First, I would like to thank those who read my first baby blog. The purpose of this series of blogs is to share my experience, as a father. Since the babies came home, I spent countless hours on the net during their feeds. One thing struck me though, almost all of the forums and discussion groups were conducted and written by mothers and there were no father contributions. Ok, I am not a sexist but of course I would like to hear some dads voices too, and because, by nature, we have a slightly different views to things. 😀
Well, here you are, finally, something from the dad’s point of view. It’s all about understanding, nothing more.
Many of you already know that I am a portrait and wedding photographer. The arrival of my twins really suck away our time. I have decided to give my wife and kids more support while I utilise this period to reflect on my photography and hope to make some breakthrough when I return. But I don’t want to just sit and let my photography cool down, I will be studying and hopefully learn some new stuff and of course, I will be writing more blogs and reviews (hopefully in between feeds)!
So being a new parent can be very tough indeed and with two or more of them, well, you are asking for something seriously challenging. Umm.. and if they arrive earlier than expected, wow, ok, I just can’t use words to describe.
Have I scared you enough yet? Well, that’s being parents for sure and this will be our responsibility until they become independent and even then, you will still treat them like if they are still babies (you know your parents still think you are a kid right?).
So I already wrote about our time in the hospital and I just would like to write a little more about Ashton and Annabelle when they were in special care unit so parents who have their babies early know what to expect. Even with a well prepared plan for baby’s arrival, it is virtually impossible to predict what is going to happen, whether the baby is born early or not.
My wife and I went through a lot during the time when she was in hospital, waiting for the big moment. We thought a lot about different things, about life and babies. Our experience told us only one thing, just “go with the throw”.
That doesn’t mean that don’t do your baby plan, preparing the best you can for their arrival but just remember that you simply cannot predict life in general so don’t take it too heartedly.
I have listed below to ease your expectation. I may not have included everything though.
- Be prepared for the worst if you are having twins or more. We were told that our babies would arrive early but we also heard stories that full term is also possible. Annabelle and Ashton were born at 29-week gestation so a lot earlier than expected. It was lucky that Susan already packed their overnight bag a week before she was admitted to hospital due to bleeding.
- Being a dad/husband/partner, the best you can do is to support your other half. I was with her everyday in hospital. She was worry, tired and anxious. There’s nothing more worrying than staying in a strange place, hearing other mother-to-be crying, monitors beeping and nurses and doctors shouting. Your presence will be much appreciated by her, even though she may not show it to you directly.
- Just be normal. Still talk to you other half about normal things or if you wish, talk about your plan with your future babies and something happy. It will help kill the time. Hospital can be very boring and intimidating, so magazines, iPhone, iPad, laptops… anything helps. Oh… bring the charger and don’t worry, every bed has tons of sockets!!!
- When your wife goes into labour, be calm. Even if you are not, just act calm. You don’t want to add any extra pressure to her.
- Stay with her in the room if possible. Ok, if you don’t want to see the delivery, still sit next to her and give her all the possible support. You love her right?
The biggest shock for any parents of premature babies would be their first encounter. To us, it was utterly emotional and exciting. However, we were absolutely stoned when we saw all the wires and sensors attached to their bodies. It wasn’t easy but after a couple of hours, we slowly accepted the truth. The truth that our babies needed special care, it wasn’t that there was anything wrong with them, but they needed that extra support and care.
It was a steep learning curve. Because each case and baby is different, there isn’t enough information to prepare you for caring your small early-born. At the hospital, we learnt how to touch, handle and talk to them. Even holding them was an experience (yes you hold them with all those tubes and wires!). In fact, this 24/7 hospital care definitely helped us eased into parenthood as a whole.
I must use this opportunity to praise all the nurses who looked after the babies in intensive and special care units. They are all angels! You will have to be a saint to endure all the monitor beeping and babies crying, changing all those nappies, feeding and caring for them. Really, it’s a very hard job!
One thing though, both Susan and I got really horrible hands after the hospital because we had to wash our hands every time before we handle the babies. Our skin could become so dry that it started to crack and bleed. That wasn’t good at all neither us nor the babies. We bought some special hand cream that really helped us through this period, it’s call Flexitol Hand Balm. It’s so great that not only it helped moisturing my skins but also to assist in its healing process. I love it and still use it as my normal hand cream.
Next… Coming home!
My next blog will document when they get discharged from the hospital and our last night at the hospital with Annabelle and Ashton (rooming in!)
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