Everyone has that crazy ass pregnancy story. You know, the “delivered the baby in the back of an NYC taxi cab” kinda tale that makes for a great cocktail hour filler.

Sometimes it’s total hilarity.

Other times it’s downright scary and totally serious.

Usually and hopefully, it’s something you can just look back on as a “holy shit that really happened” moment and move on.

But for my wife and I, this wasn’t going to be the case. See, we were prepared. I’m a master planner after all – I always have charts and PowerPoints and backup plans and contingencies for those backup plans all mapped out.

So it was with this passion for utter organization utopia that I approached the news that we’d be expecting our first child. My shit was like a Bill Walsh gameplan and my wife was executing like Montana in a two-minute drill.

And in the beginning, my wife and I were passing this test with flying colors.

Registries completed early. Closets and space in our apartment cleared. We had plans for success and backup plans just in case.

And then … we got cocky. And that cockiness came back to bite us right in the ass. Seriously, like literally in the ass. Angela developed a ridiculous pain in her gluteus just a few weeks before her due date. She even needed physical therapy to work out the kinks. True story.

Then our well-coordinated effort to strategize this birthing situation took an immediate hit when the baby (already a week late) decided it was time to come late one Tuesday night. I had been resting peacefully for all of about 90 minutes when my wife gently woke me to explain that her water broke.

Side note: This was a perfect metaphor for my future life as a dad – as sleep is now considered only a luxury that may be finally realized only 18-20 years from now.

But 16 hours later came the moment that I will never forget … when my wife made that final push … my daughter entered into this crazy world … and my life was forever changed.

We chose not to reveal our baby name until after her birth (so, suck it, Mark). But with that … I’d like to introduce you to my daughter, Giuliana Alexis Cataldo. And we can share some exclusive, never-before-seen photos of the Cataldo Family post birth (yeah we released this shit like A-List celebs).

First-time mommy, Angela, looking like a million bucks just a day after giving birth to Giuliana.

First-time mommy, Angela, looking like a million bucks just a day after giving birth to Giuliana.

 

Hamming it up for the camera.

 

Don’t let this precious face fool you – she’s plotting how to completely foil any and all plans that mommy and daddy have for freedom.

 

Funny thing happened after the arrival with my official indoctrination to this parenting club, I’ve noticed how everything takes on a totally different meaning now.

The whole “BC vs AD” standard delineation of time periods now stands for “Before Child” and “After Delivery.” And yes, I now understand that there actually are two different and distinct lifetimes that are uniquely separated by the birth of a munchkin.

I really can see things so much more clearly now. The Walking Dead makes much more sense to me now that I understand that they aren’t zombie-like half dead humans … rather the show is about an army of first-time parents out to rid the world of others who don’t understand the struggle.

Oh and that struggle is real.

It’s also now obvious how parents always leave out some of the gory details out when encouraging first timers to have kids. They wait to watch you suffer through the struggle yourselves.

Well played. Slow clap.

So without further adieu, it is time that I provide my unique observations and experiences as a dad who has this all figured out after my long 3-4 weeks as a dad:

Hey remember when I had all those plans and strategies for being awesome? Yeah. That was fun.

Told ya I like to plan things out. Yeah, well be prepared to toss all that shit out the window. Baby was a week late (hey, that’s normal and happens). But, water broke before the hospital – for those wondering this only happens about 15% of the time. The labor was long and arduous (duh) but my wife needed some extra incentive to get it moving (aka, drugs in the form of Oxytocin). Baby weighed in at a near 9 pounds of joy (hefty baby). And then the recovery process threw everything into near-chaos as wifey needed post-delivery surgery (everything is okay now), baby had to get examined immediately after delivery (no cord cutting for daddy) and proud poppa had to pace the hospital halls for a bit while everything checked out. The labor process started near midnight on a Tuesday and dad finally got some sleep on Thursday night. And what about the original gameplan? Yeah, that was cute.

That crazy time we almost broke our baby just two days into having her home over some acid reflux.

Serious note: acid reflux is a real thing and affects a lot of newborns. Ours had a crazy event that looked and felt like a seizure. So we did the right thing and dialed 911 to make sure she was totally fine. And (other than some crazy indigestion), she is. We spent four nights in the Pediatric ICU while she was poked and prodded and tested. Everything thankfully came back fine. But it was terrifying and gave us a real crazy sense for the nonstop fear that this parenting thing entails. Not sure we’ll ever actually laugh about this … but, at least it does provide some ransom material for my daughter when she’s in her teen years – “Oh yeah, remember that time you had a crazy burp that sent you to the ER?” Talk about heartburn.

Hanging out with my daughter in the ICU for a few days.

 

So for me, the introduction to my kid was more like an arranged marriage, not love at first site. This is okay.

We don’t all have to fall in love with our kids as soon as they pop outta the womb. This happens for some of us. And that is okay, too. For me, it’s like this little bundle of awesomeness that I’m really, really fond of, but not 100% in total love with just yet. And before the keyboard warriors get all huffy and puffy, I fully acknowledged that this will come over time. Perhaps as my labor of love (aka, shitty diapers and sleepless nights) becomes a little more second nature and this Baby Cataldo really develops that personality over the coming weeks. Then she’ll totally start working her way into Daddy’s Girl status.

I’ve unlocked this super special world like a gamer using a Konami code to open up a new level. It’s called 2:30am.

Why hello there, 2:30 am. It’s me again. Oh no, I’m fine. No need for coffee. Just turned in a solid 2 hours of sleep. Yeah … straight though. It was amazing.  Back to the grind.. Ya know, the usual graveyard shift duty: wardrobe change and meal time. It’s all good. This is a fantastic time to be alive and awake. It’s so quiet outside – save for that one dude that sounds like he’s depositing his $1 pizza slice purchase onto the sidewalk after his questionable decision to mix excess tequila and beer. Good times.

Fellow Fathers: we must be strong for our baby mamas, our kids … and most of all … ourselves.

Mama needs some back rubs and ice chips during labor. Baby needs some diaper changes and feedings and soothing after delivery. Daddy needs to step up to the plate and chip in wherever and whenever needed. But, if you don’t have your A-game going into this thing and can’t perform at your best … you’re no good. Fuel up. Eat. Rest when you can. Take care of yourself so you can help take care of your growing family. And this completes a public service announcement from your local neighborhood Daddy Blogger.

When will it be safe to go back into the water – six weeks until sex again … Who the fuck would ever want sex again after seeing that?!

Rachel Sobel from WhineAndCheezIts said it best it’s a “murder scene” down there. Yeah, don’t look, fellas. I did my best to avoid that whole situation at the business end of this delivery process. But, ya know, sometimes when you’re helping out, there’s a glimpse and an unfortunate peek to make sure things are going well. Be strong.

About six months ago, I had this epiphany. There’s so much noise that exists on the Internet. Because of [insert whatever social media platform you choose here], just about anyone can be an expert and everyone can influence a wide audience with a following.

I wanted to stand out from the noisy, confusing and often cluttered world of parent blogging. Sure, there are many dad blogs that publish regular content, but this new approach would be a fresh take on an old topic. Foul-mouthed dads that love bourbon, like to drop f-bombs on the regular and know that other dads don’t give a shit about my own baby’s bowel movements. We want to tackle more entertaining topics – like what how being a Lannister relates to having a daughter or the differences in parenting style between Ned Stark and Tony Stark (no relation).

The one thing that was missing in that actual parenting voice thing was … you know … an actual child. So I blogged about the journey that my wife, Angela and I have launched in preparation for the arrival of our very first munchkin. It’s been an interesting and despite some of the minor drama I mentioned above, a very smooth process.

That’s right ladies and gents, this Daddy Blogger who’s been writing about the journey to finally becoming a father from announcement to birth has finally become … you know … an actual father. After all, it was pretty ballsy of me to start a parenting blog without a kid to begin with, right?

So, figured it was about time we rectified that small hiccup.