Fatherhood

First day at home

Noa was born at 1.31am, but it took until 3pm for us to get out of the hospital and on our way home. Both of us were exhausted, (especially Meg) and quite overwhelmed. I had had a few hours sleep, whereas Meg was almost delusional with tiredness.

Leaving the hospital

It is a strange experience when you enter a hospital as two and leave as three. There is a gratification that you have achieved something together, especially as you move from the glow of the hospital into the outside world, with a baby snug inside a car seat.

We understood that this was a beginning of a new chapter in both our lives and our relationship. While not having a clue what to expect or what to do, we knew that we needed each other to make this work.

Driving home

Strapping a baby into the car, trying to pass our ticket with some time left to a man who complained that it wasn’t for disabled people (parking spaces are for the disabled, not tickets) and driving out the car park was a humbling experience, like a reset button into normality.

I carefully drove around the speed bumps as we left the hospital, so not to wake Noa. We then started the half-hour journey home, driving slower than usual with the quiet hum of Sasha playing Xpander played in the background. Somethings are never going to change, no matter how old I get.

When we arrived home about 4pm, Meg’s family were there to meet us with some much-needed food ready. Everyone took turns to hold and introduce themselves to Noa. We introduced Noa to our cats Wolfie and Casper, who weren’t that interested. Then, we started to get bombarded with congratulatory messages and calls from family and friends as they learnt about the great news.

We did our first two-man baby nappy change and clothes change. We took her marmite poo stained nappy off. As soon as we did, she was sick, then started to pee all over the mat. Luckily Meg caught it before it ran onto me. Noa then smugly farted at us. Welcome to the world of changing nappies, a shitty, pissy, sicky mess.

Day turns into night

We decided to go to bed at 8pm as we were both shattered, locking the cats out so they couldn’t disturb us during the night. Until that point, Noa had been quiet and perfectly behaved.

It was at this point I think the initial shock of being born wore off and she realised she didn’t know what the hell was going on. She cried and cried; she wouldn’t go in the Moses Basket.

The noise sent one of the cats, Casper nuts. He spent the entire night trying to meow and scratch his way through the closed door to find out what was going on.

I remember lying on the floor of the baby room, in a dressing gown and blanket thrown over me; Noa clutched in my arms as we wrestled with 20 minute periods of sleep. I can’t even begin to image how Meg felt; I hadn’t given birth that morning.

Every piece of advice tells you not to sleep with the baby in your arms. I can now honestly say that you will break this, or go mad. Noa would scream unless she was in someone’s arms, you will try and overcome this for a while, before giving up to exhaustion.

At 7am Meg’s mum came in to say hello, and our first night was complete. We still hadn’t slept, we were both shattered and still trying to come to terms with the fact that we had a baby. We had, however, survived, and things got easier from then on.

A moment to reflect on our first day at home

It is at these points which I sit a little in awe of how Meg dealt with that night considering she had given birth at 1.30 that morning and hadn’t slept in 2 days. Maybe Meg was just born to be a mother. I’m just pleased I had her there. I think I would have gone mad without her there.

On reflection, our first day of being parents as beautiful as it was exhausting. Meg and I bonded in ways I never expected, and we both grew as people, even if we didn’t know it at the time.

Noa was a welcome addition to our family, we love her and are humbled that she is ours. People say something changes when you have children, it’s true, something does.