Labour – Part Two

So, now we were at hospital and we made our way slowly up to the birth centre. A midwife(maybe – I didn’t know at this point who was who) let us in and we were asked to sit and wait for a while. It seemed like an eternity but was probably 20-30 minutes before someone came to get us and took us to a side room. There my wife was assessed by the on-duty midwife whilst I tried to help make her comfortable and get through the next while.

This room was a normal room as far as I recall. No fancy birthing bed and no pool, either. The midwife did her checks and my wife was 5 cm dilated. So yay, we didn’t need to go back home and labour was properly established. This relived me massively. I believed we would be given the delta between contractions but I still worried we’d be sent back as we weren’t far enough along. By now it had started in my head, and the car journey was such a hassle for my wife that I really don’t think I could have taken a knock-back!

castor-oil

Castor oil. Can help induce labour but really it’s here because Google wasn’t helping my ‘icky birth’ search and this looked cool

I made the room as comfortable as I could. I put on some hypnobirthing background music, I got some food ready and some drinks. I was helping my wife stand, sit, lie as she wanted (mainly the former two – lying was bad as that would not help the labour now would it? Gravity is your friend…). I was doing as much as I could think of too help, and responding immediately to her needs. She was focused on labour; I was focused on making that as comfortable as I could.

My wife mentioned to the midwife that she had wanted a pool. So this was going to be setup for us, and would take a while. In the meantime we stayed where we were and periodically upped the Tens machine, did various hypnobirthing exercises and let the midwife check us from time to time. In a couple of hours we moved to 6 cm dilation. Not the pace we’d hoped for but still good progress.

pool.jpg

Yep, a birthing pool. Move along…

As part of this labour started to get real. I don’t want to go into details nor do I need to. But being a very intense biological event it puts stress on the human body. I knew this. I had accepted it. My advice to any man is accept, expect and deal. It’s reality and part of the birth of your child. It is not icky, scary or anything else. You need to be there for your wife/partner. Get over it ahead of time, or straight away. You frankly do not matter. If you pass out and fall over? That’s where you’ll stay. And you’ll be no help to the Mum nor will you see the birth. Pull yourself together, man.

The Tens machine’s limitations were starting to show. Gas and air was requested and provided. I avoided trying any which must be the first time in the history of man that the male birth partner has not partaken. To be fair even had I wanted to (I was focused on helping, not getting air-drunk thanks very much) there wouldn’t have been much time. Contractions were between 2 and 3 minutes and that gaseous cocktail was needed elsewhere…

mayo

Believe it or not my search term for this was ‘midwife dilation’. The mind boggles.

At that moment, around 7, the pool was ready and we moved rooms. I gathered what I could and the midwives/assistants helped with the rest. Oh, and my pregnant wife of course! I think the birthing pool, and what I guess is act III of our labour can come in a third post…

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The 39 Steps

Or, when ignoring the fact the title is the name of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, the 39 weeks.

My wife is 39 weeks (+3) pregnant. Our baby can come anytime. This is hella exciting. Is it nerve-wracking? Bizarrely no. I don’t suggest for one minute I know what I – or we – are doing, nor am I anything less than intrigued by the changes which will be coming but, nervous? No. Ready, excited – looking forward to this wonderful change.

39-weeks

Pretty much.

We’re about as ready as we can be too. I mean we had hoped to have had the house decorated but lead paint in the door frames delayed that (we need someone to seal it in and paint on top and we couldn’t get anybody quickly enough after two sets of decorators let us down and a third wanted to sand the paint – a big no no). But we have a cot, a dressing table, changing mats, travel systems, car seat, clothes, muslins, nappies, frozen food for Mummy and Daddy, a heavily pregnant wife with SPD (so painful and I can’t do anything to help relieve it) and much, much more I’m forgetting. Oh yeah, we finished our antenatal classes without giving birth too which pleased me a lot.

I’m actually so becalmed that I’m evolving a kid’s story in my head. I don’t know whether to go for a baby-type execution (like Where’s Spot or similar) where I need good pictures, or a more Winnie The Pooh type one whereby my story needs to be a little more involved. I have a great pun in the title though :).

patience

I have felt baby quite a lot but this happens a lot too!

We’re nearly there. At the end of one chapter we found difficult to begin and hard all the way through. But then the start of another one which will be rather amazing, crazy and much more in-between all on its own.

Why would you do that when you’re pregnant?

My wife and I have a long list of things that need to be done around the house (and more). This list has existed for a few years, probably 3. We’ve been in the house for 3 years too. Coincidence?

Anyway, we have been slowly working our way through it, and adding more on. It’s like the never-ending story but without the white fluffy dog/dragon thing. Some things are important to have done before the baby arrives. One of those things is the internal doors, given they were all from the ‘50s and most didn’t shut. We’ve had my Dad doing those for the past couple of weeks. It’s been good to get new doors, but hard work. We had to pick doors first of all, and that took a few months. Then wait for them to arrive and then wait for time for my Dad to do the work. He likes to start and finish early, like me. That means he’s been arriving at 6.30. That’s when I’m getting g ready for work but the wife tends to leave later. Doing this for most days during two weeks is hard. I then have had to load up the skip, and hoover the house each day after the work. Ho hum, it’s the least I can do. Combine all of this with normal life, like cooking and so on, things get exhausting.

whatnottodo.jpg

To be fair it doesn’t mention anything about new doors, plastering or painting. 

Still, it’s all for a good reason. Now however we have a lot of wall damage from where things like picture rails have come off. Not a problem as after the doors we knew we wanted plastering, painting and decorating of everything. Thing is, we have ~3 months until baby arrives, and we want at least a month before then for the fumes to dissipate. This is working on the assumption the baby will not arrive too early….

It turns out plastering, painting and decorating has more considerations than we realised. That’s fine, we’re at the point where we need to make a decision (what work to do, colours of rooms and the like) which should help as we have less time to think and re-think, then overthink everything! There is an element of should we get it done now, or later. Thing is, after the baby arrives we’ll never get it done and my wife would not cope in the meantime with the mess the walls and doors will be in (they need to be painted too!). I don’t know why we are doing it but I know we have to do this! It will be awesome once done though – we have been living in a house that’s needed decorating for 3 years. To finally be in a position to press go is all kinds of awesome…so let’s hope we can do that. We’re gathering quotes this week. Fingers crossed.

painting.jpg

Maybe it will be like this, maybe it won’t.

Car Seats: Rather Complicated!

I have been reading about car seats over the past few days. This is my personal number one priority given we have passed V-day and were our baby to arrive we wouldn’t be allowed home without a car seat. It’s really rather complicated though, thanks to all the myriad options, ever-changing regulations and possibility of using it as part of a travel system.
Here’s a precis of what I have learnt to save you doing so, but with some links if you want to read more:
  • Group 0+ takes you from birth to 13Kg / 15 months.
  • After that we would need a second car seat – you can get one to cover group 0-1 (age 4), but this is heavier of course, not so good for travel systems and probably not great comfort for a tiny baby.
  • Lie-flat car seats exist, and are better for the child. You can keep the child in that for as long as you like, as effectively it’s the same as being in a cot (babies need to lie flat to promote development and ensure proper breathing).
  • All car seats are heavy! But there are lighter ones…
  • Isofix connectivity and/or seatbelts are how you fix a seat to a car.
  • Often an isofix base is an additional expense.
  • Currently all children up to 9 Kg must be rear-facing; rear-facing is recommended for as long as possible. i-size ensures rear-facing until 13 Kg / 15 months, but as mentioned a group 0+ seat takes you this far anyway.
  • Any car seat will have limitations as to which travel system it fits.

 

spidey.jpg

This looks immense but is it safe?

Here are some links to read more about the above:
—————————————————————————-
I have looked at a few and listed below are ones which appeal to me, why they appeal and why they might not. I’ll provide the main review link I was using:
Very common brand and therefore well-known performance, and I believe more choices of travel system. Weighs 4.5 Kg though which is top-end. Not lie-flat.
Extra safety protection on the sides. 4.2 Kg. Multiple travel system options. Not lie-flat.
A Group 0 – 1 seat! It’s been rated a test winner by Stiwa in Germany so we know it’s well-regarded from safety POV. Swivels so you can more easily put baby in the seat in car. Stays in car though – not usable as a carry cot type thing, i.e. not part of a travel system.
Very light! 3.3 Kg. Combines with same company’s travel systems (I think), but again they do a light system (7.6 Kg). Not lie-flat.
i-size. Lie-flat. Heavy – 4.9 Kg, and big.
bugaboo

Choose your car seat first – perhaps with travel systems in mind – then finalise your travel system choice.

Some parting thoughts:
Safety is paramount but all of these, and others are very safe. You (and us right now) need then to think about what’s important – weight, lying flat, travel system flexibility.

The Nursery

Oh my word. Things are getting ever-more real. I started clearing out the nursery last week. It’s been the office/games room since we moved in. The house computer and desk are now downstairs, all game and film media have been removed and furniture is slowly being taken apart.

Plenty more to remove, before we can decorate / fill with new furniture, but we’re constrained by the available space into which we can move things. I’ll do some more today no doubt.

nursery.jpg

A nursery. Ours may or may not look like this. Ever.

We have – as always – a long list of things to do. We need to do it in a sensible focused way rather than flitting all over the place. For me it’s sort the nursery and continue car seat / travel system research. Car seat mainly as I need to be ready in case anything happens early and without one of these I’d not be able to take the little one home. Dope.

In other news, as continued preparation, I bought a new car yesterday suitable for a three-person family. And it’s a little bit newer than the current one. Oh, and all doors open and shut appropriately. Older cars, huh? Now just the wife’s to get as well….

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My new car (if I didn’t have a wife and baby on the way..!)

Our First Antenatal Class – ‘Earlybird’

So this past week my wife and I attended an NHS antenatal class, named Earlybird, for first-time parents to let them know what to expect. First thing’s first – I did not get surprised, blindsided or shocked by what we covered. This is a good thing. It shows I have some grasp on the reality and gravity of the matter, but also have done some decent reading and research despite the fact I haven’t a pile of Dad books on my desk. The internet wins clear to all 😉

It was a useful couple of hours to be honest. A bit of biology which did help me better understand the organ movement my wife is going through, in relation to the baby’s position and so on. How this can vary from Mum to Mum was quite intriguing as a scientist.

tummy.jpg

This is antenatal. It also fits with my wife’s expectation that her tummy button will flip. Cool, no?

There were a few Mums and not quite so many Dads there. But we were split up at one point to see what the Mums needed to be comfortable, and what the Dads could do to make the Mums comfortable. We came up with an amazing list. We win. Here’s what I can remember from it:

  1. Pregnancy pillows
  2. Reach for stuff / lift heavy stuff
  3. Listen, nod and say yes a lot
  4. Do housework
  5. Comprehensive catering
  6. Don’t try and fix things
  7. Emotional support
  8. Body image concern alleviation
  9. Massages
  10. Leave space as needed
  11. Man time (to refresh ourselves to ensure tip-top condition for our wives)
  12. Placeholder for when I recall the other 3…
awesome

Us Dads-to-be were. Honestly, every Mum is. Especially my Mum-to-be.

All good stuff, huh? We were awesome. The lady running the class was very impressed. It was a good morning. Makes me eager for the proper NCT course closer to birth. But let’s not rush things, huh? Lots to think about between now and then 🙂

8+ Weeks and Counting

We are somewhere between eight and nine weeks’ pregnant now. This is exciting and nerve-wracking given we’ve:

  • Never done this before
  • Had problems before
  • Know we need to at least get to 12 weeks before we’ll find it real

But we have some things to think about in the coming weeks. My wife’s parents are visiting us soon and they’ve told us they don’t want us to cook on the day of their arrival, rather they’ll take us out for dinner or we can grab some takeaway. Now, the problem, is that my wife is still struggling with food. She doesn’t really want anything and when she eats it can vary as to how much she gets through and what specifically on her plate she can get through.

miliband

Eating this bacon sandwich was awkward for the – at the time – leader of the opposition. Imagine how awkward any meal in a restaurant at this time could be?

 

This is not exactly the situation to be in when going out for a lovely meal. Equally the only takeaway option that folks would all want (normally) is Chinese and this is not something that in anyway excites my wife’s taste buds right now.

So – what do we do? One option is to go for the takeaway, get some standard rice and prawn crackers and hope no-one notices the lack of main dish chow-down. Another is to tell them, early. Oo-er.

parents

Yeah, until I looked for pictures for this article I hadn’t even considered how to tell parents they’ll hopefully be grandparents. Oh.

Similarly we’ve been invited to my folk’s for dinner towards the end of March. Again, this will be a little earlier than normal for telling people BUT we need to make sure the food is suitable. Choices, choices. If you have any clever suggestions do please let me know – otherwise we’re just gonna have to bite the bullet and do one of the above!

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.

rocky.jpg

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…

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?