August 4th 2012,
1 week to go, almost 9 months of anticipation, we had prepared the best we could. We had taken prenatal classes, read pregnancy books (well my wife read a few, I read one), and consulted with friends and family. We were curious and excited for the experience. We had nicknames for the baby: our favorite was the boogie bear and a close second the boougs. Not knowing the sex of the baby was exciting for us. My wife was sure it was a boy, I thought more likely a girl. My wife had 4 close friends that were pregnant together. All the pregnancies were within 3 months. It was really nice for them to share this experience. They did prenatal yoga together, gossiped about pregnancy, we did the prenatal and CPR classes with them and their husbands/partners. Having this close-knit group was great for support and was helpful for my wife to navigate through the unfamiliar territory of preparing for her first baby.
Watching my wife’s stomach grow for 8 months I was certain our baby was going to make an early arrival. My wife is a small person, and as her stomach got bigger and bigger I thought the baby was certainly going to run out of room. I’m lucky to have her, she is wonderful and was amazing during pregnancy. Some of the stereotypes of pregnant women – their mood swings, eating habits and unbalanced behaviour – wasn’t a prominent part of my experience with my wife’s pregnancy. Her dedication to providing our baby with the healthiest place to grow was inspiring and praiseworthy. She exercised up to the day before giving birth as well as working hard on her business (www.seasonsfamilycentre.com) throughout her pregnancy. She wouldn’t eat anything that was remotely unhealthy except maybe a little chocolate. No organically modified food, only hormone and antibiotic free meat and her healthy dose of prenatal vitamins.
My wife was getting increasingly uncomfortable. Our doctor said he usually doesn’t let babies go longer than 10 days overdue before he suggests the mother be induced. My wife and doctor had agreed that she’d go 7 days max. So if needed they set her induction appointment for the 18th. We waited patiently as the overdue days rolled by. It was overwhelming. Waiting for the most important day of your life while being at the mercy of nature, was a humbling, anxious and challenging experience. We went on as many trips to the gym and swimming pool as she could handle, we walked around the block, we did a few of the wives’ tales things to induce the labour; nothing worked. Our boogie bear was so comfortable inside the womb; he wasn’t coming out anytime soon. The 7th day came and we headed to the hospital for my wife’s appointment @ 12 pm August 18th.
This blog is going to be about what it’s like for me to be a father and husband. I’m going to share with you readers, as openly and honestly as I can, my personal experience . I hope to hear from readers and fellow fathers about their experiences; some advice perhaps, and any pearls of wisdom on being parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, childcare workers, toy makers, and anyone else involved in the lives of kids whom I haven’t mentioned.
It’s been exactly 14 weeks & 2 days of fatherhood. My baby boy’s name is Oliver Hayden Stroh; born August 19th 2012, in Toronto at Sunnybrook Hospital.
During this time I’ve wanted to write about my experience, but I haven’t found the time or energy. Finally, though, things have settled down. I’m in a place where I feel thoughtful and well rested enough to express my experience with some clarity and energy.
For most my life I’ve been relatively unorganized and lived by the seat of my pants. Since getting married and moving into a house I’ve been learning to be more disciplined and organized in my daily affairs. This past year has been a breakthrough for me as I’ve begun to improve in these areas. It has been hard work and I’ve come a long way.
Now that I have a baby boy, my progress seems to be stunted. The life of a newborn is not remotely organized, routine and scheduled. During the first couple of months of fatherhood I felt I was regressing in the personal improvements I’ve made.
The 3rd month has been encouraging as mom, baby and dad are starting to figure things out and adjust to a schedule. Thank god for my wife, who has so impressively implemented a schedule for our son. This has been helpful for us; we know when we have time to do things, when he has to eat, sleep and play. A friend referred us to a book that helped my wife implement this schedule. The book is called “The New Contented Little Baby Book” Oliver is starting to sleep more and we’re slowly regaining a sense of routine and comfort in our daily lives. I’m enjoying this challenge and experience tremendously and I look forward to continue experiencing life as a father enjoying the wonders of a family and life.