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.
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.
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.
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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