Sunday, April 11, 2010

Men's Week: Taking Care of Your Wife in Labor by Christopher Clark



Courtney has commissioned me to write a little entry about what a man is supposed to do to help his wife in labor. Yikes! I'm the worst at that. I guess she assumed that, having been through it five times, I would have some kind of insight into how to make the baby come out easier, or stop the screaming, or make the nurses come to the room any quicker when you push the button. I've taken the Lamaze class so I should have some idea about how to help, but that was thirteen years ago and I only remember that you are supposed to get all up in your wife's face and count, and I have since learned that this is NOT A GOOD IDEA.

Which leads me to think that I would be more effective at giving pointers about what not to do, since basically we men need to be completely unobtrusive during the birthing, whether we know it or not. It's really not about us, fellas. I know you took your little class and it's supposedly your baby, but still. This isn't your moment to call the shots and make "helpful" comments. Mostly you need to be present, positive, and accept whatever demands are made of you. These demands may include "please-hold-my-hand-and-let-
me-squeeze-yours-for-support," but they may also involve "Please-turn-the-channel-Two-and-a-Half-Men-just-came-on-and-my-now-my-baby-won't-come-out."

All of my children were born in good old-fashioned hospitals. I know that women make many different birthing choices, and that these days anything goes as long as the baby eventually emerges. I respect that, but I should confess that hospital deliveries are all I know, so I will be very little help here to you gentlemen if your wife decides to give birth in a hayloft or on some kind of bobsled. You can take whichever of my suggestions fit your birthing plan, and I wish you the best of luck!

One pointer I would like to suggest involves food, and the lack of ingesting any. If the baby is induced, your wife has been told NOT to eat before labor, and she can't eat during labor, because...well it's gross (I think) so I won't go into it. So it's not super great if you come in there with your big bag of Wendy's and snarf it down while your wife hungers and dilates. I get it; it's a waiting game. You are hungry, and maybe you are bored. But guess what, sporto? If she doesn't eat, neither do you. And if your wife lovingly suggests that you should go eat, then you should look at her quizzically and say "Really? Are you sure? Cuz....really?" and then I think you pretty much can go do it.

Something I learned in that Lamaze class involves singing a special song during labor. I learned this from a video we watched. There was this man and his wife and she was in labor and they were in the shower together soaping each others' backs (it sounds really dodgy but it wasn't; I saw this video at some hospital in Pleasant Grove, Utah, so I guarantee it was respectfully and modestly shot, though no one's going to win an Oscar for it.) Anyway, they were getting all labor and delivery with a loofah, and then the voice-over suggests that some couples enjoy singing together to ease the pain. And then the guy, no joke, starts singing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes." And the wife seems to really respond positively to that! Apparently nothing gets you through a particularly sharp contraction like drivin' six white horses, or even the mention of chicken and dumplings. FOR SOME COUPLES. I found in our first labor that rubbing my wife's back and singing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes" is maybe not an awesome idea.

Gentlemen, here are some other things not to do during the birthing process:

DO NOT

1. Say things like 'Wow, this takes forever!"

2. Text updates to friends and family every 15 minutes about how this is "taking forever."

3. Sing songs about wearing red pajamas, or even whisper "oh, we'll all go out to meet her."

4. Eat those cups of crushed ice they give your wife (EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE SO TEMPTING)

5. Forget what your baby looks like. They will eventually wheel your baby into a big room full of babies who look just like yours. Mothers could tell a difference, but you can't. You better figure out which one is yours or you can be charged for negligence in some states.

6. Complain about the color of your hospital bracelet.

7. Sit in the waiting room and smoke a big cigar (EVEN THOUGH IT IS SO TEMPTING)

8. Make comments if your baby's head is misshapen or the skin is blotchy. That's normal for babies, what's your excuse?

9. Bring your other children to see the new baby wearing mismatchy outfits and messy hair. Your wife will charge you for negligence.

10. Assume you know how much childbirth hurts (UNLESS YOU HAVE HAD A KIDNEY STONE.)

So, fellas. Good luck! I may not have all the answers, but I've made many of the mistakes. Learn from this! My children have turned out mostly OK.



Christopher Clark is my brother. I call him Topher or Tophy. You can get more of this kind of funny by visiting his tumblr site Two Minutes with christopher clark!

p.s. No weekend baby!

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Awesome:






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On my other blogs today:

c jane's Guide to Provo:
Restaurant Review..........................................
Molly's by Andrew Clark
..................................................

dear c jane:
Chup's week
WATCH OUT!



92 comments:

La Yen said...

I am printing this out and stapling it to the birth plan.

PS: Topher, please finish your dissertation so you can come back into our lives.

Dana said...

Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Had to read to hubby. Funny!

Kim said...

I have hurt myself laughing over this!

Clyde said...

Your bro is a genius - a witty one as my husband just added up. I wish he can be back to his old good blog (the Jolly Porter, right?)

Jan S said...

Omg, I am in LOVE with your brother!! Anyone that can make me laugh that hard is a keeper!!

I don't have kids yet, but I'm with La Yen. I'm printing it out and keeping it for my husband for when I DO have kids! (And I'm sure he'll thank Topher for it later!)

You Clarks are just too much... Keep it coming!! :)

Hannah Mudge said...

I love this post!

Elisabeth said...

Funny! Are they ever going to induce you or what? I've checked back here about 5x this weekend to see if there's any news!

Mama Llama said...

Oh, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. I do adore that brother of yours, and this was a treat!

Sarah said...

This is surreal. We saw the same movie in childbirth ed and I turned to my husband and asked, "Is he REALLY singing She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain?!". That was 17 years ago and whenever I hear that song it makes me giggle. Funny post!

kimalli1 said...

Holy cow! Funniest thing EVER!

Molly said...

Awesome!!

Deb said...

So great to read your writing again, Topher!!

And we had our first child 2 years ago and saw the same "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain video"-- it was really hard to take that class seriously. But the back rubs were sure nice.

Lizzytish said...

Your brother is hysterical! Love it. Good luck!

Nicole said...

OK, I laughed so hard I'm crying. And i just put my makeup on! "She'll be comin' round the mountain..."?? For real? The need to make new version of that one...I see Jack Black cast as the virtuoso husband.

Thanks for the laughs!

Julie said...

At our first, my husband ate Cool Ranch Doritos and then went to SLEEP. I have never felt so alone. I think we've been blessed with 7 just so he could perfect his technique. He also has learned not to count, not to eat, not to tell me to relax and not to wear his glasses for those last few minutes. I hit pretty hard!

M said...

I just laughed so hard I sprayed breakfast cereal and milk all over my toddler.

Amy C said...

LOL! My husband would agree with all of the above!! Love!

thedomesticfringe said...

That was great! Fabulous advice. My husband asked if he could go get nachos before the cafeteria closed...NOT GOOD.
-FringeGirl

Anonymous said...

I think I heart you.

mygiveawaytoday.com said...

That was SO funny! Thanks for a good laugh on a Monday morning.

Living the Scream said...

ok that was so fun to read and HILARIOUS!!

Kathy - mom of many said...

I'd say that's pretty accurate. After having 10 babies, I can testify that Christopher's advice is right on target.
Also, don't forget the camera, and take all the silly pictures your wife says to take. When the nurse says you can't come into the nursery to see the baby being weighed and cleaned up, make her take the camera with her in there to capture all the goings on. You don't want to miss a single second of the newness. Even if it's your 10th baby.

dalene said...

i don't recommend leaving your laboring wife in the middle of the night to go prepare for a substitute for your sixth grade class, either.

and i second la yen.

aMUSEd said...

Oh my gosh! I didn't know that Topher was actually (Dr.) Lloyd Darrow from Stalking Santa! One more reason to love the Clark family!

Cardalls said...

SO Funny!

Lisha said...

Well done Mr Clark, you have taught your lesson well.

We saw the same birthing video in Vancouver, Canada 10 years ago. It was hilarious. Did you see the one where the husband tried to get his wife, during labour, to focus on a photo of Tibby the cat, or was it Miffy??

MixMingleGlow said...

holy smokes...you know how people always right "LOL" but it's kind of just a lame attempt at meaning "that was funny" (and truth be told, I almost never actually LOL when reading things). Well, I LITERALLY Laughed Out Loud a couple of times reading this post. The fact that Christopher Clark is THIS witty just makes me love (and envy) your family even more!

Reynolds Family said...

Well said...but...even if you'd had a kidney stone-you still don't have ANY idea how bad childbirth hurts. Not even close. Men just say that because they can't experience both. Trust me, I've experienced both several times. So funny though-a definite must read for expecting fathers!

Supermom said...

Obviously this man is Cjane's brother. They are two peas in a pod with their sense of humor. LOVED THIS!

Nan said...

Topher, I miss your blog with all my heart.

bbbunch said...

I just had my fourth baby...you are SO right on! Making sure the big kids are matched and clean is such a big deal!!! Think of all the pictures they are going to be in...forever!

Might I just add that if your wife insists that you indeed go get something to eat (mostly because your step-mother is in the room and won't leave...which you also need to take care of!), probably a good idea to answer the cell phone when it rings...especially when it says "unavailable". My husband almost missed the birth of our third because I called him from the hospital room (repeatedly. on both cell phones that he was holding.) and he didn't answer because they said "unavailable". He did get to ditch his step-mom in the cafeteria and sprint back for the pushing, though...so that's good :)

Cracked me up this morning... thanks ;)

bbbunch said...

OH! Also...don't look at the contraction monitor and constantly go "WOW! Now THAT was a BIG one!" You may end up with a black eye.

Genevieve said...

Topher...can I call you Topher? I can? Great!..
Very funny and spot on suggestions!!
I'm sending this to the hubs...he may or may not have committed said faux pas' during the birth of our children. Love it!

mamagale said...

Loved this! Here's one more for the list: Don't ask "How long do you think you'll be?" My poor husband is still living that down 27 years and 8 kids later!

Steve and Erin Larsen said...

I was laughing so hard when I read this I had tears in my eyes!!! I miss his old blog!! Thanks for the laugh Topher!

Doty Family said...

Hilarious! I love his Don't list. My husband chowed down on Scone Cutter 2 of the 3 times I had babies. Once he even stopped and picked it up on the way to the hospital, while I was having contractions in the passenger seat. And he will never live it down. Never ever!! Hope that little angel comes soon Cjane. I'll keep ya in my prayers!

Laura said...

Hilarious! Making my husband read it.

Jax said...

I have nothing to add. Topher's list is perfect!

Jocelyn said...

I will be directing my hubby to your blog today. After 3 children, he has yet to learn...

Ashley said...

Oh good. I've got seven seeks until D-Day and was looking for some good ground-rules for the hubster. The eating one is the most prominent on my list. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes?? Is that supposed to help you remember how much fun you had 9 months prior getting in this situation?! And for the record, I say that any man can cry like a baby if he has a kidney stone. I've birthed 4 babies (9.4-9.14 lbs.) naturally using the Bradley method (the best way to go. No signing...) and I've birthed 5 kidney stones. I would MUCH rather birth an almost 10 lb. baby. I've never known more pain than a kidney stone.

Happy Birthing to you, c jane, when it happens!

Rachel C said...

I'm going to make hubby read this for sure. Funny and so true!

todd & nicole said...

We saw that same movie in our birthing class. "She'll be coming 'round the Mountain" we couldn't believe it, how horrible. He still likes to tease that he is going to sing it, but so far, thankfully he hasn't.

Jennifer said...

I wish my anesthesiologist had read this. Yes, the ANESTHESIOLOGIST waltzed into my room eating a sandwich. If I hadn't had an epidural I would have kicked that man. (Fourteen years later I'm still mad.)

Sundance Kid said...

SO. FUNNY.

Love it.

Laura said...

I LOVE THIS!! As a mom of five children myself, & a Labor & Delivery nurse, I'd say Topher hit the nail on the head! Awesome guest post!!

Jill said...

Never, never, never bring the other kids in scuddy outfits with messy hair! If people don't know that they shouldn't be having more kids!
Great list! :)

Jennifreckles said...

I've had three kids, I've had kidney stones and ... no. Just no. If your wife has back labor, then no. You don't understand even if you've had kidney stones.
Now, kidney stones while someone gives an Indian burn to your unmentionables? Yeah. That would pretty much cover it.

nikkipicky said...

Freakin' Hilarious!!

I loved it!!

Brian and Tonya said...

Oh,that is so funny. I'm going to make my hubby read that one.

EricaT said...

This has been my favorite post so far- only because I laughed out loud in the public library!! Every "Do Not" point was so true and basically what my husband did when our first child was born!! He learned for the second;) Thank you for the laughs on a Monday!

Artfulife said...

Hilarious!!!! Haven't laughed this hard in a while.

stephanie joy said...

oh my goodness! i am laughing and falling over my chair here. we saw that awful birthing video with them singing "she'll be coming around the mountain" too. that was 7 years ago at our prenatal classes. i wonder if it's still in circulation? i do remember my hubby bringing that up when i was actually in labour too. he should have read your rules before that.

LOL

thanks for the laugh!

Hailey said...

I don't know, it was KIND of funny, I guess. I'm a little shocked at the shower scene comments, and somewhat offended at the jabs made at people who want to have their babies in haylofts, because some of us can't afford hospitals like fancy Chris Clark.

(I sure hope you're reading this, Chris...)

bjahlstrom said...

This was really, REALLY funny!

Jagers said...

This was a great post. I have one more tip. Mentioning your baby girl has hairy monkey shoulders is not the best thing either. Peach fuzz is completely normal:) Prefacing the comment with I know you have all of these crazy new mom hormones in stuff but did you notice.....
Love my husband I actually giggled a little:)

Mel said...

I was so hoping Chris would post! Only he could do justice to men in the labor and delivery room.

pollydove said...

Oh that was too funny!!! I LOVE #9 on the list ... so true!

Judith said...

Brilliant and funny! If only we knew all this amazing stuff before our children were born.

marian said...

My dad prepared jokes for my mom's first LandD, you know, to take her mind off the pain - also no a good idea.

Jess said...

Sorry Topher- kidney stones don't equal birth pain.i promise- I've had both- unfortunately unmedicated (not by choice I assure you) and the kid is worse. I agree with the rest of your hilariously spot on birth plan though.

ForeverRhonda said...

I'm sending this to my fiance. He needs to know what he's getting into!

Jennie said...

OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS POST! I was laughing out loud in my little cubicle at work. I'm expecting our first baby this August, and have already sent the link to this post to my husband. Wonderfully written!

The Bell Family said...

That was AWESOME!!!! Thanks for the laugh!

tharker said...

And THIS is exactly why I miss The Jolly Porter. Good to have him back, even if only for a post.

Jennifer said...

Love the part about mismatched clothes and messy hair. They cannot be photographed with the new baby if they look like they just got up. Good call

Beth said...

Loved it! Take this with you to read during labor when you need a funny moment (again).

Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

I laughed so hard I cried reading this! I've given birth (repeatedly) AND I've had a kidney stone... neither of which my husband has had to experience. I think my hubby can concur on the "this is taking forever" quote, though our last baby was nearly born in the car, so even that complaint is now invalid.

tarynn said...

Dear Topher,
FYI- a woman in labor is not allowed to eat just in case she needs major abdominal surgery i.e. a C-section. Not such a gross reason after all, no?

Kristen said...

Perfect... I'm a labor and delivery nurse, so I get this. Your answers are great, just let me add one more... don't barf in the corner of the room when we tell you your wife is 10 cm, and is ready to push.

I took care of a really mormon couple one time (I'm mormon too, so I can say that). She went with out anesthesia, so she and her husband sang hymns to get through the contractions. My favorite was "True To the Faith." She started singing the first verse when the contraction started..."Shall the youth of Zion falter... shall we shirk of shun the fight." Then the peak of the contraction hit when she sang, "nooooohohohoho."

I was all I could do to not burst out laughing. Good luck Chup! If I could recommend one more thing, don't get all hippyish and eat the babies vernix. Think I haven't seen that?

Wendi said...

Hilarious. And I just listened to your podcasts. Equally hilarious. Thanks for sharing your wit and insight. :D

Wendi said...

P.S. The middle paragraph of the comment above mine totally cracked me up. :D

J said...

I miss your blog - please bring it back soon!

Diane said...

This is awesome. I'm laughing outloud.

Patti said...

BHAHAHAHA . . . I have missed this perfect stranger SO much.

Damaris said...

Fabulous. This is the reason why I think more men should blog. Then again I'm assuming that most men would be this good and thorough and that's just a misconception.

Southern Gal said...

My husband stared at the monitor and could see the contractions start before I could feel them. "Here comes a big one" is not something you tell your wife about a contraction when she is in labor.

I'm going to get my son-in-law to read this. He and my daughter are expecting their first baby in June.

Southern Gal said...

Oh and he nailed the kidney stone factor right on the head. I've had babies and I've had kidney stones (while I was 8 months pregnant). Labor is much more welcome than kidney stones. Trust me.

Joann Mannix said...

Good Night, how I love your bro!

And if my hubby ever started singing, "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain" I would get up from that table, no matter if I was at a 10 and stab him.

There are just some things you don't do.

And leave the ice alone, man.

Good luck Cort. I'm on vacation, but still checking in to see how you are. I hope there's no singing of American folk songs for your sake, girl.

Elizabeth said...

He's spot on!

Good luck, Cpurtney! I'm cheering for you in Minnesota!

Jenny S said...

Christopher, I miss you and Sociology 101. Please say hi to your adorable wife Lisa for me! PS. You're invited in my delivery any time!

thorney said...

Reading this brought back so many memories of my own children making their way into the world and their father--I couldn't believe the food he brought into the room, and that family brought to him, all in fear he would stave to death while i was in labor. LOL

AzĂșcar said...

Well, now I'm just confused about whether or not kidney stones are worse than labor, or if labor trumps them all.

If I had to pick a side, I'd probably go with paper cut.

Lenice said...

I am crying from laughing so hard!

Sara D. said...

Oh my, that is TOTALLY true. Laughed my way through the entire post. When my first daughter was born (I was induced), my husband and his sister ate lunch in our room. Almost 8 years later, I am still bitter.

Trisha said...

I can't stop laughing! This was awesome!

Alice said...

How funny! I will add two more items to your list of things NOT to do.

Husbands, do not fall asleep while you should be helping your wife through contractions. Also, if the BIG game is on, please refrain from asking every attendant who enters the room what the score is. Hubby was not on my favorites list that day.

Also, I must respectfully disagree with the kidneystone thing. You only need to compare the size of the kidney stone and a baby to realize that----there is no comparison.

Emily said...

We saw the same video!!! We also have five kiddos, but it was with our first that we were enlightened with the "Comin' Round the Mountain" Baby Welcome. And the funniest part was that the song really did seem to calm the woman. Really!?! Every single woman in our class immediately turned to her husband/significant other and threatened them with their lives (or no sex for the rest of their lives) if they even hummed a line from that song.

Happy Birthing CJane. May you never have to hear "Comin' Round the Mountain" during dilation.

rookie cookie said...

Just read this to my husband. We got a good laugh. Bless you and your writing abilities.

jude said...

heehee...this is good for giving the ladies a chuckle but doesn't really prepare a man for the nitty gritty, blood and guts reality. but its still funny.

Geo said...

Maybe it would work better to sing the Scottish version:

Oh ye cannae shove yer granny off a bus
No ye cannae shove yer granny off a bus
No ye cannae shove yer granny,
'Cause she's yer mammy's mammy,
Ye cannae shove yer granny off a bus!