It has all led to this. In previous installments we have covered a wide array of topics on preparing you for the day your bundle of joy arrives. You are still nowhere near what any person with even the most basic vocabulary would call “ready,” but there is no more time. Baby is arriving.
Your partner may experience Braxton Hicks, which are essentially false contractions, and not to be confused for the name of some country music artist debuting his new album, “A love as false as her contractions.”
Sometimes your partner’s due date will come and go with no sign of an upcoming birth. There are plenty of old wives tales that supposedly induce labor, including eating eggplant parmesan. There is no medical reason why the dish can cause such a reaction, it just goes to prove that even children in-utero would rather go through the stress of being born than eat eggplant.
Other suggestions are going for a walk or even intercourse. However, at this stage your partner will look like a potato with toothpicks for extremities, so her willingness to do anything physical is pretty much out of the question.
Eventually, the 10-month, baby-building process will come a conclusion. Yes, dad-to-be, the whole “pregnancy is nine months” idea is false, a belief put in place to give pregnant mothers hope that it’ll be over soon during those final weeks as their abdomen stretches to the size of a beach ball.
Once you and your partner have confirmed that labor is underway, it’s time to grab the “hospital bag” we talked about in the last installment. Remember how I said you should ensure you have plenty of sedatives for yourself? Now is the time to take them. Along your journey to fatherhood, you have probably felt pangs of anxiety and nervousness, but nothing up to this point will compare to the moment your partner goes into labor.
And nothing can prepare you for what you are about to see.
I could go into detail about the actual birthing process, but in the throes of the excitement, stress and crippling-anxiety, you won’t remember any advice I give you. All you will be able to think about is being there for your partner, trying to comfort her in any way that you can while you share this amazing experience and “OH MY GOD THE HUMAN BODY SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DO THAT.”
Staying above your partner’s shoulders can also dangerous to your well-being because she will likely be hitting you with a strength and frequency that would put Manny Pacquaio to shame.
Of course, not all births occur this way. Sometimes baby is extremely cozy in her uterine apartment and has to be evicted through medically induced labor (eggplant is pumped directly into the mother’s bloodstream). A surgeon will then perform a cesarean section, named after its inventor, Caesar Section.
Those with weak constitutions or weak stomachs should stay above you partner’s shoulders during this procedure because the surgeon will cut through approximately 4,146 levels of your partner’s flesh, muscle and tissue to get to baby.
Not all c-sections are planned, though, and sometimes for the health of baby and mother, an emergency surgery will need to be performed. If your partner has to be anesthetized, there is a good chance you will not be permitted in the operating room. Nurses may have you wait in a dark 4-foot by 6-foot room, alone, while sheer terror for the health of your partner and baby races through your mind. At least, that is what happened in my case, and why I suggest sedatives.
No matter the method of delivery, once baby makes her first appearance and you see for the first time this life that you helped create, you will be absolutely overcome with emotion — joy, relief, excitement, bliss, fulfillment, serenity and, of course, confusion.
Your bewilderment will be caused by the fact that babies fresh from the womb, and there’s no gentle way to put this, look like alien life forms from a cheesy sci-fi movie. They are slimy, covered in various viscous substances and are simultaneously around five different colors.
But you will be so overjoyed that this little alien is your son or daughter. And in a show of gratitude for bringing this sheer happiness into your life, you will lovingly caress your partner, who at this point will have thankfully gotten all the punches out of her system.
All the time spent planning, preparing and anticipating has ended. Baby is finally here, and you are officially a father, though this will still seem surreal.
But it will soon become extremely real, and that is the subject of the next installment in which we will go over the first days of being a father, and how hospitals will let you, a person with absolutely no experience at parenting whatsoever, care for every aspect of a human life.