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. 🙂