First off, I would like to start by saying I'm so fucking excited that I'm going to be a Dad. I have all these dreams, aspiration, trips planned etc. running through my head. But I appreciate honesty so instead of bullshitting you. This is how I found out; I won't make you read the whole thing unless you want to.
I'd love to say it was this momentous moment lads when my wife dropped the news that she was pregnant, and we'd be expecting our first child. This however was not some Hollywood moment and there was no video of my reaction...thank fuck for that because it was shite. My reaction was a mixture of shock and excitement but subdued and my face showed it as I went about starting my days' work.
In a nutshell, my reaction was beige.
Why so you might ask?
It's not that us Men are so manly that we cannot express any emotions. (Cue your inner caveman voice) You woman...give me baby...good...me love you...go now... And back to watching highlights of what little live sport we have to enjoy after the Covid-19 lockdown.
A little background might help explain my reaction. My wife and I have been trying since September last. Pretty much after we got married. And what I mean by trying, is we simply were not using any protection. Now I don't know about you but as a young man I was shitting it that I would get a girl pregnant before I was "ready". Convinced that if I weren't wearing a condom, I'd get a girl pregnant. Even if this girl was on the pill or using some other form of contraception.
It would all play out in mind..."Yep, my sperm has somehow transformed into super-sperm and the pill is powerless against my sperms swimming prowess. Then moving swiftly onto... I'm too young to be a Dad! I can barely look after myself let alone another human being. How do I tell my Mam? I still don't know what a tracker mortgage is?".
Fast forward to the year 2020 and I'm 34 and while I don't think I'm too young to be a Dad now, thankfully I have a wife who helps look after me. I'm still clueless to what a tracker mortgage is and I still don't know how I tell Mam.
So where were we, ah yes, we've being trying since September-ish, but really trying since about early March. Sure, what else would ya be doing locked indoors with copious amounts of red wine and Netflix eh. We were trying around the time my wife would be ovulating. No brainer there.
Now I thought surely, one and done! No contraception and we're deliberately trying when my wife is ovulating. Simple, we'll have a baby for Christmas.
Any guys that are part of a couple trying will know it isn't that easy. So, here's what happened once we started trying.
The Phantom Pregnancy
First up was what we like to call our Phantom pregnancy. My wife was late, and according to my wife, and every other woman on the internet, her period was always regular. So, me saying you might just be a few days late went down like a lead balloon. We went and got the Clear Blue tests, the digital ones. On a side note, anyone else think those pregnancy tests are mad expensive?
The test came back Negative yet still no sign of my wife's period. Then came pregnancy like symptoms. I won't go into all of them as my wife will probably read this at some point, but a few were fatigue, pains in the lower abdomen area, breast tenderness and oh watch out lads, mood swings. We were convinced the test were producing a false negative and that indeed she was pregnant. 2 week went on before we got confirmation that we were in fact not pregnant. Ah feck!
Back on the horse as they say and for some horizontal dancing of course. And... fast forward a couple of weeks.
Now like most I've been working from home since the lockdown came into place. Started my day like any other. Online at 8am and going through emails and drinking my mandatory life fuel that is coffee. My wife walks in and hands me the stick. It says "Pregnant 1-2 weeks".
I'm fucking ecstatic! I leap out of my chair, nearly smashing my work laptop and start hugging her. Not hugging her too hard just in case. The bullshit that comes into our heads. She explains to me that she was a few days late, didn't want to say anything after the last time and wasn't feeling particularly great, so took the test to check.
My head is spinning, I just got this news, I want to tell everyone but can't and the caffeine is kicking in. I'm going to be on the news for the first man to have a banger while working on a spreadsheet, I was that wired that morning.
We booked into the GP and began to go through the process etc. We're excited, started talking about it and all the stuff you would naturally do after getting this sort of news.
I think it was maybe a week or 10 days later. My wife had a miscarriage.
It felt like a proper kick in the stones to be honest lads. There is simply fuck all 'You' can do.
Miscarriages are common in early pregnancy. Doctors will say it's a good sign that you can actually get pregnant. But still you go from an extreme high to a low. It's shit. No other way to say it lads, but pure shit.
I'm saying this now just to prepare ye in case it happens. No one ever spoke to me about it being a thing until it happened. Just giving you the heads up, keep it in mind.
And then you can't really talk about it with anyone else. Besides your partner of course who will go through a whole different set of emotions. You're job is simple here, just be there.
What I mean by 'can't really talk' to anyone is. This might not be relevant to people reading from abroad. In Ireland you'll have parents or relation dropping hints about the pitter patter of tiny footsteps once you get to a certain age, married, and/or are in a serious long-term relationship. And quite frankly to any of those who do that and are reading this. On behalf of every young couple trying or not trying... kindly fuck off!
Some couples want kids, some can't, others don't want kids and that's cool. So, jog the fuck on and just let them do their own thing whatever that might be.
Also, if you do chat to a mate or a family member, they'll know you're actually trying. Then they're nearly on edge every time you call as they expect 'the news'. I know this because we know a couple that have openly said are trying and every time their number comes up on my wife's phone. She's convinced it's the 'news'.
So, discussing the topic with someone other than your partner is as clear as mud. And if you choose to tell someone you'll always have that 'they wouldn't tell anyone... would they' at the back of your mind.
Third Times a Charm
My Wife had asked me to pick up some tests if I was passing a pharmacy. Just to have them in case. My wife is a 'planner with OCD' and this was a reasonable request as I was stopping for some cans in the offy next door to the pharmacy.
Maybe a week or two later. Bingo another positive test. It was one of the normal pregnancy test with the lines. You're meant to wait 3 minutes or something for the result and my wife said it went straight away. She did a second. Ding! Ding! Ding! 'We have another winner'. A Positive test.
All in all, my wife took 4 pregnancy tests. 2 normal and 2 digital. All positive.
Now back to my reaction when I found out I was going to be a Dad. We had 1 phantom pregnancy followed by a miscarriage so when we got this result we were as I said. Shocked and excited but subdued. We didn't want to get our hopes up again.
I'm sure other couples have been here, and we won't be the last, it's a happy time/moment but it's a difficult situation. From the guys perspective and what this blog is about. You want to be positive, be excited and revel in the joy of it. You're going to be a Dad, back of the net!
But you're trying to keep your shit together and be there for your wife/partner. This depends a lot on your situation clearly but it's something I find men or expecting Dad's in Ireland don't talk about. And if they do, da fuck if I've heard any of it. Like, what is our role for the next 7 & half month? Can I do more than just pick up stuff off the floor for my wife who is now restricted by a bump? What do I get as a Push Present? What foods can or can't she have so I don't cook it for her? How many times can I use her as the designated driver while I go on the session with the lads before she tears me a new one?
The answer to the last question I will find out in due course. I'm doing it in the name of science, Dads, the lads and a night out.
For me at the moment I feel, you don't want to add any added stress. Immediately after getting the news, we both went to work and even the following days it's this strange feeling of... "Are we actually having a baby?", followed swiftly by "Let's not get ahead of ourselves", followed by "it's the size of a blueberry today".
Trying to negate my wife's stress levels in anyway is what my goal or aim is at the moment. It's a good starting point I reckon. As men we don't need to hide morning sickness in work or from family, avoid lifting any heavy objects, overexerting ourselves in the workplace, and hiding the fact your pregnant in social situations. But many women do not want their family, friends, employers, colleagues knowing they are pregnant until the 12-week mark after the scan. And with this comes a level of stress which can be amplified with hormone changes in the body as it gears up for pregnancy.
An example is that I poured non-alcoholic beer into used beer bottles and recapped them so that at a BBQ etc., no one would take any notice.
The first few weeks is like pregnancy emotional tennis, back and forth from 'staying calm, natural worry and let's get to 12 weeks' to 'over excited, how do we tell our family & friends, talking about baby names and more importantly which baby names are a 'fuck no''.
What I'm saying it's OK not to have this massive bloody reaction on hearing the news that leaves a man-sized hole in the door as you tear around the back garden with excitement like a dog with the Zooms. You will naturally react but that reaction being subdued is OK too. The first 12 weeks is the most likely time for a miscarriage so it's about keeping your emotions in check and reducing stress where possible. You could be very fortunate, be one and done and have a perfectly healthy pregnancy but that's not always the case. As each day passes my excitement builds but a natural worry is still there.
All I Want is a Healthy Baby.
Anyway, I'm going to be a Dad and I'm buzzing. Can't wait to see the first scan. This is just a glimpse of how I'm feeling, and my wife hasn't even had her first scan. Your wife will have symptoms you'll have to deal with. Fatigue, tender nipples (keep that in mind any handsy husbands, it shall not end well, trust me on this) and mood swings... If she ask you, she didn't have any. But it's all part of it and have a laugh about it.
My Wife has her first scan this Friday (21st Aug), it will be just short of 9 weeks and she'll have her 12-week scan in September. I didn't realize they do a scan around the 8-week mark too. This 8-week scan is standard if you've previously had a miscarriage I found out. All is going well, unfortunately I can't attend the scan with the current Covid-19 restrictions in place. I'd love to be there, but it is what it is. Exciting times ahead I keep telling my wife.