FRIDAY 2 SEPTEMBER 2022
As a new dad, you will experience a range of emotions surrounding the birth of your baby. If your baby or partner requires ongoing medical care, you may find the experience a little overwhelming, as it is not how you envisioned fatherhood to be.
The birth of a premature or sick newborn can be especially hard for dads. You may be intensely worried about your baby and partner, and feel frustrated and helpless that you can’t do more, while also trying to juggle work commitments and perhaps looking after other children at home.
Men often carry their fears and concerns on their own. Do not be afraid to ask questions, show your emotions or ask for help. It can be tough, but you are not alone. Family, friends, nursing staff and even your GP can assist if you find that things are getting too difficult to cope on your own.
It is helpful to remember that you are a very important part of the team contributing to the care of your baby and there are many ways in which you can be involved.
“It was overwhelming having a baby in intensive care. I wondered if I really understood what was happening, what was it I should be doing or how was I meant to feel? For me it was so far from what was meant to be the 'norm'. Over the months of watching this tiny person grow things slowly settled down. Through the challenges and hard news, we saw our son slowly reach the stage when we could take him home.” - Anthony, Miracle Dad to Caden born at 29 weeks and Eli at 25 weeks.
"For us, the final 63 days of pregnancy – big kicks, baby showers, basketball silhouettes – was zapped down to 63 minutes. It began as Karen’s sob from the bathroom, took in a land-speed record for home-to-hospital shuttling and ended with a doctor’s ultimatum: deliver now or else. In those early days, Karen and I could only touch Noah for a few minutes for fear of over-stimulating him. That was hard. But, in a ward of wailing infants and clucking mums, seeing Karen’s arms empty for 23 hours and 45 minutes was worse." - Angus, Miracle Dad to Noah born at 31 weeks.
Miracle Dad Phil shares Elijah's story:
"It was a whirlwind experience when we had our first child.
My wife was admitted to hospital at 28 weeks over concerns that our baby would be born early.
I remember spending the day with her in the high care area of the hospital, leaving Randwick at 10 pm, driving home to Liverpool, eating and showering, then getting into bed only to get a phone call 10 minutes later to get back to the hospital. This happened on a number of occasions.
Elijah was then born at 29 weeks, and as first-time parents, we didn't know what to expect in general, let alone having a premature baby.
The staff in the NICU at Randwick were absolutely amazing, making us feel as comfortable and reassured as we could be. I still remember the roller coaster ride of the doctors' daily visits, giving us updates on Elijah's progress, sometimes feeling like you took a step forward one day, only to go two steps back the next.
Premature babies fight like no one else, and I saw that in Elijah from the very start. Thankfully he pulled through with no major concerns, and we were able to leave the hospital three months later, approximately at his due date.
Once we were at home, the roller coaster continued with the many follow up Doctor's appointments and constant stresses of potential challenges that can present themselves in the first four years of Elijah's life.
Thankfully our little man was given the all-clear and is now a perfectly normal and healthy five year old who just started school this year.
I want to send a shout out to all the dads of sick or premature children as it is extremely challenging to continue running the household, working, and taking care of a wife and child in hospital”.
Thank you Anthony, Angus and Phil for sharing your stories with us.
Every year Miracle Babies distributes gifts to fathers with a baby in specialised care on Father’s Day. This day should be a celebration, however often it’s quite the opposite. These small gifts remind families that we are here and that they are not alone at this challenging and emotional time.
Celebrate the 'Miracle Dad' in your life with this special key ring.
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All proceeds from the sale of this product support families of premature or sick newborns in Australia.
Thank you for your support.