The Story of How I Became a Dad

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{For just this week, we are handing over our computers to the men in our lives and turning this little piece of the world wide web into Red Stick DADS Blog!  Read along with their joys and their struggles, and find out why we are so very thankful to have these awesome dads in our lives.}

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What a trip! As I traveled back from Northeast Louisiana, I had nothing but the highway and great manly memories from the guys hunting trip I was leaving. The trip was a mix between Duck Commander and Mountain Men with a side of Rambo. Despite not physically traveling to a far destination, we were one with John Rambo’s persona. Our arsenal included AR15’s, pistols, knives, axes, machetes, and most importantly, 12 gauge shotguns, I digress. As I drove through Natchez, Mississippi, holding a wood duck tag in hand (my 1st tag ever by the way), I was about to find out that an important life change was happening back home.

My wife, Jada, had texted me several times during the day asking when I would be home. I responded, as most would, that I had left an hour earlier than I actually had. It was hard to leave the guys. However, I did find her frequent texting atypical. You have to understand our dynamic. Without a doubt she was happy of my return, but she’s very self-sufficient.

I pulled up later that evening to our little rental, we lovingly called it “the residency house.” In reality it was a too small, poorly built house, in a rougher part of town. There she stood with our crazy, mangy mutt (true story – he’s much better now). She was overly anxious to see me. What was odd was that she was holding a small paper bag, and kept nagging me to open the bag. My first thought was “Oh crap, she must have found a can of dip I’d hidden.”

What was in the bag was a used pregnancy test. Hmm, I thought, “did she find a used pregnancy test in our mailbox, did she buy this, or was our dog using it as a chew toy?” One surprising thing, it was brand name; “it could not have been ours!” I thought. I love my wife, and my wife loves discount shopping – even pregnancy tests. The stick had a big ‘ole positive sign on it, which could only mean we were pregnant.

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There it was. No dip can.  Just a used, urine-covered piece of plastic with beta-HCG leaking off of it. Ecstatic and joyful! I bet you are thinking about the hands…they were washed seconds after the celebration.

Let’s now fast forward through the trimesters. My job was fairly easy – support my wife through cravings and emotions. I did struggle at times; however, I tried my best. This was our first time.

While my wife did the hard work, I found myself deep in stress. I was finishing up my 4th year of residency, and I had scheduled my board exam on August 9th, my birthday. Smart decision, right? Unfortunately, Jada had to undergo a procedure several days before our planned delivery. It happened to fall on the day prior to my birthday and my 8 hour medical board exam. The procedure went well, so did my board exam despite obsessing that my baby was being born as I thought about treatment of Chagas disease.

When the exam finally ended, and I turned on my cell phone, I had two voicemails, both from Jada. One was letting me know that she was well. The second one was that she delivered our healthy, beautiful daughter….

Just kidding! I can’t let the story end like that. It was to wish me happy birthday. 🙂

Quickly, August 12th came, which was our expected delivery date. I was confident. We had a planned section. I had assisted on many sections in medical school. I went in knowing everything on the medical side, what could go wrong, what could go right, and how to put on scrubs correctly.

What I didn’t know, was our baby’s gender. The procedure went smoothly. At the time of the big reveal, my brain fogged up. There was our beautiful baby hanging in the air over the blue curtain. Maybe it was pure emotion or just my foggy glasses from hyperventilating. I could not for the life of me distinguish our baby’s sex. I could almost verbally hear my wife’s grandfather (God rest his soul) in his deep Cajun accent saying, “Mais, you call yourself a doctor?”

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Maybe I should have watched Kindergarten Cop several times before. With assistance, thankfully, I was able to get out that we had a girl!

Since birth until present, parenthood has taught me many truths. I lose all reasoning when my child is ill and struggle to be patient at times when she throws a tantrum in the most public of places (even dads have to deal with Target meltdowns).

It’s important to keep embracing the unknown and staying cool during the struggles. These characteristics have kept my family moving forward. As a dad, my advice would be, continue to embrace your emotions and love for your children. Their innocence and peace will transform your heart. Lastly, always wear gloves when digging in small, brown paper bags.

View More: http://cassietreuilphotography.pass.us/bruce-familyThis post is part of a special Dad’s Takeover Series, where local dads are being featured and sharing their side of the story! Today’s post comes from Zackary Bruce. A native of Cut Off, Louisiana and now residing in Baton Rouge, Zack and his wife Jada have one child. Zack is also one of the newest members of the Baton Rouge Clinic family of physicians, and practices Internal Medicine. He is certified in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is licensed to practice in the state of Louisiana. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, the American College of Physicians, and the American Medical Association. He loves treating patients, but his greatest enjoyment comes from spending time with his family, traveling, fishing, and watching Frozen with his daughter Aubrey.

 

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