To celebrate Baby L’s ‘nine months in, nine months out’ anniversary, I thought it’d be good to look back on that eventful evening when she disembarked the mothership and share some of the things I learnt.
We can just gloss over the fact that she was actually in for eight and a half months and it is now nine months and one week since she was born. Let’s therefore call it her ‘nine-ish months in, nine-ish months out’ anniversary.
I wrote previously about the birth story in my The Baby of Wall Steet post. As the name suggests, the missus went into labour whilst watching the Leonardo Di Caprio film, then just 3.5 hours later we were with child. Within 12 hours of the first contraction, we were back home with Baby L wondering what the hell had just happened.
What I realised though is that despite recounting our bloody story, I never really shared any of the things I learnt from it. Now seems as good a time as any to note down a few words of wisdom. So, without further ado, here are five of my must remember tips for any bloke when their partner goes into labour:
1. Remember The Bags
Unless the baby is really early or you’re very unprepared, you should have some hospital bags somewhere in proximity of the front door. You know the ones I mean – those bags that the missus spent ages packing which contain loads of things that you don’t know what to do with, such as maternity pads, nipple cream and witch hazel. Whilst your partner is busy concentrating on breathing and getting through the joys of contractions, she can be forgiven for forgetting some of the practicalities. That’s where you need to step in. Along with yourself and your partner, you must, must, must remember to put those hospital bags into the car. The last thing you or your partner will want is for you to be rushing off to the shops to get the essentials whilst she’s busy blowing and pushing her way through contractions.
2. Watch What You Say
This is cracking advice for any bloke who is in a relationship with a woman. However, it is even more important to abide by when your missus is pushing a human head through her fanny. Be VERY careful what you say, how you say it and when you say it. Words have the ability to comfort, reassure and encourage your loved one, but they also have the power to annoy, infuriate and ruin the wonderful experience. Do you want to be reminded for the next thirty years about the time that you complained that there was no mobile phone signal in the hospital or how the chair you were sat in gave you pins and needles in your leg? If you’re not sure how your words will be taken by your partner, it may be best to remember No Doubt’s lyrics and “don’t speak”, just to be on the safe side.
3. Don’t Show That You’re Panicking
Pregnancy and birth is pretty scary for both the mum and dad-to-be. It’s important to be prepared – reading books, going to NCT classes etc – but there’s only so much you’re going to learn. Sooner or later, you’re going to be thrown into an alien situation and you’re going to have to cope. Just remember, whatever feelings you’re experience, chances are that your missus will be experiencing the same stuff but to a heightened degree. So, try not to panic as you go through a roller coaster of emotions. Losing your head will be of no help to anyone and will probably only make your partner shit herself more (emotionally and physically). Instead, try to remain calm, focussed and in control no matter what your head, heart and sphincter are telling you. If you can’t do it without help, maybe slip yourself a roofie in a strong drink.
4. Know Your Stuff
As alluded to in point 3, preparing yourself with knowledge is crucial to getting through labour with your manhood still intact. If you know your stuff, then you’re more likely to understand what may happen and be better equipped to deal with any situation that arises. The whole parenting process is a totally new experience for any first-time mum or dad, so just like anything that is unknown, do a bit of research and figure some stuff out. This will not only help with your own knowledge, but importantly will give your missus much needed confidence in your abilities to make decisions. So, in advance, make sure you know all of the stuff like where to park, where to go in the hospital, the details of the birth plan, the birthing process, common words and phrases, how you can help etc. If you don’t want to hear it from me, then remember the famous “Be Prepared” motto as coined by Lord Baden-Powell – that fella knew what he was chatting about.
5. Be At Her Beck And Call
I’m sure you are the perfect partner at home and do this already. BUT, on the off chance that you’ve neglected your husbandry duties recently, be warned that labour means that you must do everything that your better half asks of you. When I say everything, I do mean everything. No bitching, no moaning, no complaining, just crack on with it and get it done. If she wants a drink, then you must be there with the liquid of her choosing (plus a straw for extra brownie points!). If she wants a massage to help relief the pain, then crack open those oils and don’t stop rubbing until told to do so. If she thinks the room is too hot, then regardless of how cold you are, you must flap your arms and blow on her face (or find the air con switch) until the temperature is to her exact specifications. Your partner is giving birth to your child – again, remember this means pushing an entire human through her lady garden – so the least you can do is whatever she asks!
Remember these five simple points and you’ll go along way to being the best birth partner ever. Remember the time that she nearly chose her own mother over you? Well, you’ve now shown that whiny old dear what a top notch bloke you are. Good luck, I have confidence in your abilities!
Do these tips sounds familiar? What things did you learn from labour and birth?