[Dad] Can I have a WORD with you?

I had been trying to work out steadily over the past couple of weeks. We had a bit of a routine during my “work out days.” I would get up as early as I could. This varies from 6 to 9 am. If I was really ambitious, I would wake up at 5 am. I would roll out of bed and sneak out of the room, trying to not wake the baby. I would have either coffee or a pre-workout drink, and spend the next half hour or so trying to wake up. Sometimes, I would get distracted with some leftover editing, so it would take me even longer to get out of the house.

If you didn’t already know, I’ve been trying vlogging out.

I make sure my headphones are charged, then I head out to the gym. I try not to spend too much time there because baby wakes up a little earlier now. He used to wake up around 10 am, which gave me time to work out and be back before he needed anything. Recently, he’s started waking up around 8 am, leaving mommy to handle him alone while I’m gone. Luckily, my current gym is less than 10 minutes away, which allows me to allocate more time exercising as opposed to commuting.

This is where my story begins.

One day, I woke up to the usual routine. I went to the gym and trained my butt off. I tried to squeeze as much as I could in an hour workout. It was exhausting but it felt great.

When I finished stretching, I slowly walked into the locker room, washed my hands, stepped on the scale, and grabbed my things to leave. I stepped out of the locker room and went through the weight room while trying to delete email on my phone. I trudged up the stairs and onto the main floor.

I continued towards the exit, and some employees said “have a nice day.” I replied with a “thanks, you too.”

I advanced through the exit and proceeded through the parking lot. I found my car, stuffed my bag in the back seat, drove out of the parking lot and turned onto a busy street. This part was always tricky since I had to immediately switch to the left lane and then move into a left turn lane all within a few seconds.

I drove through heavier than usual traffic but still managed to get home in less than 10 minutes. I collected my bag, walked up a set of stairs to our main door and entered.

Immediately, I hear some noises in the living room. I put my bag down, closed the door and entered the room. Mommy was having some breakfast while baby was playing in his activity center.

I say hi to mommy and give her a kiss. I ask how they were this morning while I was gone and mommy said they were fine. Baby had just eaten so now it was mommy’s turn. I sat down beside baby to play with him.

He turns his head, looks right at me and says, “dada.”

Dada

I whipped my head towards mommy and saw her as surprised as my face felt. We were staring at each other to confirm if we had both heard it. It was clear as day. We heard it…

My vision was starting to blur, and I could see mommy getting teary. I wiped some clear liquid from my eyes and asked baby if he had said dada, as if he could understand me. Baby continued to stare at me then shifted his attention back to his activity center as I gave him a kiss.

We both tried getting baby to replicate what happened but he was having a better time with his toys.

Mommy and I sat together, embracing, and just watched him for the next few minutes.

Our boy had said his first word.

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[Dad] What the Fuss?

This post is essentially the script for Vlog 5, in case anyone would rather read the information.

This week I wanted to focus on baby’s fussiness, especially at night. He used to be able to sleep 6 or even 8 hours straight at night. Now its more like 2-3 hours. So why is this happening?

I’m sure there’s a multitude of reasons but I wanted to make special mentions of a few. Sleep regression, growing pains, teething and congestion.We think these apply to our baby the most.

Another less frequent reason for baby’s fussiness is vaccinations. Baby received his next round of shots which were: diptheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, haemophilus influenzae type b, hepatitis B, pneumococcal conjugate an rotavirus.

After his first set of shots he was really restless at night and was frequently crying. Only food could soothe him. My wife also gave him some Tylenol the first night. This continued for a couple of days and we noticed that he was kicking less. We assumed that this was because he was sore. After a few days he was back to normal.

This time he handled the shots very well and didn’t cry as much. During the evening he started to get fussy. We decided to give some Tylenol just to keep him comfortable. Over the next couple of days he only had a few moments of crankiness.

So back to our main reasons.

Sleep regression is a complex concept. From the information I gathered, it essentially states that when babies are about 4 months old, their body tries to adapt a more “adult” style of sleep. Their longer periods of “deep sleep” is replaced with sleep cycles with longer periods of “light sleep.” This means that there are more opportunities for the baby to wake up throughout the night. It may be time to try sleep training, although we haven’t explored this topic yet so I can’t really speak from experience.

We also think that baby is going through a growth spurt. We initially thought growing pains was something baby was going through, but after some research and observations, baby is more likely waking up crying due to hunger. From what I’ve gathered, growth spurts are not supposed to hurt the baby but I would completely understand if he was feeling uncomfortable during these times.

Teething is a fun topic for me, not because I enjoy seeing baby in pain, but because hes so cute when he’s using his chew toys! Its possible that hes restless at night because of gum discomfort. [Update] When we asked baby’s doctor about his teething, he stated that it’s unlikely because it’s too early even if baby is experiencing teething symptoms. Only time will tell if he’s properly teething or if he just likes to chew on things.

Finally, there’s congestion. We’re finding that baby easily gets congested. There are many reasons for babies to be congested including anatomical predisposition and environment. There’s not much to do with this except to try and assist his breathing. My wife still swears by the Nose Frida aspirator and saline drops. Sometimes, a humidifier in the room is also helpful.

Of course every baby is different so what applies to our baby isn’t always the same for others. It was nice to explore these reasons for our baby because its a little easier to handle him when we have explanations for his fussiness.

[Dad] Don’t sweat it

I haven’t written anything for a while so I thought I would write a little bit about exercise and how that fits into our lives as new parents.

In short, it doesn’t.  

My wife and I have recently changed our definition of exercise

Arm day –> holding baby

Leg day –> picking something off the floor while holding baby

Cardio –> going up and down the stairs to change baby/get things while holding baby

But honestly, our days at the gym have diminished. My wife is gracious enough to let me go a couple of days when I’m off but her gym days are now nonexistent.

Our only opportunity for exercise seems to be going on walks, which was great during fall. Unfortunately, this winter has been colder than usual and we just do not want to risk baby’s health just to go for walks. So, where do we go?

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Maybe we just have to get more creative, but I don’t know of other indoor areas where we could walk around for a couple of hours.

The mall is filled with strollers during the day, especially during the winter, so I’m sure that we’re not the only ones who could benefit from other indoor places.

We’re running out of malls to go to.

Hopefully we can figure out a better method of fitting some activity into our lives…

[Dad] Just Relax

I just wanted to share one of my experiences that will stick with me forever.

I had a set of bad days at work. You know those … busy, stressful, soul shattering shifts. After a few of these days, I had began thinking about strategies to manage my stress. My mind raced through late night workouts, Belgian beers, and fatty food. Basically any form of coping.

Then, my mind wandered to the baby…

What if he’s cranky when I get home? I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle that situation. 

I kept going back and forth about asking my wife for a couple of hours just to myself before jumping in to help out with the baby.

It’s really selfish but how effective would I be as a father trying to help out while completely burned out?

Maybe there’s a beer in the fridge. 

Maybe there’s photos to edit. 

What YouTube videos could I watch?

If I went to the gym after work there wouldn’t be many hours to help out. What if she had a busy day herself? I need to help out if that was the case. 

Did she have a bad day?

I miss them. 

She says their doing well. 

Maybe I’ll just wait until I get home before asking my wife so that I could gauge how she is doing in person. 

I eventually got home, late, of course. I walked into sounds of baby noises. My wife was cradling our baby. They were having a full on conversation. Minus several consonants and vowels. I couldn’t help but smile. I asked how their day was. She responded, “it was good.” I asked baby how his day was and he just smiled.

Suddenly, I didn’t need that late night workout or that beer.

I held him and then only thing on my mind was that I missed them.

Raising our child is definitely challenging and takes a lot of work, but if I could be a stay at home dad, I would.

[Dad] Working on it

Two weeks ago, I did something that I had been avoiding for over two months. It was something that I had hoped I wouldn’t have to face for a while longer.

I went back to work.

I decided to write down how I was feeling throughout the day:

0645I would definitely rather be at home feeding the baby at this time.

0930: I feel the same as earlier but at least I’m starting to re-acclimate to my work environment.

1200: I’m glad my work day is going well but a single text or picture from my wife makes me miss being home again.

1500: I’m getting more comfortable with work, but again, the messages from home… 😥

1900: I’m so happy to wrap up at work and start heading home.

Eventually, I got through my first set of shifts but I was most surprised about how I felt after a couple of weeks of work.

I felt… disconnected.

I would come home from a long work day to a crying baby that I couldn’t get a read on anymore. I used to just hold my baby while he was crying to get a decent idea of what he needed. Instead I was filled with confusion and frustration.

So what now?

My wonderful wife told me to spend more time with my baby. 

It’s simple but it worked. Just being with baby throughout the day, during my days off, helped me feel much more connected. When I worked, I only had, approximately, an hour to and hour and a half to spend with baby, leaving my experience completely up to his mood. In the evening, more often than not, he wasn’t in a good mood. I envy those who work from home. Unfortunately, that’s not a possibility for me. My option is to continue working as I am and to try and spend meaningful time with my baby on my days off. I’m sure the connection with my baby will continue to strengthen but it was very disheartening to feel so disconnected.

I’m not sure if any other dads share or have shared my experience. I can’t speak for anyone else but it seems like the solution (at least my solution) is to simply spend time with your baby. Spend time with him or her and mean it.

[Dad] What Section?

After the ultrasound where the specialist stated that we should go straight to the hospital, we took his advice and relocated. Luckily, we packed the car with our overnight things the night before (SO LUCKY!).

We checked in and waited for the nurses to take us in. At this moment I could have been was slightly worried, however, the excitement of possibly having a baby that day overwhelmed the former feeling. From what I remember, my wife did not seem that worried herself. Perhaps we shared the same feeling.

They called us in, we gathered our stuff and went into triage. While my wife was changing into the hospital gown, all I could hear was another mother screaming and begging for an epidural and/or a C-section. I’m not going to lie, that kind of freaked me out. All I kept thinking was, “is this what’s in store for us?”

With my wife on the stretcher and the nurses attending us, we found out that the fetus needed to be closely monitored. Since my wife had low amniotic fluid, the fetus may not react well to contractions. After hours and hours of waiting and monitoring, everything seemed normal. The doctor went back and forth with her decision to induce labor and eventually decided that she would perform the procedure in the morning. She also decided that we would be safe enough to go home for the night since there were no hospital beds available but instructed us to come back before 7 am. So, we went home. It was nice to be able to sleep in our own beds but thoughts of the fetus’ well being had not stopped running through my mind.

I cannot remember how we slept that night, but I woke up bright and early to prepare for what I would assume to be the big day. We got to the hospital an hour early and checked in again. This time we were immediately taken into triage. They attached my wife to a machine that monitored our fetus and then we waited… and waited… and waited… After hours of monitoring, the nurse and doctor saw abnormal moments on the monitor strip that required further exploration.

Just as exhaustion began to set in, we were finally moved up to a room where a stress test on the fetus would be conducted. Mind you, this was approximately 2 pm. The nurse began the test and I knew I had to focus on keeping my wife calm. Within half an hour the nurse promptly called for help. The fetus was not handling my wife’s contractions well. Various staff members rushed into the room including the doctor and it was quickly decided that we needed an emergency C-section. We asked how soon the C-section would be and both the nurse and doctor assured that the procedure would occur within 2 hours. I could feel the adrenaline surging through my body. The nurse continued to monitor the fetus. After another 10 minutes the doctor was called again. This time they decided that the C-section needed to happen sooner.

15 minutes later I had changed into scrubs and we were walking down to the operating floor. We were going to have our baby! I hardly had time to update our family on our situation before we left. As we walked into the operating floor I was instructed to remain in the waiting area until I was called in. It was at this time that I could actually process what was happening. A unit clerk asked, “is this your first child?” I responded, “yes,” with a nervous look on my face. I sat there grasping my camera tightly. My mind bounced between thoughts of concern for my wife and child, and excitement to see our baby.

I finally got called in and rushed beside my wife who was shaking. I wasn’t sure if she was scared or cold, but either way I needed to console her. I tried my best to distract her from the busy environment but then it happened. I heard a small cry. I couldn’t contain myself. I felt my eyes starting to water..only slightly.

We had a beautiful baby boy…

[Dad] The Beginning

The beginning of our journey involved an ultrasound. Well, it really began with a certain night in December, but lets keep this G rated… Also the journey I’m referring to is the one that involves three of us.

During a routine check up I was scanning the doctor’s face as she was reading the report of my wife’s latest ultrasound, which was done to monitor the growth of our little peanut. I saw her face become more serious as she read further into the report. The doctor then stated that the baby was healthy, however there was mention of the baby’s femur being shorter than average. My first thought was that I probably had shorter than average femur myself, therefore I thought nothing of it. The doctor stated that it was probably fine, given the heights of my wife and I (we’re short people). We were offered to have an ultrasound just in case, but the doctor did not seem too bothered if we didn’t have the extra scan. We mirrored her attitude towards the ultrasound and declined.

While eating lunch I began to google reasons for a short femur to be worrisome. Of course, google spits out a plethora of disorders. After seeing the troubled look on my wife’s face exponentially increase as we dove into more and more resources linking a short femur to different syndromes, I finally just told her to call the clinic back and schedule the ultrasound.

After booking the ultrasound, she seemed as relieved as I felt.

A few days later we attended the ultrasound with a specialist. He reassured us that the baby was likely fine and referenced our heights. I can’t speak for my wife but the doctor’s comments put me at ease, strengthening my confidence in my initial thoughts. As our appointment went on, everything seemed normal. That’s until he went looking for amniotic fluid. He immediately told us that we needed to go straight to the hospital and from then on everything seemed like a blur.