Q&A with the expert Dad!

I asked one expert dad to share his experiences about his wife’s pregnancy and also asked what he learned after his two sons were born.

Mitch and kids

Take a look at what he had to say!

Q1: What concerns did you have when your spouse/partner was pregnant? In retrospect, were those concerns justified?

The only concern I had was during the first 3 months because of the chances of miss carrying. And yes in retrospect it was justified because we went through it on our second attempt.

Q2: What challenges did you encounter during your spouse/partner’s pregnancy? Did those challenges disappear after your baby was born?

No real challenges.

Q3: What did you enjoy the most about your spouse/partner’s pregnancy?

Hearing the baby make sounds of hick ups and seeing the ultrasounds for the first time.

Q4: What surprised you the most in the first month after your baby was born?

The amount of diapers you go through in one month – the average baby needs a new diaper 8-12 times a day!

Q5: What tips do you have for First-time-dads?

Get as much sleep as you can. Kids are a joy but they suck the life force out of you.

And don’t forget about time with your wife. Go out and forget that you have a kid and focus on her for at least a few hours. It will do wonders.

And man up and do everything with your kids – that includes changing diapers!

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At the time of this post, I am just a week away from welcoming my baby girl into the world. I don’t know exactly what to expect but from what I’ve been told, my whole world is about to change!

I want to thank everyone who took part in this journey with me. I’ve enjoyed writing these blog posts and who knows, perhaps I’ll continue writing as I experience fatherhood for the first time!

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Snoring wife – nature’s way of preparing for less sleep

Many parents have told me that I need to bank as many hours of sleep as possible before my baby arrives. I guess this advice is meant to solve for the countless hours my wife and I will be spending at night feeding, changing and rocking the baby. I’m not sure banking sleep hours is a real thing and if it is, I definitely haven’t been able to take advantage of it.

Third trimester sleep

By the third trimester, your wife’s pregnancy experience has changed from a wondrous miracle to an agonizing nuisance. For my wife, her feet and hands are swelling, her back is hurting and she can’t get a good night’s sleep.

While I haven’t been impacted by the swelling appendages (except for my man-bump) or back pain, my wife’s sleep issues have definitely spilled over to me! Her constant movement wakes me throughout the night but what really impacts my ability to sleep is my wife’s snoring! Let me tell you she is loud, and for this light sleeper, I haven’t been able to get used to it.

snoring blog 2

Is snoring common during pregnancy?

According to sleepfoundation.org, about 30% of women experience snoring during the third trimester of their pregnancy because their nasal passages are swollen. Ever since this phenomenon began, I have struggled to get a good night’s sleep.

Is it possible that snoring wives are nature’s way to prepare parents for the sleep deprivation they’re going to experience when their baby arrives? I think the answer is yes!

Lessons-learned

  1. I haven’t tried this myself but you can try earplugs or perhaps breath right strips.
  2. I’ve spent more than a few nights on the couch (DON’T tell your pregnant spouse/partner to sleep on the couch!!!)
  3. Embrace the fatigue – you’re going to have to learn to function on less sleep so try to learn this skill as early as you can

Did your wife snore during her last trimester? How did you deal with a lack of sleep during pregnancy? Do you agree about my silver lining – will a lack of sleep during pregnancy help you adapt after your baby is born?

The home stretch – getting the house ready

I think it’s pretty much inevitable that some renovation work will be needed in your house or apartment before your baby arrives. For some, the work being done is specific to the nursery – assemble the furniture, paint, etc. For others (e.g. me), it can be a more extensive and time-consuming task – like painting your entire house!

Hire someone or DIY?

We invited three or four painters to our house to provide us with quotes. For the most part, they all thought the job could be done in four or five days but the prices ranged from $2,000 to $3,000.

The advantage of hiring a professional is pretty obvious but with a baby on the way, I thought it would be better to go the DIY route and save a few dollars.

My DIY painting experience

I found out very early that I am not a very gifted painter. I also found out very early on that everyone hates painting! My brother and many of my friends are in the trade industry but none of them enjoy painting so when I asked for help, I was met with a ton of excuses. In the end the only people who were willing to help were my parents – and even they weren’t enthralled with the idea!

After we started painting, I appreciated why almost everyone I know declined to help.

  1. Plastic! To protect your floors and furniture, you’re going to spend hours taping plastic. This is the worst job ever but necessary to prevent damage
  2. Cutting! This is the second worst job ever! You have to take a small brush and cover all the corners of the walls with paint. This is another monotonous task but again necessary to have a good final product
  3. Painting! At this stage you get to start painting the walls and ceilings. This is tiring work but much more rewarding than the previous two tasks
  4. Clean-up! This job sucks too but at this point there’s a light at the end of the tunnel

painting pic.jpg

How long did this take? The above tasks took my parents and I five weekends to complete.

Would I take the DIY route again?

To be perfectly honest, there were moments when I regretted my decision. I pretty much worked everyday for about five weeks and was feeling pretty run down. But looking back on it, we saved about $1,500 going the DIY route and the final product looks pretty good!

Lessons-learned

  1. In my experience, there are two occasions in your life when people will have a hard time saying no to you – (1) when you’re getting married and (2) when you’re having your first baby. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  2. If you’re going to tackle a project, be sure to get someone who knows what they’re doing to help you out. In my case, my dad is the expert when it comes to painting
  3. Be realistic about timeframe. I thought painting my house would take two weekends – in the end, it took more than double that. I think when estimating time it’s probably better to over-estimate.

Did you have any projects to complete before your baby arrived? Did you hire a professional or try the DIY route?

The Baby Shower – get ready for some heavy lifting!

Who knew something so small (i.e. baby) would need so much stuff? But believe me, the stuff adds up very quickly, in both quantity and cost so a baby shower really is key to getting some of the more expensive items out of the way.

I knew very little about baby showers until my wife got pregnant – so when the date of the baby shower came and went, I was caught totally off-guard by the amount of stuff we got for the baby!

The Stuff!

My wife invited about 40 close friends and family (a relatively small number by my wife’s Greek family standards) to her baby shower. I of course was not in attendance during the event but I did get a glimpse of the final product when I arrived to pick up the gifts.

shower pic

It really was beautiful and I was grateful to everyone who helped pull it off. Firstly because it meant a lot to my wife and secondly because we ended up with a ton of stuff for the baby including our crib, stroller, car seat and countless numbers of clothing and bedding. Our problem quickly turned from solving how we were going to get all the stuff we needed to where are we going to store all of it!

Don’t let anyone talk you out of having a baby shower

For the parents out there, you know how costly all of these items are so having a baby shower really is extremely helpful!

Before my wedding, I really didn’t want to have a stag party. I don’t know if this is the same for everyone and perhaps some of my female readers will be surprised, but stags are really a fundraiser to help the couple. In my experience, guys don’t enjoy hosting these events and guys certainly don’t like attending these events. But after a few conversations with some close friends, I changed my mind. This turned out to be the right decision because the money I raised helped to pay for our honeymoon.

The same logic applies to baby showers. Initially my wife didn’t want to have a baby shower but looking back on it, if we skipped the baby shower we would have needed a second mortgage to buy the crib, stroller, car seat and countless other items we received at the shower.

Lessons-learned: 

  1. In my experience, guys are unlikely to have much of a say when it comes to planning a baby shower. But if you want to avoid a ton of work (and if you can afford it), encourage your partner or spouse to host the event at a restaurant or some other venue.
  2. If you’re asked to help out, just do it – and try not to grumble too loudly. The baby shower is going to provide you and your spouse/partner with most of the big-ticket items you need for the baby!
  3. Be grateful! A lot of people worked hard to pull off this shower for us (not just me!) and if you are as fortunate as I am, you should thank everyone who helped out.
  4. Heads up gentlemen – get your friends or family to help transport the goods. Otherwise you’ll have to rent a U-Haul truck or make several trips in your vehicle to get all the stuff to your house.

Did you or your spouse/partner have a baby shower? Was it worth all the work you put into it? Do you think baby showers are a good idea?

Is Baby Brain Real?

Since launching my first-time-dad blog series, I have shared many of my experiences (and failures) over the last eight and a half months but tonight I focus on a different subject – my wife! While I don’t think baby brain is taboo or off-limits, others (i.e. my wife) may not agree. So if no one hears from me within 24 hours of this posting, please call the authorities!

Here we go…

I’ve heard of baby brain, you’ve heard of baby brain, we’ve all heard of baby brain but the question is, does baby brain really exist or is it just an urban legend? Well friends I’m not a doctor and I haven’t found any definitive medical reports or journals to support the phenomenon called “Baby Brain” but despite the lack of scientific proof, based on my observations of my wife as well as friends and family, I believe Baby Brain does in fact exist!

What’s my evidence?

My wife is extremely intelligent (one of my favourite things about her) but over the past few months, her short-term memory has disappeared.

For example:

  1. On average she losses her phone 3-5 times a day
  2. She often walks into a room and then forgets why she’s there (and then repeats this process over and over again)
  3. She forgets about her daily tasks at work – a job she’s had for eight years
  4. She recently forget to pay our Hydro bill…after I reminded her about it a couple of times

missing phone

What can explain this “transformation”? According to webmd.com, the following conditions can cause baby brain:

  1. Lack of sleep
  2. Multitasking
  3. Surging hormones
  4. Stress

This post is unlikely to resolve the debate about baby brain but I’ll close with this for you to consider. How well do you remember details when you’re suffering from stress or lack of sleep? If you’re anything like me, the answer is not very well. With that in mind, it seems to me that baby brain is extremely likely given my wife, and I suspect other moms-to-be, have experienced all of those conditions throughout her pregnancy.

 Lessons-learned:

  1. Whether you think baby brain exists or not, don’t bring it up. Believe me, your spouse/partner is well aware that things are changing and will likely bring it up herself.
  2. Don’t get frustrated! Your spouse/partner is carrying your baby so who cares if she forgets things now and then!
  3. According to webmd.com, your spouse/partner may not be forgetting because she is now prioritizing different activities. This makes sense and you should probably step up and take on some of her responsibilities.

Did you or your spouse/partner experience baby brain? Do you think baby brain is a real thing? Is it ok to even discuss the existence of baby brain?

Women aren’t the only ones who gain weight during pregnancy…introducing the “man-bump”!

man-bump blog

Does the above “transformation” look familiar to any of the male readers out there? If not, kudos (and screw you)! If so, welcome to the club – we can lament together!

How things change in just 2 years

The before picture is from my wedding, just over two years ago! I was in all my glory at that moment and never felt better.

The after picture is a different story! It was taken this summer (a few months after learning that my wife was pregnant) and physically, I’ve never felt worse!

So how did this happen?

This might sound like a weak excuse but I blame my wife for not having any weird cravings. For example, instead of craving odd combinations like pickles and peanut butter, my wife craves delicious foods like pasta, Thai food, cookies and ice cream. And since I eat most of my meals with my wife, I tend to indulge in the same food choices (and food quantities).

My poor eating habits have led to my very own “man-bump” – and if you have one also, get ready because society doesn’t sympathize with the “man-bump” in the same way it does with the “baby-bump”.

What you can expect when you have a “man-bump”

  1. Lots and lots of jokes! The ones I’ve heard most often are, “which one of you is the pregnant one”, “how many months are you”, and my ultimate favourite, “I waved at a pregnant woman getting off a bus because I thought she was you”.
  2. Fatigue. Weight gain tends to cause low energy levels. And in the months leading to the arrival of your baby, you’re going to need all the energy you can muster to get your house ready.
  3. They don’t make maternity clothes for men. You’re wife will need maternity clothes – you shouldn’t. But if you do have a man-bump, you’ll need to buy new clothes at a time when you’ll be most sensitive to unnecessary expenditures!

Lessons-learned:

  1. DO NOT DEVELOP A “MAN-BUMP” – you’re self-esteem will thank you!
  2. Your spouse or partner is allowed to eat pretty much whatever she wants. YOU ARE NOT!
  3. If you’re going to be eating differently during your wife’s pregnancy, you should consider offsetting your bad eating habits with a robust work out regiment.
  4. When your spouse or partner sends you out at 1 in the morning to pick up ice cream, you don’t have to reward yourself by eating said ice cream!

Do you think it is common for men to gain weight during pregnancy? Did you gain weight during your partner’s pregnancy? If not, what did you do to avoid gaining weight?

 

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Well I’m not so sure, Mr. Shakespeare. A name is kind of a big deal – at least when it comes to naming your baby.

I’ve heard many friends and relatives argue with their partners about the naming of their child. Some people are adamant that their kid will have the same name as their father or mother. Others prefer the newest, most fashionable names of the time.

Baby name picture

Before I share the names that my wife and I debated (and continue to debate), I’ll share a bit of history about our relationship. I met my wife when I was 12 and we started dating when we were 16. As you can probably imagine, we had many conversations about our future, including our wedding, how many kids we want, the type of jobs we would have, etc.

But we never talked about the names we wanted for our kids. That all changed when we found out we were having a baby.

The great NAME debate begins…

My wife brought up names that seemed very strange to me – names like “Estee”, “Easton”, “Vienne” and “Diem”. Because these “names” sounded more like noise to me, I swiftly vetoed them.

I of course suggested names that were far superior (but vetoed by my wife nevertheless). My suggestions were “Augustus/Octavian” (when we thought we were having a boy), “Abigail”, “Delilah” and “Elizabeth (Betts)”.

Throughout our discussions, we weighed the pros and cons of each name and realized there are a ton of factors to consider before making our final decision, such as:

  • Length of the name
  • Difficult spelling
  • Too common / Too uncommon / Too pretentious
  • How will their name look on an application or resume (this made my wife roll her eyes)
  • Does the name rhyme with a female body part (Seinfeld fans will remember “Vulva”)

For a more exhaustive list of dos and don’ts when naming your baby, you can check out the “8 pitfalls to watch for when naming your baby” from the baby centre.

So where did we land?

We’ve decided to put a placeholder on our daughter’s name for the time being. For the next 40 days or so, I will be calling my daughter Jolene (after the Dolly Parton song) and my wife will continue calling our daughter Abubaca or Booboolina. We’ll make our final decision when we meet our daughter on December 21!

Lessons-learned:

  1. This may sound strange but I’m not sure if my wife and I have spoken about any other baby-related topic more than our daughter’s name – not education, furniture, stroller, etc. This is definitely not a deal breaker from my perspective but it may be worthwhile to have a conversation about this topic with your significant other before you get pregnant.
  2. I don’t know a single couple that broke up over the naming of their child. I suggest having fun with this discussion. Suggest names that you like (or think are funny) – I’m sure you and your partner will come up with something you both
  3. I would suggest caution when soliciting advice from others. The last thing you want to hear from someone else is the name you are considering is “stupid”. Keep the discussion between yourself and your spouse/partner and perhaps one or two close friends or family members.

Do you have any suggestions regarding the naming of a baby? Did you argue a lot with your spouse/partner? What do you think about our strategy of delaying (procrastinating) our decision until we meet our daughter? Good or bad idea?