I Am A NICU Dad

I Am A NICU Dad

For pretty much my entire life casual conversation has been a struggle for me. I don’t really care for small talk and definitely don’t like talking about emotions or feelings but I’ll give it a try.

Having Nellie-Anne born 13 weeks early and knowing she’ll have to stay in the NICU for about 12 weeks has been the most difficult and terrifying thing I have ever experienced. The hard part for me is letting people know when I’m struggling. I honestly don’t say much most of the time anyway. In my mind I need to be the strong one and give off the perception that everything is ok. I feel that I need to be the rock Erica can count on every day as she goes through her own struggles. Being weak or vulnerable is not something that comes easy for me at all, especially in a face to face conversation. I have been working hard to change this in the last couple of weeks and allow myself to open up and talk to others about things.

Things like how terrified I am every night leaving Nellie at the hospital and how I wish this was not our reality and we could have her home with us now. One thing that has definitely been tough is when it seems like others don’t care about how I’m doing. They’ll ask about Erica and Nellie but not me. Deep down inside I want to say that I’m struggling or having a bad day too but since they didn’t ask I feel like they just don’t care. I want people to know that I am going through the same situation as Erica, probably not as emotionally but that’s still my little girl hooked up to all of those machines.

Thankfully, I have found someone I can talk to about all of this which has helped immensely. Now, most people would suggest talking to Erica but she’s going through it all with me, we need other people we can talk to or count on in these types of situations. For me that person is my brother Zach. Even though he lives in Oregon, we talk daily and usually multiple times a day. We’ve always been pretty close but now we’re both dads to little girls Nellie and Ezra, who turned 1 just three days after Nell was born. Being a dad is an amazing feeling and I love my girl so much but I can’t wait to no longer be a NICU dad and have her home.

Strength Of A Mother

Strength Of A Mother

People always talk about a mother’s love. My mom gave birth to me, raised me, disciplined me and helped shape me into the person I am today. My mom and I always had a special bond brought together by baseball. Growing up, she was at every practice and game she could make it to from the time I was 4 years old until I was 18 and a senior in high school.

My mom took on a bigger role in my life than she probably should have when my dad moved away. She took over two roles in my life and helped shape me into who I am today. The strength that my mom had during my younger days was undeniable, especially with 4 kids to raise. She made sure that we always had what we needed, even if it was 2 pairs of shoes and 2 pairs of baseball cleats within 2 months since my feet grew like weeds. Looking back on those years now I realize just how big of an impact she had on my life.

Whenever anything happens, my mom is the first person I think of or want to tell. When we found out Erica was pregnant with Nellie-Anne I instantly thought of my mom. For me, emotions and expressing them can be hard but my mom is the one person I can’t hold back with. She has been the one constant in my life that has steadied the ship whenever it was necessary. 

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Now, looking at Erica I can see that same motherly presence in Nellie’s life. No matter what our little girl needs Erica is ready and willing to do it, even if that meant laying in a hospital bed for 7 weeks. Nellie is now 1-month-old and Erica has been amazing with all that she does for our girl. Getting up every 3 hours to make sure Nellie has enough to eat and going to the hospital multiple times a day. Her motherly instincts are amazing to watch in action! Between Erica and my mom, I have 2 amazing women in my life who make me want to be a better person for my family. Nellie is lucky to have Erica as her mom and I can not wait to see their special bond grow as she does.

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