Since having their son on April 1, 2017, we asked first-time dads Hugo Greyling and Joel Abrahamson how their lives had changed.
"Besides looking for a binkie 12,000 times a day, it is busier," said Hugo. "I wonder what I did with all my time before we had Landon!"
As Landon's first trip around the sun nears completion, Hugo and Joel reflect on their own first year as dads. Together nine years and married on their 5th anniversary, the dads chose to create their family via surrogacy as it made the most sense to them as a couple.
The dads describe their surrogacy experience as "textbook perfect." The dads prepared by attending a class at the local hospital and Hugo enjoyed preparing the nursery. He did the layout and the design, and picked the furniture for Joel to build. And Joel admits, it turned out amazing.
Hugo and Joel went on a "babymoon" cruise about three months before Landon was born, and on the suggestion of Joel's friend, they ate dinner out every night during the two weeks preceding Landon's birth. Perhaps a strange suggestion, but it was the last time they'll have the opportunity to do anything that indulgent for a while, so the dads are so glad they did.
On March 31, their gestational carrier was induced at a hospital only an hour away from their home in Leesburg, Virginia. Within 24 hours, they were dads. They were in the delivery room when Landon was born and were able to do skin-to-skin with him right away.
"The first few hours were amazing," said Hugo. "We watched closely as the doctors and nurses examined him and were overjoyed by the fact the he was a very healthy baby boy."
"We were over the moon in love with this beautiful baby," added Joel.
The new family quickly settled into a routine after bringing Landon home, doing the "shift" method: Hugo was on-call until 2 a.m., and Joel took over at 2 a.m. Landon also started daycare at 6 weeks which helped cement a routine.
"Life was different," said Hugo. "Our world changed very quickly but it was amazing to hold Landon and have him fall asleep on us."
The dads quickly learned that leaving the house with a baby took a lot longer than it had when it was just the two of them. And planning around Landon's eating and napping schedule was a real eye-opener. But it was the precious moments in those early days of fatherhood that made up for this new, elongated regime.
"When Landon fell sleep on our chests," said Joel, "in those moments, we just wanted it to last forever."
But the first year has sped by, much to the dismay of Landon's dads.
"We can't believe Landon is almost a year old," said Hugo. "From eating solid foods to crawling to almost walking the development is rapid and by the time we get used to one new thing he's onto the next."
Hugo and Joel are loving being Landon's dads and this year has been better than they could have imagined.
"He stole our hearts instantly and continues to amaze us every day," said Joel.