Tidal Rise (2)

When it comes to labor & delivery preparation, you usually come across lists and tips for the expecting mamas. I have an amazing OBGYN (shout out to Dr. Allison Anderson!) and we chose to deliver at St. David’s Women’s Center both times. Personally, this was the best decision for our family and I can only share our experience from a hospital setting. With our oldest, we took the hospital tour, packed MY bag, and checked off the to do list. Upon checking in at the hospital, we were feeling great until my husband had to pull out the infamous couch bed in the hospital room and tried his best not to catch hypothermia from the frigid room. Meanwhile, I’m reclined in bed watching “The Bachelor” and eating ice chips. Ladies, pack a blanket and hoodie for your husband or partner. They will thank you. Although we are the ones pushing out a human and physically going through the process, I couldn’t help feeling sympathetic for my husband. That is about the time the door swung open and I’m informed that he found the snack lounge and pulls 20 packets of graham crackers out of his pocket. He also loaded up on the free apple juice. I honestly haven’t laughed so hard in my life. He was SO excited for graham crackers and apple juice. In that moment, I realized that we did not put much effort in preparing HIS bag. I asked my husband what tips he would offer to other expecting dads about to walk into what he has come to call “another planet”.

Here is what he had to say:

So, soon to be Dad, do you think you’re ready to embark on the unknown? Let me offer some tips that may help you for this out-of-body experience you are about to set sail on . Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing that can prepare you to witness “creation”, but these are the few of the things that I experienced…

1.  Nurse – She (or he) is your warm security blanket. She made me feel warm and fuzzy when she would come check on us.  Ask your nurse questions. How to swaddle, how to bathe your bambino, and the list goes on. Leverage her to the max. After all, you’re paying (a lot) for this excursion.

2.  Snack room – If your hospital doesn’t have one, well sir, then you need to find yourself one that does. I made a few visits to the snack room, and by few I mean 30.  So, in this room was treasure. By treasure I mean a Keurig coffee maker, popsicles, ice cream, different species of crackers, peanut butter packets, juices, whatever. If you forget your family size box of Cheez-Its like I did, fret not! You’ll be surprised what you can MacGyver together with some imagination. I probably paid for half our deductible in graham crackers alone.

3.  If you have ADD be warned – In your delivery room you’ll be left alone with gadgets everywhere. Monitors with graphs, medical devices with lights, beeping this, flashing that, IV hook-ups all over the place, tools (specifically the tool all guys must screw with = the reflex hammer). Your senses will be overloaded with curiosity. Of course I had to explore every gadget in that room because it was so foreign to me. If you sleep in complete darkness good luck with that. At night the room looks like a Miley Cyrus concert at the very least.

4.  To be involved or not – When your wife is fully dilated (assuming you don’t go the C-section route) you can choose if you want to see what’s going on as the baby is crowning or not. I’ll be honest, I thought I would be too squeamish to experience the birth firsthand. To my surprise, for both daughter’s births, I was fascinated by the whole process. Maybe it was the adrenaline and the emotions, but it was definitely an experience I won’t forget.

5.  Once baby is born, there’s no going back.

You can’t put the baby back in. That’s medically impossible, and there’s no shoehorn big enough. Joking aside, reality will set in. It’s just a matter of when. For me it was the first night we actually slept with baby in our recovery room. I remember my initial thought was we’ll be released in 24-48 hours and we’re on our own. No more nurses, no more doctors, no more “warm blanket” feeling that I could call our nurse if my baby made a strange noise or to correct me if I’m doing something wrong. Also, what is our daily/night routine going to change? Too many concerns to list. My point is life felt weird for roughly two days after we were released from the hospital and seemed to get back to normal when we got in a routine.

Well, that is all the advice you are going to get from him.  All joking aside, it was fun to hear my husband’s perspective of the entire process. It was a reminder than no matter how perfect your nursery looks or how well you organize your diaper bag, nothing can prepare you for first time you hold your baby. Enjoy the ride!


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