A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak to some students at Newbridge Academy about being a dad. One thing the guys were interested in knowing about was what MY experience was like in the delivery room. Very few people have asked me what it was like for ME to be in the delivery room. Instead they ask about Meghan’s experience. I understand that Meghan was the one giving birth after all. However these young guys wanted to know what it was like in the delivery room from a male perspective. With that in mind here are the; 4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went In To The Delivery Room
1. TV Lies!
I have already said that TV is a terrible teacher if you want to know how to be a good dad. It doesn’t set the delivery room expectations very well either. My wife didn’t yell that she hated me for doing this to her, she didn’t crush my hand in a painful yet comical way, she didn’t even demand drugs. Furthermore no one gave me hospital scrubs to wear. No one came in and took my baby to those baby viewing rooms. And at no point did I say, ‘Remember to breath honey heee heee whooo, hee hee whooo, hee hee whooo’. Maybe this has a lot to do with being a Canadian watching American TV. Someone from south of the border will have to tell me if they got to do all of these things, because I sure didn’t.
2. The Miracle Of Birth Is Gross
During our parenting class I learned about things like vernix and meconium so I knew babies did not come out of the womb looking like they just had a bath. We even watched a few very detailed videos. So I was mostly prepared for what I was going to see and hear. But video cannot prepare you for what you are going to smell. During birth a lot more than just the baby comes out. There is blood, amniotic fluid, stool, urine, and I suspect a whole host of other things. Needless to say that concoction did not leave the room smelling like freshly picked lilacs. Which brings me to my next point…
3. Don’t Eat Anything Heavy Beforehand
Simeon’s birth beginning to end took 50ish hours. During that time we didn’t get a lot of sleep or eat a lot of proper meals. So when the doctor told me Meghan was 3cm dilated and that it would be another 10 hours before the baby would arrive I decided to eat. So off I ran and grabbed a quick hamburger and fries from McDonalds. Meghan went from 3cm to 10cm very quickly and started pushing within a few hours. The aforementioned smells mingled with the McDonalds in my stomach in a less than pleasant way. I managed to hold on long enough for Simeon to be born, for me to cut the cord, and hold him for a moment. After that I dashed out of the room and threw up. Which is I admit not the best reaction to meeting your first born.
4. You May Not Instantly Feel Connected To The Baby
One of the neat things that a lot of mothers say about giving birth are the almost instant feelings of love and bonding with the new baby. After each of our children were born Meghan always looked exhausted but euphoric. When I first held Simeon that was my first experience with him that wasn’t mediated through Meghan or technology. I had a very surreal feeling of holding myself, but I was hardly experiencing the same euphoria that Meghan was. For many dads it takes time perhaps days, weeks or even months for those feelings of love and bonding to come. That is normal just give it time guys.
Long gone are the days where husbands get to hang out in their favorite bar passing out cigars while their wives give birth. I knew I had to be in the delivery room, but I had no idea what I was in for. I don’t know what delivery rooms will look like when the students I talked with have their own children, but I sure hope they are more ready for the experience than I was.