So today we took our first outing, 8 days after being born our little baby daughter is out hitting the coffee shops of West London. what a socialite. in truth the baby obviously isn’t worried or concerned about being out and about. we as parents are worried, but we have succumbed to the fact that we don’t really know what we are doing and that all hell could break lose whilst we are out. you know those annoying parents who look exhausted and have the screaming child in the coffee shop whilst you are trying to work on your macbook pro? yeah thats us, and what? We’ve earned this time out, we’ve been stuck inside for weeks and been told repeatedly that we should be resting and that we should not be out, but have you any idea how good it feels to get out of the house!
Right now we are sat in coffee shop and the baby doing absolutely fine, and the mother is enjoying being out of the house. so at the risk of the baby screaming down a coffee shop. i’d say get out of the house as soon as you can, get some fresh air and get back to a life as soon as you can. you, the baby and the mum will feel all the better for it.
One of the first duty of the dad no doubt is to get the baby and mummy home. Most probably via a car, with a car seat that you’ve bought after hours of painstaking research online. The reality soon kicks in that your first actual practical job as a Dad is to get them home.
For me, this is the first time i felt the feelings of fatherhood. an actual role of protection of your little baby. It was a subtle feeling, i liken it to a flow of hormones coursing through me as i take the responsibility for this little life.
Glad to say that i made the journey successfully and without any pitfalls. My first job done and dusted. This parenting lark is easy.
So the first few days with the baby, are actually relatively sublime. She sleeps a lot, and when she’s not sleeping, she’s eating. and if your breastfeeding, then there is not much that you can do to help. Very little crying, and lots of cute sleeping.
For us day 4 and all hell broke loose. We are trying to establish breastfeeding and for the first few days the breast milk hasn’t fully arrived. it takes a few days for the hormones to kick in and the amazing act of biology to take hold. When the milk arrives, it arrives in showstopping style. the breast balloon, as in huge, and they are so large that the baby cannot latch on properly. So the baby cries and cries a lot. the baby gets more stressed the more it can’t latch on, so it cries more, which in turn stresses you out even more, which makes latching even harder.
We are not experts in breastfeeding, but somehow over the course of 24 hours we managed to get a routine down that seemed to work, so that after a full day of screaming and sore breasts, the feed that was due at 3.30am the following morning – as soon as we heard a whimper form the baby, we jumped into action and excited a ridiculously couples preparation and breastfeeding session with military precision. we allowed ourselves a little high five after that.
So all the research you really do once you find out your pregnant is heavily biased towards the actual birth experience. The stuff you read and advice you get for the days, weeks and months ahead are vaguely all blurred into one thing called parenthood.
There are however significant milestones in your childs journey all within the first week (we are currently now on day 6).
when being spoken to by midwives and health care professionals, it all sounded like a normal thing – “what day are you on? day 3, ahh yes that happens on day 3”
The day of the actual birth is known as Day 0, and the the day after is Day 1. Day 1 feels like the first day that you are actually a dad, the stress and rigours of the labour and the birth are over and now you are on the ward, or maybe even at home and it is just the three of you starting to figure this shit out. And after day 1 you may well be thinking that you got this parenting thing down, we were on the word and the baby had a few feeds in the morning and then pretty much slept the whole afternoon when we had visitors – with parents all remarking how good she is – by the end of the day you may think that all this stress about parenting is a load of nonsense. Day 2, you might even get the same thing. and if your lucky day 3 as well. Day 4 is a cluster fuck of hell and will make you wish you had never even considered the idea of having a baby. its a combination of the babies stomach quadrupling in size (or something crazy like that)_, the mother milk changing so it takes a different way of suckling for the baby to feed, hormones taking control and tiredness kicking in. there are no words to describe the stress you feel with a screaming baby trying to feed on a breast that it can’t feed on, the only thing that can help are calm and soothing emotions, but all you can do is get more stressed!
all this is not helped by the fact, that in establishing breast feeding – you are essentially useless. no matter how tired and exhausted the mother is, she has to step up to sort out the breastfeeding. whilst you look on unhelpfully drinking another coffee from the hospital canteen.
So we went into labour. After all the books that have been written and that you’ve read, all the articles, and all the Google searches you do… nothing quite prepares you for what to do next. Its obviously quite hard for people to give advice on what to do, because every single one is slightly different. Our waters broke early on a monday morning, my fiancé was in a fair bit of pain and uncomforted and potential shock. I felt it falling to me to know what to do and what part of the plan to initiate. but i had no idea, everything went blank and i referred back to text books i hadn’t read in ages telling me what to do.
In truth I think this is one of those things in life that you never really know what is going on overall. you just take each step as it comes and deal with whatever it brings you. We ended up having a fantastic team at Kingston Hospital who were brilliant from the very outset.
As the dad i believe it is the duty of you to be the cool and organised head, and do whatever is asked of you during labour. And do not at any point lose your shit about what is going on, even if you are losing it on the inside hold it together – at least until the baby is out.
So its almost a wonder that the human race is still existing. the amount of friends and colleagues who have had children who only have negative shit to say is astounding. all i get most days is “wait till your covered in baby sick”, “you’re gonna be so tired”, “you’re gonna be covered in baby shit”. Give it a rest everyone – there must be something positive about having a child is there not? or else why the hell do people keep doing it? it cant just be all the bad stuff surely? and if it is, then why do people keep going on about it??
even a lot of these mummy blogs keep moaning about how shit and hard life is with a child. I’m not imagining it to be all covered in perfect fairy dust and so on, but there must be something good that comes out of it!
This post in particular is going to be an interesting one to read after a few weeks of being a baby daddy… and to decide on whether having this baby child has been a good or a bad thing. i have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be a good thing. i just wonder how much alcohol i will need to consume in order for it to be fun.
Ok. so here’s the rub. i set up this blog to try and record how ive been feeling as a dad over these first 9 months and i’ll admit i haven’t updated this blog as much as i would like. and already i have found myself one week out and 9 months has absolutely flown by! I have absolutely no idea if I’ve prepared enough – I’ve not even read one proper book yet all the way through – does this make me a failure before i have even started?
have I been reading to the baby enough? When i first read that its good to read to the baby, i downloaded all seven of the harry potter books to my kindle with the sole intention of reading solidly to the bump every night. at the very least i was hoping to get through the Philsophers stone. in truth i havent even got to the part where Dumbledore leaves privet drive after dropping harry off as a baby at the Dursleys. you just get in from work and cook dinner and all you wanna do is watch telly and go to sleep/ i sound like the worst parent in the world already.
What i have achieved however is getting the car seat in and out of the car like an absolute Pro. i can almost guarantee that when we bring her home, getting in and out of the car will be an absolute breeze.
so this next week is an odd one. I’m still at work just plodding through the day as if nothing weird is about to happen – safe in the knowledge that at any time soon i will receive a phone call and my life will change dramatically. forever. i have moments of forgetting about it and i’m just getting on with my work. and then all of a sudden, i remember again and it hits me like a train.