All of a sudden we are surrounded by babies. The Montans are giving us regular updates about their gorgeous Hailey now, and just this morning we found out that the Colsells welcomed their little man into the world. It’s been really wonderful to see our good friends come out on the “other side” of pregnancy, especially knowing that we’re about to dive in with them. Expecting your first child can be a strange and mysterious thing sometimes, like the Congo, and watching friends grow into mothers and fathers is a splash of cold water that we will be there soon, too.
So what if Nikol goes into labor tomorrow? That question came to me in the middle of our hypnobirth class on Monday night, and I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I felt under-prepared. (If she had gone into labor right then I probably would have asked Siri what to do. And Siri doesn’t know shit.) One of my main issues in that class is trying to stay on top of what we’re learning so I don’t just learn it, I absorb it and can call on that knowledge without notice. At that moment, I didn’t feel ready enough.
The next morning, Nikol and I woke up early and went for a walk around the neighborhood. We used to go on walks all the time back when we were dating, and they were a great way to escape the world and just have 1-on-1 time. Back then I was chronically addicted to work, and I struggled to clear my mind and devote it to us. Over time, though, the need to be in front of a screen floated away and we could just be in the moment. This morning felt like those long walks again, when we would talk about movies and food and maybe one day starting a family.
I told Nikol that I had been feeling worried that I wouldn't be ready if Claire came early, but she reminded me of all the things we would need to do and slowly my confidence came back. I already knew all of the steps to take, and what we would need, but I just needed to clear my mind and think about it a little. All of the things I had read and that we had discussed earlier started to come back until I realized that we both knew exactly what to do in that situation.
Nikol is growing bigger and more beautiful with every day, and there’s still a ways to go. I hope Claire takes all the time she needs, because there’s no rush and I have a lot to learn. But if she does decide to make her grand entrance early, I’ll be ready.
It can be hard to find good advice for expecting fathers, so here are a few tidbits that I’ve found especially helpful over the past few weeks and committed to memory:
Babies can differentiate between languages while still in the womb… and by the time they’re born they will already have bonded to your main language and lost some ability to recognize and make sounds in other languages. This was a pretty big surprise, so I’ve made a point to speak more Spanish to Claire lately. No one else in our hypnobirth class had heard this so explaining it actually made me feel a lot better, haha.
Anticipate her needs in advance as much as possible… because once labor starts, she’s going to have enough to worry about without being able to make sure you brought the camera. Preparation isn’t exactly my strong suit so during the day I try to make a mental note of all the things we need to bring to the birthing center when the time comes. This is also vital during the birth, because Nikol probably won’t even know when she’s hungry or thirsty, or needs dimmed lights or a massage. That’s stuff that I should just be able to see, and fix.
Do whatever she says when she says it… because that is going to make life way easier. Not easier for me – who cares about me in this situation? – but easier for her, which is infinitely more important. Plus, if I don’t do those dishes now, like this instant, then Nikol is going to do them, and that means that A) she’s not lying down and resting and B) she’s going to make the most noise of all time. It can be something as simple as not pointing out that you found the missing remote under her hand or the missing phone in her purse. Just do it and chuckle to yourself silently. It will make her life easier.
There are others, so maybe I’ll update this from time to time if you guys would like that. Hopefully they can help you and we can share some ideas on the way to parenthood. There is a lot more going on, such as Claire’s incessant kicking and rolling and my growing list of nicknames for her – first and foremost, The Claire Monster. Claire-O-Rama is another good one. I’ll keep you posted, and you already know that Nikol will, too.