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My wife, Chelsea, and I went to the hospital for her scheduled induction at 5 a.m. the morning of Maverick’s birth. After about 12 hours of labor we started to have some complications. The doctor lost the baby’s vitals and there wasn’t enough oxygen getting to him. As the realization of what was happening in front of me settled in, nothing in this world mattered except for first, my wife and second, my son.

Chelsea was rushed into surgery and the doctors performed a C-section to deliver Maverick. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice, but once they got him out everything was fine. Chelsea was in recovery from the surgery and I had a brand new baby that needed to be cared for. We spent the next 4 days in the hospital and I cared for my wife and son 24/7. Once we finally got home, the same continued. My wife has recovered and my son is growing and healthy, but I have suddenly found myself in a whole new position in life.

Being a father has been an incredible experience so far, but I will be honest… being a dad is nothing like I expected. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what all was included in fatherhood but I could not have been more wrong. So for anybody who is wondering what the first month of fatherhood is like, here are my three big take-a-ways after one month of daddy duty.

  1. Priority check!

One month ago I always kept up with my favorite sports teams, I played Xbox almost every day, I went shopping, hung out with friends, etc. But when you become a father, your priorities just change. They have to. Chelsea has been my first priority since we got married but when you bring a brand new baby, surgery, and all the stress and emotions of child birth into the picture, she became my first priority in a new way. I have a son now and he is 100% dependent on me. Suddenly, things I thought I loved, just don’t matter anymore. And that is okay, that how it should. A big part of growing up is a change in our priorities. But, be ready. If you are a soon-to-be dad, these new priorities are forced upon you without warning!

  1. Instructions NOT included.

You wouldn’t believe how much paperwork the hospital sends home with you! But after looking through all of it, there wasn’t baby 101 or how-to guide anywhere. So there we are, it’s 2 in the morning and we have a screaming baby. Hungry? No. Dirty Diaper? Nope. Tired? Obviously not, he is screaming at the top of his lungs. (Enter mother-in-law) Do not be afraid to ask for help! We have had a lot friends and family (especially my mother-in-law) who have helped us tremendously. Having a baby is a stressful experience for a seasoned veteran, much less a first time parent. Did I mention that my mother-in-law was a huge help?

  1. Enjoy it!

One mouth in and Maverick already looks like a whole different person. I cannot believe how fast he has changed and how different he already is. It has brought me to the realization that Maverick will only be a baby for a short time.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5 (ESV)

This is a blessing and I want to enjoy every moment of it. So during the stressful times remember that this is a blessing from God. And when your baby has ANOTHER dirty diaper, remember that you will not get these days back.