By Jordan Stowe-
As a stay at home dad, I have had many “firsts”. Like, I might be the first father to call his wife at work to change my first poopie diaper. I figured it was either she clean up the poopie diaper or my throw up from trying. So I made the call. Her first bath was an adventure too. She peed on me while her mom and I were still in the NICU. Her nurse Maria said she was marking her territory so to speak. Her first desat, her first brady, her first meal without a feeding tube, not all of these firsts were good. But let’s revisit the ones that were…
It was a Monday, we had been in the NICU for three and a half weeks when we got the news. The news Adeline would be going home. This would start a barrage of firsts. Questions just raced through my head. Did I put the car seat in right? Will she like her parents outside of the NICU life? I’m not one to drive slow. I’m actually quite guilty of a lead foot on the gas pedal. But, driving home a barely four pound three and a half week old baby, I was driving “grandma style”. My hands were at 10&2, and I assure you I was no where close to the speed limit. Hazard blinkers were on all the way home. As we crawled into out driveway, another first happened. We introduced her to her new home. We brought her in, set her in the middle of the floor, and said “Okay, now what do we do?” Thankfully my wife was able to be out of work twelve weeks with Addie before having to return. This provided me with some time to ease into the many firsts I encountered.
For those that don’t know me, I’m an avid fan of all things sports. I also write a blog on Minor League Baseball here in Greensboro, NC. I generally hold media credentials to most major events here. This was another first for me, as a father. For the last two seasons, I was a season ticket holder for the local minor league baseball team. I attended 140 games in two seasons. Seventy games each season. This season when my little girl was born, I attended two all season. Not because my wife wouldn’t let me or because of any other reason than my daughter needed me. That was a first for me. I learned that some things in your life, are just that, things. I no longer enjoy some of the same things as I did before, because I’m not the same man I used to be. I really think, as dads, we can’t go through something as traumatic as the NICU and not come out unscathed.
As a stay at home dad, I’m generally the first thing she sees when she wakes, and the last she sees when she sleeps. I am absolutely in love with this girl. She’s my first daughter, with my first dirty diaper, and my first time being called daddy. And of all the firsts I get to experience everyday, her words that will one day turn into “I LOVE YOU, DADDY”, will be my favorite I think. But until then, I’ll bask in the giggles, smiles, and the cuddle time. Because you’ll be big soon enough, and until then, know this… Daddy loved you FIRST.