It's just over 4 weeks since Erin came into this world. I'm absolutely madly in love with her. My wife and I simply can't get enough of her. She's such a great little baby, loves her food, loves her naps and loves to leave poo-nami's for her Dad. I changed my first ever nappy 4 weeks ago and feel like with every passing hour, feed and changing I'm getting better as a Dad and support to my wife.
However, this blog is not about how I'm doing, even if I'm still slightly scarred from those poo-nami's. It's about the Star of the Show, my wife. I've found myself with an hour or so to sit down to put pen to paper about this incredible woman.
In my, "I'm a Dad" blog, I ran through the whole week leading up, labour, childbirth and that moment I finally got to meet Erin. I didn't speak a whole lot about Ruth, a little bit within a blog wouldn't do her justice.
I've known Ruth since we were both 18, which seems like many moons ago, when we were just friends, who failed fantastically at studying food science in UCC, went surfing and had zero notion that we'd one day end up together let alone have a house, a dog and a baby.
We both wonder had someone told us that back then, how would we react, said or have done? Anyway...
Having known Ruth as long as I do, I had 100% confidence right from the start that she would absolutely smash pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, even when she thought otherwise.
I was merely along for the journey, an observer of such, and while I was there for support & Dad jokes (Ruth would say annoyance), I just watched on in love & awe of her as she went through it all and shared with ye as much of it as I could from my point of view.
Ruth was so attractive during pregnancy, labour & childbirth
"My wife is a ride" (And if her parents are reading, I make no apologies about saying that, ye made a fine-looking daughter).
But besides the obvious attractions, she is one of the most beautiful souls I've ever met and somehow she likes, puts up with, tolerates, indulges and loves me.
I've no idea either lads, I'm stumped. I just count myself as a lucky bastard.
What I'm trying to get to in a slightly roundabout way is that Ruth has always and will continue to be beautiful to me. I did have this slight doubt, rightly or wrongly, and I'm being honest as I always try to be. Would I find her attractive with an ever-increasing tummy? Couple that with tiredness, hormones changing, aches & pains and a miniature kicking machine inside her, would this impact our relationship.
In reality, the complete opposite happened. I'm not sure how but she became more attractive. Maybe other Dads can back me up on this but I was seeing Ruth through a different lens, a lens that seemed to magnify her beauty to me.
Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of moments during the pregnancy that brought me back down to earth. But overall, the bigger her tummy got, the closer we approached the due date, the greater my attraction and my love for her grew further.
Now, this could be something way back in the vastness of my brain that clicked. I'm sure there have been some studies into this. Like some caveman response. "Woman pregnant ugh... my baby inside ugh... must love her more and protect ugh..."
But it's the honest truth.
When Ruth went into labour, and I finally got into the delivery suite to see her. Immediately upon seeing her, I just thought she looked beautiful. She might say differently as she was sucking down Gas & Air.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I was trying to remain calm and collected for her. But internally my anxiety was doing diving elbow drops from the top rope on to my stomach. All the while, I'm welling up with love and emotion. I was saying to myself "Man, get a grip or the midwives will be admitting you next".
This will probably sound nuts, but even during childbirth and as she had a forehead vein bulging out. I still found my wife attractive, I actually remember saying it to myself and to take a mental note about it.
I'm next to her holding her hand thinking, with 4 midwives and 2 obstetricians in the room, "Ruth's looking well 😉 "
It's a bizarre one, I'll admit that but fellas I can't be the only one who's felt this way and I doubt I'll be the last. So, it might be something to expect for those expectant Dads reading.
Once Ruth held Erin for the first time on her chest. I was done. A blubbering mess of love and every other happy hormone my body could produce.
I was in Awe
Thinking back on the whole experience I've been thinking about what words best describe being present for the labour and childbirth of a loved one.
It's like, have you ever watched someone doing their job, a job that requires knowledge, skill and talent, and you the person watching has zero clue where you'd even start let alone do it. Then you watch them perform the task at hand with such ease, confidence and precision, that all you can do is sit back, appreciate what you're seeing, be in awe of them and knowing they are totally in control.
That's what it was like watching Ruth during labour & childbirth. It was like she had done it a thousand times and it was just another procedure.
While I was internally losing my shit with anxiety, Ruth was in the zone, so focused and tunnel-visioned on what needed to be done to make sure Erin arrived safely.
It was such an attractive side of her that I didn't think I'd see at that moment, let alone while her were legs akimbo in stirrups.
I was like "Damn, look at my wife, she's smashing this childbirth. She's so on top of her game she could give birth to all the baby's here this morning".
She was even cracking jokes with the midwives during childbirth, I shit you not. One of the midwives wanted to do an examination and that she was going to use her fingers and that Ruth might feel some pressure. Ruth came out with one hell of a line "There is a head about to come out of me, so your fingers are the least of my worries!".
I couldn't help but laugh and I loved that even at that moment she could crack a joke.
Seeing Her as a Mother
The hardest part Ruth will tell you, after the contractions which the epidural nullified, was holding her breath for the round of pushes. So, once Erin arrived, she was as chilled as could be. If she was any more laid back in that moment she'd have been asleep.
They placed Erin on her chest and from that moment she became an incredible mother. I know in general women have a more natural ability when it comes to handling babies or anything delicate for that matter. They may have grown up playing with dolls, babies and would spend more time around friends who have had kids.
But it was like a light switch, soon as Erin was born, it clicked on and I could see she instantly knew how to calm her, comfort her, feed her and look after her. This put me at such ease.
I, on the other hand, let's say even after all my reading up and prep. Ruth still had to train me in.
These last 4 weeks though, watching Erin & Ruth interact and bond has just been wonderful to watch. You can just see love in the way Ruth looks at Erin, a type of love you probably will only see when you or your partner have a baby and that it is your job to look after them.
I just love watching the two of them together. I could spend a day doing so and it would be a day well spent.
Ruth has healed really well and is quiet active for someone who gave birth 4 weeks ago and we've got out on some longer walks and trying to make the most of the good weather.
As much as I joked about Ruth being my "Cash Cow", she really has been the star of the show when it comes to feeding. Breastfeeding has so many different things going on and isn't as straight forward as you might think. However, Ruth has been incredible as I knew she would, recording everything like she would in her job and is the reason Erin is thriving the way she is.
Breastfeeding is also more taxing on the body with making sure her own nutrition is on point and avoiding or reducing the number of certain foods she might eat so that it doesn't cause issues with Erin. But also she is up longer during the nights when feeding than I might be with a bottle feed or just doing the nappy change.
But she hasn't complained and just gets on with it while sporting a messy hun bun and a sleepy head.
She's the Planner
Ruth has always been the planner in our relationship. To be fair she's better at it than I am, which she has a love/hate relationship about that fact. But throughout these first 4 weeks, she has still been planning stuff, making sure we get stuffed ticked off while still looking after Erin, been able to take time for herself and let me off for an hour surfing too.
I feel I'm doing well as a first time Dad but honestly, I'd be lost without her.
Finally, I'll know she'll read this, so I just want to say I love you and appreciate everything you have done so far and will continue to do for Erin x.
P.S. I love Dad jokes too much to stop.