Tag Archives: childbirth

11 Things Dads Should NEVER Say in the Delivery Room

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The delivery room is a strange, scary, and spectacular place. There are mystical wonders to behold, a multitude of wires attached to your loved one getting ready to deliver, and a cacophony of beeping coming from unfamiliar machines that leave you unable to decipher good from bad. It is where miracles happen, memories are made, and life is brought forth into the world.

Unless she kills you right there in the birthing suite because you’re one of the brainless jackasses who says something irreversibly stupid at the worst possible moment.

Having talked to L&D nurses, read humorous (yet cringe-inducing) accounts of ridiculous things said inside the delivery room, and having written about a semi-related topic in the past, I thought it best to get specific. In my ongoing quest to help fathers (not just fathers but anyone who plans on being in the delivery room) improve, I think this list is important simply to keep people alive.

Everyone processes emotions differently in stressful situations, and many people (myself included) resort to attempts at humor as a defense mechanism. However, your latest pun might not be well accepted as the mother of your child is attempting to pass something the size of a watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon.

I thought long and hard, consulted a few mothers in my life, and came up with this list. And I added animated GIFs so hopefully the women reading this will laugh instead of instantly try to murder their partners who undoubtedly said one or more things listed below.

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11 Stupid Things People Say to New Parents

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Prior to Sam’s birth last month it’d been five years since I dealt with a newborn. Which means it had been five years since I dealt with people saying ridiculous things following the birth of a newborn.

Look, I’m not trying to be a jerk. I’m really not. It’s just that so many of the things people say are, well — dumb. And obnoxious. And oftentimes offensive. I know it’s hardly ever done intentionally, but that doesn’t change the fact that it happens. When people are unsure of what to say or how to act, they fall back on tired stereotypes and cliches. I know because I’ve been guilty of it myself, so this is a kick in the ass for me just as much as it is for you.

But for all of our sakes, it needs to stop. Together we can put an end to the madness. But first, we need to face the ugly truths so we can identify them and never mention them again.

11. “Are you getting any sleep?”
If you’re visiting the parents of a newborn, it generally means they’ve only been home from the hospital for 10-14 days. It also means there’s a 99.999999% chance you’re asking sleep-deprived zombies whether or not they’ve gotten any shuteye. And that’s just mean. It’s like asking fat people on a diet whether they’re planning to order dessert. Just as diet-starved fatties like myself crave that solitary cupcake, parents would sell a kidney for three hours of uninterrupted sleep. Unless you happen to be speaking to the mythological beings known as parents whose kids sleep through the night from Day 1. If that’s the case, don’t ask these parents anything. Just do the rest of us a favor and hit them with a shovel.

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Introducing Sam

samAll parents think their newborns are wondrous marvels and tiny little miracles. But given the fact that I watched science assist us in fertilizing an embryo, transferring it into my wife where it grew for 40 weeks — as far as I’m concerned I witnessed an honest to goodness miracle last week.

Samuel Christopher Gouveia was born on July 31 at exactly 2 p.m. His Tankness (as I’m referring to him as of late) was a whopping 9 lbs, 3 oz and 21 inches long. MJ delivered him after less than 15 minutes of pushing, and because she’s a badass she didn’t even need any stitches afterward. It was an ironically painless and uncomplicated culmination of a process that was fraught with pain, uncertainty, and heartbreak.

I don’t want to dwell on the past because other people had it tougher and I (unfortunately) know too many parents whose young kids are no longer with us. But that doesn’t change the fact that MJ and I went through a hellish time the last few years. And although neither of us admitted it at the time, we had both given up hope of completing our family. It was evident in our demeanor, the things we said, and the choices we made. Like last year when MJ needed a new car. We thought about going with a minivan because we wanted another kid, but we bought a Kia Sportage instead. Why? Because neither of us believed we’d ever really need the extra room. And even the night before Sam was born, MJ turned to me and said “Are you convinced something is wrong with the baby?” It was no use lying to her, because that is ALL I could think about and I did believe something else was going to go wrong.

But it didn’t. Sam is healthy and beautiful. And for the first time in years, I feel like I can breathe again.

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Hey, Check Out My Wife’s Cervix!

cervixI’ve been a parent for just more than five years, and I’m about to become one for the second time. So maybe it’s because I’ve been immersed in dad groups, mom groups, and parenting in general for half a decade that I failed to see something readily apparent to those without kids — some of the stuff we talk about is simply disgusting and way too personal!

As I said, we’re about to have another baby. And since I chronicle much of my life online, everyone wants constant updates on how we’re progressing now that MJ could potentially go into labor any minute. So, like any good denizen of social media, I’ve been sharing regular updates on our progress (or lack thereof at the moment). Which means I routinely post things like the following:

“No progress since last week. MJ is still 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated.”

If you’re a parent that probably makes perfect sense and tells you exactly what you need to know. No big deal, right? But technically speaking, here’s what I really just told the world:

“So I’d like to talk for a second about the intricacies of my wife’s vaginal region. You see, what’s happening is the uterus is preparing for the baby to come out and therefore the cervix is shortening and thinning. Soon it’ll be all stretched out and REALLY thin, at which point it will begin to open. Right now we’re at 1 cm because the doctor who shoved his fingers up there told us so. But when my wife’s baby hole becomes a gaping maw of 10 cm, we’re in business.”

Explained outside the vernacular of pregnancy, it becomes quite clear very quickly that this is pretty personal stuff we’re talking about. And when I thought some more on it, I realized it happens constantly and has been occurring for some time.

Seriously, think about it for a second. After you got married, what was the first thing your old Aunt Mildred bugged you about (probably while the reception was still in progress)? “So…when are you gonna have a baaaa-by?” Sounds common enough, but what Mildred is really saying is “When are you going to penetrate your new wife’s vagina with your penis and ejaculate your sperm into her to create new life in your womb?” Yup. Mildred basically wants a timetable of your sex life and she’s demanding to know it right then and there. Yet it’s not deemed inappropriate somehow because the cultural norm is wedding then baby — so it’s open season on asking you when you next plan on making the beasts with two backs.

I’ve also listened to many women talk about the childbirth experience post-labor, and sometimes the conversations make even a guy like me blush. “How many stitches did you need?” is really code for “On a scale of good to flapping in the breeze, how mangled and destroyed did your vagina get while passing something the size of a watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon?” Even breastfeeding — as wonderful as it is — falls into this category. “Are you having any troubling breastfeeding?” usually means “How bloody and chewed up are your nipples these days?”

And don’t get me started on potty training. An army of parents (myself included) talking excessively about what manner of human feces was deposited into a plastic bucket, the amount, the number of times a day it successfully occurred — and sometimes with pictures!?

Once I stopped and stepped back from the situation I realized parents often find themselves in this odd alternative dimension in which the rules of good taste and propriety cease to apply. It’s like we all collectively say “Aw fuck it!” because we’ve all been there and we understand. But to the uninitiated, we just look like raving lunatics with no sense of boundaries or good taste.

Gotta run, I think my wife’s cervix may have dilated to 2 cm. Pics to follow.

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Where Do Babies Come From? The Butt…Obviously!

First of all, this is not an announcement that we’re having a baby. Let’s get that out of the way right up front. OK? No baby yet. Trust me, if/when there’s good news to share in this department I will be shouting it from the mountaintop!

But as most of you know, we are trying. And although we’ve been attempting to keep things on the down-low where Will is concerned, that’s slightly hard to do when he sees dad giving mom shots every night. So we told him the basics — mom and dad are going to the doctor so he can help us give Will a new baby brother or sister. Although we tried to temper his expectations for fear of disappointing him, that’s pretty hard to do since 4.5-year-olds get carried away pretty quickly.

The first question he had was logistical. He knows babies grow in a woman’s tummy, but he was confused about how they make their grand appearance into the world. Out of curiosity, we asked him where he thought babies make their exit.

“Well, the baby grows in mumma’s tummy and then when it’s time to be born the baby slides down and mumma poops it out of her butt.”

Look, you can’t fault his logic. It does make sense. And the grunting noise he made when talking about the baby being pooped out was really the cherry on top of that hysterical sundae. But even though the thought of letting him go through life thinking babies come out a woman’s derriere was tempting, we figured we should set him straight. So we told him — in a matter-of-fact tone — that babies make their escape via a woman’s vagina.

His response will forever live in infamy:

“No dada! The baby has to come out the butt. Mom’s vagina isn’t big enough to fit a baby but her bum is!”

He’s got his father’s way with words.

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