It was midnight when the nurse told us the pushing usually lasts an average of three and a half hours. At that time I had no idea the next few hours would change my life forever.
My wife Breanne and I had been waiting anxiously for our baby’s arrival, which was originally scheduled for May 3.
With everyone telling us that the first baby never arrives on time, imagine our surprise to be at St. Boniface Hospital on the evening of April 27.
It took longer than we anticipated but by 5:58 a.m. on April 28 our little angel Ava was born and we became first-time parents.
In the days leading up to the moment Breanne told me it was time to go to the hospital I felt I had everything under control. I had everything mapped out — the route, parking space, change for parking, everything. I had even been rehearsing everything we learned in pre-natal class for two weeks.
But as most parents will tell you, things don’t always go according to plan.
Getting to the hospital went as planned, but once baby starts to come it’s a whole new ball game. No matter how much you plan, you need to go with the moment.
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Having a baby is without a doubt much more difficult for a mother, for obvious reasons, but there are some definite challenges for a father too.
One of the most difficult things I experienced early on was how to bond with Ava. I was home for the first two weeks, but after that she saw mommy every day, all day. I was only home in the evening.
This was concerning to me until Ava and I shared an interesting moment.
While Breanne was enjoying a much-deserved nap one evening, Ava and I were watching TV. Well, I was watching TV while she lay on my chest checking out her surroundings.
Out of nowhere I heard this weird sound and smelled a rather foul odour.
I’m sure I don’t need to go any further in explaining what happened.
I was the youngest child growing up so I had no real experience changing diapers, and at this point I was still getting the hang of it.
But instead of running to the bedroom and waking up Breanne, I took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and dove in to deal with the situation.
Needless to say when I took off the diaper I wasn’t sure I was up for the battle considering it somehow got all over her back and destroyed her sleeper.
However, I wasn’t deterred. I flipped her around to clean her up and put her in some fresh clothes.
At that moment I could swear she smiled at me and had a look on her face saying, "This guy’s OK. If he can handle a mess like that, we’ll get along just fine."
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There have been a lot of firsts experienced throughout these first three months. Changing my first diaper, seeing Ava smile for the first time, her first visit to the grandparents, and a weekend trip to the cabin.
I can’t honestly say if one was more special than the other because I’ve cherished every moment so far and I’m sure I will forever.
Presumably those with teenagers are laughing to themselves now because of my last comment, but I can’t imagine a day when I won’t be excited to come home to see her smiling face.
Maybe I’m naive or have the new parent blinders on, but I wouldn’t change any of my early parenting experiences for the world.
I don’t know if you can ever truly prepare yourself for parenthood, but being a father is more enjoyable than I could have ever expected.
Over the months Ava has grown, and I have grown along with her because being a parent really does change your life.