Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fatherhood: The Beginning

So...I'm still pretty new to this whole "Dad" thing (above is my son and I's first fist bump) and while it's without question the best thing that has ever happened to me, no one told me how stupid I sounded when I said/acted like I was prepared...Really? So I thought I'd share some lessons I've learned in these first few months that are more valuable than wipe warmers or nipple shields (2 things I'd never heard of a year ago).

Nice to meet you: Now, I've watched enough Maury in my day to realize that every man has different expectations of what Fatherhood will bring.....
 For me, I thought that when Shepherd arrived he and I would instantly click, I'd hear angels sing, burst into tears while jumping for joy, and have this perfect moment. I never thought about the fact that I would be wearing a space suit (shoe covers included), face mask, surrounded by beeping machines and strangers, my wife in the middle of a serious surgery...oh and not to mention that this perfect little boy is a complete stranger. Yes, I'd been waiting anxiously for 39 weeks to meet him, I couldn't even sleep the night before he was born because I was so excited, but he still looked up at me like who/what the heck are you? So, the initial moment wasn't what I expected and before you know it the first night was over. We were blessed to have our families there chomping at the bit to meet him. During his first bath I felt like an animal at the zoo...
So it's midnight on the first night and Jess and I have decided that we are super parents and will keep Shep with us in the room. "Why would anyone send their sweet new baby to the nursery?" we asked. Fast Forward 2 hours, we've both been up for what seems like 3 weeks so we call the nurse to come pick him up. New Parents Fail! The rest of the hospital visit is a blur, rarely anytime alone and  nurses nurses and more nurses! Her nurse, his nurse, the cleaning nurse, the nurse that brings the food (but it took 4 hours for me to get a blanket). So as I'm carrying my boy out to the car I think "When we get home he and I can really get to know each other!" By this point I've already convinced myself that I'm the worst dad ever and  feel sorry for Shep being dealt such a crummy hand in the father department.

Lesson: In a nutshell, it took me a few weeks to really bond with the little guy...and that's ok. New/Future Dads, don't put any pressure on yourselves. Those first few days are so special and will fly by, just enjoy them for what they are and everything will work out!

Who is this Woman?: My wife is a rock star and really did very little complaining throughout her entire pregnancy. That said, once she was admitted to the hospital she became a different person. She was calm, stress free and very go with flow, words that wouldn't typically be used to describe Jess.  (<---what does that even mean) I was just going with it and then I realized she was completely drugged! Remember in college, you see someone in the middle of the week and they know you but you've never seen them in your life because you met them after midnight the previous Saturday... that's Jess's memory of the hospital; blurry at best.
Lesson: Guys, make sure you pay attention. Hopefully the hospital staff will keep track of everything but in our experience we had the whole spectrum of nursing staff from please move in with us to Do Not come back in our room (I really had to kick a rude nurse out of our room).

Sleepless Marriage (get your mind out of the gutter): So we've got our sweet boy home and Jess and I are both infatuated with him! That combined with the fact that he wasn't quite catching onto nursing led to us coming to the conclusion that we should both get up with him every time he woke up. Terrible idea! There was a pivotal lack of sleep moment around 3am on the 2nd night that Jess gave me this look... and I was pretty sure if murder was legal...well this blog would've never been written.
Lesson: Tag team the night time sessions and NEVER, under any circumstance complain about anything. Guys, I'm on your side and realize that you're completely justified but you can't have a rational discussion with a sleep deprived new mom.

Those are some of the stand outs things I've learned but most importantly; make sure you soak it all in. Those first few weeks fly by and while everyday if more fun that the previous...I still feel like he's growing up too fast. They say time flies when you're having fun and I'm having the time of my life!...

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