It seems like an eternity since 2012 when we welcomed a baby daughter into the world.
It was two weeks after I turned 30, and what a way to begin the next decade of my life. We knew absolutely nothing about babies and so signed up to NCT classes, bought books, prepared the nursery, stocked up on nappies and anything else people told us to get.
Somehow the birth all worked out.
Waters broke, we got to hospital on time, it was a textbook birth in the middle of the night. It was quite an experience for my girlfriend and (shh, don’t tell anyone) but I actually found it quite tiring, too. After all, it’s not natural to be stood up all night whispering words of encouragement! Such is there plight of the modern millennial dad. Our fathers and grandfathers were way out of sight and didn’t have to go through any of this. It may have been easier for them in one way but they missed out on taking part in such a miraculous event.
Fast forward four years and many of our fellow NCT friends have gone on to have second children.
We didn’t go in for it to begin with, didn’t want to rush into a second baby straight away. Then we thought we should try, and then it took a bit longer than we expected with a couple of bumps along the road. Now we’re looking forward to welcoming a new addition to the family in late March.
As our impending baby arrival approaches I’m even more terrified than before!
The first time around I knew nothing and prepared for everything. This time I kind of know what to do having been through it before but the closer it gets the more I realise I’ve forgotten. The advice has changed, too. Like how can it be that only four years later it’s now wrong to swaddle a baby?!
Right now, my top three concerns are:
Getting the baby out.
I kind of remember the birthing process from last time but just like women seem to have a selective memory when it comes to the pain of childbirth, I think men also blank out a lot of the experience. The end result is great but the planning of the hospital bag, the preparations in those key early hours when anything can happen, how useful I’ll actually be in supporting my wife, it’s all a bit daunting. I should know this, right? Maybe the pressure of having done it once before means it’s harder the second time because I’ve got a track record now.
Getting the right support.
Our daughter was born with a tongue tie, which made breast feeding difficult and painful for my wife. We struggled to get it diagnosed and it took many weeks before it was resolved. We did get support from midwives, health visitors and other experts, but it was sometimes difficult to access and confusing what to ask for. Being the first time we had a child meant we didn’t feel like the experts but we knew something wasn’t right. We got help in the end and I praise the health services for their support, but there’s no denying that the NHS is stretched and it’s sometimes hard to get the right support we need. I hope we manage to navigate it ok this time.
Juggling two children.
When the contractions started back in 2012 we only had to worry about getting ourselves to the hospital. Now we’ve got a four-year-old and need to make provisions for grandparents to come around. We’ve got to coordinate getting the new baby back home, getting our eldest to nursery, getting me to work and making sure my wife has everything she needs in those first few days and weeks to be with the baby. We’ve left it four years between children so it can’t be as bad as a one or two-year age gap, surely? It’ll be interesting to see how it all fits together.
I’m really excited about our new arrival.
It’s going to be great to have another member of the family. I think our daughter’s turned out ok so far and I’m sure we can do it all again. One big change since last time is I’ve discovered this wonderful world of parent bloggers. There’s so much wisdom and humour amongst this group, I think it will be a pretty good source of support. So if you find a random question on your blog about something you’ve posted, please look kindly on it and help me out!