A new dad's journey from the NICU to the ICU

My son was the winner of the jackpot in the “Dad Lottery.”

Flynn and Dad

My husband is the greatest dad. A lot of people say it, but I truly believe that my son was the winner of the jackpot in the “Dad Lottery.” He’s amazing not just in the ways a parent should be, but in all the ways that a person could be.

Our son, Flynn, was born three months early. The journey of prematurity – of the NICU, of statistics and odds of survival, of countless therapy appointments and visits with specialists, of anxiety, overwhelm, and stress – is treacherous, never-ending, and something that you could never prepare for. I am so lucky that I didn’t have to go through any of this alone, but there was a period of time where my husband did.

Related: Dr. Paul Schwartz Discusses 'The Nurturing Father'

About ten days after my son was born, and shortly after my discharge from the hospital, I suffered a stroke and was admitted to the ICU. With a son in the NICU and a wife in the ICU, my husband traveled back and forth as often as possible to ensure that neither of us were alone for long. He took pictures of the moments that I missed. He made sure to be in the NICU for rounds each morning and updated me on our new baby’s progress. He slept at the hospital for weeks with us, missing work, just so that he was always by our sides. As a new dad, he had to jump over a lot of obstacles, but managed to defeat every single one.

Now, two years later, DJ continues to be the person that I can always count on for everything. He’s strong when we need him to be, but remains gentle and kind. He can be a human jungle gym upon request. If Flynn has an important appointment, he takes off of work without me having to ask twice. He manages to be present and involved, even between jobs. Even when tired, he’s prepared to be the best dad that he can possibly be. He’s supportive, compassionate, loving, and the hardest working person I know.

Read More: 6 Things Dads do Better Than Moms

As a husband, he has been more than I ever deserved. As a father, he is everything that our son deserves and more. We hit the jackpot.

Follow more of Kristina's Journey in her blog, Underestimated Strength. A collection of posts all about our journey through life as we navigate preemie parenting after the NICU.