5 Things I Forgot About Infants

A little over 10 months ago, we welcomed our baby boy into the world. Suddenly, I went from a father of one precocious little girl, to a father of a precocious little girl AND a little boy, who would teach me more flexibility and juggling than I have ever encountered. It’s only been a few years since I had an infant last, but there are certainly things I have forgotten (either by choice or by the sheer delirium of parenting). Here are five things I forgot about infants:

  1. How awesome baby laughs are. Like really, is there a more pure joy in the world than a baby laughing? My daughter laughs a ton as well, and her laugh is fantastic and brings me so much joy, but the laugh of a baby is on an entirely different level. It’s like a auditory representation of sunshine and candy, coated in sprinkles. I love it. No wonder Tinkerbell says that when a baby laugh, a fairy is born. (side note: I’ve watched far too much Tinkerbell in my adult life. #Parenting)
  2. How disastrous a blow out can be. As joyous as a baby’s laugh can be, a baby’s blow out can be equally as miserable. My beautiful baby boy, in all of his smiles and laughter, was sitting in his car seat while we were at a restaurant. I didn’t hear anything, smell anything, THERE WAS NO WARNING, but my daughter says “EWW” and I look down, and he’s playing with his poop. You guys, it blew out literally all over his car seat, and his hands are all up in it like it was play dough. *insert gagging .gif here* I looked at my wife and said “the baby’s broken, take it back.”
  3. How significant every milestone can be. We get so excited about every roll over, every sit up, every new food, every giggle, every time our infant breaks into a new size of clothes. Everything he does is mind blowing. I kinda wish we shared this same level of excitement in the rest of our life. Like, “OH MY GOSH, my wife rolled over in bed all on her own awwweeee.”
  4. How precious sleep is. Sleep is life. Life is sleep. Sleep is the aqua vitae of the infant universe. If baby is asleep, don’t you DARE effing wake him up. If he needs sleep, he gets sleep. And heaven forbid you make the choice to do something for yourself that conflicts his sleep schedule, because you’ll be paying for it for the next week. Say it louder for the ones in the back – LET THE BABY SLEEP.
  5. How little they care about your physical needs. Oh, dad, you made a bad choice and stayed up until after midnight last night? Don’t care. I’m up at 5 am and demand my bottle NOW. So grab your coffee, buttercup (after my bottle, of course) because you’re in for a long morning.

Infants are wonderful, beautiful creatures. They demand the highest level of dedication, but the rewards are unlike anything else I have experienced. Cherish these early days, because your little infant in all their splendor is growing and changing by the day.

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5 Exciting Things About Having A Son

Having a daughter is amazing. Terrifying, but amazing. She is stunningly beautiful, makes my hair go grey, keeps me on my toes and every day is an adventure. There is something about having a daughter that simply makes your heart swell as a father, even when you are forced to endure the mind numbing pain associated with watching yet another princess movie.

Having a girl has been the best thing that has ever happened to me, but there is something that feels remarkably different knowing that I am having a son. With that said, here are 5 things about having a son that I am extremely excited about.

1. Easier diaper changes. If you don’t have a girl, you have no idea what I’m talking about. There are every specific concerns and techniques associated with changing a girl. With a boy, from what I’m told, you can just do whatever the hell you feel like. Wipe it any direction you please, use a hose, whatever. All you have to worry about is getting clean. No real threat of UTIs here.

2. Colors other than pink. And it isn’t just because all they make is pink for little girls. My daughter truly LOVES pink. It’s pink everything. Pink walls. Pink clothes. Pink toys. Pink blankets. It’s all pink. And listen, if my little dude loves pink, I’ll let him, but I’m really hoping he’s more of the blue/green/grey type of guy. I can really use a break from the pink, little man. Help a brother out.

3. Hopefully some less shrill noises. There are certainly some boys whose screams could rival my daughter’s, but I’m really hoping for some sounds to be an octave or two lower. Not every sound emitted from my house needs to be capable of calling every dog within a five mile radius to our location. There are other ways to communicate.

4. A knight to protect my princess. My daughter is exactly what I would expect from my wife’s daughter – strong willed, opinionated, has strong lines, and will not tolerate anything less. I love it about her. It will serve her greatly in her life. Even with that being the case, I have every intention of teaching my son from the day he is born that women are to be respected, and that his family means everything. He will be taught to always look out for his sister, no matter the age gap or the situation. I won’t always be around to protect my daughter, but I hope there will be situations where my boy will be able to stand up for his sister.

5. Watching my daughter become a sister. I cannot wait to watch my little girl take on the responsibility of being a big sister. Watching her step into that roll, be a good example and nurture and care for her brother will be so awesome. Now I know there will be times where I will walk in to her duct taping her brother to a chair or drawing on his face with makeup, but I believe she will largely be a great care taker.

I’m Having a Son

About three and a half years ago, I became a first time father. June 4th, 2014 was the single most exhilarating, terrifying, emotionally unstable day of my life, all of which was experienced by the time my daughter way born only 31 minutes into that day. I was a father, yet hardly a decent man. I had a daughter, a tiny princess whose smile and laugh would leave me reduced to no more than a puddle, and whose every adventure would highlight the different chapters of my life. I was a Dad of a Daughter, a Dad of playing tea, watching Frozen (no matter how deeply I despise the movie), surrounded by pink and princesses and tutus, and loving every second.

Just one thing – a small little curveball is being thrown into the mix, a wrench into the gears. We are approximately 23 weeks into our second pregnancy, and everything is changing. Now, pregnant with number two, my wife and I are having a boy. A BOY. I am having a son. Goodbye princesses, hello woodland creatures, tonka trucks, super heroes, loud noises and sports. There will be balance, parody, juxtaposed situations and varying nuances in the raising of my two children, and I cannot be more excited.

With becoming the father of a boy, there are inherent and innate fears and responses that enter into the picture. How am I supposedto teach this boy how to become a man when Ihardly feel qualified to teachhim? How do I help him avoid my own pitfalls? What if someday he looks atme with nothing short of total disappointment?

This is real. These are the fears that have kept me up at night and have given me sudden bursts of emotion throughout the days since we have found out. I’m not a man that will be able to teach my son to fix things. I’m not a man with a track record of integrity, humility and respect. These are all things that I wish I was. These are things that I am working for, not just for my own sake, but for that of my two children. They deserve a father that is steady, rock solid, dependable, trustworthy, and that they know will protect them.

To my daughter Olivia and my future son Emerson, you are my everything. The two of you are the two greatest things that I have ever done in this life and for this world. My promise to you is this – I will never give up, I will never stop trying, and I will always be there for you. I am still and will always be finding fatherhood.

4 Fears of Having a Mobile Baby

My child is almost crawling. Crawling. Which means mobile. Which means she can move, and get into things, and things can fall on her, and she can bump her head, and I am not nearly ready for that type of stress. In the past week or so, here are just a handful of completely absurd fears that I have had.

1) Everything looks like a death trap. I was sitting on my couch a few nights ago, looking down at my little one propping herself up, working to tuck her knee in under her belly, grunting with effort and frustration at not being able to move, and it hit me – this kid is going to be moving, very very soon. I glanced around my house, and suddenly it looked like everything was out to get my baby. The book shelf with a glass bowl on top of it, my liquor cabinet, the edge of the coffee table, the TV wires… like a cartoon from my youth, every inanimate object suddenly had teeth and glaring eyeballs. STAY BACK, YOU MONSTERS.

2) My child will have no fears. It has become a legitimate concern that my child will fear nothing. Not a single sharp object, nor sudden drop, nor unconquered step will impose any level of realistic expectations in her brain. This means my house must be very clean, very organized, and I must be very attentive to what my little one gets into. This little child will be fearless, which is good I guess, since I will be scared enough for the both of us.

3) Is everything poisonous? No really, is it? Because it certainly seems that way. I thought about what is currently under my sink, and saw nothing but more ways for my baby to get hurt. Okay, Jon, so just move the stuff. I’m in an 1,100 square foot townhouse; there is nowhere to store the cleaning supplies that my daughter will not be able to reach. That’s it, It’s all going in the trash. Everything gets cleaned with vinegar from here on.

4) Nothing is allowed to be hot ever again. I’m fairly positive that everything hot is going to give my child severe burns, now that she is going to have the ability to move to the hot things, reach for the hot things, and spill the hot things. A nice cup of hot coffee? Never again. That little cup o’ joe now looks like a fire-filled cup of lava just waiting to harm my daughter.

This is my life as dad. The world is not a playground, it is in fact a giant monster waiting for the chance to hurt my perfect little daughter. Here come the bumps and bruises of a crawler.

Four and a Half Weeks Early, Two Hospitals, a C-section and a NICU Later…

June 4th was downright the most terrifying day of my life, and it earned that title when the day was only 32 minutes old.

As of three weeks ago, our pregnancy was going about as close to perfect as possible. No big issues, my wife was feeling great, and we were nothing but sunshine and roses about meeting our beautiful baby girl. Then, we went in for one of our prenatal appointments to learn that my wife’s blood pressure was getting pretty high. We were pretty scared. Not knowing if our little angel was at risk and not knowing what was going to happen, our OB sent us across the street to the hospital for some lab work and monitoring to see what was going on.

The next 5 days, from Wednesday 5/28 to Monday 6/2, were ridiculously hectic. Because of crazy high blood pressure (like in the 160 / 100 range) and terrible headaches, my wife landed herself in the hospital every day for those five days. Come monday 6/2, when we went to our scheduled OB appointment, we took a blood pressure reading of 179 / 110. Yikes.  We went across the street for more monitoring, like we had done the previous five days, but something was different this time. My wife and I both just seemed to know that this was going to be it, that we were going to be inducing that evening.

When we checked into the hospital, our OB confirmed our thoughts. She determined the best course of action for the safety of our baby and my wife was to induce labor and see if we could get our little princess to arrive with a natural birth.

My mind was running laps on itself, and I was getting lost and confused by my own thoughts.

“It’s too early. She’s just too early. She’s going to be so little! What if she is underdeveloped? What if something goes wrong?” But a funny thing happens in that situation – you get out of your own way and make the most rational decision you can for the safety of those that you love. To protect my wife and my daughter, inducing at 34 1/2 weeks was the best thing to do.

30 hours of pre-labor and labor later, and only at 5 cm dilated, things weren’t progressing and our daughter stopped moving. When she stopped kicking and her heart rate stopped fluctuating, our OB brought to our attention two options – upping the dosage of Pitocin and waiting an hour or so to see if she responded, or electing for a C-section to get her out safely. Without hesitation we elected for the C-section. “Get our daughter here safely.”

I was struck with fear as we wheeled down to the Operating Room, my wife going under the knife and my daughter about to arrive. “God, please deliver them both safely through this. Let them both be safe. Please, let my girls be safe…”

I sat at my wife’s head, holding her hand as they pulled our baby out. Everything seemed to be going well, until my wife started saying she could feel more than she thought she should be able to. Her pain became excruciating, my world began to spin as I tried to sooth her while simultaneously watching the nursing staff struggle to get our daughter to breathe. I didn’t know what to do. All I could muster was a simple “please….” I felt completely and utterly helpless, short of breath, and my heart cried for God’s grace and comfort.

My wife’s screams of agony and pain rang through to my very core, piercing my heart, while my struggling baby’s hand wrapped tightly around my finger. “This is your baby… your daughter…your angel…” my inner voice whispered to me. Thirty minutes of   C-PAP later, they made the choice to transfer our baby to Randal’s Children’s Hospital. Her lungs weren’t mature enough yet to sustain themselves. Completely overwhelmed I broke into sobs, being forced to decide between staying with my baby daughter or clinging to my wife’s side. Torn completely in half, one half of my heart on the operating room table and the other half in an incubator on it’s way out the door, I followed my daughter.

As I left the operating room, I saw my dad, and briefly buried my head into his chest. I needed my daddy. I needed that support that had been there all my life. I needed a brief shot of strength, and for him to tell me it would be okay. And he did.

I kissed my wife, told her how much I loved her, that I was going to ride with our daughter and make sure she was okay, and that I would see her soon. She was transferred four hours later to the hospital where our baby was being moved to.

Sweet baby Olivia was on C-PAP for the first four days of her life, but I am overjoyed and thrilled to say that she is off C-PAP, her lungs are operating perfectly well, and she is going to be just fine. It has been the most emotionally taxing, tiring, stressful week of my life, and I know I can say the same thing for my wife. But looking at our little angel, seeing this beautiful little being, feeling the overwhelming and incomparably deep amount of love I have for this girl in the furthest depths of my heart, makes it all worth it. Sweet Olivia is still in NICU, but will be coming home as soon as she is able to fully eat on her own.

My heart overflows with praise to God for what he has done, and for bringing us this beautiful little girl. Was the way she was delivered our plan? Absolutely not. It was terrifying and downright awful and I would never have chosen for things to go this way. But the beautiful thing about God, our loving father, is that His plan is always perfect. I’m not always going to understand His plan, but I absolutely trust that His plan is good, in all things. This situation, these last two weeks, have been for our good. They have helped us grow, and trust, and take responsibility. And in the end, we have a stunning, sweet little bundle of love that we could not possibly adore any more.

1 Peter 1:7 – “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”

 

My beautiful girl.

My beautiful girl.

What It Is

Hello out there, you crazy fast word known as the internet. Welcome to my blog. I wanted to start this blog off by setting some expectations for any readers, to give you all an idea of what this blog will start out as, where I see it going, ect.

The beauty of this blog is the fact that, like life and all that will change when my beautiful little nugget of joy arrives in about 5 months (holy cow that’s coming up quick…), I’m entirely expecting it to change. I don’t know where it’s going to go or take me, or the emotional and life-changing events, experiences and memories that will be shared here. Nor do I know the amount of laughter, tears, humility and joy that will be expressed in this forum, either. What I do know is where I stand today though – a 23 year old that is married to the absolute greatest woman God has ever created (in my humble opinion) who is expecting his first child. That’s where I stand – completely thrilled and exhilarated and slightly scared out of my shorts, but I’m here, leaning on the grace of God as my beautiful wife and I embark on this journey. I plan on posting no fewer than once a week, and no more than 100 times per day. I promise.

I decided to start this blog for several reasons. First, I like writing. It’s fun. Plain and simple. And if I enjoy doing something, why not do it in a way that (hopefully) will help provide a tiny bit of wisdom and a whole bunch of free entertainment for the masses? Secondly, I started this blog as an interactive experience to share my joys, trials, triumphs and failures, which is a whole lot of vulnerability, in hopes of inspiring conversation with all you wonderful people. I want your input; I want your knowledge. FEED ME. Thirdly, I created this blog to bring glory to God for the countless – literally countless, I’ve tried – blessings he has brought and will continue to bring into my life.

So, this is it – the beginning. A blank page with some words and thoughts and feelings that hopefully will provide an incredible journey. I hope to share this fantastic and frightening and exciting journey with as many of you as possible. So, thank YOU for being here. Without readers, I just become a crazy person screaming in the wilderness to a bunch of empty space.

And with that, we’re off.