Becoming a dad for the first time...

As I write this, my wife is 28 weeks pregnant with our first baby. That’s about 6 months for those blokes who are scratching their heads. We are 3 months away from welcoming the new addition to our family. It’s very exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time.

As a bloke I think you know when you are ready to have a family. You just know. Well, to me it was anyway. We took out private health cover 3 months (you need to have it 12 months before baby comes) prior to starting the baby making process. It is a requirement by the private health insurance providers you notify and amend your policy to include pregnancy cover.

Once we decided the time was right and the health cover was in place, Brooke (my wife) did some research and worked out when she would be ovulating. She peed on a stick and then would chase me around saying she is ovulating and now is the time to do it. Sometimes you are not in the mood for it, but when she is ovulating, you better be ready to perform. Lucky for me I only had to go through this for one month!

It all started on Saturday the 6th of February. Brooke and I were in Nagambie, Victoria attending a wedding. She had taken a pregnancy test at the motel we were staying without my knowledge and she broke the news of the pregnancy soon after. Well, she came out of the toilet with the pregnancy test in hand with a look of jubilation. I think for the first time she was lost for words as she said nothing. I didn’t need to ask, I knew what the news was.

Next 12 weeks were the hardest. It’s the time you worry about the baby the most. You are not sure how the pregnancy is going and how the baby is developing. We only told immediate family about the pregnancy first. We waited for the initial 12 week ultra sound scan and result prior to announcing the news to rest of our family and friends. When the doctor at the ultra sound said those magical words “that’s one healthy baby” that’s when you relax and it actually sinks in that you are going to be a parent. I told my best mate the news and his words were “mate, your boys are good swimmers”. Yes they sure are!

Back on the agenda for Brooke were the names for the baby, colour scheme and design of the nursery as well as clothing and all the necessary baby utilities. As a bloke you don’t tend to pay much attention to anything but the names. I made sure I had some input in the choice of the names. Since we decided not to find out the sex of the baby, we had to pick names we both liked to fit the sex of the baby. I can proudly say we settled on a name for a boy and for a girl within weeks.

We decided to utilise the private sector to have the baby delivered. Brooke chose Frances Perry House as the Hospital she wanted attend. Brookes’ GP referred her to one of the leading obstetrician who attends at Frances Perry House. In all we estimate we will be out of pocket by $5k due to going private. In our case, if we had gone public we would have to go to Sunshine Hospital. Those who have had the misfortune of going to Sunshine Hospital will understand why we are willing to pay the $5k.

Brookes’ pregnancy hasn’t been smooth sailing. She hasn’t had the best time of it. She had to go into hospital twice for overnight stay due to severe dehydration. Dehydration was caused by severe nausea and vomiting. She couldn’t hold down food or drink. Finally the doctors diagnosed her with Hyperemesis gravidarum. The GP had to give her drugs that they give cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. The only good thing was that she didn’t suffer from the mood swings that many had warned me of.

As blokes we are helpless to do anything to fix such issues. All I could do is to be there, be the sounding board and help out in any way I could. Helping out was simple as doing the house cleaning, washing and at times cooking. I’m learning things as I go and should be able to function much better when we have our second baby.

Brooke couldn’t cook as the smell of food made her nauseas. This meant most nights I’ll have to have takeaway for dinner. Brooke was losing a lot of weight due to the lack of food intake. The obstetrician and her GP weren’t that concerned at all about the weight loss. They stated it’s quite common for that to happen. I guess the old myth about sympathy pregnancy in men is true, as I started to crave chocolates and suffered severe back aches. I was going through a block of chocolate a night; my back pain was so bad I had to book in for a physio session. I’m not a sweet tooth so it was quite bizarre that I craved chocolates and I haven’t had any issues with my back all my life yet I suffered back aches for about 2 weeks.

The 2nd ultrasound on week 20 is where you can find out the sex of the baby. Since we didn’t want to find out we didn’t ask the attended to reveal the sex of the baby. The sight of the unborn baby and listening to its heart beat is priceless. Brooke is convinced it’s a girl, so are most of our family members. I’m hoping it will be a boy though. I guess we will find out soon. Brooke has also got her appetite back. Her morning sickness has passed and she is eating well.

I decided to share my experience so that other first time fathers, fathers to be can understand what’s involved. It seems the female becomes a mother soon as they fall pregnant as they start to care for the unborn baby.  As a male you don’t get to feel and experience the changes that are taking place. The closes you can get is, feeling the baby kick in the mothers belly. My bonding session with the baby involves, me applying anti-stretch mark cream on Brookes’ belly and reading a bed time story to the baby. The baby kicks every time I read the book. This is an amazing feeling.

 I will post regular updates as the pregnancy continues and materialise in to a baby.