I think we all agree that the person most ‘forgotten’ in the premmie journey is Daddy. It’s not because Dad isn’t as important as Mum, it’s because to the naked eye it is Mum who is “going through” it all. The pregnancy, the labour, the guilt, even the hassle of expressing every 2-3 hours. Dad’s seem to get off pretty easily right?
Imagine having to sit back and watch your partner who is sick as a dog for months on end, and not be able to do anything about it. Trying to be as sympathetic as possible but with no real understanding of what they’re going through. Then to sit back in terror and watch when baby decides to come early, unable to do a damn thing. In our case Dad walked into the room to hear “Code Green!” being shouted out as 20 medical staff filled the room, wheeling me away before he even had a chance to process what was happening. He was left all alone in a hospital room wondering whether he’d ever see his wife again and whether he’d ever meet his unborn child.
I for one will never forget the look on my husband’s face as they tore me from that hospital room. It is a look I don’t ever want to have to see again, it was the look that told me that what was happening was very very bad. When I woke up from surgery I asked if my baby was alive, then as I drifted in and out of consciousness in recovery I kept asking for my husband, telling the nurses to tell him I was ok, making sure he knew he didn’t have to go it alone.
I personally think more focus needs to be on the Dads. Sure, us women do get the raw end of the deal with a lot of it, but look at the support we get. All the while, no-one really asks how Dad is feeling.
I can tell you right now how he was feeling, and I bet I get it spot on, having never even discussed this with my husband.
He was feeling helpless.
How could he feel anything else? This is how his day went –
- He got up and went to work while his wife was vomiting in the toilet (again).
- He gets a call from her screaming that she’s bleeding.
- He takes her to the hospital where they put her in an ambulance, reassure him that baby isn’t on the way, and send him home to get some things for her stay in hospital.
- He gets a text not half an hour later saying “baby is coming”.
- He rushes into the hospital and has to sit there and listen to doctors tell him all the things that could possibly be WRONG with his child.
- He makes all the calls to family and close friends, spends the time replying to texts whilst his wife is writhing in pain and he has to sit idly by and watch, unable to help.
- He gets left in a room while they wheel his wife away without being given any information other than, “you can’t come in we need to put her to sleep”.
- He gets to meet his new baby all by himself, without his wife by his side. The baby fits in the palm of his hand, and lives in a box!
- He is told he has to leave the hospital and cannot stay there so is sent home at 1am to a house that all of a sudden feels very empty.
I’m not sure anyone asked him the next day if he was ok. I doubt that he was. I was high on morphine from the surgery so it took me a few days to come back to reality, but he had to endure it all and hold himself strong, for his family.
I can tell you that I felt helpless, as I’ve written about 1000 times here. So how could he not? At least I could provide nourishment for my child, I got to be there 24/7 for at least the first 4 days before they discharged me. I was also the only one allowed to hold him for the first week.
D’s Daddy had to sit by and watch and wait and be strong. Because that’s what Daddy’s do. Then when the time came, he went back to work. So day in and day out he’d get up and follow his normal routine whilst his baby and wife were in hospital, not because he wanted to, but because the reality is, he had to. I’m sure the feeling of helplessness didn’t end after those first few days either, I know he had to deal with a lot from me. Arriving at the hospital in the evening after I’d had an emotional day and trying to keep me in good spirits, all the while having to hide his own emotions.
On here the focus is often on the mum’s because the stories on the blog relate largely to the pregnancy, the birth and reason for the prematurity. Which always comes back to mum. Also, a lot of the stories I tell come back to my own experience with a premmie baby, and I can only tell you my side of it. I don’t presume to know all that premmie dads go through emotionally, I’m no expert and I can’t even speak for my own husband in this regard. I just know that the Dads may feel like their side of it goes unnoticed but I’m here to tell you it doesn’t.
So Happy Father’s Day to all of you out there, you amazing, strong, powerful men who hold us together. For all that you do that you feel goes unnoticed and for all that you do that drives us crazy!
YOUR journey is just as important as ours, you have been through just as much, and I think I speak for many when I say, we couldn’t do it without you.
To the man in my household, I could write to you for days about what a wonderful father you are and there’s no doubt about the undying love our son has for you. We would be lost without you and all you do for us. I could not imagine a life without you and I could not imagine a better man to help me raise my son. If he is half the man that you are he will grow to be just as incredible as I imagine him to be. As Tiny as he is, with you by his side, he will always stand 10 feet tall.
From the little things you do, like getting the groceries on the way home from work, to the bigger things, like disposing of the obscenely large rat the cats brought home last week – Nothing you do goes un-noticed, nothing is unappreciated.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY !