Well, the wife is trying to breastfeed. Everyone tells you “Breast is Best” and “Your childs’ best food is mom’s milk”. What they fail to mention is how difficult it can be. Especially when you have trouble getting it all to work and you watch your brand new child not getting enough to eat and drink. And you`re stressing out over nipple confusion, dehydration, diaper counts, and half a dozen other issues that nobody really talks about until you`re there. Everyone has a different way to handle it too, and will tell you how to handle it. We seem to have survived, though, by remembering one thing: what works for us is what works for us. That`s not to say that the advice people have for us was bad; in fact, it`s very much the opposite. Everyone will have something worth trying. Try it and see, but be ready to try something else if it doesn`t work. My wife is currently pumping to increase her supply, giving our boy breastmilk (both from the sourse and in bottles), and supplimenting with formula. It seems to be working, and it has the added bonus of keeping both of us sane. Which, let me tell you, after the 14th night of interupted sleep, is a necessity.
Well, that was amazing. It’s been a bit of a hectic weekend, let me tell you, but sitting here right now, it’s all worth it.
So let me tell you the story, and you’ll understand what I mean. Ok, we came in on Thursday to get an ultrasound done and to get the stress test. We were supposed to meet the doctor that would be doing the induction then as well, but he was busy and we were told to come in the next day to meet him and start the process. We went in on Friday morning, and after waiting 2 hours, the doctor examined my wife, gave her the shot
of gel to start her off, and sent us home for the day. We were to come back in at 7 to have more stuff done. So we go, come back, and are sitting there, waiting to get the process started, when 3 women come in. In active labour. With complications. One of whom was my ex-wife. So we were sent home, and told to come back in the morning to start again. We went in the next morning, and the nurse brought us into the labour/delivery room and said “We’re getting you guys through here today, don’t worry!” The doc came in a little while later, and we got started… The process, although interesting, was also long and hard and sometimes a bit weird, so I’ll leave out the major details. After 12 hours of labour, including manually breaking water, an epidural, laughing gas, poking and prodding and weird beeping machines, we had a new baby boy. Two days later, we got to bring him home.
Now, a few days later, we’re at home, and we’ve got a whole new set of problems to deal with. He’s fussy and sleeping when he should be feeding, and not dirtying as many diapers as we were told he should, but he’s getting more food now and that’s good. He’s stuffy and congested and having some trouble getting it out, which scares the living daylights out of me, but the doctor said that will pass. He’s starting to sleep more, which is great. He didn’t cry at all for the first 3 days, but is starting to find his voice, which makes me a lot happier. I was starting to worry about him; what baby doesn’t cry? How would I know when he needs me? We don’t have clothes that will fit him (he’s much smaller than we thought he would be) so we have to go shopping. And so on…
Now, it’s lesson time. A few things that I learned in the delivery room that I thought it would be good to pass on to the future fathers out there… If you are not a future father, you might want to skip this part. Ok, here it goes.
First, talk with your wife about what might happen in the labour and delivery room, discuss the different procedures and methods of pain control they will have. Share your feelings with her well in advance of the day. Don’t make plans, however, because the situation in the delivery room can change in an instant, and if you have set plans then you have to change them on the fly, which most guys have a problem with. Also, when time comes, support her decisions no matter what. Your wife is going through something that you can’t even imagine, and it will be up to her to decide what she can and cannot do. I was lucky, my wife and I talked it over and we didn’t make plans because we knew we wouldn’t know what would happen. So when time came, she knew the options and what I felt about them and was able to make the right decisions for our family at the time, and I knew I could trust her to do so.
Second, the delivery room is going to be a strange place for both of you. KEEP YOUR COOL. Your wife is depending on you to comfort and calm her while her body does something absolutely bizarre, amazing, and (possibly) incredibly painful. If you react in any way that is not calm and rational, it will make her more upset as you are her rock in this situation. Your job in the next 20+ years is to be a solid place for your family to be able to depend on; start that now.
Third, if you have the stomach for it, watch the birth yourself. It’s amazing. It’s also really freaky, and there is a lot of weird stuff, so if you are not up for it, don’t. There could be weird smells. Really, really weird smells. Don’t react too strongly to them, it’s
natural for things like the “show” and amniotic fluid to have a strange, strong odor that you’ve never smelled before. It’s important to not over-react to that as well, as your wife will be looking to you for clues as to how bad she looks/smells/ect.
Also, don’t be offended if every staff member tells you “If you feel faint, just take a seat.” As I said, it’s kind of freaky. And many fathers forget to eat, so they are already feeling faint. So don’t forget to eat, get some rest before everything starts, and if you’ve got a weak stomach, stay up with mom’s head and don’t watch the show.
Lastly, LISTEN TO THE STAFF. This is very important. The doctors and nurses will be giving you a lot of instructions, and you won’t have a chance to write any of it down. Listen very carefully to the staff, take their instructions, do what they need you to do. They will tell you again later if they need to, but you have a job here, and it’s to make this easier for mom. That means helping the staff any way you can.
I’m sure I will learn more over the next few days, but that’s my lesson for today. Hope you remember it all. 🙂
Well, we’re still waiting. So you guys are going to hear about how an induction goes, because it’s looking more and more likely. We’re going in to meet the doc that will be doing the delivery tomorrow, and the induction is scheduled for Saturday. I’m starting to really get excited to play my part in this; to be able to hold my boy and talk to him and take care of him… to be able to help take care of my wife too, although that job has been mine for the last 2 years.
The last 9 months has been a journey, and I know that the real work hasn’t even started yet, but I’m nothing but excited! It’s kinda like I got used to how life works and started to understand how to be a full, happy, well-rounded person. Then someone comes along and changes everything, adding dimensions and facets to my life that I didn’t even know I was missing. My wife did it 2 years ago, and my boy is doing it again. And I can’t wait to see what I will learn from being the best dad I can be for my little boy…
Ok, so waiting for the baby to come is not much fun. I know I’m not working, and I’ve got all this time to spend with my wife (which is awesome), so why am I complaining? Well, I’m stir-crazy. That’s why. With no job, nothing needed to be done for the baby, and no idea when he will be here, I’ve run out of things to do. I am even having a hard time writing because I’m so bored. I’ve re-written the last sentence 3 times to try and get it right, and I still don’t like it. How do other people handle this waiting? How does it work? Do you find something for the two of you to do to take up the time? Do you just ignore it and have a mini-vacation? Or does everyone go crazy like me?
Well, anyway, as you can probably tell, the currect situation is this: The move went well, no trouble there. I can’t find anything in my father-in-laws’ garage, but otherwise it’s a sweet deal, living with them until I get a job. I’m currently unemployed, but that’s not that big a deal, we’ve got money saved up to help us through until I find something. My wife is officially 9 months and counting. My job right now is to try and keep her happy, safe, and comfortable. I’ve got that completely under control (I think). So now we wait…
And I try to keep my sanity so I can lose it when he comes.
Ok, so it´s been a bit over two weeks since my last post. I wasn´t planning on taking a hiatus like this, but with everything that was happening, I really just fell apart on the extra-curriculars.
So, for the 2 people who see my blog that don´t know me, hereś the backstory… I am a teacher who is about to lose his job. (End of the school year is end of my job. And that´s fast approaching…) Oh, and did I mention that the house we were living in has been sold? My wife and I are moving in with her parents (who live about 8 hours away from where we were living) for the birth and some time after, until we get our feet under us. But because we probably won´t have time to move at the end of the month, and because she could technically give birth almost any day now, we moved most of our stuff already. Including my wife. But because I have to work until the end of the month, I am crashing with my brother for the next 2 weeks. Oh, and report cards are coming up too, which means that most of my weekend will be shot with marking and whatnot.
So thatś why I was not posting. I was busy being a packmule. My wife and I had to pack up EVERYTHING in our lives, put it in a uhaul trailer, and ship it back home. But because my wife is very pregnant, she was unable to do any of the lifting portion of the move. She was a great help on the organization side, though. So we got it all packed up and most of it moved. All the big stuff, anyway. I moved enough stuff to my brother´s house that I can live here without issue for the next few weeks. I still have to go over and mow the lawn and move the last of my crap 800km away, but the job is mostly done.
I´ll post some more soon, I just wanted to give a heads up on the hiatus. The blog isn dead, just resting while I recover from about a mountain sized level of change. Just before having a baby.
I can’t help but feel a bit helpless. My wife is constantly making ‘I’m uncomfortable’ noises, but when I ask her what is wrong, she looks at me, and I know it’s the baby kicking her in some internal organ… or her back hurting again… or her stomach turning at the smell of something (that I can’t even detect)… and she’s said it to me soo much that I shouldn’t have to ask. She’s not upset with me for asking, I think. Just tired of feeling it. And there’s nothing I can do.
That’s the worst part for me. I hate to see her uncomfortable, but usually at least I can ask her about it and listen and it makes her feel better that I’m there, paying attention and sympathizing. But this time I’m just reminding her of all the unpleasantness she’s going to go through in the next 5-9 weeks. But on the other hand, I can’t just ignore the little noises or she will think I don’t care. So I just try to make sure that I rub her back (which, guys, is one of my secret tools: a backrub, done right, will always make her feel better) and let her know I’m there for her.
Here’s another thing that I wasn’t expecting: I’m really emotional. I mean, really, really emotional. I can’t watch chick flicks with the wife because I get all weepy-eyed when it gets sad (although I always tell her I don’t watch ’em because they are boring…). I talk about my new baby boy and I get really, really excited. I even feel really bad for the dog down the road that just won’t stop howling.
I’m luckier than a lot of guys, though. I was raised to know how to deal with my emotions. But it’s a big suprise that all of a sudden I’m using skills I haven’t since highschool! Skills that, by the way, are a bit rusty… The real problem comes up when I’m not expecting my reaction.
A little while ago, we were watching these Lamaze instructional videos (we’re living in a pretty isolated community, so prenatal classes are out) and the instructer said something that bothered me. She said “I hear husbands say all sorts of stupid things in the delivery room. Things like “You are beautiful” or “I’d do it in a second if I could”. Yeah, right!” It bothered me more when my wife couldn’t understand why I was annoyed, too. It took me a while to understand why it bugged me… but it’s kind of obvious now. What bothered me is the fact that the instructor couldn’t understand that a man would be jealous of a pregnant woman, that she gets to feel all of this, the good and the bad, and we never will. She can’t understand that someone can see the beauty of the mother of your kids shining through the sweat, blood, and tears of labour. And she assumed that if she couldn’t understand it, it was stupid.
We talked about it, and while my wife had never considered that her hubby might be jealous of her pregnancy, it made sense. And as soon as we talked about it, it stopped bothering me. Damn, I forgot about that, too; sometimes the easiest way to deal with emotion is to talk about it.