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Dad Diary: 'The Day My Life Was Changed Forever'

August 1, 2017, was one of the most beautiful days of my life. That's when our beautiful daughter Elif Marvel was born. We looked forward to having her for 39 weeks and 1 day, and there she was. The little bug who immediately became the center of attention in our little family.

Up till that point, life was "just" about the wife and me. Us. Two people. That began to change during Esma's pregnancy, of course, but I didn't truly comprehend just how much our lives would be transformed until that very first moment I laid eyes on our precious daughter (her names mean First Miracle). Esma pushed and pushed and pushed some more... and there she was. We both looked at her and instantly started crying. "You're perfect!" I said while Esma could only look at her in amazement and whisper time and again "I love you, baby, I love you."

Esma and Elif Marvel, shortly after the latter was born. And yes, we put on some makeup because my wife wanted to look "pretty" in the photos.

After that, I sighed a sigh of relief. This had been one incredible labor. It started on the 31st of July, in the morning. It took Elif Marvel 36 hours to come out. During that time I didn't leave my wife's side, family and friends visited us in the hospital, nurses worried that it would end up with a Caesarean, and I learned that my willpower and endurance is nothing compared to my wife's amazing pain tolerance, discipline, and strength. I never knew she could deal with so much pain.

My friends whom I talked to afterward, those who also witnessed the moment of birth, said the exact same thing about their wives. The entire process of giving birth is miraculous. The very moment the baby comes out, everything changes. Yes. But what strikes us, men, most is that moment we just know our wife's heart is about to stop and she's going to call for an end to it all... but, instead, she persists, pushes through the pain, and brings forth a new life — our child.

Hello world! Photo taken immediately after birth. A proud father. A tired but happy mother, and a baby who's still shocked at what just happened.

It is both beautiful and -- dare I say it? -- absolutely traumatizing. I felt -- and still feel -- like I have PTSD from just witnessing someone suffer so much and so deeply. Esma shouted, "No, no, no!" I don't know how many times. "The contractions are hurting so much!" she screamed. I knew, of course, that I couldn't make her pain go away, so when she told the nurse that she wanted me to be by her side and everybody else to leave the room, I decided to do everything I could to give her a) support and b) tools to deal with the pain. Most of those tools are, of course, known to everybody --  her breathing pattern was especially important. Thankfully, while in pain, Esma listened carefully to feedback and actually did something with it.