The First Night From A Year Ago

With my daughter just turning one yesterday, I had some time to reflect back on what a crazy first night it was when she came into this world. Behind this confident looking dad constantly posting Instagram photos of how wonderful being a dad is – lies a memory of a traumatic, life changing first night at the hospital. A night that has forever shaped this dad, and is now in the back of his mind whenever the inkling of having a second child comes into conversation.

The dad is more impressed with the lights than the baby.

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


You know when you buy Ikea furniture and before you build, you go through the instructions and feel a little overwhelmed? That’s kind of like becoming a parent. You know what the end product looks like, but the process of getting there is what’s confusing and intimidating.

Babies: Assembly Required

You realize that the end goal is you becoming a competent and loving parent, but in order to become that, you need to go through so many confusing and trying steps.

That is what I realized that first night when she arrived.

I remember that the first night after she came out, when her mom was recovering and I was lying with her skin to skin on a makeshift couch bed, she was so tiny and so delicate.

I thought to myself:

“Oh sh*t, I have a daughter. Oh sh*t, I’m a dad now.”


That moment, I felt like everything that I had prepared myself for was useless.

Skin to Skin and Sing to Sing

I envisioned how I would be as a dad, and I envisioned how it would be like to have a baby. But when it finally happened, I never actually thought about process of become a dad.

Basically, for those first early moments, I just did stuff I saw on TV and movies.

Seriously, at one point in my hysterical mindset I thought, “Oh I must sing this song to her so that she’ll have an emotional attachment to it and be calm in the future whenever I sing”

I talked to her and told her how everything was going to be fine and life is going fantastic.

That was all a lie of course.

I mean can you imagine sleeping peacefully in a warm toasty bed only to be forced out to the cold winter streets – wet and naked?

I’d be pissed and freaked out.

For the rest of the night I remember her waking up and crying every one and a half hours. And I remember getting up each interval changing her diaper and bringing her to mom for feeding.

After the feeding I would put her in a loose swaddle and rock her so that she would fall asleep.

It Ain’t 5:05 In The Afternoon

All that crying. 

It sounded like they cross-bred one of those rubber chickens with a pterodactyl.

What a truly terrible sound.

I felt bad that she was crying and disturbing her mom, so I just started walking around the maternity ward shoeless with a tiny baby in circles.

At one point I even thought, maybe if I walk her over to the nurses desk, they’ll see how distraught I look and help me hold her for a bit.

Nope.

They just politely smiled and gave me a “your-wife-just-went-through-labour-and-you-better-hold-on-to-that-newborn-look.

Fair enough.

Basically I was so tired and overwhelmed, and I thought:

Shhhhhhh*t I have a daughter now, and thiiiis is how it’s going to be?


I really didn’t think it would be that hard.

But it was.

And it’s something that I’ll never forget.

Ever.

Of course things got better little by little as each day passed. And when we finally were discharged from the hospital, we felt relatively confident that we were able to do this.

And we were right.

As the weeks turned into months, and the months now became a year life is pretty sweet.

“Don’t drop baby, don’t drop baby.” ??

A photo posted by Ingus (@snappingus) on


As I write this, my daughter is quietly taking a morning nap, and last night I even slept for 7 hours!

Life is good right now.

Really good.

Yes, there still are tough days and tough nights. But nothing can measure up to that first night.

I think the experience I gained on that first night was exactly what I needed to prepare me as a dad.

And that’s the thing about becoming a parent, you can read all the books, go to the pre-natal classes, or talk to seasoned parents about their experiences. But when the moment comes and a life is gifted to you, you forget everything just learn on the fly.

And you’ll never forget. Ever.

Once assembled, babies are great.

 

Four Reasons Why Prenatal Classes are Useless

It’s been three months since the birth of Charlie and I’m starting to build a list of things that were not as important as I thought they would be prior to the baby coming.  I have to say that one example of money better spent elsewhere would be those damn prenatal classes. Now I’ve chronicled my misadventures (part 1 and part 2) of attending prenatal classes with my wife when she was still pregnant, but in further hindsight and talking to my wife about it today, I can confidently say that it was pretty useless.

Just as a warning, this was true for me and my wife. Everyone’s situation is different and it may not be necessary true for you. So if you are a mommy-daddy-to-be considering signing up for a class, here are four reasons why you shouldn’t waste money on prenatal courses. Of course, there’s no reason for you to listen to some random guy on the internet about it, but I highly encourage you to at least consider it.

I am in no way affiliated with the Anti-Prenatal Class Group (I don’t think there’s one that exists.. lol), so no hidden agenda against the perinatal education field. I’m just an oblivious husband of a former prego who thought we needed everything to prepare for the big day.

1. Put Your Money to Better Use

Babies cost money. Cribs, car seats, strollers, clothes, formula, seriously it doesn’t end! There’s so many things that cost so much, as new parents you’re caught off guard with knowing whether or not something is worth it.

Worst is that the baby merchandising industry knows this and uses it to their advantage. Take that stupid Sophie the Giraffe for example. You take a doggy chew toy and market it it for kids and you can charge it three times more. It’s madness! But we jump at the opportunity to buy on when it was on “sale.”

Some things are just ridiculous. I see you Sophie. I see you.
Some things are just ridiculous. I see you Sophie. I see you.

The class that we signed up for was a private class through the hospital, and I believe we paid $200 for it! That two bills could be spent on diapers, wipes, massage, or a 2-3 months worth of internet. Some municipalities do offer free classes, so check those out. But truthfully, your time is probably more valuable than attending this class so you are better off saving that as well and putting it to good use to like say…installing your car seat, or putting together the crib, or finding deals on a Sophie ;).

Spend your time and money wisely.

2. All Information Can Be Found on the Inter-webs

As I alluded to it previously, much of the information from the class can be found online. Honestly, a quick YouTube search can go a long way. If you ever had any questions on labour massages, just watch something on YouTube and you’ll get to watch it in the comforts of your own home and not some grainy cringe-worthy VHS tape that you are forced to watch with other new parents.

As for those labour exercises they teach the husbands to comfort their wives during labour, my wife didn’t want me to lay a finger on her at that point in time.

So really, just do a quick google search and you can find prenatal class lesson plans that you can simply research and figure out on your end. Here’s a particularly useful one from a Public Health Department that lists all of the topics that you “need” to know.

3. Knowledge is Power – But Not In This Case

One of the biggest regrets for my wife and I was learning too much. Did you know that the epidural needle has another needle inside?? Did you know about the crochet hook that pops your wife’s bag of water? Or how your baby can get a conehead from the suction that they use?

20150917_064651
Yep, pretty much the same

I think I’ve already said too much. When your wife is ready to pop at any moment, you really don’t need to know all of this information in your head. It’ll just psyche you guys out, trust me. My wife chose to go with the epidural and I remember having conversations prior to labour with her about how horrific it was going to be.

“What if something screws ups?”
“What if the needle inside gets stuck?”

These were some of the unwarranted questions that we asked each other, and I can honestly say that ignorance is definitely a bliss when it comes to this subject.

Both of you are already in an emotional roller-coaster near the end, the last thing you need to know is how messed up things can be if something were to go wrong. I know some of you are thinking, “Well, shouldn’t I know to prepare myself?” The answer is no. Regardless of the outcome, your doctor or midwife will provide you with your options at that point in time, there’s no use in worrying now.

4. You’ll Forget Everything Anyways, and That’s Okay

Have you ever been certified for first aid training? I have, twice even. But if someone where down and out on a sidewalk I’ll be the last person to know what to do, despite being “certified.”

The same can be said when mom is ready to blow and you’re scurrying to the hospital. All that preparation and “training” from those 8 hours of sitting in the classroom means nothing when it’s show-time. Part of the fun and experience of labour is the freaking out and panicking part.

Between contractions, my wife and I had time to take a selfie, as well as take one final photo of her final prego-form.

The spontaneity is what makes things memorable and great.

Besides, the nights leading up to the actually trip to the hospital you’ll be googling “how far apart do contractions need to be before going to the hospital” 20 times. So you digging for your class notes is likely the last thing you want to do.

So there you have it, four reasons to not sign up for prenatal classes. If you are considering it, just save your time and money for something else cause I really believe you can get more value elsewhere.

Before I finish, I feel like I can’t be all down on prenatal classes and I do have something positive to say about it. So here it goes:

The one thing that is good about prenatal class is that there’s always another couple who is less prepared and further behind than you are. That couple makes you feel pretty good about your situation – that is, unless you are that couple.

Selfie at the hospital while the wife is having contractions. Good to see our priorities were straight right?
Seriously, her contractions were 5 minutes apart at this point. Always remember to have fun!

 

 

Prenatal Class 2: Shoving Things Into a Pregnant Lady

 

Back in my public school days I would remember how we as kids felt about Sex Ed when we were learning about contraceptives.  It was awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassing, but all the kids would hide their discomfort by playing it cool and laughing things off.  Most of us would just joke around and not pay too much attention.

Well according to stats can, in 2005 from ages 15-19 the rate of pregnancy was 29.2 per 1000 women.

That’s actually quite high, and I suppose kids should’ve paid more attention.  Or maybe they should’ve been provide with a stronger deterent.  I mean one-third is nothing to laugh at.

 

hmmmm….

 

I think I might have a solution to drastically reduce that number.

How about we…

TAKE THEM TO A FLIPPING PRENATAL CLASS!!!

Forget the science centre or the zoo, they should load up the kids tricking them into thinking they going on a field trip and just drop them off at the hospital for a prenatal class.  Better yet, just let them roam the maternity ward and watch a live birth.

The things you see at these classes you cannot unsee. 

Now I understand as a father I will see all the goods when my wife eventually delivers but man, the instructional videos and information they provide about vacuums, forceps, vaginal slicing procedures go beyond one’s capacity.

I’m all for knowledge is power, but truthfully, ignorance is a bliss.

To be fair, we did pick up on useful tips, such as when do we know we should go to the hospital (five minute interval contractions that are one minute long), or which areas f the body to massage whe she’s in labour.  But that’s what Google is for.  And at least Google gives the option of only showing safe-search on images.

At one point the instructor was showing us the hook that punctures the bag of water.  She even joked, “for you ladies that crochet, it is actually quite similar to the hook that the doctor would use.”

Great.  Just great.

Not only did this class ruin conceiving, it’s ruined crocheting.  I will never look at a crochet hook the same way!  It’s purpose is no longer to make awesome knitted dolls, it’s now used to poke into my wife’s you-know-what to open the flood gates of Ewww.

Well, that's ruined.
Well, that’s ruined.

 

And to my wife’s credit she tried her best to tough through the class.  I mean it must suck to know in advance what the possible scenarios are.  Like I said, not knowing might be better.

It’s almost like sitting down at a restaurant only to be told by the waiter that you’ll get explosive D after this meal, and you don’t have the option of not eating the food.

At least if you don’t know you’ll get food poisoning, you’ll unknowingly enjoy your meal, only to find out later on.

Suffice to say, my advice would to be to steer clear of the prenatal classes, especially if your wife is already stressed about the process.  But we still have two more to go.  So we’ll see what terror next week brings.

In any case, if there was a saving grace to this class, it would really be the fact that we were able to tour the maternity ward and hear the sounds of babies.  To think that in roughly three months we’ll be in that environment with our own baby is quite…special.

Maybe it was a good thing we got the sex ed we got, cause at the end of the day, despite all the scary details about the birthing process, it should be worth it.