In response to my popular post, “10 Things You Need to Know About Having a Baby”, a male reader submitted the guy’s perspective…..
Congratulations, you earned the right to wear this shirt and managed through the first 9 months.
Its now almost go-time, so a bit of advice for when you’re about to hit the delivery room.
Here are 10 things guys need to know about having a baby:
10. Preparing for labor: Your wife is going to do a bunch of crazy shit to go into labor. The most f*’ed up is when she asks you to massage her perineum with oil (see separate discussion on the perineum here). Just shrug your shoulders, laugh and go for it. Since that won’t work, have your walking shoes handy, because you’ll likely go for a hike afterwards, picnic with spicy foods, f*ck under the picnic blanket and then do jumping jacks. None of these will work either – in fact, the only thing that seems to get the job done is crying, bitching and whining. Just be there for emotional support and be glad it’s not you.
9. First time you go to the hospital: The concept of wishful thinking becomes more pervasive as pregnancy draws to a close. By the end, your wife will consider just about everything to be “real” labor (e.g., gas pains, nausea from drinking castor oil, the fact that she lost her mucus plug, a term that you are going to hear a lot about, 6 days ago, etc.) That said, you’ll likely be sent home from the hospital the first time around unless there is liquid leaking from your wife’s undercarriage. Save yourself some trouble and leave the bags in the car until she’s hooked up to a bunch of cords.
8. Go-time: Your temporary designated driver (i.e., your wife) is about to resign. Drinking heavily around the due date is somewhat acceptable (it’s a time for celebration, after all) and if your wife ends up driving the two of you to the hospital at that time because you’ve had one too many, you can chalk it up to bad luck. If you’re bombed anytime after the due date and she’s driving herself to deliver, you’re an asshole.
7. Make friends: You’re about to spend a lot of time with a few very special people – the nurses and hospital staff. Men generally provide little to zero value in the delivery room, and these people know it. Do something nice for the nurses on way in. First impressions are everything, and while you’ll still be worthless in the situation to them, they’ll still think you’re a good guy when you’re into your third movie while your wife is writhing in pain.
6. While you wait: Hollywood seems to dramatize the labor and delivery. Its actually pretty boring – 23 hours of nothing and then an hour of pushing (how’s that for a generalization, ladies?). Bring movies – one for your wife to begin and then three for yourself, because after 2 hours she will no longer give a shit about Dirty Dancing, and you’ll be on your own for a bit while she paces the hospital room trying to get her cervix to dilate.
5. Epidural: When she starts talking about the “life experience” of natural childbirth, be smart enough to protect her against the delirium of 9 months of pregnancy. Cut her off mid-sentence and stick that needle in her back. She’ll thank you for it later. Refer to the comments section for angry and emotional responses to this one (and ignore them).
4. Ice chips: Your wife won’t be able to drink water or eat anything during labor and delivery. This is your chance to be a hero. Make sure your wife always has a cup full of ice chips to keep her as hydrated as possible (yes, you’ll have to hit pause on your movies a few times during your stay, so do it with a smile). And you’ll likely be starving as well. Be a gentlemen and eat in the hallway. It’s only fair.
3. Keeping family informed: These days, most family members expect a live- blog of the event. Like I said, not much happens during the first 23 hours of labor (vagina gets bigger and Forrest Gump becomes a war-time hero, ping-pong champion and runs across the country before having a son of his own). Just send a text every few hours with dilation stats (1 – 10cm) – that should keep everyone at bay.
2a. Pushing #1: Going back to that whole “men being worthless in the delivery room” concept. The one job you’ll get during the final phase is to hold your wife’s hand and repeatedly count to three. You won’t be sure as to why one of the other six people in the room can’t handle the counting. It’s because they just want you out of the way, and are trying to prevent you from saying stupid things to your wife while she’s delivering.
2b. Pushing #2: Little white lies never hurt anyone. Forget phrases like “You’re doing great” – that’s way too subjective (unless she has prior experiences in pushing grapefruits out of her glory hole, in which case, go ahead and let her know how she compares). In between counting to three, lines like “No, you didn’t just shit all over the bed” will pay higher dividends in the heat of the moment.
1. The arrival: Jokes and sarcasm aside, this part is pretty simple and awesome. Just hold ’em, name ’em, and love ‘em. And give your wife a kiss too. She just did something pretty incredible.
That’s all you need to know about the delivery. It’s on you from here – good luck.