Okay, I know I am going to get some hate mail for this, but what the hell. Encourage your wife to GET THE EPIDURAL. Not getting it is the equivalent of going into surgery without anesthesia, getting stitches on your genitals without a local anesthetic, or giving yourself a root canal without Novocaine. From what I can tell, the only reason women do this is for a badge of honor. There is no medical reason not to.
So after spending tens of thousands on IVF, we ended up using an egg donor this time around. Some close friends of ours did this and it seemed to work out great. The big news: we are having twins! More to come soon…
Having trouble knocking her up? There can be many reasons for this, so don’t assign blame too quickly. If you have already made a gallant effort, it is probably time to go to the Obstetrician with your wife to get some answers. Chances are, the Obstetrician will in turn point you to a fertility center to determine exactly what is the problem. Our OB also suggested early on that we might want to freeze some of my wife’s eggs, in case we need them for fertility treatments. I have to say that, looking back, I am sorry that we didn’t do that at the time.
Tread carefully with the fertility clinics. These places usually don’t take insurance, and the bills can run into the tens of thousands. However, you can usually get a free (or close to it) consult. If you decide to go ahead, they will run tests on you and your lady to identify the most likely causes of your infertility. After that, it is on to hormone injections, IVF and donor eggs (and don’t forget about adoption), etc. Note that these treatments can cost anywhere between $5,000 – $100,000, so make sure you do your homework beforehand and know what you are getting into.
My pregnant wife broke down crying when I told her that I wasn’t interested in going shopping one weekend. She started sobbing in the car and saying that she knew then that I would never ever be available to help her or go shopping with her or get things that we needed for the baby. I thought at the time that she was totally crazy. Just hormones going nuts, right? Wrong. She needs to know that once the baby comes, you are going to help, and not take off and go out with the guys every night, or work every night, or leave her altogether. Doing stuff for her, helping out around the house, and yes, buying her gifts helps convey that message more than just words. After all, you went out of your way to do something special for her. I am not going to give you a list of stuff to get for her. Just put some thought into it and get her something that conveys some meaning, even if it is just a well written letter. Trust me, this kind of stuff will help you keep your relationship healthy over the long-term.
Growing up with 6 sisters (plus mom) under one roof, and now having a daughter and wife in an apartment in Manhattan (large for NYC, but small by any other measure), I can say that I have some experience being outnumbered by females and the impact in can have on maintaining our natural manly Testosterone levels. Having 7 females in the house was my Dad’s definition of estrogen poisoning. I would get pleading calls from him while at college to come home and hang out and fix the lawn mower. Poor guy, he never really had a chance
Then, in college, one of my Mensa club pre med rugby roommates would often use the term in a derogatory way to lambast the fellow ruggers that had skipped out on a night of debauchery (think ketamine, an AWOL goat and accompanying AWOL Army Special Forces Medic, naked keg tossing – for distance of course) to hang out with our girlfriends at an event that involved candlelight. It went something like “What is the matter with you? Estrogen poisoning?” I don’t think he is married yet by the way.
However, I was only recently acquainted with the concept that fatherhood itself could lower testosterone levels. Apparently, the steepest drops in testosterone are during the child’s first month. See the NY Times article. One might say that men should embrace this lower testosterone, higher estrogen levels and realize that we’re meant to be active fathers and participate in the care of our offspring. Of course this is true. However, this is the Daddy’s Blog after all, so put those estrogen-poisoning thoughts out of your head.
My suggestion – take a break from the baby from time to time and go to a rugby party at your nearest college. You will get all the juice you need there.
Most guys with pregnant wives will usually tell you that the sex pretty much slows to a standstill near the tail end of the pregnancy and immediately after the birth. After all, so much is happening at that point, and there are a few other pressing priorities (did she remember to breastfeed the baby at 4:32am?). Don’t worry, the glory days will resume soon, usually within a couple months. Have some patience and take it slow. It is going to be a little different in the sex department for a while.
Here is a guest blog article, written by a close friend. Before you start painting the baby’s room, have a read:
As the due date approaches, my wife and I increasingly find ourselves engaged in preparation for our baby girl’s arrival. We decided to convert a second bedroom that was acting as the dining room into the baby’s room. The conversion began with repainting walls and furniture. Although some expecting parents may prefer to hire-out a paint job, others may prefer the DIY route. If you, like me, fall into the latter group and you don’t know what you’re doing, then you may learn something from the steps (and missteps) I followed.
Problem 1: I fooled myself into believing that repainting walls and furniture would be simple. Novice that I was (am), I took on the task of repainting one bookcase, one child size rocking chair, one toy chest, and the walls of our nursery. Nothing was simple or quick. I think I began jobs in early October. It’s now mid-November and I’m still not done. To be fair, I work full-time and only painted when I found time over weekends. However, refinishing furniture and painting is time consuming work. If you go down my road, budget more time than you might plan on at first.
Problem 2: How should I deal with old paint or stain before repainting? Our book case and toy chest were coated in varnish. The rocking chair, on the other hand, had white paint, but I wasn’t sure if it was unleaded. The guy at the hardware store sold me a bottle of chemical paint stripper and led me to think it would be no big deal to strip the varnish and questionable paint. What I didn’t know was that chemical stripper gives off toxic fumes (particularly to pregnant women) and the sludge resulting from stripped material is equally dangerous and terrifically messy. After hours of analyzing the problem (my wife says I over think things) and talking to a friend with experience in construction, I was convinced that chemical stripping was wholly unnecessary. If you encounter varnished furniture such as mine, then (1) lightly sand the surface until it is thoroughly scratched, (2) apply primer which will adhere to the grooves made from sanding, and then (3) paint using your chosen color. As for the rocking chair, I decided to paint over the questionable white paint with two coats of water-based paint, effectively sealing the rocking chair in safe coverage.
Problem 3: What kind of paint should I use? Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are bad for pregnant women. Lots of paints consist of VOCs, making them problematical for indoor use when your wife is hanging-out watching Sing Off. My friend with experience in construction confirmed my anxiety about VOCs and said the fumes typically disperse within one hour provided there is adequate ventilation. Not good enough for us. Fortunately, I happened upon a “zero-VOC” paint made Benjamin Moore, “Natura.” This line of paint is fairly pricey, but worth every penny because it saved my wife and I from being nervous about fumes. As you know, there’s enough anxiety as it is with pregnancy, particularly first-times such as us.
Lastly, I’ll say that we wanted the baby’s room to be excellent. Hence I’ve aimed to get the job done right, while having fun along the way.
Cord Blood Banking? Got Twins? For those having twins and considering cord blood banking, Americord is an ideal choice since they offer the best price for twins, for cord blood or cord blood and cord tissue. You can find their twin pricing here: Cord Blood Banking? Got Twins? Read This. If the children are identical, the cord blood should be a genetic match for both children, however, a lot of people store both anyway since you could use two samples in case there are multiple transplants needed. Also, the more cells that are used for transplant, the better the outcomes. Mention this post, and get an extra $100 discount for cord blood banking (twins only) or $200 discount for cord blood and cord tissue banking (twins only). They even match any other cord blood bank prices.
During the second trimester you will have another ultrasound and you may be able to find out if you are having a boy or a girl. The ultrasound technician will ask you if you want to know, so be prepared with the answer. While it’s nice to choose gender-appropriate clothes and furniture in advance, you’ll be missing that delivery-room classic “It’s a…!” moment. On the other hand, it may be easier to bond with the baby if you know the gender and pick out a name. Talk it over and be prepared to answer the question when the time comes.
When my wife got pregnant, without realizing it, I started eating more too. And not just more at each meal, but we would eat more frequently as well. There was more food in the house, and there was less of a focus on getting exercise and watching our weight. We were also somewhat limited in what we could do – e.g no more kickboxing lessons for the wife. The end result was that I gained about 15 pounds during the pregnancy. Unfortunately, for us guys this is not that uncommon.
You need exercise. Stop making excuses. Exercise is a great stress buster, for both of you, and it’s something you can do together. Try pregnancy yoga (yes, yoga) or take a daily walk together at minimum.
Here is a message for you daredevil expectant fathers out there: I love to ski, and snowboard, and jump out of planes, play rugby, race motorcycles, and kite surf. In fact, I would say that I am am a little bit of an adrenalin junkie. A few months after the birth of my daughter Antonia, I broke my leg snowboarding in Breckenridge. And this wasn’t the kind of break where you get a cast and come out of the ER the same day. This was a femur fracture – you know, your thigh bone, the largest bone in your body. I was blazing through the everglades, riding high on the powder, and on top of the world, when WHAM, I lost control and hit a tree. 2 years and several surgeries later, I am back to running and playing soccer and can do just about everything I could do before the accident. However, what if that had been my head? Yes, I did have a helmet but I doubt that would have saved me from that sort of impact. You need to start to think about what would happen if you weren’t around, and act accordingly. You are a dad now. Start acting like one and buckle your seat-belt. Don’t be afraid to take a calculated chance, but don’t be reckless.