The best gift ever on Father's Day: Time

New dads discover the joy of being with their babies

6/16/2013
BY RONEISHA MULLEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Chad Bingley holds his daughter, Kyra Ryan, shortly before she was discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit at Mercy Children's Hospital.
Chad Bingley holds his daughter, Kyra Ryan, shortly before she was discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit at Mercy Children's Hospital.

This Father’s Day, Chad Bingley wants nothing more than to hold his newborn daughter.

No fancy dinner or expensive presents. Just quality time with his little girl.

“I don’t need all that. I just want to spend time with her.”

There are more than 70 million dads in the United States, including some who very recently took the leap into fatherhood for the first time or recently brought home a newborn. For these men, seeing a tiny baby’s smile can be emotional and awe-inspiring. When life-threatening complications occur, it’s terrifying.

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Alex Marsh with his first child, 4-month-old Dexter.
Alex Marsh with his first child, 4-month-old Dexter.

For more than a week, Mr. Bingley sat by his daughter’s bedside in Mercy Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit, watching her sleep and listening to the beeping of machines that monitored her heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs.

“She was full-term. We thought she was healthy,” said Amber Bingley, Mr. Bingley’s wife. “All of the sudden we’re going down that path again.”

In 2011, the Bingleys, of Columbus Grove, Ohio, had their first child, a son named Cameron. Born almost three months premature, Cameron suffered from a blood infection and seizures. He never got to go home.

At one point, the couple wasn’t sure they would get to take their baby girl home either, after she was born with an infection in her lungs.

“We were torn apart,” Mr. Bingley, 27, said after finding out that his daughter would have to be flown by helicopter from Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay, to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center for more intensive care. “It all started coming back. We had to go through this all over again.”

Baby Kyra Ryan was discharged from Mercy Children's Hospital about a week ago.

“We’re looking forward to starting our family without monitors and cords,” Mr. Bingley said. “I don’t want anything else other than to spend time with her.”

Columbus Grove, Ohio, resident Chad Bingley holds the hand of his newborn daughter, Kyra.
Columbus Grove, Ohio, resident Chad Bingley holds the hand of his newborn daughter, Kyra.

Father’s Day was first celebrated more than 100 years ago as a way to honor dads, celebrate paternal bonds, and recognize the influence of fathers in society. The holiday is recognized in thousands of countries around the world and celebrated with different customs and traditions.

Locally, some fathers will be given handmade cards, tacky ties, barbecue cook-outs, and other festivities. Others, like Alex Marsh of Sylvania, plan to enjoy the day in a more simple fashion.

For Mr. Marsh, his first Father’s Day will be one of reflection. He and his wife, Erin, are skipping the frills, opting to spend time with their 4-month-old son, Dexter.

“I’m going to have it be a day with my family,” said Mr. Marsh, a salesman. “That’s all I really want.”

Dexter’s parents planned, hoped, and prepared for him. His mother spent seven days in the hospital on bed rest for pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy-related disease characterized by high blood pressure. If left untreated, the disease can cause life-threatening seizures during pregnancy.

The family had hoped for a natural birth, but ended up having to have a cesarean.

Moments after his delivery, baby Dexter stopped breathing.

“I had to pretend everything was OK for her,” Mr. Marsh said referring to his wife, who was unaware of the baby’s condition. “It was the happiest and most frightening moment all at the same time.”

The baby was taken to the intensive care unit where he eventually started breathing again. After a prolonged stay in the hospital, he was sent home.

“It’s been amazing. I couldn’t imagine him not being around now,” said Mr. Marsh, 33. “Every day when I leave home, I’m thinking about getting back to him and watching him do something he hasn’t done before.”

Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: rmullen@theblade.com

or 419-724-6133.