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Fatherhood, Childbirth

Dad helping baby learn how to stand

In his own words, Eric shares the story of his son Brody’s birth at Women & Babies Hospital and the experience of becoming a first-time-dad.

 

When my wife, Lisa, was pregnant with our son, Brody (we had the name picked out early), I would read to him every night. Still, she was the one who was feeling him move, feeling him kick, and I felt a bit disconnected. But there in the room after he was born, when I got to hold him for the first time, was when I really felt like a dad. A father.

 

To be able to hold him and rock him to sleep—when he fell asleep in my arms—that was probably my most special moment. Lisa says he knew my voice. I guess all that reading paid off.

 

A False Alarm and a Friendly Feeling 

 

Lisa and I found out we were pregnant a month before our first wedding anniversary. Two weeks before the due date, Lisa was having contractions, but it ended up not being “the time.” It was hard for us to hear that they were sending us home—we wanted to see him! The nurses were so reassuring, saying: he’s going to be here, just hang in there.

 

From that time on, the staff at Women & Babies Hospital were like family to us. It was like we’d been together for years, and that’s a great feeling.

 

A Brave New World

 

I was nervous, and I didn’t know how I could help. Our nurse was incredible. She showed me how to help Lisa relax by holding her in the whirlpool. When it was time for the epidural, the anesthesiologist told us step-by-step, “This is what I’m doing.” It relaxed Lisa right away.

 

The birth itself was amazing. It was our first time, so we didn’t know what to expect. The obstetrician who delivered Brody was right there with us. People tell you about doctors who just come in and deliver the baby and that’s it, but ours kept talking to us, reassuring us. He explained things to us the whole way through. He’d say, “We’re going to do this because of this….” He was just very interactive with us, which was just great. I felt very involved.

 

It was incredible to see Brody being born. I could see his head, and the doctor said, “Do you see his hair? It’s getting closer.” Then it’s just all so fast—it was amazing to see Brody come out and open his eyes for the first time. It was beyond words.

 

Feeling at Home

 

The rooms at Women & Babies were absolutely beautiful. In the Family Pavilion after Brody was born, we could literally live together. There were a lot of amenities we could both use. I stayed the whole time and the nurses were always asking me if I was okay, or if I needed something to drink, or extra blankets or pillows. They were very attentive. We had a great dinner together, too. All in all, they accommodated the father to the nth degree.

 

Learning the Ropes

 

That first night, Brody had trouble latching. He was frustrated with breastfeeding, and he was feisty. Our nurse was phenomenal. She sat down and talked to both of us. She took a lot of time trying to reassure us and going over game plans—what we could do if Brody had trouble latching on. Soon, Brody got with the plan!

 

Oh, and for all you dads-to-be out there, beware because the first time I changed Brody’s diaper, he peed all over me. It was definitely an experience!

 

Every night before we go to bed, we bathe him, then I feed him and rock him to sleep, and I’m able to put him down. That’s good for me. I do love that time with him.

 

Sweet Memories

 

We got Hershey bars with Brody’s name, date and birth weight on a sticker on one side and “It’s a He” on the other, and we gave them out as favors for anybody who came to see us, especially the nurses. As we said to the team at Women & Babies, “You all were so sweet. You’re the best.”

 

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