Ignorance is Bliss


(Week Two of Daddyhood)
I begin by admitting that ‘SavvyDad’ is a premature title, but I will strive to earn it in time, proudly ‘settling’ today for just Dad. This in and of itself, is a daunting enough title, bequeathed on Tuesday, May 24 at 7 am when my son Baxter was born at home surrounded by his mom (Amy), two talented midwives, and me.

There’s so much to share. Every new day, every moment brings change and wonder. But let’s begin at the beginning.

Being a good dad through your partner’s pregnancy is pretty simple: do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. For me this was no challenge. Amy is not demanding and rarely complains. But that doesn’t mean that her discomfort, her aches, sleep deprivation and general hormonal sea-change wasn’t making her life just a tad miserable. I tried to take on more chores and assist her before she had to ask. It was just like business management—remove obstacles to create a productive environment. It also meant taking part in whatever preparatory courses or appointments were required.

Beyond the midwife’s clinic and ultrasound, Amy had discovered, through a friend, a book and class on hypno-birthing, which claims a path to a pain-free natural birth. Yeah, I know. But to be honest, Amy did acquire new skills, learned to control her breathing and gained a better understanding of the sensations (pain) her body would go through during birth. These are very useful tools during labour and birth. To make everything more peaceful, the course renames a lot of terms. “Contractions” are “surges”, “delivery” is a no-no (because babies are not UPS packages); and “pain”? Suffice to say I can’t remember what their word for it was, but it’s still called pain to me and Amy has a few more words for it in her vocabulary today.

Labour and birth found me part nurse, part breathing coach, cold compress manager, hand-holding partner, part statistician, tracker of contractions… surge lengths and patterns and part gofer. In a three-story house, after 15 hours of all this multitasking, I felt I had run a marathon.

But the gold medal goes to Mom. Partners, you will feel a sharp and intense indebtedness (for lack of any better word) to the mother of your child. A respect and awe that was previously incomprehensible, and now that the magic moment has passed, even more so.

Next subject: the Push Present—a term so foreign it had to be spelled out to me.


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