In celebration of Father’s Day this month, Dan will be sharing a few posts on his experience becoming a dad. This post is a dad’s perspective on labor.
Hind sight is twenty-twenty, but I hope prospective dads can learn from me. I know every dad is scared, excited and overwhelmed with emotions, at least I was! I’m not sure that anything could have prepared me better for labor, but with a couple of more educated decisions, things may have gone a little smoother.
At the end of the pregnancy we were very anxious to meet Aiden, so we started trying some of the old wives tales to try to encourage him to come out. I’m not sure if any of them really helped, but they certainly didn’t hurt!
The first (unintentional) wives tale we tried was scaring the baby out! Melissa and I were leaving a friend’s house, actually talking about how scaring or startling a pregnant woman can kick start labor, when we narrowly missed a buck that ran across the road. This scared me, so I can’t imagine what it did to Melissa. OH wait yes I can, she started contracting, for the rest of the trip and once we were home! Of course, I started timing the contractions while I got ready for work, but this, I believe, is when I made the first mistake and showed Melissa my hand. I was so overwhelmed with emotions and nervous energy I did not know what to do. I was so nervous I didn’t know if I should go to work or wait at home with Melissa. The contractions started off about one every 45-minutes to every 20-30 minutes for about 3-hours. My nerves and excitement started to stress Melissa out even more, so it was a good that I listened to her and went to work. I received a couple of text messages with updates, the first one was informing me that the contractions were lengthening out and not as strong as they were before. The final update I received a little later was that she was going to go to bed and the contractions had stopped. False Alarm
The other wives tale we did a lot of was walking. For weeks we walked to try to encourage Aiden to come out. On November 27, we knew that Aiden was coming anytime so we decided to brave Black Friday and try and get ready for Christmas. We drove out to the Leesburg Outlets to get our Christmas gifts and then out to Berryville, VA to a Christmas Tree farm and waked around until we found the tree (don’t worry I chopped it down and carried it to the car). We probably walked a good 1-2 miles in a very hilly part of Virginia.That night Melissa decided to clean out our closet. You hear about nesting and that right before a woman goes into labor she cleans the house, well Melissa went on a rampage, throwing everything out of the closet. At the time I didn’t know this was the cleaning thing everyone was talking about.
On Saturday, November 28th Melissa was feeling pretty uncomfortable, and we were a couple days past due so to get her mind off the pregnancy I took her to see Mocking Jay Part 2. It was about 30-minutes into the movie when a very surprising scene happened, it startled Melissa and kicked in her contractions. She was visibly uncomfortable for the whole movie, but she managed to make it through the movie. For the next 3 hours we timed the contractions which were speeding up and becoming more regular. My nervous energy flared back up. We took a long walk, at which time we got the contractions down to every 15-minutes for about two hours. By 8 pm Melissa’s contractions were down to five=minutes apart with each contraction lasting for about one-minute each for the next three hours. At this point I was excited about Melissa going into the labor and nervous about having to leave for work soon… typical guy! This, of course, was not helping Melissa at all and when I asked about calling the doctor to ask if she should come to the hospital, she was stressed because of the contractions and me. We finally made the call and the doctors said come on in, and get checked out!
I have been a certified police officer in Washington DC for the last seven years and I am trained to drive with lights and sirens at a high rate of speed but even that training couldn’t prepare me for that trip to the hospital!
We have been to hospital multiple times and always go the same way. When the doctor gave us the green light to go to the hospital it took us 23-minutes to get there. It was the longest 23-minutes of my life, and I did not go under 75mph until I got off the highway and was driving through the neighborhoods of Arlington to get to the hospital. Every pothole and bump was amplified because I could see her cringe after each one. For some reason, because I thought it would be faster, I deviated from out normal route and Melissa noticed. This did not help me at all because I was stressed about not getting lost to the hospital, stressed about every bump I hit. This change in our route maybe even cut off a couple of minutes, but that night seemed like it added 10-minutes!
My advice for the dads to be?
- Try to stay cool, calm and collected, because your wife is already overwhelmed with the pregnancy and impending birth. You need to be calm cool and collected.
- Know your route to the hospital and back-up routes, that way you can show confidence if your wife questions your route while you are driving to the hospital.
- Wait until the contractions are 2-3 minutes apart before leaving for the hospital; trust me, you still have plenty of time! In my next post, you will learn why I wish we waited until Melissa was having contractions every 2-3 minutes before going to the hospital.