A Quarter Mile at a Time

Blimey. I’m broken. I’ve just finished watching Fast & Furious 7. Spoilers for that will follow, as well as for Armageddon. You’ll learn why. And yes, this is appropriate for a blog about becoming a Dad.

I love all the Fast & Furious films. I’ve just watched the 5th, 6th and now 7th around the Easter weekend. The 7th it turns out is one of the two films which make me – without fail – teary eyed since I became an adult. Just two films. I watch a lot of films. I love film. But just two make me shed tears.

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Paul Walker as Brian O’ Connor.

Fast & Furious 7 does it for two reasons, but really both are the same. Dom nearly dies and Letty explains she remembers everything. Marriage. Family. Then, of course, we say goodbye to Paul Walker. Family again. And fatherhood in the case of his character. Fatherhood is now truly what his character will be able to focus on.

In Armageddon Bruce Willis sacrifices himself for the world, but he does so for his daughter. He switches with his daughter’s one true love and fiancé. He dies to save the world and her world – she gets to live her life with her love.

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Harry Stamper on the front left. Hero. Godspeed.

I cannot cope with the end to either of these wonderful films (please note most people wouldn’t rate these as highly as I do but to me they’re 10/10, 5 stars and all the rest – stunningly good cinema, if not critical darlings of the film world). But now, each of these touches me differently. I’m gonna be a Dad. Family is different. The choice made by Bruce; the choice which will be made for Paul’s character, Brian. Wow.

I am wowed by what is to come. Wow = good 🙂

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The West Wing & Fatherhood

Have any of you seen The West Wing? I have. My wife loves it, and so do I. We’re currently re-watching it and one of the episodes we saw tonight resonated with me as a father to be.

It was towards the start of season 5. President Bartlet’s daughter was missing, he had recused himself of the Presidency temporarily and the world was seemingly going to pot in and around America.

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Not read the article (it’s from 1993!) so I can’t comment on the sub, but Fatherhood is important.

But what got me was the tangential story-line whereby Toby Ziegler became a Father to twins. We saw him fall in love with his children. He didn’t know if he had the capacity to do that, but he did. He thought he was nervous because of that but no, it was because every father is nervous ahead of the birth of their child.

Actually, this narrative did more for me than I’d even realised watching it, and have now worked out when writing about it. Wherever you’re coming from as an expectant father the likelihood is you’ll be questioning how you’ll do it, knowing deep down you will, but how? And what and so on. In those few scenes Toby is that expectant father, the expectant father we all are. And he did it.

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I wonder if they do in the UK? No, really, I do. Now.

It gives strength that we all can. And for me, as a great fan of TV and cinema over the years, it works for me.

Today we told my parents we’re pregnant.

This is how it went.

Pretty well, actually. If you focus on the rational side of things. I’d decided I would wait for both of them to be seated – you know, just in case – and then explain to them how we have decided, if all goes well, to promote them to Grandparents come October. I did this.

But it took quite some time from our arrival to get them both seated. This time was a little frustrating as the nerves were there and I/we were looking forward to telling some more people as it’s good news, you know? I’m glad I did wait until they were seated as my Mother seemed pretty surprised/shocked/happy/confused.

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Doakes always goes down well in a surprise situation

There was definite surprise and shock from them both to start with. Then lots of comments, thoughts, congratulations and flow of consciousness. Oh, and whisky/wine, too. Not for the wife or I you understand.

My Dad declared he was well chuffed. Mum said a variety of things but was well into it. They both got a little too into it, or my Mum did, at least. We’re early in the pregnancy so that was jarring but she gets it, I think, even if she can’t control it. That’s a whole other post though – the things she was saying, the stuff she was giving us and so on. Too much, too soon!

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Sigh. I accept this. It’s easier that way…

Bottom line: We have now told both sets of parents and all are excited and congratulatory. This is shown in their own ways, and the responses were different but all centered around the same thing – happiness.

How did you tell your folks and in-laws? Did it go well? Was it absolutely crazy? Let me know below the line!

Mothers, sons and lots more besides

Tomorrow is the day we visit my folks for a lovely meal which we have been invited to enjoy since it’s a long weekend (as long as my wife feels better than today which has definitely been one of her bad days morning sickness-wise).

Therefore we also tell them we’re pregnant.

This is a good, exciting, and slightly nervous thing. It’s good as telling people is nice to be able to do. It’s still too early to tell most people, but it’s still nice. It’s good because such news should be shared with family as it’s all good. But it’s mainly good because I think I cheesed my Mother off somewhat yesterday.

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My wife’s morning sickness is like a Sine curve. A few days OK, perhaps even good, and then a few nowhere near good in anyway.

I was trying to be good. I wanted to check what was to be prepared to eat in case it had alcohol in it. I used the excuse that my wife is on an exclusion diet. She has been on some before so it was a good idea. But of course I rang and asked this just after the weekend shop had been completed. It was good I did as red wine sauce was on the menu, and now won’t be. But still.

I also learnt that Bakewell tart was the dessert of choice. Something I have never eaten but which in the last 5 or so years has become my Mother’s de facto dessert of choice because she believes I love it. Every time I say no; each time it’s prepared. I mentioned I didn’t like it this time. Didn’t go down well.

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Never was this in the house at any point between the time I was aged zero and 18.

Still, all being well we get to share our news tomorrow. And that will help explain the annoyance. Then maybe it won’t be one, and we can focus on the good news and hoping all goes well?

12 Week Scan? Maybe…

So. Let me start by stressing the following point: The NHS is wonderful, amazing and something I wholeheartedly support, and love. Part of what the NHS provides is clinical or midwife care for expectant mothers at all times throughout their pregnancy.

I mentioned we recently met with ‘our’ midwife for the first time. She explained a lot of things, including the fact the 12 week scan really happens anytime from 11 weeks to 13 weeks plus 6 days. Fine. She also said we’d get a letter after 10 days or so confirming the date of our 12 week scan.

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For many reasons I do.

Our letter hasn’t arrived. It’s not 10 days to be fair, but Easter is coming up and we’re at 10-11 weeks now so understandably my wife and I were getting a little nervous as we’re eager to see what news the 12 week scan brings.

My wife rang up the local midwives’ section and was encouraged to talk to the clinic direct after she was left reeling with the statement that the letter will be up to 3 weeks. We now have a scan booked for April 11th in the afternoon. Around 13 weeks. This is awesome.

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It’s weird that sounds gives a picture. I want to use multiple phrases regarding science being cool from pop culture sources such as Breaking Bad and The Martian. Both swear. Dammit. I’m just gonna go dark. Within the hour.

The NHS in this case has stepped up to the plate but with a little bit of geeing-up. It’s awesome, though. As importantly we have a scan booked in. We can’t wait.

Cold Spray on the Tackle?

Yes, I turn the shower down low and spray generously over my tackle at the end of each and every shower I take. It’s really very cold. That’s the idea, of course, but through the winter months it does lead to a  certain curtailed whelp. Curtailed as my wife is typically asleep.

I want to stop this really. But I can’t until I’m confident we’re gonna do well. So not until at least the 12 weeks scan.

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Mine was more purple. The tablet of course silly!

I probably want to stop my special conception vitamin too, and perhaps go back to my stock of cod liver oil. Mmmm, tasty. I do like those actually, yellow oily liquid in the gelatine (or whatever) capsule. It’s fun trying not to rupture the pill when taking it.

Anyway – no more cold tackle. Soon….I hope.

Grandparents Part Two – Initiated

This weekend we told my in-laws we’re pregnant. It went rather well. Over the weekend there was some more conversation about it, including some unwarranted detail surrounding things no son-in-law needs to know. Really, I didn’t need to know.

We were congratulated again and quite often a comment would be reflected back at us with a chuckle surrounding the fact things will never be the same again. No, if all goes well, it won’t. And we’re fine with that.

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The Dad. Is he thinking ‘what the blazes have you just done to my daughter…?’

My parents visited today as well. It was due to some work they’re helping us with but of course both sets of folks got to see each other for a while. No communication was given about our news as per our request. But it does make us think about when and how we’ll be telling these folks they’re hopefully gonna be grandparents. One of them is already, the other is not. A bit different to my in-laws who are dab hands at it with their current set of 3 grand kids.

We’re seeing them over Easter but that’s still only around 11 weeks, and certainly before the 12 week scan. It is an option though and it will be in person. Or we wait for the scan which we still do not have an appointment for. We’ll work something out, I’m sure.

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Of course. An October baby is announced around Easter. Except maybe when Easter is this early!

Grandparents Part One – Complete

So. My wife’s parents arrived for their weekend visit today. As they live some way away, and because my wife is still struggling with ‘Morning Sickness‘ we figured we’d take the opportunity to tell them we’re pregnant, despite the fact we’re not past the all-important 12 weeks’ mark yet. I think it went rather well.

My wife got home and we started taliing about food and she told them they were being promoted to grandparents. Now, they’re old hands at this given the three grandkids they have from my sister-in-law. But still, I could see Grandad smiling and Grandma was all effusive, huggy and clearly excited – for her, and for us. It was cool.

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Eeyore’s missing. Maybe he’s on his way?

We didn’t really touch on it much after that. Some comments regarding what and why we’re doing things to the house and so on. It was all good. Feels nice to share at last. But still early days, so not too much sharing for now.

Grandparents part two will be very different I suspect. If only what I call them when I post about that – they can’t be Grandad and Grandma too (although, honestly, these ones may get different names by the time it becomes relevant!!!).

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It’s not my wife but it is a pretty cool announcement method. Geeky, though.

Something Changed

Something Changed. Yes, it is a track off Pulp’s Britpop-era defining Different Class album but also a reality in my way of thinking today, and recently. You see, something has changed.

It was the UK’s budget today. I always listen keenly to estimate the impact it will have on mine and my wife’s life. Today I found myself adding another variable in there. Children.

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Children. The one on the right is an illustrated example

It’s not just today’s budget either. It’s everything. I hear about anything to do with education and my ears prick up whereas before they’ll have taken notice but only in passing. We were watching The West Wing tonight and Toby and Josh cooked up a plan to make US college tuition cheaper (tax relief). This got to me. It’s kinda awesome.

This is what it’s going to be like from now on, hopefully as all goes well. But frankly, whatever. I think my mind is in this mode now and there’s no off switch. It’s like I’ve gone to 11 because it’s one louder but I could only do so by getting a  new dial.

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They call me the Jackal

Well, here’s to it. However I must now go back and do some fantasy football theorising. I can’t totally change, after all.

Midwifery

Midwifery is an excellent word. I think it’s the whole dismissal of English-language rules (I realise the concept of these rules may in itself be an oxymoron). It’s not pronounced the way it should be – you have a wife, not a whiff. You also have a midwife, not a midwhiff. So why should you do midwifery and not midwhiffery? I don’t know. I’m not an etymologist.

Anyway, today we were lucky enough to have our first meeting with our midwife. Well, a midwife. Ours is off sick and possibly not back anytime soon so today we had a regional midwife do the job. It was cool. She asked lots of questions, told us lots of stuff, answered all our questions and generally gave the appearance of knowledge, care and support. In my mind it was exactly what we needed.

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The dummy is more shocked than anyone.

The concept of midwifery is slightly odd. I mean, humans have given birth for thousands of years. Sure, midwifery has been around since 1900 BCE (interesting aside – for all my adult life until around 2 weeks ago I was using the term BC. Whilst this was correct we now should use BCE, or Before Common Era, instead of BC – Before Christ. It has suddenly just popped up!) but birth has been around for longer. Animals still do not have midwife equivalents. Could you imagine your dog having a doggie visitor during pregnancy? No, of course not (if you can, write the book or movie script now). Why do we have midwives? We have Doctors?

Silly question of course. Doctors do medicine things. Birth is natural and has happened unaided for centuries. Midwives help manage people through the whole of pregnancy and latterly, the care of their child (by training, not actually during that time). Doctors wouldn’t do that. Midwives are aces.

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I was going to use a variety of pictures but once I found these midwifery and dummy ones, well. My word.

I digress. Our midwife spent well over an hour with us. It made things more real, which is good and scary! It helped us understand what comes next. It did a fair bit more too. But mainly, it felt rather cool.

Coming next: the visit of the in-laws and a challenge faces us. Do we pretend the lack of appetite, sitting in the bathroom and not sleeping (or liking chocolate) is something random like Venezuelan swine flu, or do we just announce to them we’re pregnant, albeit only 10 weeks’ gone?

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This lady (LHS) knows. Amazing.