Thursday, April 25, 2013

Does Nursing make me a better father?

Seven months ago, give or take a few days, my wife and I became members of a not-so-exclusive club referred to as Parenthood.  We did so willingly and, contrary to common practice for our area, we did it after we were married instead of getting married because we were pregnant. This is a meaningful distinction for us and it speaks volumes.  It says that we made this decision as two adults and were prepared for the consequences.

CONSEQUENCES shown below:

 Not bad for my first try. Wait until I get some more practice.

{Quick background on my wife because I'm pretty sure I've never really mentioned much about her. We met while taking pre-reqs for Nursing school but we had both went to high school together. I started Nursing school a semester ahead of her at the same school. Which led to a very rocky first few years of our relationship. However, we saved a bundle on books, or at least she did. We married in nursing school and she spent her last semester pregnant. Now back to the story.}

I started thinking soon after we found out we were expecting our little bundle of joy (see above) and aided in this thinking by current parents who relish the opportunity to tell you the hardships. Some of the more common things were as follows:
  1. You would no longer sleep-in and possibly may never sleep more than a few hours at a time.
  2. The amount of stress you will encounter is unlike anything you have ever felt before.
  3. All the crying.
  4. All the pooping.
  5. All the diaper changes.
But then after the horror stories they would a the caveat... but it is SO worth it!

I made the correlation immediately!  I flashed back to my first year or maybe even first week in nursing school. When all of the seniors would see us and tell us of the horrors that awaited. Such as:

  1. You would no longer sleep-in and possibly may never sleep more than a few hours at a time.
  2. The amount of stress you will encounter is unlike anything you have ever felt before.
  3. All the crying.
  4. All the pooping.
  5. All the diaper changes.
  Look familiar? My wife and I agreed that if we could both survive nursing school, at the same time no less, that this baby business would be a breeze. So, we went in to the final stages with very little stress about the imminent changes.

We discovered that raising a child is more difficult than nursing school in many ways, but it is also easier in many ways. 

Here is what I know, I know that my ability to function on 3 hours of sleep is legendary, and a newborn sleeps approx 20 hours a day. Unfortunately, my newborn did this sleeping 15 min at a time for the first 2 months. 

Baby: 1 Nurse Parents: 0

Despite a near disaster in the sleep department, I had developed the ability to perform everyday tasks without sleep. This is where performance enhancing drugs came into play. I'm not talking about anything illegal like cocaine, hell, I'm not even talking about Adderall these youngsters depend on to tie their damn shoelaces now-a-days. I'm talking about Caffeine. The real Vitamin C... I'm talking Monster, Coffee, Espresso,  Red Bull... you get the picture. I drank so much coffee the first week I gave myself an ulcer.  

Baby: 1 Nurse Parents: 1

Diapers? Seriously? I can change these little things with just my non-dominant hand while peering out of one bloodshot eye! I don't even need to go into the diaper thing.

Baby: 1 Nurse Parents: 2

Poop goes hand in hand with the diapers thing but I felt I should address it separately.  My baby didn't poop much the first month and a half. While at first this seems like a blessing, to a nurse is spells certain ileus! There was about 50 hours of research done in my household before finally asking a Dr. about this "Condition". We were given specific orders and followed them precisely. Every 5 days we produced a BM. It was nerve racking. 

Both sides get a point. Baby: 2 Nurse Parents: 3

Crying. I didn't cry in Nursing school because I am a Man and we have rules. Don't roll your eyes at me and say "Real men do cry" Because I will tell you that I am not imaginary and am very real, and I DO NOT CRY. However, my baby does, frequently, and I am told she gets it from me. I consider that to be a great injustice and resent even the slightest of comparisons. Regardless, crying is noise, and I can tune out noise.

Baby: 2 Nurse Parents: 4  

This brings me to stress.  There is no comparing the two events and the stress each one creates on its own massive level.  I will say this. When you leave Nursing school and go home, even if you have homework, you are still away from Nursing school. With babies, you are stressed all the time and coming home provides no refuge from the stress. Not even mentioning that Nursing school even if taken to its most extreme wouldn't even make it to puberty in the lifespan of a child.

Baby 3...  You know what, I'm sick of keeping score.  Nursing school is hard. Raising children is hard. Doing both is unimaginable, and yet I was in school with new mothers, old mothers, and single mothers.  My hat is off to you, ladies. I am in no way equipped to take that on. 

This Parenting thing is just starting and I'm sure will evolve from here as will my perspective on this whole thing.  Am I a better father because I'm a Nurse? Absolutely! Is the inverse true? Am I a better Nurse because I'm a father? I'd like to think that it adds a level of empathy. So, yes I am.

Well, I hear my little one starting to cry now. 

Thanks for reading,


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