Written by Ryan Warren | DadsApp
Recently we had a pregnancy scare. We’ve got 2 kids, that’s my limit, so this was a real scare for us. I know there are some that are trying hard for a baby so please don’t think I’m being insensitive about that. It’s just at this stage we are not in a good place for more kids. Take me down to snip city, where the scissors are clean and the procedure’s a quickie! Sung to the tune of Guns ‘n’ Roses – Paradise City
During the scare my mind was racing with all the things that go into getting ready for a baby. I will share my experience but I must stress that this is only ‘my experience’. It’s going to be different to yours, hell it was different to my wife’s. So please note that this is not a ‘how you should do it’.
Finding out that you’re pregnant for the first time can take many different forms. There are those that have no intentions of kids and so it can be a bit of a shock and those who are trying hard and it’s about pure excitement. For our family we made the decision to have kids in the form of ‘should we stop using contraceptive and see what happens?’. I swear 3 weeks later my wife was pregnant. This was rather annoying for me as I was hoping that we would get to ‘practice’ a little more before we hit the jackpot. But we were both happy about it for sure. We didn’t find out boy/girl and this was in part because we are cheapskates and someone told us you’ll buy less stuff if you don’t know the sex. It worked!
Second time around. A pretty similar affair. We decided we’d be happy with a second child, took away the ‘precautions’ and again 3 weeks later… BOOM! Pregnant. This time round I was enraged as my wife was willing to ‘try’ more than last time. Annoyed face.
In preparation for the baby coming we did the usual things that you do. We inherited books from friends who had kids and were now experts. Books we had never heard of with titles like ‘hypno-birthing’, ‘listen to your body’ and ‘a dummies guide to childbirth – for dads’. Accompanying said books was the whole story from our pals about what they went through. Graphic stories which have resulted in me not being able to look certain people in the eyes anymore. My wife read the odd page of each book and I read none. I basically listened in as she told me stuff about forceps and zoned out when she gave me the gory details. Each of these books are written by experts and tell you what you need to do. However, they all say different things and if you followed every bit of advice from every book you might find yourself giving birth in a tree with 4 monks, 3 surgeons, Diamorphine, Chakra crystals and a nun.
Can I make a suggestion here? See when your ‘informed’ friends pass these books to you, remember that none of these writers are you. Remember that you are the one who’s having a baby and that you have to make the right decision for you and your family, not the decision that you are told by someone in a book ‘you just have to experience’. This is your labour and you need to do what is most comfortable for you. There are some golden nuggets throughout these books but you might need to sift through some stuff to find them.
Second time round. We became those know it all’s so didn’t need the books. We now pass those books and stories on to those we meet who are pregnant. I mean every damn detail, we’re sorry.
First time round when it came to buying stuff for the baby we wrote a list of maybe 30 things we ‘needed’ for the baby and set about buying a lot for them or letting family know we were thinking of getting them. That usually results in a ‘don’t worry we’ll get you that’ for the less expensive items. There were multiple trips to Ikea for scouting missions and a trip to the Buggy Centre where I saw a pram which was more expensive than my car. Needless to say we got ours off Gumtree.
Second time around. Didn’t buy a thing, nobody bought us a thing. We quickly realised that babies don’t really ‘need’ much. Saved a tonne of money and basically lived on hand me downs from other pals.
I have to admit at this point that my wife and I are very relaxed people. This comment will become a little clearer as you read on. Although we had been informed that baby #1 can come early I was keen to get my driving license before the baby arrived. I booked it early in the morning so I couldn’t get too stressed about it. That morning, 1 week before baby #1 was due, I woke up to find my wife missing from the bed. I wander through to the spare bedroom where my wife is on all fours on the bed having contractions. She insisted the baby wasn’t quite ready to come but she didn’t want to wake me before my test and then sent me off to complete it. I still don’t know if I passed on merit or because I told the guy I needed to drive her to the hospital. Once we got there I can say it was all kind of boring waiting around for 9 hours and then over and done with in a flash.
Second time around. My wife was feeling a little unwell a week before the due date but we had heard you can go longer second time around so my wife put it down to a dodgy curry the night before. I toddle off to work and get a call at 11am saying she’s on the way to the hospital as she’s definitely in labour. I meet her there, she informs every passing staff member that she’s ready for the Diamorphine again because it was so wonderful last time and 4 hours later another straight forward birth.
We met people in the hospital and have friends who have had entirely different experiences to us. Those with birthing playlists and those with a Doula (Google it), those who bought everything and those who bought nothing, those who found out and those that didn’t. The end result is usually the same. You get home and you learn every single day for the rest of your life. Your home, your child and your family is unique and you need not worry about what anyone else does. Just do what is right for you and yours.
Father of 2 children and Blogger/Founder of Dadsapp, an online resource seeking to provide support to dads through conversation.
Website | dadsapp.org