Transitioning to fatherhood

Curtis Powers

At 1 p.m. on Aug. 28, my life changed forever. My wife gave birth to our first baby, a son named Elijah Joel.

For those wondering, he wasn’t named for anyone. My wife and I just happened to like these two Hebrew prophets and thought they made for good names.

To be honest, the experience as a whole was a little weird. Surreal actually may be the better term. I had read stories, watched movies and listened to other people, mostly dads, recount their birth experiences. Almost universally it seemed, it was this great transformative and emotional experience for them.

When their child was born, there was this instantaneous, overwhelming flood of love for the child. They would do anything for him. Throw themselves in front of a bus, etc. As for me, not so much. I watched as my wife writhed in pain for an hour and a half, pushing him out of her. When he finally did arrive, I thought, “Oh wow, he’s blue.”

I was glad my wife was done with pushing and that the baby was safely out, but I had no overwhelming sensation. It was more ho-hum, with a bit of surreal and shock mixed in. That probably shouldn’t surprise me too much. I’m not a really emotional person. After all, I didn’t really get too emotional for my wedding either. It’s probably an OK thing, too, since it’s not really about me anyway.

After the child popped out, the nurses then prompted me to get my camera and shoot some pictures, which I did — after some oxygen got in his blood and his skin turned to a more normal color.

He got weighed and measured. I called and picture messaged family and friends about him. People came and visited us in the hospital, which is good, because being in a hospital can be pretty boring.

Overall, it was an interesting experience. It’s been even more interesting now that we’re home.

Obviously, he does standard baby things like eat, sleep and poop. However, he does them in very curious ways sometimes.

For instance, sometimes when he’s hungry and I’m holding him, he tries to nurse at my nipple through my shirt. The first time he did this, my wife and I really had to stifle our hearty laughter for fear that I might drop him.

When he sleeps, he likes to snore just like his daddy. Except his snores are actually cute, since he’s a baby. Mine are just pretty loud and annoying.

As for pooping, you can generally tell when it happens because it is pretty explosive. It always takes people by surprise when it happens, too, which is pretty funny. They’re like, “Did he just …?” Yes. Yes, he did.

Some may be thinking, “Wow, that sounds like fun, but what about the hard stuff like crying and losing sleep?”

Yeah, he cries. Not often, usually when he’s hungry or naked, but it’s not too bad, relatively speaking.

And yes, my wife and I don’t sleep as much as we used to, but we’re managing and getting better at it. It helps that I like staying up until 3 a.m. doing homework and helping the child sleep.

The other major consequences I have noticed so far have been the need to eliminate the amount of time I waste on frivolous stuff and the massive amount of reading I get done since he likes to sleep on my chest.

Having a baby, much like getting married, is tough and has its ups and downs, but I’ve found that it’s definitely worth it.