I thought it would be a really nice way to firstly kick start this blog, secondly give people a real insight in to those first few days after birth and thirdly have a way to just get stuff off my chest by writing it in a diary. I don’t know yet how this is going to go or what sort of quality this content is going to be but let’s see where it goes!
This day 1 post is going to be featured to give people and entry point in to this part of the blog and explain what it is. It’s not going to go on for ever although I might have a few major mile stones entries further down the line. Unless anything drastic happens, the plan is to keep writing this for just the first 2 weeks or so. That will cover all of my paternity leave from work and then the first few days back.
What do we expect from fatherhood?
A few months ago we attended some NCT ante-natal classes. A lot of people said are they worth while, and at the time I said hell now. They are not only mind numbingly boring but also had some major hippie elements I was just not comfortable with. If I need or want to relax there’s no use in someone telling me how to go about doing it, especially in a silent room full of strangers.
The room was quiet and almost everyone had their eyes shut, breathing in and breathing out. She asked us all to imagine various things, but all I could think of were that I couldn’t but wanted to fart, I wanted to leave and the majority of my concentration went on not laughing about the way my nose was whistling. But even more so a major problem for me is that I suffer from aphantasia, which people still don’t always agree exists, making it sort of a bullshit condition only people who have it believe in.
Basically it means that I can’t visualize things in my head and as a result can’t imagine walking along a meadow throwing stones in to a tranquil pond. All my head has in it is me thinking the words, “walking along a meadow throwing stones in to a tranquil pond” which isn’t great for relaxing. It’s also the reason I don’t remember most of my dreams and why I hate reading fiction. I was amazed when I found out that people like to read as they imagine the story in their minds eye like a movie… WHAT!?!
So what does all this have to do with this diary and child birth? Not an awful lot (you’ll soon learn that I can get easily distracted by tangents!)… at least the last 2 and a half paragraphs. However, going back to the NCT classes, in the very first one we were asked as a group of men what we wanted to learn about child birth, rearing a tiny human and what we already knew.
What men really want to know!
It dawned on us that we didn’t know bollocks about what to expect and what to do.
When some new parents then came in to the group they said “don’t worry it’ll all come to you naturally.” That’s the sort of crap I don’t want to put in here. As a man I wanted to know what is going to happen and what the first few weeks are ACTUALLY like. That is exactly what I want to give you, and I hope that for other men who don’t want to be fobbed off with it’ll come to you naturally and everything will be fine might find this useful.
Now I understand that every pregnancy, labor and early childhood is different but one thing I am sure they all have in common, especially for first time parents is that I bet not everything will be tickety-boo from the get go!
Hopefully by saying that I have jinxed this blog and I end up with the perfect labor and early days… One can always dream!
So we are now at term plus 10, making him 10 days overdue, and this is where my diary really starts… You’re going to find out pretty soon that the perfect labor is NOT what followed.
We had been trying all sorts and this morning was time for us to phone the hospital to see if we could book in an induced labor, which we did at 07:00, to be told that a slot would open up for about 08:00 / 08:30, meaning we made our way straight to the hospital… With no real idea what we were doing and what lay ahead!
The process of inducing labor is one of three layers, with the lowest being the insertion of a pessary containing hormones, next to the cervix. This is as far as we finally managed to get by around 13:30. They had some emergency c-sections that morning so the wait was understandable.
Then nothing happened and we sat around for a few hours waiting for them to connect the fetal monitor after 6 hours. For high risk cases this is done every 3 hours but we weren’t considered to be posing any risk. Then however we noticed something as his hear rate dropped a few times. They like it to sit between 110 and 150, with higher usually being an indicator of fetal movement. These lows however were reading as 80!
When the midwife came back she circled some things and said wait a minute I need to get a doctor… This baby is not happy. Seconds later the doctor came and echoed that there’s something not right and that baby is in distress. Time to take out the induction pessary.
As it came out it was followed by a lot of blood which prompted them to want her moved to a delivery room as they wanted to break her waters. Let me tell you when they do that it ain’t pleasant. I thought it would be a simple gentle process – hell no!
So this big blue plastic stick comes out if a sterilizing bag and all of a sudden the doctor is playing pool with my wife’s vag! But it was worth doing… a lot of blood came out with the amniotic fluid and this told the doctor that actually something isn’t right and that we needed to go for an emergency c section. From that point because the placenta had started to separate she was in surgery within minutes and I was left sitting in the room wandering what the hell is going on.
Tip of the day! – Don’t have a plan for the pregnancy, labor or first days which you get attached to, and that’s easier said than done. Instead give yourself a rough plan which you would like the time to unfold as with the knowledge that these can change with the winds and do so last second.
Emergency C Section
When they have to do an emergency c section things move ahead super quick and of course you become lowest priority as they need to keep mum safe, get her prepared and get that baby out! What this does mean is that you potentially have 10 minutes or so of sitting there feeling absolutely useless and wondering what the fuck is going on. People who you saw wheeling your Mrs down the corridor to the left suddenly run back to the right and return with 4 other people running back to the left!
Finally as 2 of the midwives came past they popped their heads through the door and asked if I wanted to be in there. Agreeing, they ran off and got me some fetching blue scrubs and within a couple of minutes I was in there. To give you a heads up, the reason they leave you for 10 minutes is that the consultant and anaesthetist will decide if she needs an epidural (an injection in the spine which basically paralyses them from the abdomen down) or a full anaesthetic. If they are completely under you can’t go in there.
I got sat down at her head end to keep her occupied and then it all began… about or 8 people that I saw were working between her and the baby. Within minutes of starting I heard a gurgling sound and then they popped a baby over the curtain which stops mum seeing what is being done. Although all my wife saw when the baby was thrust over were a massive pair of nuts… I don’t know the reason behind it but when they’re born they have unproportionately big nuts… or maybe that’s just him!
That to be honest was about it… and it all goes by in a fucking flash! You don’t know anything other than whether your partner and tour baby and fine – literally nothing else at that time is important to you… and to be honest, I’m writing this a couple of days late and still all that matters to me is that these two people are doing well.
Just remember your job is just to look after your partner and support their pregnancy and labor… your proper job then starts when your brand new tiny human is born! There are going to be lots of times in this blog that I complain about the process and make jokes about what happens… but throughout it all remember this last paragraph – you’re an important part of this process, even after the first 5 minutes (hmmmm sorry 50 minutes) of this 9 month process… Don’t fuck it up!
My little guy – Ripley was born on 28th September 2018 at 21:22 and the rest of that day just included getting my wife sorted out, making sure he was fine and getting settled for the night… however from midnight onwards it wasn’t over for the night and I’ll discuss his first few hours in the next diary entry. I plan to write them each day for at least the first 2 weeks, but apologise if they don’t always come out on that day!