Friday the 13th Childbirth Humor

Today is my son’s 27th birthday and each year on this day I relive the scenes of his childbirth. Back in the 1980s there was no internet with dad-to-be guides or helpful hints from other fathers who’d been through the ordeal. I was totally NOT prepared.

I recently searched the internet to find a plethora of information for soon-to-be fathers! One cheat sheet for dads-to-be from Joseph Lasica on the Baby Center website piqued my interest. As I reviewed his 10 points, I laughed – I never did even one!  Here’s his cheat-sheet list in bold and my twist on what went wrong.

Lasica: Recognize the onset of true labor. Me: When I arrived home from a crazy day at work without having eaten all day, my wife calmly explained it’s time. “Time for what?”  I was clueless and my stomach was growling. Big mistake.

Lasica: Know how to time the contractions. Me: My wife was timing her contractions. When I realized she was actually in labor a sudden feeling of weakness and panic set in. I had to get some food in me fast. I microwaved a hot dog and snarfed it down as my wife got her bags together. Just as we were ready to leave my stomach reminded me I was about to become a father –  nerves and excitement caused it to rebel. As the rumbling intensified I headed for the bathroom only to expel pieces of that recently eaten hot dog out my nose! So much for timing contractions!

Lasica: Don’t get to the hospital too early.  Me: No way, I’d heard enough horror stories of deliveries in cars on the way to the hospital. We were going to be there early! Besides, it was the evening of Thursday, the 12th and we didn’t want our son born on Friday, the 13th!  I wanted her to hurry up with this baby.

Lasica: Be an active participant. Me: My participation was getting us to the hospital safely. Only thing… my stomach was still reeling from that hot dog and feelings of dizziness overcame me. Instead of safely backing out of our parking space, I put it in drive and went up over the curb.

Lasica: Know what to expect during labor. Me: Because my wife was going to have a c-section, I didn’t think I needed to attend birthing classes. Dumb mistake! I thought the doctor would just start cutting when we got to the hospital. But, no, he wanted her to proceed with more contractions. Watching her huffing and puffing did nothing to quell my lightheadedness.

Lasica: Be an advocate for your partner and  Know how to play coach. Me: As much as I loved being a coach for football, playing coach for a delivery was out of my league. I couldn’t coach when I saw the size of that needle going into her back. The best thing for me to do was shut up, look away, and rub her head from a distance.

Lasica: Be prepared for what you’ll see. Me: The doctor warned me if I felt queasy not to look over the blue curtain while he was cutting through my wife’s skin and preparing to pull my son out. Well, you know when someone tells you NOT to do something, what do you do? That’s it, I just had to peek. “Oh God!” I shouted as my knees buckled. The taste of that recently eaten hot dog was coming back up my throat and into my nasal passages.

Lasica: Cut the cord if you want.  Me: I did give it one last galiant effort to peek over the curtain when the doctor held up our son. All the blood, goo, mush, stuff I can’t even describe awaited me.  Cut the cord?… no thanks.  I needed some fresh air.

Lasica: Read further – Sheila Kitzinger’s The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth (Revised); Mind over Labor: A Breakthrough Guide to Giving Birth (Penguin Handbooks); Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide.

Me: Lasica’s list of suggestions are probably very good books. But if you men want to read something with a bit of humor, you’ve got to read The New Dad’s Survival Guide: Man-to-Man Advice for First-Time Fathers.

Even though we tried hard to rush the doctor to begin the c-section earlier our son was  born about 12:30 a.m. on the 13th. We all know the association with Friday the 13th , but that day has turned out to be the most blessed day of our lives.

Thanking God for our son!

James

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