“My doctor said I should go to the hospital immediately. I asked if I could wait for you to get home first; she said that is okay.” These words were not expected as I was leaving work on June 3, 2019. A small moment of panic set in as I realized that we were going to the hospital because our first baby was on the way. She was coming sooner than expected because my wife’s blood pressure was elevated, and her doctor was concerned about preeclampsia.
I’m sure this is not how you expected a story about a watchfast to start. If you don’t already know, my Speedmaster was a gift from my wife on our wedding day. It holds a place in my heart that is unmatched by anything else I own. I knew when our daughter was born that I was going to want to wear it. However, since I was not wearing the Speedmaster on June 3rd that might lead you to believe something else.
I arrived home to find my wife calm and collected. We already had our bags packed and I began bringing them to the car and came to the realization that if I wanted to have my Speedmaster on, now was the time to do it. Luckily, I had a few minutes, so I took it out and quickly changed the strap that was on it to the bracelet. I don’t think I have ever changed a bracelet that quickly in my life. I would later realize that evening that I put it on backwards (the opening of the clasp facing the wrong direction).
Arriving at the hospital and getting settled into what would become a long stay, I started to let friends and family know what was going on. My watch friends asked if I had the Speedmaster on, to which I replied with a wrist shot. My wife even asked if I had put it on.
During our stay at the hospital I discovered how valuable having a timing device strapped to my wrist was. Before our daughter was born, I used the chronograph to time contractions. At the beginning, it was easier than taking out my phone as they were occurring randomly. I did eventually switch to my phone when they became more consistent. 48 hours later, through my wife’s pain, anguish, and fortitude, our little girl entered the world safe and sound.
After our daughter was born was when the chronograph on the Speedmaster began to shine. During feedings, it was helpful to time how long she ate. Because the Speedmaster was on my wrist, it was fast and easy to reach and start the chronograph.
My wife was unable to get out of bed the first day, so both my hands were often occupied, thus making it impossible for me to reach for a phone to check how long something had occurred. It was easy to give a slight twist to my wrist and read the chronograph registers on the Speedmaster.
The options for overhead lighting at the hospital were either completely dark or brighter than a thousand suns. For nighttime feedings, the latter was rather undesirable for both us and the baby. I discovered how good (and useful) the lume on the Speedmaster is for telling whether the baby was due for a feeding. The lume glowed bright enough for me to read it accurately all night, saving us from a screaming baby awoken by bright lights.
We left the hospital on June 8th with our daughter and began our lives as parents. I was originally planning on putting on a different watch as the others had sat in my watch box while we were at the hospital. However, I could not bring myself to take the Speedmaster off. It had been through the entire childbirth journey with us and I was actually using it during that time. It sounds odd, but it didn’t make sense for me to take it off.
Over the next few weeks, I continued using the Speedmaster to time feedings, tummy time, and just for fun — for example, how quickly I could change a diaper (20 seconds was my best time). About 2 and a half weeks later, I was still wearing the Speedmaster and a friend of mine had bought one himself during this time. He suggested I do a watchfast with him since I was already so far along, and I agreed.
Prior to all of this, my Speedmaster always reminded me of my honeymoon. I wore it straight through our wedding and honeymoon and created so many great memories with it (and my wife). Every time I would put it on, I would think of an excursion we did, a place we visited, or a great dinner we had. I always thought that those were the types of memories that get attached to watches that people talk about.
My Speedmaster took on a whole different role during the birth of my daughter. It became more than just a gift from my wife and something that I brought with me to celebrate a special moment. It became an essential tool for a new dad.
While the memories I previously had with my Speedmaster will always be a part of that watch, I now think of something else when wearing it. I’m reminded of my daughter and the joy she brings to my life. I’m reminded of the strength, power, and perseverance of my wife during our daughter’s birth. These are memories and thoughts that are permanently engraved into my Speedmaster. Every time I look at my Speedmaster and think of those things, no one else might be the wiser. However, if you see me looking at my Speedmaster with a big grin on my face, it probably isn’t because I’m smiling at the watch, it’s because I know my wife and daughter are smiling back at me.