“My wife and I planned it. We read every book, we picked the time to ‘pull the goalie,’ my wife missed one period, and there we were.
When the doctors give you the date it seems like there’s plenty of time to get that and do that and have that ready; you don’t realize it creeps up on you super fast.
The day it happened: my wife’s water broke, but it wasn’t a lot, there was no mucus plug on the bed, there were no contractions, just one of like five signs so we weren’t worried about it. We called our doctor’s office and were told to go in, at about 10am. By 9:30 p.m. we had a healthy 8 lb. 9 oz. baby girl! We were in love with that little blob of joy!
We planned everything except having money, and my job didn’t have paternity leave, so I had to go right back to work. We did have a support system in place though; tons of friends helped us out and we created a schedule so my wife wasn’t at home alone all day with our daughter. When I got home I would help any way I could. (10 hour shifts, doubles; restaurant work sucks when you’re trying to be a new parent.) I was aware of everything – except my wife’s sleeping pattern.
We were parents for two weeks, we couldn’t have been happier, we were so in love, but my wife was not sleeping and was slipping into a delirious stage. One night we were getting into bed and my wife started voicing concerns about how a baby should be sleeping 4 hours at a time and why does she still wake up at 1-2 hours still… I tried to calm her down and tell her babies are all different we need to embrace this and try to sleep while she sleeps.
After about 20 minutes of my wife tossing and turning she got up and just started screaming at me and saying that she was going to kill me and our daughter. I somehow got into two places at once because I stayed in between her, the baby, and the kitchen. After a couple hits to my face I was able to subdue her and call 911.
The next day I called work and told them I wouldn’t be in for awhile. I followed that up with a call to my mother-in-law. She hoped on a flight the next morning, with my mom. My next call was to my wife’s boss who was more like a father to her. Everyone was supportive, having the two mothers there we were able to come up with a plan to have extensive care for my wife and our baby girl, this meant moving us all back to Wisconsin.
My wife was in a mental health ward for a month, our baby girl was in Wisconsin, and I was alone in our new apartment; packing, closing accounts, and back to full-time work to help pay for this move. When she got out she was not the same: timid, sad, and ‘cloudy.’ She had no recollection of what she had done nor where she had been. We had my mother-in-law come down with the baby after her release so they could reconnect. So new plan my wife would not have to get up at night someone else would feed the baby mother-in-law or sister-in-law or me…. Just someone else, and she only had to focus on herself at night. (Especially with the meds she was on.)
That was nearly 8 years ago. Since then we bought a house, I have a 9-to-5 job (actually more like 6-to-3 but I get to see my family more) and we had a second child. After our first experience, we were prepared, and we had a doctor that my wife loved and felt safe enough around to tell her about our past experience so that we got ahead of any more changes.
If there are any other fathers out there, whether you have faced anything similar, more severe, less severe, or even had an easy time, we are all the same! We are fathers and husbands. We would all die for our families! We would all love to not work and just raise our kids and have fun. The only thing we can do is love ourselves, love our families, and expect that nothing is the same as anyone else.
Our differences make us special.”
– Curtis Fristed
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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.