That date and time will forever be engrained with me. On Thursday, March 6th, 2014 at 8:16pm CT I became a dad.
The details of labor could fill many books, especially the labor my wife endured. I will save those details and just say here, for the record, that after watching my wife go through 23 hours of grueling (and I mean, completely and utterly grueling) labor that I have the utmost respect, admiration and love for that woman. Never could I have done what she did physically nor emotionally. After going through such an ordeal with my wife, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that women are indeed the stronger sex. There is no argument. Men, we don’t have anything that can come remotely close.
When Mia was born, she looked like a purple alien that wasn’t breathing. That visual is forever stuck in my head. It’s a vast contrast to the amazing little girl who can now smile at me. Those first moments are completely overwhelming and for me were a bit of a shock. Part of it really didn’t feel real. In fact, it still doesn’t at times. How in the hell did I get put in charge of a human life? There really should have been a better vetting process.
The first week of my daughter’s life completely turned our lives around. I heard it from people before, “Oh, they’re going to change your life!” “Your world will never be the same!” But I associated those remarks with that of getting a new couch, or going from an electric stove to a gas range. It didn’t set in that EVERYTHING about my life would be different. Indeed, it is now different.
We live in a two story apartment in Chicago. We have a nursery for our daughter upstairs next to our bedroom. Downstairs is our living room and kitchen. The plan was to have Mia sleep in a bassinet in our bedroom room for the first month before transitioning her to her nursery.
As of right now, we have pulled our oversized ottoman to our love seat in the living room, making it into the bed that my wife and I have slept in for the past 4 weeks. Mia’s Pack ‘n Play is at the foot of the makeshift sleeping quarters. Pillows, blankets, a Boppy and laundry basket of dirty baby clothes now take up the rest of the living room. Our kitchen is now primarily used for bottle cleanup and sanitizing. My wife is wonderful and around 2-3am each weekday is okay with me going upstairs to our bedroom to get some sleep before work. She hasn’t had a full night’s sleep in our bedroom in over a month.
It’s completely crazy. And yet, I don’t think there’s much I’d change. This experience has been the most transformative in my life. I’ve learned that I have reserves of patience I never thought I had. At times, I’ve been frustrated, tired, cranky, and happy to the point of tears all in the course of 5 minutes. There really are no words for it. But now that I’m in it, I appreciate beyond belief what parents go through every day. And there’s no other way to gain that appreciation than to do it yourself.
Whelp, Mia’s starting to stir. Time to go get her and then crash on the couch.
I love being a dad.