. Like, if this is what a sample of heaven feels like, I want more.

I remember thinking how perfect this moment was and how it was a moment that almost wasn’t. I remember the first look of my wife’s eyes as she got to hold him for the first time and just thinking how pure and good that moment was. I remember the first time I was able to hold him and look at him and just think how perfect he was and all that we would experience together in the years to come.

The tension leading up to the birth of not knowing, worry, and stress all just faded away. I remember thinking and answering those questions from earlier and saying, "What idiot does this to himself? THIS one; and I am not crazy. I just have conviction in what I know, and sometimes that looks like crazy compared to the norms."


Will I wish it felt different or was it lacking from my expectations? No, that couldn’t be further from the truth. It felt three times better than even my wildest dreams. It was a feeling that has only been validated more as the days at home with him keep counting. I write this sitting at just 96 hours here in this world with him and I get so excited for the moments, hours, days, and years to come.


One of the beliefs I had going into this idea was that I knew that looking back 20 years from now, there wouldn’t be a bone in my body that would look back and trade it for anything. It's the principle I leaned into when I left my job in 2020 and didn’t pursue another one right away. I knew looking back 10 years from then, I wouldn’t wish I rushed out and got a job.


I am going to want more memories.


So, I stand here on December 23, 2023, looking forward and backward with a story that goes like this:


Trust in God's timing, not your timing

If you're going through hell, keep going, he is with you

If you are in the fight of your life, hold on just a little bit longer

It all works out 10 times better than you can ever imagine.


Most importantly, the reward of arrival is so worth the struggle, the work, the tears, and the sweat.


* * *



Call for Entries for the 3rd Annual Daddying Film Festival & Forum (D3F) kicked off this week! Check out the D3F website for more details, submission guidelines, and Atticus Award-winning examples from previous years. Or students (1st grade through undergrads), Dads/Dad figures, and other indie filmmakers can head directly to our FilmFreeway page to submit their film/videos celebrating the importance of being/having an involved dad.


Early-bird submission deadline is February 5th Daddy on!



 

Ben Killoy is a U.S. Marine veteran, husband, and father to four kids, Sophia, 9, Dylan, 6, Lillian, who is 5 going on 16, and the newborn Evan. He is a speaker, dad coach, podcaster, and has been a DCG Armor Down/Daddy Up! workshop facilitator. He launched his podcast Military Veteran Dad in 2019. He now spends more quality time with his family as an at-home dad and coach focused on helping military dads grow through generational trauma, redefine the parameters for living, and create a lasting legacy of change and helping other high-performing men with thriving business lives but out-of-balance family lives.

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