Anyone that has ever met E would probably think immediately that he was going to be a great father. He is the type of person that can hold a rousing conversation with just about anyone on the planet. He always the one that is knee deep in the middle of anything that is exciting and fun. He was notorious for coming up with some of the greatest and off-the-wall ideas. He can teach the most complex subjects to a lay person and have them actually understand what he is talking about (trust me on this one -- he can teach me all about miRNAs and human cytomegalovirus experiments and I understand exactly what he is saying. Don't ask me to teach someone else though.) Anyone that knows him would think that he truly anticipate having a constant partner in crime.
Earlier in our relationship, he had told me that he always wanted kids. He said that he wanted to adopt instead of having his own. He thought that there were way too many children without loving homes to not consider adoption. When I told him that I really wanted to have our own children, he made me promise that we would foster kids if we weren't going to adopt.
When I found out I was pregnant, it was a big shock for various reasons. I don't know a single person that doesn't doubt their ability at parenting during their first pregnancy. I know that I was doubting my transition into motherhood. And at that point, I think that E began to doubt the father that he thought he would become. And when I found out that we were having a girl, the serious doubt began to creep in. When questioned, he said "I'm a boy. I know boy things. I don't know anything about girls. I don't know anything about tea parties and dolls. I know grease and motors."
I responded that I know how to shingle a roof and how to side a house because of my dad. I told him that he wouldn't have conform his interests into things that he thought she would want. She is going to do anything that he does because she wants to spend time with him. I told him that the vision I had for her as a woman involved him teaching her all about motors & grease.
I want her to be a better, stronger, more independent woman than I am. I want her to be self-sufficient and confident in her abilities. If her car breaks down on the side of the road, I want her to be able to fix it or at least understand what the problem is. If she can't fix it herself and has to take it to a mechanic, I want her to know exactly what needs to be fixed so that she isn't taken advantage of as mechanics often do with women. I want her to ride dirtbikes and wear ruffles all at the same time.
And so very early on a February morning, little Finn arrived. E became a father. And he has done an amazing job. Those first two days in the hospital, I would have been lost without him. In fact, in the six hours before she was born, I would have been lost without him. Or more importantly, Finn would have been born in the car without him. I was adamant that I wasn't going to the hospital too early. And as I'm laying in bed, writhing in pain during my contractions, he had the clarity to say "It's time to go to the hospital." I refused and he wouldn't relent. He was the one that "rushed" me out of the house and to the car, getting to the point that he was yelling at me that we needed to hurry. I was in no big hurry -- and at one point during the drive to the hospital after screaming obscenities through a contraction, I told him that there was no need to hurry, that we had plenty of time. E knew that we needed to be in a big hurry -- I arrived at the hospital at 9 cm and was fully dilated within 10 minutes of being there.
But getting back to those two days in the hospital, without him, we wouldn't have any photographs of her first two days. I was so dumbstruck that I just had a baby that I would have forgotten to take photographs completely. He has his phone whipped out and snapping photos, truly the proud poppa.
And I didn't change a single diaper for the first five days of her life. E was a diaper duty. His phrase was "She puts it in one end and I take care of the other end." He stayed with me in the hospital, sleeping on a torture device that the hospital called a fold out chair/bed. He only left to take care of the dogs. He had taken two weeks off of work to help with the transition at home. We took turns on night duty (as I was pumping). He wanted to help with her as much as he could.
But when I started breastfeeding again, I think he thought that he wasn't needed as much. He really couldn't do what he used to do. And she started getting fussy as her digestive system was getting used to working. He didn't how to help her or what made her happy. Neither did I -- so we found ways together. No one tells you that the first 8 weeks of your baby's life is simply the introductory phase, the phase where you both are testing each other out and learning who each other are. It's the phase where you learn what the baby likes and doesn't like -- because she definitely did have preferences!
Now at almost seven months, she absolutely lights up when Daddy comes home. When he looks at her, she smiles so big. She loves their mornings together when she starts to fuss and she gets to lay on Daddy's chest to sleep in some more. She gets to listen to his heartbeat slowly thudding underneath her cheek. She got to listen to Mommy's heartbeat for nine months and now it's Daddy's turn. She gets to feel the rise and fall of his chest as he comfortably sleeps (and sometimes snores), calming her into sleep as well. She got to listen to Mommy's breath for nine months, now it's Daddy's turn. Now it's Daddy's turn to bond with the amazing little person that we created. And he is doing an amazing job.