How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Dude To Dad: A Birth Story, Pt. II

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Dude to Dad: A Birth Story, Part II

To read Part I of “Dude To Dad: A Birth Story, click here!

“Okaayyyyyyyyy…” I said, answering her statement about her Niagara loins.

Niagara Falls You can’t contain Niagara Falls. Image by

Then she was silent and I mean really silent. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if she spoke or not, because over my heart rate and the sound of running water (sink, not her privates), I couldn’t hear a damn thing. Following that kind of quiet, you’re not really sure there’s a response that makes sense. Half of you wants to ask if there’s something you can do; the other half wants to make a joke. Either way, there isn’t a PERFECT thing to say.

So I went the classic guy route: “Whatcha want me to do?”

She whispered that she wanted to hang in the bathroom a bit and needed a minute to collect herself, mentally. I peeked open the door just to make sure she was safe, but mostly out of disbelief. There she was sitting with her underwear below her knees covered in liquid and looking as pregnant as ever. And then the moment hit me harder than anything in my life: this was actually happening.

We called our families first and then the doctor. Our doctor, of course, was scheduled to possibly go out of town that weekend and when I left a message on his phone service, it alerted me that an associate would receive the calls. Since it was 9:45PM, I figured I could still reach someone fast.

I got the call about 15 minutes later and while the associate was very patient with me, I could tell he felt he knew something I didn’t about this whole process and he instructed me to keep an eye on things. So there it was, the pat answer, everybody.

It's Pat. AnswerWhoop. There it is. And by it, we mean a non-specific answer. Like Pat’s gender.

As an aside, the pat answer is something I detest. It’s a robo-response to a living and breathing question. Trust me, I know people freak out during childbirth. It’s almost a given for any doctor, nurse or their staff to contend with. I can just imagine the stereotype where a pregnant woman is heaving and screaming and shredding bystanders’ clothes with her fingernails, meanwhile the father is barking at people or fainting or looking white as a ghost. But we weren’t those people. We’d tried to be as educated as possible. I spoke in a calm, forthright, sensible tone. I didn’t need: “Just keep an eye on things” followed by a hang-up because someone was in the middle of “Lost” TV marathon or sharpening his scalpels in the garage. I needed, “Tell me what’s going on and I’ll tell you what I think.”

To make things more interesting, we called our doula and she said, “Why did you call the doctor at all?” All I wanted to say back was, “I get it. I’m stupid. I promise I won’t make any more phone calls until after the baby is born. Thanks.”

Handy iphone app for timing contractionsBirthing Classes + iPhone app = EXPERT, duh.

But let’s fast forward… we waited for two and a half hours. We monitored contractions with my handy iPhone app and based on my birthing class knowledge as well as a boy scout merit badge in obstetrics, I knew my wife was in ACTIVE LABOR and now entering TRANSITION. Now, this didn’t match up to any rough estimates of timing, but all the signs pointed to it being true. I watched my wife go through each stage of labor myself.

I called the associate once again (the one fielding the messages) because Avara kept saying she felt like she needed to “push” and he said, “Well, if you feel you need to go to the hospital, then you should go.” Sounds great, Dr. Helpful.

Then, I called the doula again, while my wife moaned and cried in the background. I even emailed her the timing of Avara’s contractions from my iPhone app and went over them in detail. The contractions were textbook TRANSITION timing. Instead of offering to do her actual job and check Avara’s progress, our doula told us to ‘chill and wait it out.’ I decided we needed to leave. Now.

So, in between telling my wife not to push, I began gathering our things with one arm while the other was holding her up. Once we were ready to go, I told my wife that it was time to leave, finally.

“I’m not getting in the car, Charlie. Forget it…”

(To be continued…)


Check out our related Instructional Diagram! An indispensable tool for the birthing process.

READ PART III, the finale of the series!

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See more Notebook posts to continue the adventure.



8 Responses to “Dude To Dad: A Birth Story, Pt. II”

  1. Tami says:

    Amazing! I love this story.

  2. Allicia says:

    OH man, Now you got me on the edge of my seat… I’m a woman and I’m totally captivated.. I hate the creepy ‘this many centimeters’ birthing stories.

  3. Stephanie G says:

    I want to know what happens next!!!

  4. ELLIE says:

    OMG Charlie really an app? Emailing? this is too funny and yet men continue to ask why women yell “i hate you” when they are giving birth I’m thinking is not out of pain is more like “get off the phone” i can’t stop laughing i picture the whole thing like those muted b/w comedies Good Stuff

  5. Desiree says:

    Argh. Making me wait for the next chapter isn’t cool.

  6. Taylor says:

    great story. I just had my first kiddo 3 weeks ago. The biggest let down was the drive to the hospital. Here I’ve been playing nintendo car games my whole life driving full speed to train myself for this one critical event. Then, when the time comes and I actually have an excuse to fly through red lights and stop signs and break the land speed record and She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed puts her foot down and insists I drive like 10 mph the whole way there because every tiny bump triggers horrible contraction pain. What a let down, good thing the kiddo is wonderful enough to make up for it.

  7. Mommy C says:

    OMG- I can’t wait to read the rest of the story!

    I just found your site thanks to Mandy over at “Harper’s Happenings”. Love it!!

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