In Steve’s own words, the first week home after childbirth was absolutely crazy. But like many new dads it didn’t take long to settle into a good routine and to start really enjoying having his newborn baby daughter as a part of his life.
Nervous early days
Steve said he had very little sleep in the first week home from the hospital and he was still trying to find the balance between being an alert and attentive parent and being unnecessarily obsessive.
“I always slept with one ear open as every little noise the baby made I would freak out and have to go in and check on her,” he said.
“I have never felt or experienced anything like that before, you become really protective and ready to defend your baby at any moment.
“My whole outlook on life shifted towards what was best for my new family and everything else seemed insignificant.
“But as time goes by you realise that babies are pretty tough little things and while they obviously need ‘round the clock’ care and attention you are only being counter-productive if you go looking for problems or assume the worst at every corner.”
Valuable time at home
Throughout the pregnancy, Steve was constantly trying to balance out his work commitments with his family commitments which proved quite difficult due to the very nature of fly in – fly out work.
This balancing act continued to provide a constant challenge after his daughter was born but fortunately for him he was afforded some time at home.
“I was lucky to have scored a temporary position working at the city base which meant I had a reasonable break from working away,” said Steve.
“This gave me the perfect opportunity to show off our new little baby to anyone and everyone.
“Some of my best memories from that time are remembering everyone’s faces as they met our daughter for the first time. It is such a rewarding feeling and it is a really great reminder of just how lucky I am.”
Swings and round-a-bouts
Over the first 6 months Steve says he really tried to help and support his wife while he was home from work and has fond memories of his daughter’s development. But they did have their struggles with sleeping and baby illnesses.
“My wife is a really great mum and she taught me a lot about babies which I am very grateful for.
“I think we work very well as a team and that is important so no one parent feels like they are being forced to carry a heavier burden.
“Sometimes it felt like she cried all through the night and with a lack of sleep it’s a real challenge to keep your emotions in check.
“But overall, our baby was quite well behaved and I put a lot of that down to our team work, especially during the difficult times.”
Steve’s little bundle was healthy and thriving but he does remember just how scary it is for parents when their precious gift falls ill.
“The first time she had a fever I completely freaked out,” said Steve.
“She looked so sick and was acting very weird and I wasn’t sure if I should get an ambulance or a police escort to race to the hospital.
“But like on many occasions, a bit of advice from Nanny put the whole situation in perspective and it turns out that a bit of baby paracetamol was all she needed.
“It can be difficult being a new parent because you don’t want to be too fussy and stress out over every little thing but as you’ve never done it before you can’t help but worry about your little baby, I think it just takes a bit of time to find that balance.”
Steve’s position in the city was only temporary and inevitably the time to resume his fly in – fly out work had arrived.
“It was very difficult and extremely emotionally draining on the day I first flew out,” he said.
“The baby was starting to respond to us with smiling, laughter and movement and I was really afraid I was going to miss out on too much or that she wouldn’t know who I was when I got back.
“That first stint back up north seemed to last forever.
“I really loved watching her grow and would have loved to of been able to stay at home permanently.”
All you need is love
Whenever Steve was going through some hard times or feeling lonely up on the mines he said he would just think about his wonderful little family and that would give him the strength to battle on.
“I would obviously miss my wife and my baby a lot while I was away,” he said.
“Having a child had brought us so much closer and now I had two admirers at home waiting for me it just made it that much sweeter to get back each time.
“My wife and my relationship grew and developed with the addition of a baby and I think we have both learnt how to be more aware of others and not to make selfish decisions.
“It’s very comforting to know that you and your wife are on the same team and you are both ultimately working towards to same goal and that is to give our daughter the best life experience possible.”
Click here to read Steve’s experiences during the 1st trimester.
Click here to read Steve’s experiences during the 2nd trimester.
Click here to read Steve’s experiences during the 3rd trimester.
|Read about other dads’ experiences during the first few weeks after their baby’s birth.|