Becoming a brand new dad

first-fathers-day1Today’s guest post is from a friend and colleague in our IT department who just became a dad last month.  Happy Father’s Day!

So, fatherhood…

I’d certainly been told what to expect, of course, from sources far and wide.  I’d come to the conclusion that anyone who ever said they were ready to become parents for the first time was, frankly, full of it, and that a state of mild panic was perfectly appropriate.  So for a span of about six months I proceeded to quietly panic.  Painting the nursery with a faint sense of dread.  Buying a crib set while chewing off my fingernails.  It all came down to maintaining a calm exterior while my insides were slowly spinning down into themselves like a sink with a slow drain.

All of this lasted right up until it was, for a lack of a better term, go time.

I have to admit that working for March of Dimes was a blessing and a bit unnerving at the same time.  My wife was in a higher risk category for complications during pregnancy due to a thyroid condition and the fact that she had gone through IVF in order to conceive.  I knew all about vitamins, folic acid, proper prenatal checkups, all of these things that form so much of our core message, but I also knew full well everything that could go wrong.

I’m a worrier by nature.  As we went to our regular checkups everything was fine, which helped a little.  My wife was of course taking everything in stride, as she usually does.  I found new worries to dwell on as the medical situation looked better and better – was I going to be a good father?  How are we going to pay for college when credit hours will be six million dollars each by 2030?  Is she going to have to come home on weekends to reset my trans-dimensional flux conditioner so it stops blinking “12:00” all the time?!

But the months passed and I actually found myself growing calmer and more focused on the things that needed to be done.  I picked up the necessary supplies, we made all our arrangements to have my family fly in around the due date, got the nursery prepped and ready.  And we made it to the due date without any problems.

And then she was here, and wow.  I’m not going to bother with all the clichés about the beauty of birth and all that, because I’m squeamish when it comes to blood.  But once they had checked her out and everything looked good, I had a moment of real relief.  We’d made it this far, and we had a healthy, screaming 7 pound 11 ounce daughter. 

Since that point, it has been a little strange getting used to the overall mechanics of fatherhood.  Diapers seem to be solely my department.  She is endlessly fascinated by her own feet.  Well let’s be fair, I find her feet pretty fascinating too.  Learning how to properly feed has been interesting, and I’m not sure my Led Zeppelin shirt will ever be the same again.  I’ve also learned that that first cry is practically an air-raid siren telling you that you need to get that bottle warming, and get it warming NOW.  Otherwise those cries will escalate to the point where her legs are shaking and she sounds like an upset donkey.  And heaven help you if THAT happens.

But when I hold her, all of the little worries just go away.  She makes funny faces, she grabs my beard, squeezes a finger and it’s all worthwhile.  Snuggle time has become the best part of my day, and I expect it will be for a very, very long time.

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