This is the fifth guest post in the #fathersdaymonth series. This comes from a great dad blogger called The_iDad. According to his Twitter profile he is “…dad to a crazed toddler and another in production“. Go check him out on Twitter @The_iDad and you can find his great blog here www.idads.co.uk
This is a lovely post that reflects on the need for adaptability in fatherhood (and in parenting in general) and demonstrates clearly that being prepared for childbirth is good, but that you also have to be prepared for the eventuality that sometimes EVERYTHING can change……
During the 40 weeks of pregnancy you have quite a while to mentally prepare for what life will be like when your baby arrives. A lot of that time maybe spent wrestling with flat pack nursery furniture, debating over nursery colour swatches or purchasing ridiculously overpriced novelty clothing.
Throughout the prolonged countdown I found myself spending more time contemplating life after birth than birth itself. My thoughts of labour constantly flip flopped between sheer joy and excitement, to utter panic and terror.
Could I be the man that my Wife needed me to be during the birth?
As I write this I realise how pathetic that may sound as I appreciate I am a mere passenger to the birth experience rather than the one actually having to give birth.
I hate to compare the role of the birth partner to that of a back seat driver but the catalyst that fuels the vocal reaction of the panicked passenger is that of lack of control.
I feel as though my fears of labour were stemmed through the feeling of being out of control. Whether or not the birth experience would be good or bad for my Wife seemed as though it had little to do with me. The speed of which I could mop my Wife’s brow or fetch hot towels seemed irrelevant to what my Wife would be going through.
As naive as that sounds I had never been around birth before or even babies so my understanding of it all was slightly out of date.
Having acknowledged my fear and prehistoric knowledge I embraced the opportunity to learn the way of the force and be the best birth partner a man could be.
As an open minded, hip hop, modern era kind of couple we jumped at the opportunity to sign up to 6 weeks of hypno-birthing classes. The experience was great and after the course we both felt empowered to go and pop the baby out with minimal fuss. After all, a pre-planned cocktail of relaxed breathing and a bucketful of oxytocin meant the baby would simply just slide out. Right?!
Yes, with my new found skills I could identify the optimum volume for the hypno music, light several calming candles with the precision of a pyromaniac and produce a knee wobblingly good foot rub; but what if something went wrong during labour? I would be unprepared.
And unfortunately in reality I was.
I found the ethos of hypno-birthing to be incredible and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
But when you find yourself in the stark reality of an emotionally charged emergency c-section situation, deep breathing isn’t enough.
The catchy tune of Elton John’s Rocket Man was still ringing in my ears as my pupils sharply adjusted from the dim sensual lighting to the piercing glare of the surgery room.
As I frantically tried to find the arm hole of an inappropriately ladies size 8 scrubs top that I had been thrown, my concentration was abruptly cut short by the sight of my Wife’s spontaneous projectile vomit coming towards my face.
My knuckles were whiter than my face as I clung on in confusion to my distressed Wife. My fear of being out of control was at its peak and my knee jerk reaction to regain it was coming across as desperate and weak.
It was time to put our trust in someone else and hope for the best.
Well the best couldn’t have been much better, the sight and sound of our newborn son was embarrassingly overwhelming.
Soon after cleaning our newborn son off, the staff were doing it again. But this time it was me they were cleaning as a combination of saliva, tears and snot congealed together to create an alien like emotional eruption that Mount Etna would have been proud of.
The best laid plans may have gone out of the window but the end result was the same.
I am now two and half years into being a Father and the feeling of not being in control still niggles away each time we reach an obstacle for the first time.
It may never go away but I know with each new experience I will learn from it and aim to be better for the next time.
I am thankful to say that I will have a next time as my Wife is 25 weeks pregnant with our second son.
How will I be different during birth this time? I don’t know is the truthful answer.
But I do know that I will be more aware of the various scenarios that can play out and I will support my Wife in every way I can.