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.

Advertisements

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.

This is War: A Dad’s Guide to Surviving Labor

It is not pretty, it is not fun, it is not easy, and it is not your battle. Hate to break it to you, pops, but labor has nothing to do with you whatsoever. When it’s time to welcome your little one into the world, you have two jobs – provide encouragement, and stay out of the way. Here are eight ways to support your partner on delivery day… (see more at Scary Mommy here.)

What The NICU Taught Me About Fatherhood

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a frighteningly confusing place. I remember the night I arrived with my daughter — she was five weeks early, laboring to breathe, helplessly lying in a transport incubator while attached to countless monitors and tubes. Her face was wrapped to hold her C-Pap unit in her nose, making seeing her face a chore in and of itself. We arrived at the NICU in the early dawn hours of the morning while my wife continued to recover at another hospital nearby, the transport team wheeling my daughter down the hall to the room where she would spend the first two weeks of her life, and all I could think to myself was, please let my girls be OK… (Continue reading on Huffington Post here.)

5 Things to do With 5 Weeks to Due Date

A coworker of mine is about five weeks from her due date, and it is making me think back on those days. I remember those final preparations, how it simultaneously felt like the baby would never arrive yet also felt as though parenthood was just around the corner. Looking back, there are things I wish I had prepared more thoroughly, or things I wish I could have done for my wife at the time. So gentlemen, buckle up. Fatherhood is upon you. Here are five things to do with five weeks to due date.

1. Get your go bags ready. With only five weeks remaining, you never know what could happen. It’s not exactly like your baby is on a schedule; he or she could decide to come early, or something may come up where they decide inducing early is the safest course of action. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to put your bag together on your way to the hospital. Feel free to check out a suggested list at The Bump here.

2. Cook some freezer meals. This is something I wish my wife and I did more leading up to bringing our girl home, because trust me, once baby is home, the very last thing you want to do is cook. We spent far too much money getting takeout. Making big batches of easy food that you can freeze and reheat will be a life saver in the moment. Whether it’s a big vat of stew, soups, tamales, lasagna – whatever it is that works for you. Make a bunch, pop it in your freezer, and when the time comes, you’ll have dinner in minutes.

3. Organize your diapers and changing station(s). If you have been fortunate enough to be barraged with diapers from friends, family, coworkers, etc., get them organized. There is no need to have a box of size 4 diapers anywhere close to handy for a long, long time; get those NB and size 1 diapers on the top and easy to access. You will be using lots of them, and it’s a waste of time to go digging around for one when your new love bug just blew out his/her diaper.

4. Make sure you have your car seat, and preferably, install it. You can’t really take your little one home without a car seat, can you? In fact, the hospital will require you to have it properly installed before they will let you leave. Why not get this done ahead of time? Make sure you have your car seat, get it installed, and check to make sure it’s done correctly. Fire departments and police stations will often times check it for you for free.

5. Take time to slow down with your spouse. It’s entirely too easy at this stage in the pregnancy to have your head down, focused on the goal and all the last minute prep work. Lift your head, connect with your spouse, go on a date, do something low key but enjoyable. Remember, this isn’t just some huge chore and responsibility, it is the single greatest thing the two of you will ever do together. You are embarking on the journey of parenthood – enjoy it!

The last five weeks before you become a dad are full of emotions, stress  and unexpected twists and turns, but it is nothing compared to those first few weeks home with your baby. Invest the time now to set yourself up for success, and do it all while connecting with your spouse. You’ve got this, big guy. Show your partner how awesomely responsible you are by checking these things off your list in advance.

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.

They Don’t Joke About Pregnancy Blood Pressure

My wife and I had an appointment with our OB yesterday. 34 1/2 weeks and super excited to hear nothing but amazing news of how great our daughter sounds and how healthy mom is doing. I didn’t consider any option other than that. In typical fashion, with the doctor’s appointment scheduled for 3:15 PM and I not getting off work until 2:45, I was rushing to get there on time. Pulling in, jogging down a few flights of stairs and into the office, they said she had already been taken back. “Through those doors, and the nurse will meet you,” the receptionist told me. I smiled, said thank you, and headed back.

The nurse directed me to the room where my wife was sitting. I walked through the door and said “hey babe,” but I could see concern on her face. “So, my blood pressure’s a little high…” she said. It was somewhere in the ballpark of 150 / 90. Too high. This hasn’t been an issue at all throughout the pregnancy – actually, her blood pressure has improved with being pregnant. Typically she has been running at about 120 / 80. Just about that time, our OB came into the room. She started asking a couple questions, then reached for the blood pressure thingy (super technical term, I know) so she could take her own reading. She didn’t like hers any better than the first one.

They sent us across the street to the hospital to get my wife and baby hooked up to monitors and to do some blood tests. After a couple hours, the blood work came back fine, but our doctor still wasn’t liking my wife’s blood pressure.

So, here’s the plan – bed rest until the baby comes, and coming back into the hospital this Saturday to do another blood panel and check her blood pressure. If it doesn’t come down, we could be looking at a C-Section to get baby out of there. My wife will be 35 weeks pregnant as of Saturday.

My mind and my heart both wouldn’t keep quiet in that moment. “IT’S TOO EARLY” my mind screamed at me. She can’t be ready yet. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Our little angel isn’t supposed to be here yet. She’s going to be so small!

It’s moments like these where I feel God working through my heart, telling me to rest in Him and find comfort in Him. He tells us “Be still, and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10) like a father putting his arm around your shoulder to comfort you and guide you. So, I look to Him. This is completely out of my hands, but rests entirely in His. I will trust Him.