Most of us out there doing this blog thing (at least in this community I have forming here) are women and many if not most are moms. We all post about our families, tell funny stories about our kids and our partners. I thought it would a nice change to have a post in someone else’s voice, more specifically, a man’s voice. So, I asked my husband to write about his experience as a first time Dad and really first time dealing with a baby at all; he agreed and below is what I hope to be one of many contributions he makes to the blog. Take it away Steve…
Having a baby is an absolutely crazy and amazing experience. This post will focus a little more on the crazy side of things, particularly my own insanity and how I was driven there. For those that don’t know when you stay in the hospital after your baby is born you can elect to have the baby sleep in your room or in the nursery and brought to your room for feedings. After receiving much advice on the subject we elected to have our baby sleep in the nursery and be brought in for feedings. It made for interrupted and chaotic sleep, but it was still manageable. You got in a rhythm: Go to sleep, get woken up, sleep for two hours, get woken up, sleep for two hours, etc. The silly naïve new dad in me believed this would be the case when we got home.
So first night home we feed our beautiful new baby and I rock her to sleep and then put her down in her bassinet, planning on catching 2 hours of sleep before she needs to be fed again. 5 minutess later she’s up screaming. I must’ve done something wrong. I pick her up, rock her a little longer and then she’s off to sleep land. Ok baby, see you in 2 hours. I lie down; drift off to sleep and then in what seems like 20 minutes I’m woken back up by crying. I go back to her, look befuddled at my wife as she returns the same look. “What have we done wrong” I ask myself. She doesn’t need to be fed or changed and should be tired, why won’t she sleep?
So I tell my wife I will stay up so she can go to sleep, and I take my little crying baby to the living room. As I pace back and forth rocking and bouncing until I want to puke I am met with an unfazed baby. Doesn’t she realize what I’m doing? I’m doing all the things we’re told to do in this situation. Did she not read the books? What makes matters worse is that she’s crying an awful cry. Parents know the cry I am referring to. For non-parents just imagine someone you love having their fingernails ripped off or their skin slowly peeled away…yeah it’s kinda like that.
In that moment as I began to slip into madness I found myself reasoning with my screaming, still adorable, newborn. Why are you doing this? Please go to sleep! Please stop crying. I’ll do anything. Then after pleading with her I turned it back to myself. “Oh my god, I can’t do this.” “I’m a terrible father.” “This is my life now, I can’t do this, this is terrible.” As I weigh my options I decided to keep trying a little longer before I had to wake my wife up for help. (Laying her down and running out the front door to never be seen again was a close 2nd, don’t judge)
As I was just about to really lose it and start matching my daughter scream for scream a heavenly site appeared before my eyes…my wife emerging from the bedroom to see if I needed help. I probably threw our child at her; Then I ran into the bathroom, and sat down in the dark and just tried to regain sanity. After a few moments I came out and then I took a shift lying down for a while. From there on out things got much better very quickly. We made plans and were organized with a united front against this new entity in our lives that refused to act and sleep like a normal human. I didn’t realize it was our job to teach her how to be one. Luckily, I am married to a wonderful woman who had great patience in regards to my lack of patience. The moral of this story is twofold: be prepared for absolute craziness the first few nights, weeks, whatever. Secondly, you must have a great partner to enter this new adventure if you have any hopes of making it through the other side. Thankfully I have the best.