Is Gaining Very Little Weight A Sign Of Small Baby A Husband’s and Eventual Father’s Discoveries Through a Healthy Pregnancy

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A Husband’s and Eventual Father’s Discoveries Through a Healthy Pregnancy

My wife, Kate, and I were married for about four years before we thought we were ready to have children. We had discussions like all young couples do about our state of “readiness”, and before I knew it she showed me a little stick with a positive sign on it…WE WERE PREGNANT!

Now the fun began. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to do next. My theory was that people have been having children for 1000 years, so how hard could it really be? Luckily for us (the baby included) my wife was a little more prepared than I was.

The first big decision was which OBGYN to use (it seems that expectant parents use the term “we” a lot, but “she” seems to do most of the work); Kate had heard positive things about midwives so we went to Meet the Midwives night at the local hospital. We were busy after that. “Midwife” means with woman (so a midwife does not necessarily have to be a woman, he/she just has to be sensitive to the needs of the women they treat). Midwives are personable, friendly, they all seem to love their jobs, and they are very knowledgeable about women and pregnancy. In fact, Kate still uses the midwives for all her gynecological needs to this day.

At the first appointment we went to, healthy habits for pregnancy were emphasized. Mother must take care of herself because the baby will selfishly take all available nutrients and leave mother with what is left. This meant that mom drank a lot of water, increased her calorie intake (healthy calories, no cookies, cakes, and ice cream), and took vitamins (she took over-the-counter women’s multivitamins, not prenatal vitamins). Kate carried a bottle of water with her everywhere – she never left home without one. Even then at the next appointments the midwife would tell her to drink more! I found myself cutting vegetables (carrots, red peppers and green peppers were her favorites) for Kate to bring to work as snacks and she always made a homemade lunch to bring to work. During pregnancy, weight gain is a good thing; After all, there is a second person growing inside the mother who must grow big and strong from just a two-celled zygote.

On later visits to the midwives, we could hear the new baby’s heartbeat! That was very exciting, but I also discovered something new. The placenta (the sac that surrounds, protects and nourishes the baby) also makes a sound that is separate and distinct from the baby’s heartbeat. At these later visits we could see Kate’s growth by her weight gain (and she would always try to dress lightly so that her weight was as low as possible) and by the measurement of her fundus (from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus – the measurement becomes larger as the baby grows). We also discussed various blood tests and genetic screenings. We declined most of the optional tests because nothing they said would prevent us from wanting this baby. The only “optional” test we agreed to was an HIV test for Kate; if she wasn’t tested, the baby would be tested after birth and we didn’t want to subject our child to that – the day is going to be traumatic enough!

Up to this point, everything was still very abstract for me. I knew Kate was pregnant and at some point in the future I would be someone’s Daddy, but it was really hard for me to feel it. But then the ultrasound came! For those who don’t know, the ultrasound is probably the coolest thing about pregnancy. They brought us into a small room with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machines, turned off the lights, put some jelly on Kate’s belly, waved a magic wish over it, and a picture of my little baby appeared on a television screen! We could see the little heart beating and arms and legs and a head and face… It was amazing. I sat there in the dark and cried.

This seems like a good time to name the gender of the baby. You’ll notice I keep referring to it as “the baby” because at this point we don’t know if we’re having a boy or a girl and that’s the way we wanted it. It’s one of those truly amazing surprises you can get in life. And whatever it was, we would find out eventually. We discovered that this bothered a lot of people – those who wanted to buy gifts, those whose curiosity drove them crazy, those who wanted to know what name we were going by… Kate and I agree that we won’t find out (and we were sure to tell the ultrasound technician because they might have been able to tell at this point) who kept dialogue and debate about which half was right… is it a boy or a girl? We painted the nursery neutral green, picked out gender-neutral clothes and patterns, picked out a (fantastic) girl’s name and a (thinking) boy’s name, but none of us ever regretted our decision not to find it.

Let’s recap, now we got pregnant, decided to go with the midwives, Kate started eating healthier and drinking water like a fish, we heard and saw our baby, but a healthy pregnancy also includes childbirth. That’s where Lamaze came in. I dragged my feet a bit with the Lamaze classes (again people have been doing this for ages, how hard can it be?) but finally gave in. I will now be the first to admit that going to the Lamaze classes was one of the best things we could have done during pregnancy. In the classes we learned what to expect during childbirth, when to call the midwife, what to do to promote the birth process and reduce the pain of childbirth. And yes, we learned the breathing techniques. Kate felt a little silly doing the HEHEHEs in class, but she learned them all. The classes really took away a lot of the anxiety that would have been there later in labor and delivery. Lamaze was a great way to ask silly questions in a relaxed atmosphere and talk to other couples going through the same issues and find out we weren’t the only ones with those issues.

After nine months of pregnancy I had discovered a lot, but now I had to put it all to the test. We were now ready for the climate finale. June 26, 2004 had arrived (just arrived) and Kate woke me up on time contractions. We had an induction scheduled for 8:00 in the morning, so I thought she was just being neurotic, but to humor her, I got my watch and started timing. Well, it didn’t take long to realize that the contractions were about one minute long and coming every five minutes just like clockwork! Time to call the midwife.

I called the emergency service and told the midwife that my wife will have a baby, but she already knew that. She asked to speak to Kate, and specifically to speak to her through a contraction. She told Kate to wait until the contractions are about 2 to 3 minutes apart and call back. So we showered, got dressed, packed the car, and started watching Mad About You reruns. It definitely wasn’t the crazy scene you see on TV or in the movies – no one bought water, we didn’t get towels, no one fainted, I didn’t forget Kate at the door and drive away…

When we arrived at the hospital, we were shown to the delivery room and made “comfortable”. The nursing staff attached monitors to Kate’s belly and told her to try to relax. One thing they didn’t do was attach an IV to her – another advantage of a midwife versus a traditional medical doctor. Now is where the Lamaze training came in handy. We knew what to expect, what the monitors were for and what to do. Kate tried to stay on her feet and not on her back to help with the pain, she successfully used the breathing techniques to get through the painful contractions, I rubbed her, she took a shower… We had beforehand agreed that we would not apply for pain medication at first and that if she asked, we would wait 10 minutes to see if she still wanted it. At the point when I requested the medication for her because she was in excruciating pain, the midwife said let’s wait and see… 9cm dilated and fully dilated – no time for meds now that the baby was coming.

The midwife let Kate be in whatever position she wanted to push in and then she started pushing. Now I can’t even begin to imagine the pain my wife was in right now, but let me give the guys over there some advice on pain. You’ll feel bad for your wife and want to hold her hand, but DON’T let her get her fingers around your wedding ring because that little woman can put a death grip on you while that baby comes out!

Finally the baby came out and visited us. Now – at 1:19 pm, 9 months after we knew about this new life form – for the first time we knew what sex the baby was… we had the most beautiful, perfect baby girl I have ever seen. The midwife took the baby, goop and all (and there is goop), and placed her right on my wife’s chest – another benefit of midwifery practice! As a proud papa, I got to cut the umbilical cord (which was a lot like plastic tubing and much harder to cut than I imagined) after asking and making sure it wouldn’t hurt my little daughter.

Before we left the delivery room, I had said to my wife, and that still holds true, that I have never been more proud of her than at that moment. She had done everything perfectly throughout her pregnancy to bring forth this absolutely healthy and fragile little person. And in a nutshell, that’s what this proud husband and eventual father discovered about a healthy pregnancy.

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