25 Things Soon-to-be Dads Need to Know About Birth
If you missed yesterday’s post about the 25 Things New Dads Need to Know About Pregnancy, I suggest starting there.
After waiting 9 months the time is finally here! Birth. Some fear it. Some are excited for it. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little of both? Totally normal. Birth is incredible. What the human body is capable of doing is amazing. And you’re about to meet your child for the very first time. Your first baby will be a complete life changer. Going from being entirely selfish to having a helpless, screaming creature in your house that needs all your love, attention, and patience will be a huge change to your reality. Take it from other dads…it is the best change ever (though it may take you awhile to get to that realization…or it may not).
I’ve compiled some advice from several veteran dads and their wives about things soon to be dads need to know about birth…
- Giving birth isn’t glamorous. You will see your wife’s body in a way you never have before and may never want to again.
- Labor is just as exhausting for dads in a totally different way.
- Expect the unexpected. You know that birth plan you two worked so hard creating? Have an open mind because it may not go according to plan.
- Consider asking someone else to take pictures of the birth so you can be totally present. Just make sure it’s someone you and your wife are comfortable with because they will get more than a sneak peak.
- Be prepared to speak up. Do you feel like an epidural is being pushed? Are there too many visitors in the room? Change it. Your wife will be focusing intently on contractions, it will be your job to take care of the other things.
- Don’t be afraid to cut the cord, it is far easier than you’re imagining.
- It’s normal for your wife to poop while giving birth. Uh, what? Yup. But, the Dr or nurse will clean it up so quickly you probably won’t even notice. If you do, just roll with it, and try to forget it.
- Your wife may scream obscenities at you while she’s in the midst of labor. She doesn’t mean them.
- Bring healthy snacks that you can sneak between contractions…you will need the energy to support your wife. You remembered to pack these in your daddy bag, right?
- You will see your wife in intense pain and be able to do absolutely nothing about it.
- At least try to help her ease the pain. Does she need a foot massage? More ice? A cold cloth for her head? Does she want to change positions? A hand to hold? Music? Do your best to help ease her discomforts but understand she may also want you to do absolutely nothing. Remember #2? Told you so.
- You will wish you could bottle the feelings you felt when watching the baby get set on your wive’s chest for the very first time. No words can describe this moment. Same goes for when you hold your baby for the first time. It’s quite natural for a flood of emotions: joy, happiness, love, fear, uncertainty.
- Babies look funny when they are born. Most will have a cone shaped head (unless your wife has a c-section) and many are born covered in vernix, and some are born covered in blood, lanugo, and/or milia. Also, all of their features are swollen especially their genitalia so I wouldn’t go bragging about where your son got his size quite yet.
- You may cry. You are no less a man.
- Write down your emotions and feelings so when/if you’re ever stressed about baby you can reflect back on this moment.
- Tell your wife what an amazing job she did…even if she got the epidural she (or you) didn’t want to get. Even if the birth didn’t go according to plan. Even if …
- Tell your wife how beautiful she looks.
- Spend time having skin to skin contact with the baby. You packed a button up shirt in your hospital bag…right?
- Changing the 1st diaper will take you forever—the first poop is a lot like wiping up tar. Don’t throw in the towel. Just know that by the 3rd diaper you’ll be a pro.
- Get use to analyzing poop.
- Post labor contractions hurt too. Your wife doesn’t push the baby out and then feel great. She will not only need to deliver the placenta immediately after giving birth but for the next several days her uterus will contract to return to its normal size. This can still be painful and uncomfortable.
- Consider a ‘push present.’
- Get some rest. If your hospital doesn’t carve out a “no visitors” window during the day, you should. It’s okay to put a sign on your door that you’re all resting and to please not disturb.
- Your first car ride home will be the most intense, alert, nerve-wracking car ride you will ever take.
- Introduce your pets to the new baby before bringing baby home. Bring a swaddle blanket you wrapped baby in at the hospital home to let the dog(s) sniff prior to bringing the baby home. Let the blanket hang out there where the dogs can keep checking it if need be.
Make sure to check out 25 Things Dads Need to Know About The Weeks After Birth (postpartum). And 25 Things to Know About Being a New Dad. Or, I’ve also compiled the whole list if you would prefer as a 101 things dads need to know about pregnancy, birth, postpartum and being a new dad. At the end of this series I’ll show you where to find a similar list for Moms that a friend of mine wrote a few years ago. Best way to remember to check back is to Follow Transparencies of Motherhood on Facebook!
Readers~What advice would YOU give new dads about birth? Leave and comment and let me know!