Life for me as a stay at home dad of a preemie is awesome! Because let me tell you, my wife and I had some severe infertility issues to begin with. I was, as a man, worried that I wouldn’t bond with her. That I wouldn’t feel like her father. That I would feel insignificant in the whole thing. Boy, was I wrong. I think God gave us a preemie, so that I would feel that strong connection with my daughter. Because, now I’m the first one she sees when she wakes in the morning, typically the last at night. I love taking care of her. I never knew I could be attached to someone so much. As a father of a preemie, the NICU journey was very tough emotionally. I took a big toll on me as a man.
I spent a lot of time crying, praying, and just staring into this isolet feeling so helpless. My wife was upstairs in the ICU for the first three days of my daughters life. It was so hard on me sharing my time between the two. I had to be there for my newborn 3lb daughter and I had to be there for my wife who just had emergency surgery to deliver the baby. It was a very hard and trying time for me. I’ve always been soft hearted, but to see the NICU for the first time, and knowing that right out the gate, my daughter was a patient among them just ripped my heart out. You know, as a man and father, you want what’s best for your children. You never want to see them cry or hurt.
After those weeks in the NICU and the week stay before Addie was born, my emotion tank was on empty. And in so many ways, still is. I’m a stay at home dad by choice. I can’t wait for play dates, birthday parties, and just all the crazy children stuff. Because for so many of those nights, I didn’t know if she would even leave the hospital. With us, anyway. It has been and continues to be an awesome, incredible, sad, and emotion filled experience. If one thing my daughter has taught me, it’s compassion. She took this heart that was becoming so cold and hard, and melted it with a single smile. They say, us fathers, are supposed to be the strong ones in the family. Well I can attest, my preemie is definitely the strongest in ours.
At only 3lbs she fought for her life, and WON! That’s Preemie Power.