Thoughts on Fatherhood

What a week and those three words believe me are an understatement.

I have had so many things running through my head since the birth of my son on Monday morning that I just want to write some of them down.

Let’s get started.

First off: sleep.

I honestly had no idea how bad it was going to be.  I thought I could handle it since I don’t sleep that much, but I am here to tell you this, I was mistaken.  The lack of sleep as I write this at 3:20 A.M. is something you just don’t know anything about until you have a newborn to take care.  Feedings every two to three hours, crying and soothing, working off of his schedule, and diaper changes.  It all adds up to sleeping no more than a few hours in spurts.  Wednesday night my wife and I managed to get in a couple of good solid hours of sleep.  I’m talking uninterrupted didn’t wake up until it was time to feed him sleep.  We were staying at the local hospital birthing center and they have a nursery there.  When we needed just a bit of shut-eye we would send him on down there so we could sleep.  We didn’t do it that often because we couldn’t stand having him out of the room with us, but we were about to come home so we wanted to get all the sleep we could get while we had the help.  I can’t believe how quick you fall into a coma when you do get to put your head down.  It is also hard to wake up as well because your body just wants to stay in dream land.  When you do finally get up you find yourself just nodding off at random times and your body just tries to shut down any chance it can.  You also start hallucinating and seeing things that aren’t there.  I even sat up the first night after I swaddled him while my wife slept and just watched him to make sure he was okay.  I just couldn’t sleep while he slept.  This has gotten better over the last few days, but even now as he rests in his pack and play I keep checking on him.  I know he is fine and safe, but I just have to keep making sure.

Second: changing diapers.

So far so good for me.  My wife had a c-section so she is recovering from that which means I have to take over on diaper patrol until she heals.  It is just so much easier on her if I help out with this part of it.  Right now it hasn’t been too bad, but once he starts feeding regularly the diapers are going to become a real challenge.  I am glad I have the chance now to get used to it before he really challenges me.

Third: breast-feeding.

Who knew it was like this?  Who knew it was this frustrating to watch?  It should be easy, right, wrong.  It is supply and demand so starting out you have to work him into a feeding schedule.  This will tell the body how much milk to produce.  The more he feeds, the more he gets.  Sounds simple enough, but let me tell you, as a man, this is hard to watch my wife go through.  She just has so many little things she has to do in order to get him to latch on.  I’m not going into TMI territory here because I am sure all mothers have to go through this who breast feed.  Not only is it hard for her to go through, but my son as well.  He is hungry and trying to get his meal, but there just isn’t that much there.  He’s crying and she’s trying, but it just doesn’t work instantly.  It takes time.  They actually have lactation consultants that help you learn how to breast feed.  It is just that complicated and difficult a task to learn.  Of all the things I have seen so far breast-feeding has to be the most frustrating one of all.  I just don’t like seeing my wife and son struggle in such a way.

Fourth: swaddling.

When we were at the birthing center my son was swaddled with blankets, binding him tight like he was in the womb.  It was always perfect when they brought him to us and it looked simple enough to do.  You see, I had to break this swaddle in order to change his diaper.  That meant I had to re-swaddle him myself and I learned quickly that I stink at swaddling.  I was always worried the blankets yes there were two of them would come loose and cause him harm.

Fifth: support.

I can’t tell you how much we have been blessed with my parents and my wife’s parents being able to help us out in a moments notice.  It really does take the pressure off when you just need a nap, a shower, or a bite to eat.  Our Douala birthing coach has also been in our corner and her advice is greatly appreciated.  I also have to give a shout out to Wake Med Cary’s Birthing Center – awesome place to give birth.  They were great in their care, time, and attention.

I know some of this above may make it sound like becoming a parent is a chore to go through, but it really isn’t.  Just to see him and to have him in my life makes it all worth it.  I can’t tell you how I felt when I heard his first cry in the delivery room or  I saw him for the first time.  It is just something I will never forget and tonight as I approach what day is this? the end of this great week I know I wouldn’t change a thing.  I am hooked on being a dad and I am looking forward to the challenges each day of his life brings.


4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Fatherhood

  1. That’s awesome that you had a doula! I’ve had some clients that have had cesarean sections as well. A doula can still be an wonderful help during recovery and beyond. Glad you have that support! — Candace

  2. yep…you nailed every bit of this one. RE: the breastfeeding, my wife had similar issues, and she had a c-section also. I have heard that the c-section makes it harder for mom and baby to develop a rhythm in nursing. with a “regular” birth, baby gets placed on mom’s chest right after delivery and can nurse almost immediately. with a c-section, mom goes into post-op for a few hours and baby goes to the nursery and this unnatural separation can affect how it starts. my wife and son eventually developed the mutual ability to nurse but it was a struggle to say the least.

    1. Of the things I have witnessed so far breast feeding ranks right up there as the most frustrating to witness. The sleep deprivation is probably a close second.

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