To All NICU Fathers on this very special day
Congratulations everyone. Happy Father’s Day. It’s still very unusual to say that phrase and remember that I am now included in the very special and very important group of people known as “Dad.” My father’s day like many of yours came early. Three and a half months early to be exact. I was told that my first father’s day would be in February and unexpectedly, it happened in early November. I actually celebrated my first Father’s Day 3 times with the arrival of my wonderful set of Triplets.
For three long months, my babies, otherwise known to the world as the @EduTriplets grew up in not one, but two NICU’s more than three hours apart from each other. If you are a father with one or more precious babies currently in the NICU I have three very important pieces of information for you.
Trust in your NICU staff. Trust in your relationships with your family. Trust in your ability to keep your sanity while you are trying not to break out in tears every time the NICU door closes behind you as you leave to go back home. Trust that everything will be ok.
While nothing can fully prepare you for the moment your babies arrive, the fact that your babies arrive much earlier than expected completely throws your schedule off. For three months, both my wife and I had to work full time jobs, and also choose which NICU to visit at night. I remember leaving two of our babies one night and then driving to the local Babies R Us only to load up our brand new van (Triplet Mobile) with over $3,000 worth baby goods. Take the time to process everything while your baby is receiving the care they need by the amazing members of your NICU staff. When the day actually does come when you are allowed to bring your baby home, you won’t have the time to do the things you want to.
I remember being shocked at the fact that my triplets were born in the middle of the second trimester. I remember being overwhelmed because they were not only living in separate hospitals, but separate states. I remember needing to vent but not knowing exactly what to do or where to do it. I decided to vent to my podcasting audience. I decided that when I was completely worn out from the heavy stress of the situation, the only thing I would be able to do is be creative. I know it’s hard to even imagine, but everyone needs to recharge their batteries in times of stress.
This year, I will be celebrating my 3rd Father’s Day. For the first time, my babies will be able to actually say the words “Happy Father’s Day.” I am very much looking forward to hearing it. I wish all fathers out there a very special Happy Father’s Day. You all deserve a gold star this year.
Jeffrey Bradbury is the father of the @EduTriplets who are now 31 months of age. He is the Coordinator of Technology Integration for Westwood Regional School District in New Jersey and the founder of the TeacherCast Educational Broadcasting Network. Find Jeff on Twitter @JeffBradbury and listen to his fabulous TED Talk!