Not My First Rodeo?

The Author With His Newborn Son | Courtesy B. Maschal Private Collection

As I cross over the one week mark of being a new dad (again), there have been lot of firsts. My daughter’s birth was anything but traditional. I also never had the experience of bringing her home from the hospital. So, when her little brother was born, it was technically not my first rodeo, but in many ways it certainly might as well be.


Both B and I read everything that we could get our hands on to prepare for this experience (aka I read the books that Britt checked out from the library and asked me to read). It was super educational, for sure. It was reminiscent of studying for some sort of standard exam. While you know there are only so many questions, you kinda have to prepare for anything. I learned about everything from perineum massages and delivering a baby in a car, to the fact that, unlike what Hollywood would have us believe, only a small percentage of women spontaneously have their water break. The intimate massages and car delivery were thankfully ‘N/A’ for me. B’s water did, however, give way on its own. Despite the fact that ~75% of the preparatory information I consumed was surplus, I was still glad that I felt as prepared as possible when the time came. My main takeaway was that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to preparing for labor and delivery, especially for first time moms.


As mentioned above, anything can happen. While I was expecting and hoping to be included in as much as possible, I ended up being even more involved than I imagined from the very get-go. I won’t get too into the weeds here (since the delivery aspect is not really my story, it’s hers), but B ended up being pretty incapacitated for a bit after the little guy was born. I’m extremely grateful for the fact that I’m able to take time away from work to fully focus on this event. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how anyone could do this while trying to also work, without having family who lives very nearby or hired help. Since we have neither of those things, B and I have approached caring for our newborn the same way that we have tackled all of our other joint ventures; divide and conquer. B had already put in 9 months of lugging him around in her belly and weekly doctor visits, etc.. So, once Bebe Breinholt joined the outside world, it was my turn to step up and put in a bit of elbow grease.

There is a lot to figure it out. Everyone has an opinion about how things should be done (even different nurses had different ideas about certain things). I’m sure there are internet people who would look at the photo above and tell me that I’m doing everything wrong. This again reiterates my realization that different approaches work for different people. Except for heartbreaking stories about mentally ill and/or cult follower moms who we read about going to jail for abusing their little ones (where were the dads in those scenarios, btw?), most of the advice that we hear is probably grounded in personal experience. So I try not to discount it.

At the end of the day (and actually every 2-3 hours per day), the kid needs to eat, sleep and be changed. My biggest fear when we found out B was expecting, was that I was going to projectile vomit every time that I attempted to change a diaper and that I would not be able to sleep for several months. I’m sure that I’ll eat these words later, but the diaper thing is manageable with the correct setup. Sleep is definitely in low supply amongst the parents around here, but honestly not as terrible as I had imagined (again, coming from a very privileged position of being able to take time away from work). If I was trying to go into the office on this schedule, it would be a very different story.

Accepting Help:

B and I are both very stubbornly independent people (and equally stubborn and independent as a unit). But when my MIL offered to come out I was very relieved. Defying stereotype, I have a great relationship with my mother-in-law. She is super low maintenance, not afraid to jump in and help where she sees a need, all while managing not to be overbearing. It was especially great that she was here when we came home from the hospital and while B was still not really so comfortable being up on her feet again. Can’t thank her enough for the massive assist.

I also have an overabundance of gratitude for all of our friends and family, both local and otherwise, who have constantly checked in on us and generously offered to deliver home cooked meals, help with household stuff, have called just to verbally express their joy and even all of the texts and IG messages. The support that we have felt has been overwhelming.

Self Care:

The sleep deprivation cannot be helped. But there are many other aspects of ‘normal’ life which are contributors to mental health, hygiene, etc., that I can still control. Our little man arrived during an unseasonably warm week in NYC. Making a point to get out into the sunshine and warm air every day was food for the soul. I even managed to get in a couple of short runs during little man’s nap time. I was also able to take the little dude for a stroller walk during his mom’s nap time. Remembering to eat was a difficult task at first. I seriously had no appetite, just straight adrenaline. As the days go on, the adrenaline is giving way to a new (normal?) way of life where I enjoy eating again.

We are a still a very long way to having things figured out. But I feel like we are a lot closer than we were a week ago. I’m sure there will be more setbacks. But here’s hoping that the overall trend continues in this direction!

Posted in News and tagged , .