Having just passed the 35th week of pregnancy, a lot of the realities of fatherhood are starting to sink in, thanks in large part to the week of prenatal classes we’ve been attending.
When we first found out about the pregnancy, I decided to read up as much as I could and picked up a few books including Dad’s Expecting Too!, by Harlan Cohen (http://www.amazon.ca/Dads-Expecting-Too-Expectant-expectant/dp/1402280645). I highly recommend the book to those expectant fathers – it’s one of the few that takes a much more straightforward inclusive approach, as opposed to the usual daddy condescension based on what “little role” we physically play in pregnancy and birthing.
One of the many enlightening realities that Cohen iterates, is the bizarre journey dad goes on from the moment pee hits stick, and we find out we’re expecting. Mum’s body goes through tons of changes, hormones go out of whack, weight is gained, muscles and organs shift around and ache, all while a little being grows inside of her!
Dad on the other hand, weeps tears of joy with mum upon finding out the news, then sits back and waits, trying his best to be supportive, excited, and organized, while mum goes through all the changes.
It’s the bizarre reality and aside from some sympathy pains and plus or minus 10 pounds of sympathy weight, dad’s get off fairly easily… or do we?
Here we are entering the home stretch, and I now start to feel the magnitude of what’s about to happen, and let me tell you, everything they say is true!
Concerns ranging from ‘how do we afford this baby’, to ‘what’s labour going to be like for Becca’, and even ‘how the hell have people done this billions upon billions of times before’?!?!
And that’s just it… people have done this before. Nature kicks in, and man alive is it exceptional.
In class we saw the different methods for childbirth – everything from natural to c-section, with a different number of medical interventions in between.
We know what we want, but we also have to come to terms with the fact that baby will dictate how labour goes.
I always envisioned the day, kinda like this:
I’m at work and Becca calls in a panic because her water broke.
I race to the car, gun the engine, and floor it, weaving in and out of traffic as I call the midwives and let them know the situation. I finally make it home, race inside and grab Becca and our hospital bags, get her buckled in and we head straight to the Birthing Centre. When we get there, Becca is doing some serious deep breathing and baby is on its way!
We get into the room and the midwives take over – I stand by Becca’s side and through a few strong pushes, baby starts to crown and then…. She’s here!
The midwives congratulate us, and hand Becca and I the baby. We weep and kiss, and it’s all very hollywood…
In reality, I’m getting the sense that things are much less hectic… Care of the prenatal classes, I’m going to guess it goes something like this:
Becca wakes up in the middle of the night with pains that are not normal compared to the way that our tap dancing baby has been doling them out. She wakes me and we do a little walk around the house and get out the stop watch to see if they’re Braxton-Hicks or the real thing.
Once it’s confirmed in our minds, we give the midwives a buzz and they tell us to keep labouring at home, but to get our gear ready and keep them posted once the contractions are nearing the 5-1-2 point where Becca’s considered in active labour.
Several hours go by with Becca in an unfortunate amount of discomfort, but we finally get the okay to start heading towards the Birthing Centre. Once there, the midwives arrive, and I start messaging the close family to let them know the status.
From there on in, I’m hoping that Becca has the most wonderful and easy labour ever, and I know that I will do whatever I can to help her through it.
Hopefully that night, or maybe even the next morning, we have our little bundle of joy in our arms and everyone rejoices.
My nephew just celebrated 9 months in our lives and let me tell you, seeing how much he’s grown in such a short period of time, reminds us both of how unbelievable the next phase of our lives is going to be.
We can do it… one labour day at a time…