For little tiny things that can’t do much, babies sure take a lot of work and patience and just about every ounce of energy you have. I am so lucky to have an amazing husband who is a great father to Aiden and a huge help to me. I am not really sure what I would do without him! I don’t think we hear enough from the dads and they definitely have their own unique perspective.
While I was pregnant, I felt like I knew Aiden and he was mine. I often wondered what it was like for Dan, since the only experience he had was occasional kicks and my giant belly. In light of that, and in celebration of Father’s Day this month, Dan will be sharing a few posts with his experience becoming a father.
Preparing For Baby
I just want to start off by saying, I was no where as prepared as I should have been now looking back the 6 months that Aiden has been around — but really who can be?
When Melissa and I found out that she was pregnant, I was joyous and scared all at the same time. The first doctor appointment was shocking. We did not know how far long Melissa was when we went to the first doctor’s appointment, or even if she was pregnant, and when we left the appointment we still were not 100% sure if she was pregnant or not — the doctor did not give a definitive answer, but seemed confident that she was pregnant. The next step was to wait for the ultrasound which was insane! Once we saw our first ultrasound of Aiden as a little jumping bean it was breath taking. I knew right then and there I would not miss an appointment. I made sure to make it to each doctor’s appointment and all the different hospital classes the doctor recommended.
Melissa, thankfully, didn’t have any issues with the pregnancy. The only thing I learned at each OBGYN visit was the name of each doctor, and all the measurements they took of Melissa, which they plugged into a chart, which to me seemed to be a law of averages, that would classify you as; underweight, good weight, or gaining too much weight (which was insane coming from doctors who don’t look like the prescribe to their own advice about staying active).
I think based on the area we live in, and that the office has a high volume of patients that come through the office, they don’t have the time to know who the new mommy they are talking to unless they are having a medical issue. The doctor appointments did have a strong upside, hearing my son’s heart beat for the first time, and then hearing Aiden’s heart beat at every appointment was amazing, especially when Aiden would play with the doctor’s heart monitor machine. He would play hide and seek and would punch the device each time the doctor would put it on Melissa’s stomach.
Initially, I thought it was helpful that we had friends who already had kids and my nephew was only a few months old when Aiden was born. I figured they would be able to tell us all the secrets of raising a child. We talked to each of them to try to see what worked for them, and didn’t work. My wife started to read the books recommended by her friends, and I promised to read too, but didn’t follow through. The only book I read was Bringing up Bebe and parts of Baby Wise, and looking back I do wish I read more. I would talk to Melissa about what she read, and what I thought about it. We talked about how we would raise our baby. Based on all of this, I concluded, that, yes, it would be hard work, but nothing that can’t be done. I thought that my job as a DC Police officer in some of the busiest, roughest neighborhoods in the city, working the midnight shift for the last 5 years, would have prepared me for the stress and lack of sleep. I mean, I was used to an average 3-6 hours of sleep during my work week between court overtime and mandatory overtime. The idea of lack of sleep because of having a child didn’t bother me, been there done that.
The hospital classes were informative and overall useful. I wanted to go into the classes to try to have a better understanding of the process of the hospital and labor. The class we were “highly encouraged” to take before giving birth at our hospital because we were first time parents was called Caring For Your Newborn. The class guided us through the whole pregnancy process from getting to the hospital to leaving the hospital. There were no absolutes — the class just listed every possible outcome for every scenario that could happen,–with the caveat that anything could happen –which is understandable, but with the other new parents it became a little tough. We were there with four very different couples. There were the overly prepared new parents that wanted everyone else in the class to know how prepared they were about child birth, to the overly bearing new dad that wants everything scheduled to the second and a couple where the dad seemed very disengaged. This made class tough some times, but it was a great insight on how other prospective parents handled their pregnancy and upcoming birth.
In another class I learned how to change a diaper on a doll and a crash course on swaddling. The class on changing diapers and swaddling I thought had me prepared… boy was I was wrong.
Looking back, the first two trimesters flew for me and I was more and more excited each day. The third trimester seemed like everything came to a screeching halt. I think it was a combination of excitement and jitters of waiting to meet Aiden, but everything I thought I knew was thrown out the window when Melissa went in labor!