There is a lot of material and training available for mothers to prepare for birth. And rightfully so, don’t get me wrong. Dads should also know what to expect, how to prepare for it, and know some key do’s and don’ts. My first note is about the moments leading up to that special day.
While attending the birth prep class with my wife, I asked our instructor: “how come some give birth in a car on the way to the hospital?”. “Looking at 15 years of midwife experience, it never happens to the ones giving birth for the first time”, she said. Good news for my white leather upholstery.
Two things you should know:
1) You will be going to the hospital couple of times before the actual birth happens.
False alarms, worries about something not being right, contractions starting and stopping. On average, couples come to the hospital four times in the days leading up to the birth. We had two false alarms. One in the middle of the night when my wife thought her water broke. One when contractions were going strong, but there was no progress in the dilation.
Biggest advice here – go to the hospital if you or your partner feel worried, and for sure know where you need to park. I laughed when our midwife said folks park in all kinds of wrong places. But when you are rushing to the hospital at 2 AM, full of adrenaline and excitement, mistakes happen. The last thing you want to do is block an ambulance path, or park so far your wife needs to walk 20 minutes.
2) You will spend lots of time in the birth room.
Most guys don’t know this, but on average the birth process takes between 10-16 hours for the first time. So when you prep, think of what you will be doing for 10 hours in a room. Your partner will not be in a great mood, and you definitely will not be sleeping. And no, taking your Nintendo Switch is not a good idea.
My advice here is – music and candles. There is nothing better than setting an intimate mood for this moment of a lifetime. I had Earth, Wind, and Fire playing on the iPad. A couple of nice candles around the room. I took my wife’s favorite couch blanket with us. Everything to keep things cozy, calm, and romantic.
In the next note, I will talk about the actual birth experience. And if you never heard Earth, Wind, and Fire – you are welcome.