It is time we jump back into your entry into fatherhood, and I am here to serve as your expert on the subject with all of two months of experience as a dad under my belt. We will pick things back up where we left off — baby is finally here, and your family is coming together in the hospital.
This time in the hospital is a bit strange. After all, you have finally been thrust into fatherhood and you must suddenly care for another human. A tiny, miniscule little human. A human you fear will be snapped into pieces every time you do any baby-related activity, including changing diapers, burping or just sitting in a chair holding your bundle of joy. The nursing staff will assure you that babies are far more resilient than they appear, which you will eventually find to be true. However, you likely will have not realized it while you and baby are still in the hospital, and each time you move her you will fear her weak little neck is going to snap under the weight of her head, which is still tiny yet comprises about half her total size.
It is also a rather memorable time because it is the most intimate you and your partner will ever be, for better or for worse. Time spent reveling in sheer happiness with your partner and child will be interspersed with far more intimate, and less enjoyable, moments as you find out all about your partner’s discharges, bowel movements, bleeding and other bodily fluids as she talks with the nursing staff.
On the subject of nurses, they are treasure troves of knowledge and experience. Whether it is something as mundane as how to burp your baby or something as important as how to ensure their head doesn’t fall off and roll around the floor like a bowling ball when you transfer her to someone else’s arms, you learn from the nurses.
After all, you are spending somewhere close to the GDP of Austria of medical care for your partner and baby, so you should take advantage of anything you can, including taking home somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,884 pillows.
You might have to make a few trips, however, because the time will also come for you to take baby home. Even if you are a smart, loving and dedicated person, you will be highly suspicious of the medical staff for letting you — an absolute moron in the realm of fatherhood who has spent more time picking his nose than caring for babies — take your tiny human home, trusting you to care for every aspect of its life.
After a nerve-wracking drive done at about the speed of smell, you will arrive home, and it will dawn on you that you no longer have nurses and others standing by to help. You are on your own.
Well, not really. Once baby arrives home, you will have seemingly every person you have ever known wanting to visit. Load up on soap and hand sanitizer, because nothing emphasizes “no immunities” like 387 people wanting to hold your child each day.
You have undoubtedly heard about the lack of sleep you will get as a parent, and that starts immediately upon bringing baby home. You will not get a single wink of sleep that first night because you will be far too busy ensuring your baby is actually breathing. You will lie in bed, waiting for each of baby’s next inhale and exhale. And then, it will stop. You will rush over and place your head somewhere in the neighborhood of six micrometers from her nose, checking for air. Repeat this process for hours and hours until you are so exhausted you are dribbling more than the baby.
Baby’s arrival home will also change your home itself, even beyond the nursery. Sure, you may have been quite tidy or a minimalist when it comes to decoration, but now your home will be awash with pacifiers, blankets, Boppys, bibs, nursing pads, breast pump equipment, bottles and other baby items. You needn’t worry, however. Baby is only going to cause your house to be a complete mess for the next two decades or so.
You have gone through a tremendous amount of changes the last few months, and now that baby is home, you will transform into a different version of yourself — dad. On the next installment we will cover adjusting to the life of a parent, like suddenly caring deeply about another person’s bowel movements.