What does "have a hell of time" mean in this sentence?

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yabi

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A baby is born and her father says:
I'm gonna have a hell of a time protecting this one.
What does his father mean?

What I understand is that he has lost his previous babies so he means he will do what ever he can (put himself in hell) to protect this one.

But in the next sentence the daughter says:
Little did he know how shrewd an assessment that was.
 

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It means the father expects that protecting his daughter as she grows up will require a great deal of challenging work.
 

yabi

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Tarheel

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Yadi, did you get this from a novel? Or maybe a biography? And are the daughter and the baby the same person?
 
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