Things I Wish I knew When My Pregnant Wife's Water Broke

Things I Wish I knew When My Wife's Water Broke

The sentence, “Uh-oh, Honey… I think the baby’s coming” and you turning around and seeing your wife holding herself around the tummy, wide-eyed, is not something every dad-to-be can assuredly say he looks forward to.

The birth of my first child was nothing like the movies. My wife’s water breaking was the first surprise. Before that moment, I imagined a water balloon popping requiring some cleanup. I didn’t anticipate it being like a running faucet. That was the moment I realized that I probably should have read the books. Well, at least I knew that when the water breaks, it’s time to rush to the hospital. Nope. After calling the doctor, they told us to wait an hour. Next, I was sure that upon arriving at the hospital, our baby would be delivered in one to two hours. I didn’t consider the more than 24 hours of agonizing labor my wife would go through culminating in a C-section. I also never imagined my sweet and patient wife telling me I was “unhelpful” and didn’t “know anything” when I tried to encourage her and tell her she was getting closer. She was correct on both accounts.

When we finally headed into the operating room, I realized the depth of what was about to happen. Someone was going to be dependent on me for the rest of my life. That’s when I became flooded with fear and panic. The moment my son was born, I didn’t feel a sense of wonder or deep emotion. I felt inadequate. Becoming a father is disorienting. It’s like the ground underneath you shifts requiring significant adjustment. As I look back, there are a couple of things I wish I knew at the time. 

Here are some tips for new dads.

Do not panic. All is not lost…

There are so many things that dads would have to adjust to when their wives are pregnant, especially during their third trimesters. They would be privy to so many changes, from morning sickness, to exotic food cravings, and to mood swings amongst others. Now that she’s almost approaching labor, she tends to get tired easily or starts to become slightly more anxious and apprehensive. On the other hand, your wife may be handling her pregnancy so well, that you start to wonder what all the rest of the men were warning you about initially.

Whatever the expectant mother is going through throughout her pregnancy, dads can help in so many ways to make things infinitely better for the mom-to-be, as well as for themselves. Dad could learn to take over some of the household chores or massage her lower back, or just give her a foot rub at the end of the day. But what if the both of you were taking a nice stroll around the housing area, or out running some errands together and suddenly she turns to you and gives you THAT LOOK and says, ‘Honey, my water bag broke’? This is definitely beyond the mere massages and little comforts you have been giving her. What do you do then?

The first and most important thing that you should do is to keep your cool. Sure, it may be a little shocking and worrying for you to see a sudden gush or a slow trickle of fluids flowing from your beloved, but do not panic. It is all part and parcel of the initial stages of labor.

In general, the duration of the labor process from the moment the water bag breaks up to the delivery of the baby is approximately 12 – 14 hours. The water bag breaking is only the beginning, where it would usually be followed by some fairly mild contractions that will later escalate in its frequency and intensity. These contractions will usually continue for about 6 – 7 hours before she absolutely has to be at the hospital to prepare for delivery. So, rest assured that you do have plenty of time to get to your car, or into a taxi, to take her to the doctor, wherever you both may be at that given time. Try to think of it instead as a sign that your long-awaited child is on his or her way! The moment has finally arrived!

Relax, You’re a Baby Too

There’s a saying that when you first have a baby, you are a baby as a parent. I remember feeling pressure because I had no idea what I was doing. If I did the wrong thing, I was going to mess this little person up. I thought I should have a well-thought-out parenting philosophy and plan. If you are feeling that then stop. Yes, there are good and bad approaches to parenting. You’ll learn those. And yes, what you do will have an impact on your child. You’ll never feel like you have this thing down and that’s good. However, you’ll get more of a handle on it as you love your child, as you get to know them, and as you invest in them. Give yourself some grace and relax. This is just the beginning of an amazing ride.

Start Letting Go

For a good amount of time, you have been in control of your life. If and when you got married, you had to let go of some sense of control. This is a whole new level of intensity and the faster you let go of control, the better you’ll be. Your life is about to become a complete mess. Embrace the crazy.

Everyone is Unique

Be a student of your child. While there are a lot of parenting best practices out there it doesn’t mean those techniques work in all cases. Everyone is made profoundly different. That is one of the beautiful things about each of us and your child(ren).

Find a Routine

Apart from injury or sickness, there are three main reasons a baby cries: It’s need for sleep, to be cleaned or fed. The baby will decide when diapers need to be changed, but you can be proactive in setting up an eating and sleeping routine. Really it’s more for you than them. It will give your life much more structure which will give you more opportunity to rest.

Get Your Sleep

Speaking of rest, get as much sleep as you can. There’s no reason why both of you need to be up at 3 a.m. tending to the baby or getting up at the crack of dawn. Take turns giving one another the gift of sleep. You’re about to realize what a gift it truly is.

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