Well, we’ve reached the end of ‘Season 1’; the pregnancy part of our story. Before I talk about what the experience of labour and birth was like for us or tell you about what our life is like now, I just wanted to do a recap of some of the top stories and advice from our pregnancy adventure.
Final Bump Update
As I sit down to start writing this, I am at home in an empty house while my wife is on the hospital ward, waiting for them to stick a Berocca in her, or whatever it is they do to get labour started – I don’t know, I’m not allowed to be there. We reached over a week past our due date, so she was booked in to be induced. M’wife was very uncomfortable by the end, but she stayed active, kept having baths and using her yoga ball and all the other stuff she was supposed to do. I think she was a lot more uncomfortable than she let on, but she was a big damn hero and mostly just got on with it.
As I said, I’ll be talking about labour and the birth in a feature-length special to kick off Season 2, but before I move onto that, I just wanted to do a final recap of Season 1.
Here is a summary of the key events from each trimester of the pregnancy:
This blog started back in October 2019, around the time of our twelve-week scan, when we announced the news to our friends and family. It was also the time I realised that there didn’t seem to be much content out there aimed specifically at dads, which is partly why I started this blog.
We have been incredibly lucky in that m’wife didn’t really struggle with morning sickness. The only time she did feel unwell was when she ignored the label on the vitamins and took them on an empty stomach, which was entirely her own fault! The only thing she struggled with early on were bouts of tiredness, but these only lasted a couple of weeks.
Again, not a lot of drama here. We had the gender scan and, despite the little bugger not co-operating, everything seemed to be going fine. From the dad’s perspective, at least, there was not a lot to report beyond the bump starting to get bigger and all the things we had to start buying to get the house ready for the baby.
She started to get more tired, frustrated and achy, but she’s a strong woman who has taken it all remarkably well. See below for some top tips on how to deal with living with an angry hippopotamus and how to tame it! This is also when everything went into hard mode in the aftermath of The Event. Still, before the lockdown, we started NCT classes and managed to get the nursery and most of our other preparations done.
Here are a few of my top tips for how you can (both) survive the pregnancy.
The Pregnancy Pillow – one of the top purchases of the last nine months was the pregnancy pillow that my wife has been sleeping on for the last few months. I’ve included a photo below, but it is basically designed to allow her to sleep comfortably in the positions that are best for her and the baby.
This was particularly useful in helping her to get comfortable and get a good night’s sleep during the second trimester, though it became less useful towards the end as she became her own ballast for lying on her side! However, it still gets occasional use when she is trying to get into a comfortable position for feeding.
Yoga ball – definitely my top recommended purchase. Particularly in late semester three, as she got larger and larger, m’wife found it harder and harder to get comfortable, but rather than sitting around on the sofa all day, making it worse and grumbling about it, she took some advice and purchased the yoga ball.
Whenever her back or hips were giving her trouble, she would sit on the ball and sometimes have a bit of a bounce and it definitely helped her feel less achy. I’ve even had a sit on it myself a couple of times to relieve back strain and make sure I’ve not been totally inactive during the quarantine, so this is definitely the best £12 we’ve spent!
“Dummy” by Matt Coyne – of all the blogs, books and videos I have checked out over the last few months, this book has been by far my favourite. An honest and hilarious exploration of birth and early childcare, this book managed to cheer my up during some difficult moments and helped me to prepare for the realities of my son’s birth.
Attend an NCT Class – We are both so glad that we went to the NCT classes. Not only did we learn a lot (and I would have been much more terrified going into the delivery room without that knowledge) but we now have a support network of other parents, mainly – at the moment – via WhatsApp. I’ve heard mixed reports about the women who run NCT classes elsewhere, but ours was brilliant, sensible and well-informed, and she really helped us ‘prepare to be unprepared’ for the arrival of our son. It wasn’t cheap, but I would say it was definitely worth it. If you can’t afford the classes run by NCT, then definitely try to find some of the sessions run by the NHS and other groups as it is definitely worth, it both for the knowledge and the support.
I just want to point out that we are very much aware of how incredibly lucky we have been. It hasn’t exactly been easy for us, but we have had no real health scares or complications, my wife has handled everything that was thrown at her with very little drama and hasn’t needed a great deal of extra care and attention from me. Plus, we’ve had amazing support from our friends and family, especially in light of the lockdown and other knock-on effects of The Event. We know other parents who are isolated far from their families, whose babies have breached or been premature, women who have needed to be induced and given emergency c-sections… This blog was not intended to rub this luck in anyone’s faces (and it would have continued whatever had happened). I just hope that some parents (and dads in particular) will find some of it interesting or useful.
I’ll be checking back soon to talk about our experience at the hospital and life with our new “bairn” in Season 2, but, for now, I’ll leave Season 1 on a bit of a cliffhanger…
… or I can just show a picture of our happy, healthy baby boy instead. 😊
In a world full of uncertainty and disruption, we have brought a little bit of life (and disruption) into our lives and that, if nothing else, is worth celebrating.
I Am Your Father, Season 2 will return in Summer 2020.