Dad Diary: The First 30 Days of Parenthood

The Roberts home was flipped upside down during the first 30 days of parenthood – from a last-minute rush to the hospital, a winter wedding, to two terrified parents, and endless nights with literally no sleep. Alex and I had done all the things a couple expecting their first child does to get prepared; birth class, baby shower, and plenty of group text consulting sessions with friends and family, but there is nothing you can do to be ready for the biggest change in your life. That’s right, I think this is the biggest change that I’ve ever gone through. Each time I started at a new school, I was scared to some degree, but that still didn’t compare to this. Getting married was truly an amazing experience and Alex and I chose to wait until we were married to live together, so that was a new experience for sure. But the changes were little differences here and there. Bringing your first baby home from the hospital and now you have to care for that baby’s every need is like nothing you’ve ever done before. I hope you all enjoy hearing about my experiences, and I would love to hear yours.

What a Whirlwind

Where do I begin? Let’s start with the night leading up too little Savannah Bee arriving into the world. It’s Monday and I’ve got a work meeting in Omaha, NE that is going to last until Thursday afternoon. Alex, who at this point is nearly 38 weeks pregnant and already 3 cm dilated, is staying back at home in Lincoln, NE. Luckily, Omaha is only a 45-minute drive away from Lincoln, but I was still a little worried. I didn’t want to miss our daughter coming into the world. Alex and I stayed in contact with each other all day long. I almost didn’t go to the meeting. I remember I was so stressed. Part of me thought I just shouldn’t go and the other side of me kept saying the meeting was only 45 minutes away and I would be able to get home if I needed to. This was an all day and night type of week-long meeting and we were all staying in hotels in Omaha.

In the end, I decided to go and kept my phone on me a all times constantly getting updates from Alex. Alex’s sister Ashley was a saint and stayed with Alex while I was gone. On Tuesday night, I was actually at a team function at the event center in Omaha watching the Creighton college basketball game when I got the call! I literally had to run out of the building from the nosebleed section, then back to my hotel room, pack my bags in a flash, call the valet parking, and drive back to Lincoln.

Well, I made it back in time and we had our little girl together. We brought Savannah home from the hospital that Friday afternoon and the next day I celebrated my brother’s wedding. I look back on that week as being one of the best weeks of my life as well as one of the longest periods of time I have gone with the least amount of sleep.  I will fully admit Alex got even less sleep than me and I complained about it so much more! I just couldn’t hardly do it. At times, I think I thought I was dying! We arrived at the hospital late Tuesday night, around midnight, and from that moment until 7:00a.m. Sunday morning, I think I slept 8 hours. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The lack of sleep truly is part of the nostalgia, but that being sad, it was also so painful!

I was Petrified

I was so afraid of my every move when Savannah first came home with us. My biggest fear was that she was so small so something terrible would happen to her. I don’t even know what, just how could I take care of something that tiny, all the time. Of course, I didn’t understand how we could let her sleep without one of us watching her. I was terrified that she would get sick and how would I be able to tell.

We took Savannah to the pediatrician’s office her first- and second-day home from the hospital which did give me a sense of relief because her doctor didn’t have any concerns. Her height and weight were all acceptable to him I guess which was everything to me. Our next visit back to the pediatrician’s office was the two-week checkup, but luckily, we made a couple trips to Milk Works in the meantime. Milk Works was so helpful. They mainly worked with Alex, but they also helped me with how to properly feed Savannah with a bottle.

I was a total nut case about my cat Tuxedo not sleeping in the same room as Savannah. I was worried that Tux would somehow hurt Savy while I was asleep. I do feel guilty that Tux has essentially been shunned to sleep along these past couple months. I think she has adjusted to it. We moved her bed down to the living room and we’ve made her a couple comfy spots around the house.

Paternity Leave

 I was very fortunate that my work offered two weeks of paternity leave. I was able to take a couple days of PTO and get that first week off plus the next two weeks. The leave allowed me to help Alex with everything the first couple weeks while she was basically feeing her every hour all day and all night. I tried to do as much as I could to help with cooking the meals, cleaning the house, doing laundry, picking up the groceries. I stayed up for late night feedings. I feel like she needed her diaper changed every hour back then. We had to go through something like 10-12 diapers a day. Alex got our bath routine for Savannah down after a few trial and errors. I’m really not sure how anyone could go back to work after one of those first few days with a newborn.

Sleeping in Shifts

Sleep becomes a commodity that first 30 days. It’s so funny looking back how badly we both just wanted to sleep. Neither of us would get any sleep all night and then the next day we would be taking any and every opportunity to sneak in a nap whenever we could. I started trying to sneak in little cat naps every time Alex would feed Savannah. Of course, she would say, “that’s not fair! I desperately need a nap!” In her defense, I probably had at least one or two more hours of sleep than she did the previous night. So, I probably had three and she probably had one or two.

We decided we needed a plan so that we could both get at least four hours of sleep. We somehow determined that four hours was the magic number. If we could get four consecutive hours of sleep, we would be able to survive the next day. So, we came up with plan Sleeping in Shifts. We called it first shift and second shift. First shift was 10:00pm-3:00am or so and second shift was 3:00am-8:00am or so. I say or so because sometimes trying to make it your entire shift was nearly impossible because you might have only had two or three hours of sleep the night before. There were plenty of times Alex and I both stayed awake more than 24 hours at a time. I never did figure out which shift I liked better. There were perks to both. The shifts were a success back in those days. Savannah hadn’t gone through her stage of refusing to take a bottle, so I was able to feed her and be on duty while Alex got some much-needed sleep. For the most part, we were able to start getting a few more hours of Zzzz.

I think I watched more Netflix those first 30 days than I had in the last year. During one of my shifts I watched all of Jack Ryan Season 1. I thought it was great. Savannah was sleeping next to me on the couch in this little cosleeper thing. We never actually used it for co-sleeping, but it worked perfectly for a mobile bed. I constantly watched her tummy rise and fall like a hawk to make sure she was still breathing while I struggled to stay awake. Those times were the absolute best.

Double Date Night

Back in early February before the virus and the quarantine Alex and I invited our friends Taylor and Eric over for a double date night. Taylor and Eric had their son Harrison a few months before Savannah was born. Hanging out with them and the little guy quickly became our favorite night in with friends. We actually saw them the week of New Year’s Eve, one week before Savannah was born and Harrison had grown a ton in that last month. He was so big and able to hold his head up this time.

Taylor and Eric brought over the Oven, our absolute favorite dinner and we celebrated Savannah and Harrison and just being parents together. It’s really nice to have friends that are parents to a newborn who can share tips and advice. Eric was able to give me a lot of advice on what those first 30 days were like for him and he really helped me get an idea of how I could help Alex. He talked to me about trying to do all the things besides breastfeeding because Alex would basically do nothing but breastfeed for a week and on top of that she would be exhausted. That really stuck with me.

When it’s safe again, I’m really looking forward to this quarantine ending so we all can get back to spending time with our friends and family.

My Birthday

The end of the first 30 days brings me to my birthday. We had planned to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant just across the street from our house. It was very exciting for us because that was the first time we would be taking Savannah out of the house. That sounds funny to say with the quarantine we are in today, but at the time there was no quarantine and taking our daughter out to a restaurant was something we were excited and really nervous about. We arrived and there was a wait. It seemed like we new everyone at the restaurant. A few of my coworkers were also waiting and then we sat by a different group of coworkers. The food was amazing and Savannah was a perfect angel the entire time. It was a wonderful way to finish our first 30 days together.

In the end, the first thirty days after bringing Savannah home truly was the craziest whirlwind of my life. I left out the part about how Savannah wouldn’t sleep unless she was in someone’s arms. When I mentioned we had shifts, well when it was your turn, you would basically pace across the kitchen and living room all night because the moment you set her down, she would wake up. And that little cry would break your heart. My favorite times were waking up in the middle of the night to start my shift and getting to feed Savannah. Alex would be so incredibly happy to turn in for some sleep and it was time for a little father-daughter bonding. I’m so thankful for those memories.

I would love to hear some stories about your first 30 days with your sons and daughters. Please leave us a comment below or reach out to us on Instagram!

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