Thursday, August 16, 2007

What To REALLY Expect When You're Expecting: My Advice To A New Dad

A good friend (the one that gets “man”-icures) is going to be a first-time father soon and well, ... I couldn’t be happier for him and his wife. I’m sure they’ll be great parents and the baby will have well manicured hands.

He was asking questions about my personal experience with the birth of my daughter – Did I have any advice to pass on? Did I get queasy or sick? What was is really like? What should he really expect?
I had to think about it for a while, because seriously after my daughter was born I kind of forgot all the stuff leading up to the actual birth.

And I’m not a real big fan of doctors and I can’t stand the sight of needles, blood, guts, innards, or whatever.
Of course there are lots of exceptions to this rule – Ninja movies, James Bond movies, cartoons, ultimate fighting championships, reality shows, the outdoor channel, alien autopsy specials, X-Files, etc. Those don’t bother me because everybody knows they're not “real” (except maybe that alien autopsy...)

“Tell me the truth! I need to be prepared and warned!"…as he gripped onto his seat like he was about to pass a kidney stone.

I had to think about it, and then I finally remembered:

1. Don’t look “down there” when the baby is coming out – Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing beautiful about a human head coming out down there (especially there...) It didn’t seem so weird in the videos, but on your woman - it's just wrong.

2. TV/Movies LIE. The baby doesn’t come out looking like if just bathed in a waterfall of pure spring water with smells of a summer garden (that happens later) Initially, it looks like an alien that just finished dry walling a garage (white stuff all over it.) The baby has been in fluid for what? Nearly 10, 78 months.

3. Don’t look at the 'birthing bag'! Or whatever its scientific name is (alien pouch?) I took one accidental 2-second glance and I still have NIGHTMARES about it (I swear it had EYES and sharp teeth…)

4. Do look at the umbilical cord while cutting. And try (real hard) not to focus that it's attached to your baby and wife...with pulsating veins and see-through grayish, skin stuff....(shivers). Sidenote: I had visions of it squirting like a broken air hose once cut --- that didn't help my nerves.

5. You will shed a tear (or a lot more) It'll be either because you’re in amazement and meeting the little thing finally for the first time....or because it’ll look like you’re in the middle of a Quentin Tarantino movie and your missing your wallet.

6. Try to remember everything. And as many details as possible because your lady will be too occupied you know, giving birth and all that. You’ll be the one only constant eyewitness in the days and years ahead. So when your kid gets older you can tell him/her how it was as a witness. And if you happen to add angry attacking Ninja’s or a nurse with a curly mustache to the story nobody can prove you wrong.

I think that covers my key points, does anybody have any other advice to add?

34 comments:

kittenpie said...

I second the don't look down part of that. My feeling was that Misterpie never needed to have the imag burned into his brain for later or i may never get any action again. His place was by my head, even when she ended up coming out the window, not the door.

painted maypole said...

love the advice about remembering everything, and the umbilical cord. Here is my other piece of advice - sneak in food for your wife. Some hospitals will not feed you once you are in labor. If you are in labor for 48 hours, like I was, this is not acceptable. Having snacks in your bag is good, sneaking in pizza and Jamba Juice is even better (I love my husband!)

The Father of Five said...

I realize your suggestions are all about the birth itself...

But - Flowers... When she finally crashes - run out and pick up some flowers. Have them ready for the new mom when she wakes up - she will love them (and love you for it!)

Otherwise - pretty "spot on" on the other suggestions!

Whit said...

My wife had two C-sections. I don't recommend looking at the pile of guts that they nonchalantly toss on her chest.

During the second one I sat on a stool by her head and held her hand. Blood dripped on my shoe for the majority of the time, and nobody seemed disturbed by it, but me of course.

Darren said...

Along the lines of the food thing...if you don't bring food for your wife (and who would think of that)...don't go to the cafeteria and bring back food to eat in front of her while she gets nothing more than water...it's not appreciated.

I also agree about not looking at anything. I didn't even get that warm happy feeling from cutting the cord. I just wanted the gunk cleaned off my daughter.

nonlineargirl said...

I say: remember that babies look weird and scrunchy when they come out. Don't panic, the baby will get better looking.

Chris says: Do you remember the ninjas at our daughter's birth? You didn't, did you? (no, I don't, but I was kind of busy. I guess that means it is the man's job to look out for the ninjas.)

creative-type dad said...

nonlineargirl -- "Ninja watch" I LIKE it!!

Whit -- Dripping blood? I would have passed out...

The Father of Five -- Wow man, that's a good idea. I'll have to remember that, although leaving is pretty tough.

painted maypole -- Jamba Juice: Nice!

kittenpie -- door, window --lol!

Whirlwind said...

Don't and I repeat don't tell your wife a mere 2 HOURS after giving birth that it looked easy and you should do it again. I could have killed Husband when he came out with that right after our first was born.

Do take lots of pictures (I wish Husband took more) of baby right after (and during if your wife wants). Or have someone else take pictures so you can support wife.

Don't try to go to the elevators (or door) with baby or you'll get tasered....

Denguy said...

Ugh! The "birthing bag"--I hate to recall that accidental glance.

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

My big advice is expect the unexpected. :) Declan came 8 weeks early via emergency c-section. Bryan said it was the hardest decision he ever had to make whether to follow our newborn son to the NICU of stay with me in recovery. He chose NICU and I was so glad he did.

creative-type dad said...

Whirlwind -- tasered?!
Totally agree about the pictures- that was the last thing on my mind back then, but looking back we didn't take nearly enough...

Denguy -- I wish somebody has given me a warning about that. It's like this weird secret

Jackie said...

Oh God, you need to pound into his head not to go anywhere near "down there."
I told my husband this! But did he listen?! He's sorry now (still-- years later.)

L.A. Daddy said...

Yep. No looking. I glanced, but for a brief second, just to make sure the head was still attached... but that was it.

That is my "happy place" and I wanted to go back to it with fond memories...

Above Average Joe said...

Do not joke about any position they may put your wife in. She will not be in the mood for humor.

And as others have already said...Do Not Go Down There!!! Let the pros do their job.

I didnt even cut the cord for either of mine.

Redneck Mommy said...

Best advice I have ever heard for new fathers.

Bloody brilliant.

Jenster said...

I think you can tell a man "don't go down there" a bajillion times and he's still going to get an "accidental look" that will mar him forever.

My poor DH got the "accidental" look at a regular birthing and a c-section. He said nearly verbatim what Whit said. You know, about the pile of guts thrown up on my chest. Ew! Sure am glad I was busy elsewhere.

Thanks for the laugh, CTD. My husband and I got a good chuckle out of this one!

creative-type dad said...

Above Average Joe -- No cord cutting? Were you in the bathroom or maybe at the cafeteria at the time....

creative-type dad said...

Above Average Joe -- No cord cutting? Were you in the bathroom or maybe at the cafeteria at the time....

mrsmogul said...

I remember telling everyone in the room, "do not look down there" to my husband! I think advice is to pamper as much as possible when the mom gets home! Everything should be done for her, laundry, cooking,etc it's hard work and it HURTS so much down there you can't do anything.

Bad Dad said...

Regarding "shed a tear," ... After being up all night and into the late afternoon I was physically exhausted and had enough. Just wanted to sleep by that point. Nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night to start eleven more hours of labor. Happened twice to us.

Bad Dad said...

And what's up with cutting the umbilical cord? I'm an advertising guy, not a medical professional. Don't give me a pair of scissors and insist I perform a procedure after I've been awake for 32 hours.

carrie said...

Such a priviledge to hear a man's point of view!

Some excellent advice for your friend.

And also, I didn't want to look down there either!

Lisa said...

Ohhh. I think you've got a pretty good list there. But I do second the "go out afterwards and get your wife something yummy to eat" comment. I could have used some Steak and Shake after giving birth.

This article should be in some sort of dad book!

Ruth Dynamite said...

Well said, Tony. Some things are best left unseen. Like placenta.

creative-type dad said...

Bad Dad -- I'm not sure who came up with the idea of the dad cutting the cord anyways...
Must be some running joke among the doctors to make the new dad get sick.

Lisa -- there aren't really any books that have real info for dads. All of them are a bunch of fluff

Sarah O. said...

My hubby, Mr. Lemony, stared down there almost obsessively while I was pushing. We're talking hours.

All I could think was Ewwww.

dennis said...

I would suggest arriving at the hospital sooner rather than later during the birthing process. That way the wife won't have to collapse in front of the elevators or the check-in desk while your out parking the car...

wayabetty said...

Don't say "wow! I think this is going to be a HUGE baby" while your wife is trying to push after 20 hours in labor! And please have some mint on hands...for you hubbie!

creative-type dad said...

Sarah O. -- Sounds, uh...weird to me. I can't imagine any dude wanting to stare with a baby coming out

dennis -- that hospital needs valet

wayabetty -- (I feel really guilty for laughing) That's the best father line!

Redsy (formerly CrankMama) said...

Excellent Tony... I'm begging our nice writers at strollerderby to write this up.

-Rachael

greg said...

it smells. nobody ever told me that and they don't have scratch & sniff birthing videos.

your wife will piss and shit herself, bleed and pass amniotic fluid.

i didn't mind looking. i found it fascinating. and the placenta was crazy purple and blue.

of course i took a picture of it with a camera that had black & wgite film in it. damn.

mama speak said...

Good advice CTD. We took a cooler w/us w/snacks, sandwiches & drinks for both of us. The first time I was in labor for 12 hours so I missed 2 meals and let me tell you I was HUNGRY when I got done.

I highly advise asking a very good friend to video the experience, and another person (family or friend) to take photos. That way, daddy can just focus on the event too. You can always bury the video/pix you don't want anyone to see, but if they don't happen, then you can't get them back.

And then you'll have proof about the ninjas!

sorry dad said...

hi guys, lovely to hear some of these stories, they make me feel as if Im not the only scared man out there. I had the fortunate yet unfortunate responcibility of delivering my first myself in our bathtub at home, which sucks concidering the ammount I pay for private health cover and a private room at the private hospital, but hey, when its time to come out, ITS TIME TO COME OUT!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the laugh that was hysterically hilarious to read. Pretty straight forward approach!