I spent the first few weeks of my pregnancy terrified that something would go wrong. And when I had first prenatal appointment and the physician couldn't immediately find a heartbeat, my mind automatically went to the worst case scenario. Then, suddenly, I heard it: that impossibly fast beating. I was so wrapped up in the moment, it never occurred to me to ask my husband what it was like for him. It turns out that the moment he heard our baby's heartbeat for the first time was a huge relief for him, too, and made my pregnancy seem more real.
I knew I was pregnant before I ever peed on a pregnancy test, so my pregnancy felt real from the very beginning. I mean, it's hard to forget when you're dealing with unrelenting nausea and utter exhaustion. It was different for my husband, though. Because his first wife had lost her first pregnancy, and he’d been there when the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat at 13 weeks gestation, he was understandably worried. He doesn't often talk about how hard that experience was for him, but when my OB-GYN was trying to find a heartbeat I know my husband experienced everything from fear, to hope, to joy, and in a matter of seconds. He was just as reassured as I was.
When I asked other dads to share what that moment was like for them, I heard stories that were very similar to my husband's. Most of them found the experience to be wonderful, amazing, and a little weird... all at the same time. You know, kind of like pregnancy itself. For a glimpse into the thoughts, emotions, and first impressions of that indescribable first listen at their baby’s heartbeat, read on. (You might want to grab a box of tissues before you do, though.)