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"Holy Crap -- I'm a Dad!"

Newbie dads reminisce about that Aha! moment when they finally felt like a pops.

Photo: Erin McFarland Photography

Hey, not everyone automatically snaps into parent mode the second baby arrives. Moms may have it a tad easier (being that baby's been hanging around in there for nine long months and all); but for dads, growing into parenthood can take some time. Read on as real dads look back on that moment when suddenly, the name Dad finally started to feel like it fit.

I knew I was a dad... "when I went to the hospital waiting room, announced to our families that the baby was born, and revealed her name—Avery—which we'd kept a secret from everyone." –Ted

I knew I was a dad... "when my wife was in labor and the baby’s heart rate dropped. The worst-case scenario raced through my mind and I was freaked out! It clicked how much responsibility I had now and how important becoming a father was to me. Mason’s heart rate quickly climbed back up and he was born, healthy, that night." –Rich

I knew I was a dad... "when my wife was asking me to give the 4 a.m. feeding." –John

I knew I was a dad... "the first time my son smiled at me. Not the smile a baby gives when he has gas, but the one that says, 'Hey, I know you!'" Joe

I knew I was a dad... "when I gave my daughter her first bath right after she was born. She was so tiny and I realized it was my job to protect her and keep her safe." –Kyosti

I knew I was a dad... "when I changed my first diaper when my son was barely one day old -- with my wife, mom, grandma, and younger brother all watching. Doing this seemed so foreign and surreal, but I knew it would become routine. I realized then that everything had changed." –Anthony

I knew I was a dad... "when I couldn't use my iPhone because it was covered in a sheen of toddler crust -- and I didn't really care." – Matthew

I knew I was a dad... "when I could pick up and throw away my daughter's poop balls without thinking twice about it." – Zane

I knew I was a dad... "when in polite company, I could discuss bodily fluids." Joe

I knew I was a dad... "when I realized she has my eyes...Since I was adopted, I have never seen anyone that looks like me before. At that moment I thought, she's really mine" -- David

> Let's hear it: What was the moment you finally felt like a parent?