Daddy-to-Be Blog: Preparing for Baby's Arrival
Our guest 'daddy-to-be' blogger Peter Haigh, talks about how he has been preparing for the arrival of baby Haigh or as he likes to call it 'game time'!.
After a slightly scary few days visit to the labour ward at 33 weeks, due to a nasty infection, (mum & baby now doing well) I had a first-hand look into how a labour ward works. My first impression was ‘where are the crying baby noises’?! I later found out most rooms gave privacy to the families going through labour and greeting their new babies after delivery. After 2 nights on the labour ward my wife was discharged home (what a relief!) and I reflected on our time there. Firstly, hats off to the NHS staff who offered round the clock care; midwives, junior doctors, consultants and everyone else who looked after my wife and unborn baby. They were calming, reassuring and always available. Your mind does go into planning mode as a first time dad to be and I started thinking… what if this was game time and we had been here to actually deliver the baby? It’s only afterwards you notice how the pillows aren’t like home, there’s quite a few buttons and switches that do various things (still none the wiser about them!) and it’s quite a foreign environment. Secondly, I realised just how much time passes and how important it is to have things to either distract and conversely, focus the time. I’m not sure I’ll win the award for most prepared or most supportive birthing partner, but I now know how I am going to try my best for my wife.
This brings me onto… game time! So, my wife has been (almost religiously) timing drive times to the hospital – between 13-26 minutes! She also has an (overpacked) case with maternity items and a bag ready with all the items for our new baby (I never pre wash my clothes before their first wear, but my wife reliably tells me this is a real thing for your baby!). I admit, without her researching what we need to take with us there would be a high chance my future son would be coming home in many layers of uncoordinated baby bits, probably in the wrong size with a nappy fastened the wrong way round – thank goodness for prepared mums to be!
Neither of us had considered what we might like to do during labour, between contractions and also to keep a sense of ‘home’ in this unusual environment. So, I started to think about what I could bring to the party.
Ok, we’re not here to have a marathon Netflix catch up session. Nor do I expect my wife to be thrilled with the idea of a challenging board game whilst she’s trying to navigate through the different stages of labour. We do love a quick game of Uno, so that was first in my bag! I also have lined up episodes of her favourite TV shows on catch up and after discovering wifi on the ward this will hopefully help. We’ve both had a go at making a playlist – one sleepy one and another to keep spirits and energy levels high.
Keeping energy levels up & fresh
Depending on how long the little man (it’s a boy by the way) takes to arrive I can imagine us both wanting energy and also to feel fresh. I won’t forget the midwives advice telling us labour can use energy like a marathon would, so with that I have made sure we have pre chilled energy drinks, a stash of haribos, cereal bars and I will keep our fresh fruit stocked up until the big day arrives. So, I’ve also included a fresh set of clothes, towel, aftershave and toothbrush for myself. Hopefully the lovely midwives we met on our last visit will be OK with me using the facilities in the delivery room.
Capturing the moment & letting people know
I’m married to an insta-holic…. Ever since those 2 lines appeared on the pregnancy test my wife seems to have been following various baby brands and blogs through social media, especially instagram. I know how important it is to her to capture the moment our baby arrives with pictures which we’ll no doubt embarrass our baby boy with on the landmark birthdays! So, I’ve packed our ‘good camera’, fully charged and I’m also investigating a traditional polaroid instant camera for some special pictures. There’s a charge for everything!!... so I’ve made sure we’ve got phone, iPad and camera charges so that we can keep in touch with friends and family.
Finally, one thing I can do is make sure she has everything she has planned for, so I’ve copied her list of things to take just in case she is preoccupied. I’ve also brushed up on how to use my stopwatch on my phone to time contractions. I’ve got a pocketful of change for car parking. I’m not letting the car go past ¼ of a tank to make sure we don’t play diesel roulette! I also keep a beady eye on where her maternity notes are, just in case! I’ve also bought a present for both my wife and the baby so I’ll make sure that’s packed so that I can give it to her after our baby has arrived.
One very last word, perhaps pre-record important footie matches if you’re getting close to due date ;)