God bless her heart, Mary chose to have a natural birth. So, if you’re wife wants to go the drugs route, then some of this post will apply to you.  For all of you poor bastards whose wives plan on traveling the Thin Red Line of natural birth, I’m about to learn you somethin’ fierce.

Like I discussed in Part 1 of WWJBD, I model everything I do as a dad after what I think Jack Bauer would do as a real life dad.  You should to. You’re gonna need it,  for up ahead of you waits an epic battle of Helm’s Deep proportions – birth.

Birth sucks.

Birth sucks, a lot.
It’s not fun, it’s not easy, and it’s certainly not magical like a lot of these earthy-crunchy types say.  If you’re drinking that crazy hippie KoolAid…dude…you are in line for the biggest Rude Awakening Ravishing Rick Rude ever gave.  From a guy’s perspective, everything about birth – the labor, the pushing, the stupid “hee-hee-whoo-whoo” breathing, the waiting, oh my god the waiting, and worst of all, the IMMENSE pain you’re wife goes through – suck, suck, and more suck.
Birth rivals even the worst kinds of suck on this planet: the Blazers picking Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan, Jar-Jar Binks, the last warm sip of beer/backwash in your solo cup,  Mounds candy bars, the McCain presidential campaign in ’08, sitting next to the-guy-that-won’t-shut-the-fuck-up on a plane, even Bill Buckner letting the ball go through his legs in the ’86 World Series – wait, maybe not that last one.  There’s just some levels of suck that cannot, and will not, ever be eclipsed.

Anything can happen during birth, and it’s all up to your wife and the hospital staff, kiddo.  Ultimately, the entire situation is completely, and utterly, out of your control.  There is literally nothing you can do to help, and/or do, to take the pain away from your wife.  And. It’s. Terrifying.

Guess what, though?  It’s supposed to be terrifying (your wife is pushing out your giant headed baby through a grape-sized hole – let’s see one of you clowns do that and live to tell about it.)  It’s entirely reasonable to be afraid. You should be afraid.  Better yet, as Yoda wisely once said, “you will be.”  Birth is a serious fucking event. But, despite how much I know I’ve just scared you, I promise you’re going to be fine. We’ve all been there. Trust me, if this jamoche can do it, then you definitely can.


The Most Important Rule You Need To Know About Birth:

If your wife wants a “natural birth,” but she ends up needing a c-section, or an epidural, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. More importantly, she needs to know it. Truly, she will be extremely upset about this decision and you need to support her 100%. It will all be worth it because even though birth sucks, the most invigorating and precious gift of your life is the prize that awaits you at the end of this suck tunnel.

Birthing Tips

1.  Get a doula –  Don’t know what a doula is?  Problem solved. Our doula – Kim McNiece of Blessed Beginnings – saved my ass from having a nervous breakdown. Listen, I know you think you’re the kind of man who built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn.  So,you don’t need a doula to help you out, right?  WRONG.  I promise that you’re not as tough as you think. Your wife will be experiencing a kind of pain with which you have no chance of empathizing and I assure you, you won’t be a man.  You’ll shed more tears than Nancy Kerrigan after being metal piped in the leg because, as I said, there is literally nothing you can to do to help.  But you doula will be there to rescue you. Trust me, don’t do it alone. You need someone who is an expert in all things birthing, and who will guide you throughout your entire pregnancy/birth.  And that’s important because in the hospital, while the busy doctors, and even busier nurses, run around to tend to god knows how many patients, you’re going to need someone who is only on your side. Just spend the money and get a doula.  When it’s all over, you don’t even have to come back to thank me.  You’re already welcome.

2. Watch The Business Of Being Born. – This documentary will, honest-to-god, teach you all about the birthing process.  You’ll learn what to watch out for, and why to make certain decisions regarding birth – and it will put every option imaginable right in front of you.  I’m really not being sarcastic here, it’s actually a very good tool for you and your wife. It will truly help you.  Secondly, the ladies who made this documentary – including Ricki Lake(from what Hobbit hole did she reappear?!) – are a prime example of what you should never, ever become.  Holy fuck, these birthing tree-huggers spew so much granola that the DVD should come with a lifetime supply of Patchouli. They jam it down your throat that birth is a special time full of nothing but joy, natural high, and beauty. According to their model, everyone should be using a midwife, have a home birth, or (more preferably) a water birth.   But here’s the rub – no matter what these walking-hemp-bracelets try to tell you – there is no bubble-of-peace in the delivery room, and rainbows did not shoot out of my wife’s vagina either. And, no, despite their best efforts to convince the world otherwise, my wife didn’t give birth to a fucking unicorn either.  It was just a nasty, blood and vernix covered baby.  She suffered, and she cried.  She also shook uncontrollably while she suffered, and cried. We had doctors, and Tall Mom even had an epidural (gasp!) But, guess what?  My kid is healthy, and relatively happy.  He wears Star Trek onesies for christ’s sake. Listen ladies, babies are special, but babies aren’t unicorns. They’re babies.  That’s all.  Chill the fuck out.

3.  Get the formalities out of the way while you can – Pre-register your wife at the hospital, and make sure your car is in perfect condition.  Picture this: you’re waiting in the lobby, and suddenly, one person is staring at you with a fiery hate. “Gus,” the janitor, who looks older than the knight at the end of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, is staring at you like he wants to kill your kittens because your wife just broke her water all over the nice marble floor he waxed yesterday – instead of the delivery room.  You know, that place where she should have been twenty minutes ago if you weren’t the asshole who forgot to pre-register your wife.  You don’t want Gus to look at you, shake his head in shame, and say, “You chose poorly.” (I shit you not, this really happened one time – I spoke to Gus-the-janitor at our hospital and he was bullshit about it.)  Speaking of getting to the hospital, make sure that chariot of yours is in tip-god-damn-top-shape.  Check EVERYTHING. Check the seatbelts, brakes, tire pressure, oil, gas, engine coolant, flux capacitor, battery life, spark plugs, even the cabin filter for Christ’s sake.  It all has to be perfect.  This is your opportunity to show off how manly you really are, and how awesome your Pimp Mobile, Shaggin’ Waggon,  Night Rider, Welsey Pipes (whatever stupid nickname you’ve given your car) truly is. Yes, it’s finally the time to break out your “awesome” Marty McFly impression you’ve been dying to show to people.  But, you gotta make sure you nail that precious 88 mph with 1.21 gigawatts behind you. Otherwise, you, and that random homeless dude who lives on the corner, will be catching your newborn babe in the backseat of your Loser Cruiser.

4.  Pack two bags for the hospital – Put them by your front door at least two weeks before your due date.  Once you get to two weeks out, your kid is coming any minute (my kid was born two weeks early).  I know it’s counter-intuitive to a man’s inherent nature, but pack two bags.  You see, women have this disease called, “pack-way-too-much-shit-itis.”  As a result of this crippling disease, your wife is planning for every contingency imaginable, and has very specific expectations about what she wants to bring.  So, no matter what it is, pack everything she wants into one of the bags.  Pack it all – with no questions asked.  But, as you’re packing, pack a separate bag with these items. But most importantly, pack snacks for you.  Pack lots of fucking snacks. A weird fact is that the hospital don’t feed dads. So, literally hoard food because you’re going to be more ravenous than a starving Ethiopian kid who has seen his first Roast Turkey dinner. When the time to go to the hospital arrives, get your wife in the car first, and then go back to the house to grab the bag you packed full of the stuff you learned from this post.  Guess what you’ll do next?   LEAVE THE OTHER BAG.  It’s full of useless shit that you don’t need.  When she eventually asks for the aforementioned useless shit in the recovery room, you can say, “oh, no!  I must have forgotten it in the craziness of getting here.  I’m so sorry.  I’ll go home and get it right now.”  Of course she’ll tell you not to get it because now the kid’s delivered and she needs you.  So, now, not only do you not have all the useless shit that you were so cooperative/supportive in packing, but you also look like a hero because you’ve just gallantly volunteered to leave your newborn to take care of your lovely wife.  We call this a, “win-win” in these parts.  Again, you’re welcome.

5. Bribe the nurses –  Nothing is free.  Not even kindness.  If you want to be treated like a king, you’ve got to pay like a king.  I’m sorry, but fact is fact.  I’m not saying that you should go to the hospital with an envelope stuffed full of Benjamins.  But, take care of your nurses because they are looking after the most important cargo in your life: your wife and kid.  If you want special attention, then you need to get them on your side. How? Make sure you have a gift for the nurses upon your arrival at the hospital (I brought a Box of Joe and a chocolate layer cake from Gregg’s Restaurant.).  By the way, don’t bring anything healthy – these guys work way too hard to be eating fucking Kale Chips.  Additionally, for every day you stay at the hospital, go get the nursing staff some junk food.  Every day, I went to the local Dunkin’ Donuts and bought a Box Of Joe, dozen donuts, and random pastries for the staff to munch on.   Believe me – if you crack open those rust caked hinges of your wallet, and spring a few bucks every day for the nurses, your family will be taken care of as if you were a king.  Need some extra diapers?  Done.  Need to run out for a little while, and you want a nurse to stay with your wife while you’re gone?  Done.  Bothered by visitors, and you want them out?  The nurse has got you covered without question.  Nurses are truly God’s people.  Take care of them, and they will take care of you.
6.  Throw out the birth plan – Throw that shit right out the window.  I hate birth plans. The birth plan is just as useless as the bag ‘o shit your wife wanted to bring to the hospital.  Maybe more.  Right now, while you read these very words, your wife is planning every second of her birth, and she’s excited about her birth plan. What your wife doesn’t know, however, is that it NEVER happens this way in real life.  There are too many variables that can, and will, go awry.  C-Sections, epidurals, and other complications – despite your birth plan – are very real, and happen often.  Listen, when it starts to go down at the hospital, your wife is going to realize that the birth plan was a waste of time, and she’s going to be really broken up about it.  But, neither you, nor your wife should be discouraged once the “plan” is rendered useless.  The amount of possibilities, as it relates to getting that kid out of your wife, are innumerable.  You could love your plan, have all your shit together, and pray to the “baby gods” throughout the whole pregnancy to ensure the birth you “planned.”  But, for the love of Murphy’s Law, something WILL happen that even Nostradamus couldn’t see coming.  Just accept the fact that the birth plan is only a “wish-list,” and it will be easier to deal with when that wishlist goes to shit.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.
7.  Stay North of the border – Holy hell do not look down there while the birth is happening.  I know there are pockets of men who loved to look at the their wife’s vagina while it ballooned to the size of a watermelon during birth.  But, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again a bajillion times – there are certain things men cannot unsee.  Make no mistake, this is one of them.  Yes, I totally understand that a kid is popping out of that bad boy.  But, I don’t need to see it.  And,  if I didn’t see it – did it actually happen?  Perhaps I’m putting the vagina on a pedestal.  I don’t know.  But, circle of trust here, I’d like to remember that area in a wholly sexual nature.  It’s gonna be kind hard to – ya know – if all I can think about is my kid’s deformed head peeking out at me.  Your doctor will probably ask you to come down and take a look.  Just politely shake your head and say, “thanks doc, I’m all set.”  Cut the cord, hold her legs while she’s pushing, be helpful, and do all that happy horse shit.  That’s fine.  Just, for the love of everything that is good and holy in this world, DO NOT witness the actual birth of your kid.  Definitely be aware of it, and respect it.  Seriously – what happens down there is amazing.  Yes,  I know that my kid came out of there, and I know that when things get “intimate,” my brain will tell me, “you’re kids foot was right here,’ or “this is where his head popped out.” But I didn’t see it happen. And after not seeing it, you know what I’m gonna be able to say when I look myself in the mirror?  Ignorance is bliss.
8.  Break out your biggest beer-muscles –  Strangely enough, you have to protect your wife, and your newborn baby.  Yes, it sounds a little cheesy, but it’s true.  Make sure the doctors, or nurses, ask you the questions and not your wife.  She’s kind of busy pushing out your future All-Pro Defensive Tackle at the moment.  If you don’t know the answer, and you need your wife, make sure the staff waits until your wife is ready to provide the answer. It’s really fucking dumb to have your wife answer their ridiculous questions if she’s in the middle of a contraction. Other things to watch out for: 1. Doctors pushing to make BIG decisions like c-section or pitocin too quickly.  2. Your man-pride – no matter what she says, or does to you, don’t take it personally.  She’s doing her best impression of Linda Blair in The Exorcist at that moment, and she’s not in her right mind.  Just keep saying to yourself – The power of Christ compels you!  The power of Christ compels you! 3.  Too many people in the loop. Nobody comes in and out of that room unless they have YOUR approval – this includes friend, family, and others.  It’s awkward, yes, but man up.  Your wife shouldn’t have to (or feel like she has to) entertain anybody.  Honestly, don’t invite anyone til feedings have been figured out and you are comfortable with having this tiny human under your charge.  4. Social media. Tell everyone to keep anything related to your baby off of social media until you and your wife are either comfortable with it, or you’ve made the first post.  You don’t want crazy Aunt Petunia breaking the news to the world on Facebook because she’s “sooooooooooo excited for little baby Huey.” Or was it because she forgot to take her Xanax?  Either way, social media black out.

9.  Pound Red Bulls like its your job –  Before your kid’s birth, people always say with a stupid little smirk, “oh, get your sleep in now, while you can!”  What they’re really saying is, “you’re fucked.”   And they’re right.  About the you-being-fucked part, that is.  No amount of sleep you get before baby comes, makes any difference after the baby is out.  If you’re like me during the labor/birth, you won’t sleep for forty-five straight hours during the birth process. I woke up for work on Thursday morning, and didn’t fall back asleep until late Saturday afternoon.  Oh, you’ll be fine for a little while because of the adrenaline.  But eventually, your natural high will subside once you get to the recovery room, and then it’s zombie time. But, by then, you’re nervous as shit because your spawn is laying right next you, and he makes all these weird fucking noises. Of course, every noise he makes is a sign of certain death, right?  Add that nervousness to the constant interruption from nurses who check on your wife, and baby, throughout the nightand it all equals no sleep.  I promised myself I would never become that preachy parent who makes it seem like they’re the smartest guy in the room, but you have no idea what “tired” is.  Not yet, at least.  Like me, you’ll eventually discover that you’d kill for at least three straight hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Your wife will birth a kid, and you’re gonna need to learn A LOT.  What the hell do I do now that I have the kid?  You put what where?  What the hell does that grunting sound mean?  And what in the fuck is that black shit that’s coming out of his ass?  The questions are endless.  You’re gonna be super fucking tired.  And it’s gonna suck.  The only answer is to start pounding Red Bulls so you can keep up.  You may develop some serious acid reflux, and you may succumb to uncontrollable shakes, but at least you’ll be alert, awake, and able to help your wife when she needs it.

10. Steal everything – Seriously, steal like your Winona Ryder gone on a Christmas shopping spree.  Whatever you can get your grubby little hands on, pack it away like you packed for the end of the world before Y2K.  Items to steal:  mesh panties – your wife won’t wanna get her actual panties dirty.  Ice pack pads – I’m not gonna get into why you need them, just steal them and you’ll thank me. Diapers.  Baby kimonos. Hats – there is no hat on the market that will fit your kid.  If you have a boy and he gets circumcised, you’ll need tons of gauze and even more Vaseline.  Lastly, hoard ALL feminine products available. The last thing you’re going to want to do is spend money at CVS for this stupid shit, and you’re going to want to leave your newborn even less.  So steal everything. If you’re uncomfortable hoarding, Tall Mom and I had a rule – always ask for at least three of everything. That way you can use one, then pack one, and then keep the other out just in case you need it, and its not obvious you stole.  Then ask for more.

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Check out part 3: Living With Your Newborn.