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A lot of people have asked me about my first thoughts when I found out that I was going to be a father. It was something that my wife and I had planned so it was not a shock to me, however, the realization does hit you soon after that in nine short months, you are going to be responsible for another human being. For the rest of your life.
It’s something that I took seriously but as time went on and the date of delivery came closer, all my focus was on making sure my wife and baby were healthy. As luck would have it, my wife did not have the easiest of pregnancies and had to be hospitalized multiple times during her term, but everything turned out okay in the end and we were blessed to have a healthy baby girl, albeit, she decided to come a month earlier than scheduled.
Being a doctor in a family of doctors can have some advantages, however, not when it's your own child that’s the focus of attention. My brain kept on racing to a hundred studies that I would have read regarding babies born prematurely. As is the case with most babies pre-term, she was also underweight.
This made her ability fight off any possible infection compromised and thus my head was filled with all sorts of worst-case scenarios. I talked to other people who had been through this before and found out that what I was going through was not uncommon and was only heightened by an increased awareness of medical possibilities.
My baby thankfully did not have to stay in the hospital for any longer than necessary and was able to carry out all essential functions without any artificial aids so we took her home a couple of days after the delivery.
New Baby Madness
We had been meticulous in making sure everything that we might need for the baby was already kept in readiness long before the delivery but no one can really anticipate the frenzy that accompanies a new baby.
My wife was, of course, more in the thick of it since I never took any time off work but every moment that I spent at home was spent staring at this tiny little baby we had produced. I was very keen to be involved as a father right from the initial stages even though I was pretty nervous about doing something wrong!
Now, my daughter was never much of a crier, but there was one night that I can remember pretty early on where she started to cry and just would not stop. Everything that I had read in books to prepare me for this moment went out of the window as both me and my wife panicked. Nothing we did would make her stop. She did not seem to be hungry or need her diaper changed which should cover 90% of the crying emergencies!
Finally, after about the longest five minutes of my life, she gave a big burp and immediately started to calm down!
Changing diapers is something that was much easier than I expected and I did not have to use the gloves, mouth mask and other equipment that I had stocked in the house! As my daughter grew slightly older, I started to notice small changes and quirks in her that literally lit up my day. Like, she smiles a little in her sleep, or immediately after getting up.
I have no idea why that happens but I wait for it staring at her for hours!