Joanna has been following quite a few blogs for awhile now. During the months leading up to our newest addition’s arrival, she spent a lot of time seeking out and poring over Birth Stories. And hey, I can certainly understand that. If I was told I had to push a grapefruit through my urethra, and had most of a year to sit around and think about it, I’d probably do a little researching on what to expect as well.
At times, she would pass the laptop over and I’d read a particularly insightful or emotional birth story. I enjoyed that… even those that scared the heck out of me.
Since I haven’t been able to find many of those from the male perspective, I thought you might enjoy reading about a few of my experiences while we waited for the Sweetest Petey ever to join our family. If it helps a new Dad or two prepare, so much the better. I know I was looking for hilarious first time dad stories.
Alright, down to business. Guys, let’s talk…
First, I was surprised how much I enjoyed attending the OB/GYN checkups. If you can make your schedule work, don’t miss these. Especially the appointments that include Ultrasounds.
I can’t imagine not being there for the first glimpses of our little guy… and I was always relieved when the Tech’s radar showed no trace of a tiny Sean Connery piloting a rogue Soviet sub in there.
While we’re on the subject of making jokes right here at the beginning, here’s a warning: Twitter is dangerous around pregnant women. Just like alcohol can sometimes lead to texts you later regret, there is something potentially explosive about mixing pregnancy hormones with social media. Dude, you may think you’re clever and the little lady will find you hilarious… but that isn’t always the case. Tweet with caution.
This fact first caught up with me when I decided to live Tweet our #babyregistry. I had to do something while standing in Target’s booby aisle for hours on end. A few of my revelations written that day:
- I’m 31. My unborn son is -4 months. He already owns 4 times as many shirts as I do.
- Wife is scrutinizing thermometer packaging to “avoid having to deal with the butt.” Ha!
- I feel bad for all the child actor/models pictured on these packages. Probably all crack whores by now.
- What the hell is a Boppy, and why does it need covered?!?
- Look at the hair on this kid!
- Wife is calling her sister to see if “dual action massage” breast pump is a good thing. Of COURSE it is!
- Something here called Breastshield. Pretty sure that’s what bra clasps were made of when I was in high school.
That was definitely an experience. Guys, enjoy the day with your wife, but gauge her mood accordingly! She comes first! And I suggest you control the registry gun! Too much fun!
Next, let’s talk about the birthing classes, shall we?
I’ll be plain. They help. Before the classes, I read a ton of books, trying to learn as much as I could about what was going to happen to us over the next several months. I picked up a few written more towards Dads, like “The New Dad’s Survival Guide” and “The Baby Owner’s Manual” in addition to the ubiquitous must-haves like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”.
Even still, the classes were very helpful.
Be warned, as soon as you sit down, they’re going to show you “The Video”. Anyone that’s attended these classes knows exactly what I’m talking about. Those readers just now looked away from the computer screen and gave the 1000 Yard Stare to a blank spot on the wall for a minimum of 5-7 minutes.
These VHS classics feature the finest of 1970’s personal grooming standards and make the gore in Driver’s Ed videos look like an episode of Dora the Explorer. I’m convinced the only reason they’re shown is to weed out those Dads who can’t hack it right off the bat and ban them from the delivery room. Thankfully, I guess I made the cut. Barely.
These classes teach the Dads how to be a productive Birth Partner (spoiler: your “partner” will receive more backrubs than you) and I did learn an awful lot. For example, I honestly thought there was one way to have a baby – on your back with legs suspended in cold surgical-looking metal stirrups. Nope, you can do pretty much whatever you want. Different positions, bathtubs, jungle gyms and gigantic bouncy birthing balls are some of your options. I’d still like to find and read more birthing stories in water. Are snorkels ever involved?
I became strangely fascinated with those Birthing Balls.
They supposedly help get in comfortable positions and open up Mom’s hips prior to game time .
Funny how the women above look happier than most… dare I say all… ladies who actually use the birthing balls. You know, those pushing an 8lb human out of their vaginal canal.
But anyway, we knew labor could last awhile and I couldn’t wait to bounce this thing around the ward if we were in for a long haul! I also found it interesting that Moms could choose to end their miraculous journey astride some balls… the same way it began.
Fast forwarding a little bit, we finally get to the big day.
Her water broke!
Have to admit, this was an event I was secretly extremely worried about. Where would it happen? What would we be doing? Do we need rubber sheets on the bed? Good Lord, what about the leather interior if we’re in the car? At what point in the third trimester do I live in galoshes 24/7? Turns out all of my worrying was for naught and it was a non event. Nothing like the Gallagher finale that replayed over and over in my head for nine months.
In fact, she was doubting her water even broke, so we had a very leisurely drive to the hospital for them to check, just in case. I didn’t even get to run any red lights!
The doc did his thing, confirmed, and she was admitted. Time to get the show on the road!
We wait. And wait. And wait………. After about twelve hours since arriving at the hospital, around 11PM, the wife notices the first real signs of labor pain.
I have to put all joking aside here and say I am to this day, and every day, in awe of my wife. She was a complete rock star and I have no idea how she did it. She endured another fifteen hours of real labor (she must have the most comfortable uterus ever) and gave birth to our beautiful baby boy. I know a lot of parents say that phrase glibly, but not me. Pretty sure he’s the best looking baby ever, at least once they cleaned my wife’s insides off him.
New Dads out there, cherish the time you’ll spend preparing for your family, take the best care of your wife, and don’t forget to have a little fun together. She’s about to give you both the greatest gift possible.
Stay tuned to a future post where I’ll share a little more about the serious thoughts running through my head during these months, and especially right after Petey’s birth.
Question of the Day: What is the funniest story from your Birth Experience?