It’s only Day 3 of fatherhood, and I feel as though my whole world has changed: my priorities, desires, even a little of my personality. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that wisdom has manifested itself out of thin air, but I do feel like a wave of emotion has washed over me; the instincts of a papa-bear have been awaken.
Wow Mark, how deep of you…
I know, I know; nonetheless, I did learn some pretty good stuff in the first few days that I’m anxious to write down before I forget:
Hospital Stay –
1) Take a tour if you can
For a smaller hospital like ours, it’s not a huge deal, but you definitely want to orient yourself to the lay of the land before you arrive if you can. This will a) help you navigate the maze when the pressure is on (i.e. wife is crowning as you come to a screeching halt outside the emergency room), and b) will help you become familiar with the admin process, amenities, and acquaint you with the staff.
if for whatever reason, you’re unable to take a tour of the maternity ward, you can always give them a call to gather some of the same information.
2) No comfort should be underplayed
if your spouse likes a particular type of music, bedding, book, clothing, food, or otherwise, bring it with you – if you’re like me and stay at the hospital for the duration of the post-partum stay, you might find it hard to come by these items.
3) Educate yourself
It’s a new age – don’t be THAT guy who doesn’t know a thing about pregnancy and labor; even knowing basic terms is better than nothing. Your partner will be put much more at ease knowing that cared enough to try, and that you have questions concerning her care.
There are plenty of books out there on pregnancy, labor, and the first year of child care; even ones catered to our guy minds. Pick one up and read it during a slow/low-scoring game on TV or while sitting atop the “throne.”
Be proactive about packing the hospital bag and ensuring everything is in order prior to the big day (car seat installed, sleeper assembled, breast pump purchased, etc)
4) Look for ways to help
Your wife is about to undergo some series s***, especially if she has a c-section performed. Be ready to step in for diaper changes, swaddling/calming, helping her in/out of bed, running to grab a nurse for (enter spousal need/desire here), and general support.
Good ole’ Hearsay
Nothing can truly prepare you for the emotional roller coaster you’re about to depart on, even if you’re not a sappy individual. Im not sure I would have done anything different had I repeated the three days, but I was surprised how fast the time has passed; that being said, try to take it all in and don’t forget to take pictures! Your sweet little addition will change each and every day, and though she/he may not be doing tricks yet, each little thing they do will be the cutest/coolest thing you’ve ever seen.