Dreams

Everybody has dreams. I don’t mean the ones projected during REM sleep – although everyone I hope is having those – no, I mean the ones where you aspire for something.

I’m still working on my big professional one. Personally I’ve done brilliantly. But there’re a few things still to do. Some in control – all going well – and others, well, they’re very much top of mind but not close to playing out. Yet.

dreams

Dreams can come true, look at me babe I’m with you. You know you gotta have hope, you know you gotta be strong.

Anyway, I digress. This is something my wife and I haven’t talked about yet. So it’s an opinion and it may change as we talk and work out what we want. But as a starting point I think it’s fine. The point is I want our child to do what they want. Absolutely what they want. I may have preferences but as long as it’s viable, moral, proper, then they should be able to do it. So I’d love them to become a professional footballer, a film star or a Professor. I’d also love it if they became an artist, chef, plumber. Every one of those professions is cool. If they want to do it.

I think this article says it all really. For the first five years ensure you have the great relationship and encourage everything, to help your child find what they love. Then support them in that, making sure they know to work hard and they will achieve ANYTHING, and everything they want.

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My wife dislikes Rocky. I think he, Sly and everything about them is awesome. I mean – he achieved his dreams, right?

Bottom line – our child needs to be loved and supported, and will be. As part of that we need to ensure they know to work hard and they’ll get what they want. In the meantime their Dad will achieve his dream too, inspired by that bloody kid. He’s competitive, see. Now, to talk this with the wife. Probably once we get past those damned 12 weeks. Or maybe that first early scan will do it…

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Cup final day. What happens next?

Today Liverpool football club play Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final. Liverpool has won this 8 times before (more than anyone) and been in 11 finals before (again, more than anyone). It’s a chance to win a trophy, for Klopp to lead his Liverpool side to a first trophy under him and a chance to demonstrate to this team that they can achieve together. In short, it’s a big thing.

Now my wife is awesome. She’s fine with me having the TV all day today so I can watch the game and all around it in peace. I’m not even cooking a roast this week!

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Jürgen Norbert Klopp. Future hero of an unborn child?

But my mind does wander to a couple of things. One, what would it be like to watch such an event alongside my child? And two, would it even be possible?

The first question I have no idea. The second I can try and tackle. I’m unlikely to be able to watch it live and unbroken. So therefore the strategy would be to watch as-live, delayed. All I need to do there is avoid any new a la The Likely Lads and hope it’s unspoiled. This I can just about manage today, but in the future with all kinds of other variables?

We’ll see. I accept my view will need to change: expect to see the game knowing what will happen, late at night and broken. Anything else will be a bonus.

Change in mindset

It’s weird. It seems weird, anyway. It’s probably really quite logical when you think about it, but it feels weird because of the 30+ years which have gone previously.

I’m talking about the mindset change when you go from being a happily married husband to a happily married father to be.

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Having a kid is outside of the comfort zone right now, yes.

From my perspective – and I’m guessing a great many other chaps out there – I have spent the past few years thinking about children, talking about them with my wife and imagining life with them (conclusion: completely and utterly turned upside-down, but hopefully for the better!) but knowing I don’t have to think too hard as I don’t need to get ready for it.

What that’s meant in practice is, for example, I see my friends post stuff on Facebook about their kids and I smile then move on. I see an article about this or that involving parents, kids and how to do something or anything else, and I move on. Now I’m stopping to take it all in. To see if I can learn. I need to learn despite the current quasi-pregnant state we find ourselves in whereby we are pregnant but not past the 12 weeks yet.

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I can see this is a brown dog. It’ll do.

I guess it’s real now, and not just a real idea in my mind. I now need to take this stuff in but you know what? I’m finding it all enjoyable and OK to read. Before I would move on as not only was it kinda irrelevant but I also wasn’t sure about it. What I mean here is – I don’t believe anyone can ever be sure they want kids. You know you do, but there’s a great big chunk of uncertainty driven by the unknown. When you get pregnant the uncertainty goes out the window and you need to fill that unknown in, even if it’s like your future-child’s colouring: a bit haphazard and all over the place but fundamentally doing the job.

That ‘morning’ sickness again

So my wife’s been feeling ok for a few days to be honest. It’s been great. She’s been able to get on with all the life things, you know, like work, but still feeling something which keeps the confidence in her mind – and mine – that all is going as it should.

But today she has gone from OK to bleurgh in 4 hours. Is it awful bleurgh? Feels it. We’ll see overnight. Bottom line is that she’s asked for a chair near the bathroom for when she wakes up tonight and she wanted toast before bed. In bed. Where crumbs are possible.

crumbs

I provided toast but did suggest any crumbs in the marital bed would be, well, a problem. A big one, really.

The Due Date

We all know that the gestation period for a human child is 9 months. It can be as little as 16 days for a hamster or as many as 590 for a sperm whale. Nature’s cool like that. But 9 months for human ladies anyway.

What I had never known but often wondered in a throwaway sense, I mean I never bothered to find out after all, is how you know the due date. I’d often imagined parents and doctors sit there and try and recall copulation times and dates via some scientific methodology. How do you know if you had the sex more than once? What if you were doing it all the time. How would you know?

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I wonder if it would be fun to be Iron Man and having a baby (with your wife obviously as otherwise you’d have other concerns)

It turns out there’s a system used to set that due date. Systems are good as they apply consistency to the assessment and given the inherent variability in something so complex as human development and birth readiness consistency, precision and decent accuracy is what you want.

Due date is calculated as being 9 months from a lady’s last period. It seems so logical now. So logical in fact that for this second, very early-stage pregnancy, I was able to turn to my wife and with the straightest of faces ask her if the due date was such and such. Yes, husband’s been learning.

Morning my arse

“Morning sickness”.

It can affect you any time during the day. So why call it blooming morning sickness then?

Apparently it’s because you typically feel it upon waking in the morning. But that isn’t always the case. Regardless, as a young man growing to be a thirty-something adult you kinda take the term at face value, don’t you?

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I really hope not. That would not be nice.

NO. DON’T.

My wife is suffering significantly from morning sickness. At first I thought it was cool as it is meant to be a good sign. That is still true but now I just feel for her. It seems a nightmare. Feeling ill all day and much of the night, not wanting to eat but having to to calm things. Damned hormones!

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To try and help she is doing anyone or more of the following at various times:

  • Eating crackers
  • Not eating
  • Eating a meal episodically
  • Drinking ginger-infused water when she hates ginger
  • Walking around and round feeling ill
  • Sleeping
  • Lying down to calm the sickness
  • Pulling over whilst driving
  • Wearing wrist bands with great big plastic things aimed at the wrists
  • Not wearing said bands and wondering why she feels ill again

There’s probably more. Point is – morning sickness is a lie and it’s really just ‘first trimester sickness’. Or, at least I hope so. Anymore and things could get very messy.

The Dad’s waiting game

This blog is called 80’s Dad. I keep using the word Dad in post titles. I’m not a Dad. There’s a chance I never will be; a chance in ~8 months I very much will be. This is the waiting game. The Dad’s waiting game.

waitinggame

Ladies will have another one. Netmums is probably overloaded with posts from newly-sexed up females who are playing the waiting game. As far as I recall from listening to my wife it’s the period between making babies (probably on or around the ovulation timing if your other half is on the ball – and telling you what’s happening) and getting that magical line via the wonders of biochemistry. That time is hell for ladies. Understandably so as they either really want a line or really don’t want a line. If they want one and none comes, well, it’s time to prep for next month’s exertions. If one does…

That’s then the Dad’s waiting game. Now, I define this from a point of view of a second pregnancy, first child Dad. What I mean is that if the first time you get pregnant you properly get to play this game, well, you will likely find it very different to one who’s had to suffer a failed pregnancy previously.

We did. We readied ourselves for years, got ourselves setup to try (this wasn’t easy – and no not just because life got in the way). Then we did. We got lucky pretty quickly to be honest. Surprisingly so (screw you morphology!). Fantastic! We tested multiple times to be sure. We started to get excited. Then, it was over. I’m not gonna go into the details now, but it was a tough time. Especially for my wife.

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Try again we said. Try again we did. We struck oil straight away. Apparently fertility in the female is up after a failed pregnancy, at least when it happens early. But now? Given the experiences of the past the future is more nervy, less exciting. Which is odd. We both want to be mega-excited. We can’t be – yet – in case something goes wrong. We’re farther down the line (just), it’s less likely and all of that. Yet, still. I can’t let myself turn to buggies and how to introduce my child to gaming’s rich history. I need to stay pensive. Just in case. Not just for me, although that’s a natural defense mechanism. But for my wife, too. Nay, my wife first and foremost. If anything does go wrong she will take it harder than me. It’s the way we’re built. I need to be here to support her. But hopefully in around 6 weeks’ time we can both smile, enjoy it and look forwards to what will be rather than what might have been.

Dads ask – Am I fertile?

What I mean is, what do fertility tests tell you? A lot of gobbledegook to start with to be quite honest. Let’s try and break it down.

Volume – how much man juice did you generate? Not exactly relevant to any fertility discussion except that all calculations are done as a function of total spunk. You need to provide the whole sample and nothing but the sample or else the results won’t help anyone. 1-4 mL is normal*.

Sperm Count – how many sperm are swimming in that man juice. More is good as then there are more which can win any egg and sperm race. BUT only one needs to win it…20 million/mL is normal*.

Motility (Progressive) – this is getting important now. How many of your spermatozoa are moving and doing so with purpose? The more the better. After all a chap who spurts 100 million swimmers but only 5% of them move has less chance of fertilising the love of his life than a chap with 50 million, where 11% of them can be arsed moving. Normal* (that word again) is 32-100%.

Motility (non-progressive) – These are the crazies. They move but probably not where they need to go. The ones who are still too shy, perhaps?

Total Motility – Combine the two numbers above as you never know, anyone of them could make it. Probably depends on the position you’re in, and your partner. During, and after. Normal* here is 40-100%.

Morphology – The personal crux. Are the sperm shaped normally? You’ll have heard the description that they look like tadpoles. With a very lovely shaped head (oo-er) and wriggly tail. It’s all designed to get that DNA in the head efficiently to the bloody egg. Swim and swim alone to win that race. So many sperm are made and so very few ever, ever complete the job. Evolution has a funny way of saying ‘this job is really rather hard and as such I haven’t been able to devise a clever and elegant way of making it happen. So, instead I’m gonna just brute-force it. Make a shed-load of these things and play the numbers game’. Normal* morphology? 4-100%. Four to 1-bloody-hundred percent.

Morph

Look at the sexy clay beast

I started with 1% morphology. I’ve impregnated my wife twice. In a row. How blooming good is that?

* – Definition of Normal:

“Conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal;regular; natural.”

Not abnormal. This is really the meaning of the word normal in all the above. Specifically, statistically normal.

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Asterisk* (* – Asterix)

This is why I put an asterisk after every use of the word normal above. Any number or range does not mean fertile – any test result outside of that range does not mean infertile. All it means is the chance of fertilising an egg is greater, or lesser than it could be. Across many, many men a normal range has been determined. Using statistics. Using a normal distribution. That means most people who get their long-suffering partner up the duff have a range that is matching up with what’s normal. Each normal distribution will have an average. 68% of people will fall within a certain amount of that average (the standard deviation). 97% will be within two times that and 99.7% within three times that. If you keep going you will get to 100%. It’s much less likely those folk will make the magic happen – but not impossible. Not really even if you have an actual zero read as sperm are 74 days in the making so 75 days after a test different factors will have been in play. The number might be >0 now.

Bottom line: Lack of pregnancy is multi-factorial. The job of men and women is to do what you can to minimise the risk that nothing will happen, and maximise the chance it will.

dna

This is what’s inside your sperm. It’ll get there.

This can be fun. It can also be hard work. We’ll get to that.

You do know the Dad’s important, right?

Yes, he really is. You don’t just deposit sperm and hope one of your swimmers gets all the way into that egg. No, you can do stuff to make it more likely that this will happen, and the sperm which does is a good sperm. It doesn’t guarantee anything at all – we’ll get to that – but it does lower any risk.

sperm

Good luck little guy!

Yes. Baby-making sex is all about risk management. Deal with it.

Do this:

  • Wear loose-fitting underwear
  • Sleep well
  • Don’t smoke
  • ‘Refresh’ the sperm periodically, ideally every 24-48 hrs. Do this however you prefer…
  • Eat more healthily
  • Exercise more
  • Take some form of vitamin – my personal choice after masses of research was Wellman
  • Turn the shower to low and spray it on the tackle at the end of your daily wash
boxers

I am deadly serious.

Do all of this and whether you motility/volume/morphology* are good or bad your overall chance of conception will increase.

* – Yeah, we’ll cover this too.

A kid of the 80’s, getting ready to have kids…and learning how.

Hi folks. Nice to meet you. Me? I’m a kid of the 80’s and it’s time I grew up and, well, had kids. I think it’s time for someone else to be a child. Don’t you?

It’s actually something I’ve been asking myself for a fair few years now. The answer has always been a little bit yes. To start with it was that, plus a lot of fear. These days it’s much more a lot of yes and a little bit of fear. Honestly, it’s more worry. You see, my wife is around 6 week’s pregnant. It’s awesome, but altogether worrying – we have no idea yet whether it’ll happen, what will happen and, well, anything.

Inferno

As I write this I’m reminded of some prominent childhood memories…

Why are we this way? Various reasons. Most pertinent is that we have been pregnant before. That didn’t work out. You know not to let yourself get too carried away but you do anyway. This time it’s easier not to. But also more about worry, and not fun, so far. Other reasons? Well, we’ll have plenty time to get into them but we’ve seriously been talking about a family for four or so years. Seriously. But things have stopped us moving towards that – some reasonable, and others…not so.

CR

Yeah, this one too – at least Comic Relief, anwyay

Let’s leave it at this for now. Me, a bloke born in 1980, is getting ready to (hopefully) have my first child born in 2016. I do not know what to expect, what to do nor what will happen. This is for me to learn. I plan to do so here, and to share what I learn along the way. Hopefully bringing it all together will help someone else in the future?