That first time I held Jack was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. All the panic and pain of giving birth had completely melted away, it felt like our new little family were the only people in the whole world – at that very moment absolutely nothing else mattered.
As the day went on, visitors popped in and out; and at one point it was just me and mum on the ward. I remember saying to her ‘I don’t know what I’m doing, what if I can’t do it?’ I felt completely out of my depth, I was smiling on the outside, but inside I couldn’t shift that panicked feeling that was bubbling away.
I ended up begrudgingly staying in the hospital over night, Jack had a tongue tie (read all about that here) so the midwives wanted to make sure I was able to breast feed without their help before letting me go home. Our hospital’s policy allows dads to stay on the ward until midnight, but by about 10pm Shane was absolutely shattered, he was still in a lot of pain from his knee surgery and needed to get some rest (and take some painkillers), so I sent him home.
Before I knew it, it was just me and Jack. He was blissfully sleeping in the crib next to me – now what was I supposed to do? Do I pick him up, do I leave him to sleep, is he too hot or too cold, how will I know when he needs feeding or changing, do I leave him on his own if I need the bathroom? About a million thoughts were going through my head and 24 hours ago these questions would have seemed stupid, but at that moment I just couldn’t think of any logical answers.
It’s really true what they say, absolutely nothing can prepare you for how much your life is going to change. I wasn’t one to sit and read all the parenting books throughout my pregnancy, I wanted to just take each day as it came and not take everyone else’s words as gospel. But when it was just me and Jack on that hospital ward, I wanted nothing more than for someone to come in and tell me everything I needed to know, if only it was that simple!
I woke up after a couple of hours sleep and felt completely different, I took myself off to get washed, Shane hobbled back onto the ward, we had cuddles with Jack and sat there as a lovely little family of three. Before I knew it we were packed up and ready to go home. Our new life was about to begin – was I ready for it? Probably not – but I’ve been giving it my best shot ever since and we’re still just muddling through, taking it one step at a time!