9 Ways to Kill Time While Your Wife is in Labour

1. Get Drunk

Most hospitals are lacking woefully on the bar and off-license front. However, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from taking in your own cool-box full of beers or a couple of bottles of Jack Daniels. After, all, everyone knows your more fun and interesting after a few drinks. Why not take enough for everyone? That obstetric surgeon is probably exhausted and would really appreciate a quick mid-shift cocktail.

2. Play Pokemon Go

Whether you’ve jumped on the Pokemon bandwagon or not, now might be the time to start. The hospital is absolutely teeming with Weedles and Pidgeys and there are plenty of fun opportunities to take photos of them sitting on or even emerging from your screaming wife.

3. Get High on Laughing Gas

Although the NHS refer to it as “gas and air” the primary form of pain relief for women in labour is in actual fact, laughing gas! And it will get you high as fuck.  Why should the Mothers have all the fun? Why shouldn’t the baby’s Father have a few drags every now and then? You’ve paid your taxes. The NHS owes you. This is a stressful time and you could really do with taking the edge off.

4. Impersonate Hospital Staff

Dressing up is fun, and there’s nothing quite like a new mother’s face when she finds out her baby was just delivered by an unqualified stranger who just found a set of scrubs while curiously rifling through an unlocked cupboard.

5. Challenge Your Wife to a Rap Battle

You’ve been privately working on some sick rhymes for some time now, but haven’t had the confidence to share them with your family yet. It must be the thrill and adrenaline of impending fatherhood, because suddenly you just wanna spit ill lyrics like a mother-flippin’ gangsta G, yo. So, lay down some verses, bruh. Your wife will love to see you expressing yourself creatively at this otherwise mundane time.

6. Film the Pilot to Your Hospital Drama

How often do you get free reign of a hospital for 48 hours without having some kind of serious medical issue? This is the perfect opportunity to film your long awaited hospital drama. Think Grey’s Anatomy meets Magnum PI. You’ve got the perfect filming location and you’ve made yourself a kick-ass fake moustache from hair you found in the chemotherapy ward. Now you just need to pry a few nurses and doctors away from their precious patients for a few hours so they can be the supporting cast in what is certain to be a televisual masterpiece.

7. Have a Frank and Honest Discussion With Your Wife About Her Recent Performance

The house has been a mess lately and there wasn’t enough salt in last night’s lasagne. Now is the perfect time to express your concerns and let your wife know she really needs to buck up her ideas. Why not introduce an annual performance review, complete with Powerpoint presentation and infographics. Nothing says you’re prepared to put the effort into making a relationship work than a well presented 3D pie chart.

8. Fake your Own Death

So you’ve trained for months with Indian yogi masters and can slow your heartbeat down to an almost imperceptible level. Now is the perfect time to put that skill to good use. A superficial self-inflicted stab wound and a splash of extra blood from the donor cupboard and you’re good to go. Just think of their faces when you wake up freezing and gasping for air in a mortuary drawer. Classic.

9. Start a Protection Racket

Sure, hospital is the safest places you can  be, but couldn’t it be even safer? After all, those kids over in Oncology wouldn’t want anything “unfortunate” to happen to them during their stay would they? You’re providing a valuable service. And don’t worry about the morality of your new business venture. Many of them are going to die soon, anyway.

 

 

 

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Going On Holiday With A Newborn

Taking a child of any age on holiday can be, shall we say, challenging. Even when someone announces they’re taking their 6 month old abroad they’re often met with exaggerated looks of shock and unsolicited judgemental comments. That’s why when we decided to book our holiday before our baby had even been born, potentially facing the prospect of taking a 3 week old away, it came as no surprise when a sizeable number of people had no qualms in telling us to our faces that they thought we were completely fucking insane.

1. Get The Timing Right

Our due date was the end of July and we were determined to have a holiday before the summer ended, so we hoped for the best, booked it in and fortunately it all worked out. It was a big gamble though. If anything had gone wrong and we weren’t able to make it, we would have lost a lot of money on flights and accommodation on top of any other complications. If the baby had been delivered late by caesarian, we simply wouldn’t have been able to fly. This is something we knew from the get go but the reality didn’t really sink in until our due date came and went. This is when we made a solemn pact: one way or another, this baby was coming out in the customary way. Via nature’s doorway to the world. The good old fashioned vagina. It was a pact we realistically had absolutely no control over, but what can we say? We’re optimists.

This level of risk is not necessarily something we’d recommend though. Although you’ll end up spending more money, there are loads of last minute deals online meaning you can book at short notice once the baby has been born instead of trying to lure your offspring out by playing nursery rhymes and making intriguing animal noises next to your wife’s crotch.

2. Book Seats with Extra Leg Room

This is by no means essential, but it will make your flight that little bit more tolerable. Most airlines have a few rows of seats where you’re not constantly peeling your face off the back of someone else’s chair. It also means you’re not continuously asking another passenger to get up or having to let them squeeze past when you need to go to the changing room. Nothing is more embarrassing than carrying a screaming baby to the toilet when their overflowing nappy decides to rupture all over a stranger’s lap.

3. Get Air Conditioning!

What good fortune that everyone we told about our holiday to Spain reminded us that it’s likely to be quite hot there. Thank God you mentioned it, I’ll put our fucking Arctic windbeaters away at once. Yes, of course Spain is going to be hot. But last time I checked people had babies in Spain too. And Italy, and Greece, and Saudi Arabia, and Australia and Africa. The baby isn’t going to start sizzling like a pork loin the second we leave the aeroplane.

That said, reasonable precautions do need to be taken to make sure your baby doesn’t overheat and break on you. They struggle to maintain body temperature in the same way adults do and the recommended level for them is a surprisingly low 18-20 degrees. By far the easiest and most stress free way of making sure your baby doesn’t melt like a cheap tarmac driveway, is getting a place with air conditioning. It not only gives you peace of mind that your baby is safe at night, but it also gives you a place to cool off and de-stress when it’s all getting a bit too much and you find yourself in serious danger of suffering a heat-stroke-induced episode of wanting to fucking murder someone. Which brings us to our next handy titbit.

4. Drink!

This is a piece of advice that applies to pretty much all areas of life aside from driving heavy vehicles and performing major heart surgery. Your holiday should be no exception. Obviously it’s not advisable to get completely shit-hammered when you’re in charge of a child, but this is your holiday, it is going to stressful, and your own natural positive mental attitude may just not cut it. So unless your religion specifically forbids it (and if it does I suggest you thoroughly re-read the small print) make sure to have a cocktail or two……….or seven……..teen.

5. Prepare to Spend Less Time With Your Partner

Unless you both want to spend your entire holiday in the shade, you’re going to have to split up a lot of the time. For some reason nature decided to bestow our babies with pasty, useless subterranean mole-rat skin, not at all suited to life on beautiful sun-kissed beaches. Even just a minute in the afternoon sun risks scorching your baby’s lovely new face. And nothing would prove all those newborn holiday doubters right quite like taking home a 4-week old with oozing, blistery 3rd degree sunburn.

So if there is any point whatsoever in going on holiday, splitting up is absolutely essential, especially if you have older kids who want to be off swimming, fishing, snorkelling and recklessly launching themselves off 30 foot rocks. You’re just going to have to accept that at times you’ll have to take it in turns doing a bit of solitary shift work in the shade with the baby. Oh, but be careful. Turns out babies can burn in the shade too.

 

A Fresh Perspective

We haven’t done a proper blog post for some time now, mainly because our baby boy is finally here and we’ve been busy to say the least. He made his grand entrance at 3:21 pm on 25th of July and although the birth wasn’t exactly what you’d call textbook, both Mummy and baby are both fine and doing well.

We were pretty set on the name Leo for the last 3 or 4 months of the pregnancy, mainly because it’s the only one we could both agree one. We seem to have pretty different ideas in the baby names department. Some of the rejects included:

Katie’s:

Laurie

Sullivan

Arlo

Mine:

Alabaster

Alphamax

Krakenblood

So, Leo James Milward it was! We were both ecstatic to finally meet him and spent the next few weeks settling him into his new home. His big brother Finley stayed with us the previous weekend and was the perfect little dude as usual. He was massively excited ever since he found out we were expecting and didn’t stop talking about his new baby bro. He was really helpful around the house too which makes a nice change from leaving Lego everywhere and testing out his new Tai Kwon Do moves on me.

So, yeah. The pregnancy is over. The birthing has been done, and we now have a tiny new lodger in the house. I’m not going to go on and on about how much having a new baby changes your life, or about how powerful it is at putting things in to perspective. How it teaches you humility and to stop focussing on yourself so much. About how monumentally epic it feels to finally see and hold that little human being for the first time that’s been forming silently and invisibly for the last 9 months. I won’t talk about how that sense of being responsible for someone far more important than yourself gives your life a sense of urgency and wakefulness it never had before. None of that soppy bullshit. No, sir.

When you tell people without kids these things they’re either completely forthright in telling you your life is basically over, or they smile and nod and think it to themselves anyway. All they see is the crushing responsibility, the house rammed with toys, the mess, the smell of sick and shit and the fact you’re eternally chained down by this little miniature version of yourself. It’s impossible to fully convey the massive positive impact it has on you and your sense of wellbeing. The sense of purpose it gives you. It is kind of what we’re designed to do after all.

I guess that sounds quite patronising. Like I want to put a hand on their shoulder and smile wisely; “Ah, you simple fools. You’ll understand one day, my friends”. It’s not like being child-free and able to play video games and drink and smoke excessively and be single and work part-time isn’t pretty awesome too. It is. I remember. It’s fucking great! But trying to get across that feeling of being a Dad to someone who hasn’t experienced it is impossible. They just don’t believe you. How can drowning in nappies be better than drowning in tequila?

You go through your life trying to figure out what it is you’re doing, trying to find a reason for being here, shying away from commitment and responsibility whenever possible and then suddenly this little bag of helplessness drops into your life and instantly, without question, you leap into action: “This boy needs food damnit, he’s shit himself, pass me a nappy, we need money, the boy needs shoes, I must go to my horrible job and earn  some cash, see you in 14 hours.”

It’s amazing really. I’m by no means claiming that it solves all of life’s problems, of course it doesn’t. I think it’s the fact that it creates so many more urgent ones that it’s so powerful. I’ve never liked the phrase “try to keep busy”. Why would you TRY to keep busy?  Being busy is crap. But having a child suddenly gives you this massive weak spot. Having someone so innocent and defenceless that you care about so much gives you a huge area of vulnerability in your life, something that if lost would absolutely, momentously ruin you. It would break you irrevocably. So suddenly you have a fucking good reason to stay busy. And being busy with something that important drags you away from all the trivial shit you used to worry about.

It’s life changing in far more ways than just not being able to go out drinking or go on as many holidays.

So, yeah, quite liking this new guy.  At least that’s where I’m currently at, anyway. I’ll reassess and get back to you after a few more months of being waterboarded with vomit and kept awake all night by never-ending screaming.

How to Get Induced: A Moral Dilemma

40 weeks is a long time to wait for a baby. In my head if he didn’t come a couple of weeks early then he would at least arrive promptly on his due date, labour conveniently starting right when I would usually get up for work. I’d enjoy a much needed lie in while Katie contracted away quietly before we headed off to hospital. There’d be a few more hours of contractions that might be considered painful to mere mortals but would barely break a sweat for a powerhouse of womaninity like my wife.

After his gracious and timely emergence, his fresh face glowing and glistening in the afternoon sunshine, I would place him at my wife’s breast, The Circle of Life would somehow start playing softly in the background and we’d enter a new age of joyous, harmonious family life together.

What I hadn’t prepared for was sailing right past the 40 week mark without so much as a false labour or even a Braxton Hicks. Nearly a week overdue he continues to stay put, gleefully kicking the ever living shit out of my wife from the inside out. I suppose it’s her fault for cultivating such a hospitable womb for him. He’s not even been born and she’s already spoiling him. At this point it feels like she’s been pregnant for so long that I can’t remember anything different. Part of me genuinely believes this is life now; she’ll be pregnant forever. She’ll carry him internally into adulthood by which time technology will have advanced to the point that he’ll be able to get a job and live his entire life via some kind of video link from her uterus.

Raspberry leaf tea, hot curries, sex, walking, jumping, bouncing, and a literal gallon of pineapple juice later and he still won’t budge. Time to call in the big guns. Medical intervention is most definitely required at this point. That is why yesterday she went to the midwife for what is delightfully referred to as a “stretch and sweep”, which as far as I can tell is a very firm and vigorous NHS-administered fingering.

Katie had heard horrendous stories from her friends about this procedure and that it can be very painful, but apparently it wasn’t that big of a deal. Her friends obviously aren’t used to the goliath rocket-dong she is.

Anyway, we’re yet to see if the clinical finger-banging will get baby moving. What I really think she needs is a proper doctor-supervised intravenous dose of baby-inducing drugs. Which she was so God damn close to getting yesterday I could almost smell the amniotic fluid!

After receiving her medical muffin’ buffin’ and presumably the craving for a post-coital cigarette had worn off, the midwife went through the usual routine of testing her urine and measuring her bump. Urine tested fine, but the bump (and therefore the baby) didn’t appear to have grown for 2 weeks. Alarm bells instantly went off and the midwife called the hospital to try and get her booked in for an immediate scan. Was this it? Had she carried the baby for 41 weeks only to lose him? This did not sound good.

Within an hour we were sitting in the hospital consultant led unit and Katie had a number of sensors strapped to her belly and a little machine printing out a live chart. They also got her to press a button every time he kicked. They’d already asked us if the baby’s movements had been normal. He had been doing the minimum of 10 kicks every 2 hours but he had been moving less than normal recently. A concerned look on her face, the doctor left us in the monitoring bay.

I’m not really convinced the results at the end of the monitoring period were reflective of the baby’s normal movements, as he seemed to take quite a disliking to one of the sensors bearing down on him and spent the entire time trying to elbow it out of the way. Either way, we were sent upstairs for a scan and then sent back down to the consultant led unit to wait for nearly 2 hours for the doctor’s opinion of what was going on, and whether they’d send us home or begin the induction process.

After the first hour we realised we still had our notes folder with us, and that in order to be seen you had to hand it in at the department reception. We were essentially just hanging around in a hospital department that no one knew we were even in. Brilliant. Another hour later and a doctor finally came to see us who looked so young and timid she’d be better off at home building Lego Friends than in a career that involves taking people’s lives into her hands.

She informed us (in the corridor!) that she had read our notes, and that everything seemed to be “ok”. The baby measurements didn’t quite tally up, but he was a decent size. She didn’t seem that convinced though. She chewed on her pen as she re-read through the notes, clearly wondering what the next step was. “Please, just induce this little bastard out of her,” I kept thinking. I knew Katie was thinking the same thing. We both waited with baited breath. It was then we were presented with a bit of a moral dilemma.

“So, are you happy with the baby’s movements?”

This is something we kept getting asked, and was obviously a major factor in deciding whether everything was ok or not. As she asked, my wife and I both realised this would be the deciding factor of whether we would be sent home, potentially for another week, with no baby, or whether they would keep us in and chemically purge the little fucker out.

Katie and I looked at each other. Was it right to lie and say we were concerned our baby wasn’t moving enough so that we got to meet him sooner? Overall, Katie wasn’t concerned that he wasn’t moving enough. If anything she was concerned he was moving too much. An in-utero sedative might be a good next step if they weren’t going to induce him.

After a pause that felt like a lifetime and several glances back and forth between Katie and me, honesty prevailed. She told her she wasn’t concerned. Lying felt like bad karma, somehow. The doctor glanced through the notes again, probably distracted the first 2 times by the ever-present thought of the semi-constructed Heartlake High School Playset waiting for her at home. As expected, she decided to send us on our merry way.

So, the boy is still in there, an estimated 7 lbs and 12 ounces, kicking away, slightly less often, but harder than ever. The wait for baby continues.

 

Amazon Prime Review & Letter of Complaint

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for nearly a year now, and still absolutely loving it. For me, as someone who really can’t be arsed to go to the shops every time we need a box of fish food or something, it’s been an absolute godsend. For about £70 a year you get unlimited free next day delivery on eligible items. That means we can often place an order in the evening and it can arrive the next morning. Membership also includes access to Amazon Instant Video, which is like a shittier version of Netflix.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing about it is that not only does Amazon obviously stock loads of baby stuff, but they also have a few pretty useful services which are tailored specifically to parents. The first and most basic is an “Add to Baby Wishlist” button, which appears below the normal “Add to Wishlist Button” when you activate it. We’ve used this loads as it turns out when you’re expecting a baby you need to buy more equipment than if embarking on a winter ascension of Mount Everest. So if you can’t afford it yet, or you’re undecided exactly what you want, you can just shove it on the wishlist for later.

You can also set up a profile for each member of your household with their age etc. and this will send you tailored product recommendations. I haven’t done this yet, but may use it once the little cub has been born. These days it’s hard to avoid having advertising rammed down your throat, so if it’s going to happen anyway it might as well be relevant.

Prime members also benefit from a 20% discount on nappies when you sign up to Subscribe and Save. This means you get a regular order delivered to your house for a really good price. All the major brands are available and I think the price works our even cheaper than supermarkets. 10-11p per nappy for Pampers.

So far we’ve bought the vast majority of our baby stuff from Amazon and it’s great knowing you’re getting the best deal you can, you can compare reviews, and instead of traipsing through shops you can do it all on your phone while taking a shit at work.

I do have one gripe though. It started off as a minor thing, but is steadily getting more annoying. Even though I’ve asked them repeatedly, they still consistently fail to deliver things to my allocated ‘safe place’ when I’m not in, opting instead to leave it with my neighbours. Which doesn’t bother me much really, but after having several items a day for weeks on end I think my neighbours were starting to get a bit annoyed.

whats app amazon

Lovely. With this in mind I decided to write a strongly worded e-mail:

Amazon e-mail

Amazon gave us 2 months extra Prime membership by way of an apology. However, despite the above and subsequent e-mails, their delivery drivers still continue to deliver things to our neighbours. Sorry, guys.

Sweet, Sweet….Urine?

piss

We just got back from a midwife appointment and were pleased to find Katie doesn’t have gestational diabetes. They found glucose in her urine the last few appointments and that can mean you get a weird kind of diabetes while you’re pregnant, where your body doesn’t control blood glucose levels properly and your foetus is basically mainlining unfiltered sugar 24/7, causing them to get overly fat . Like Augustus Gloop from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory drinking pure chocolate from that river right before he gets sucked up a tube and presumably dies a horrible death in the turbines of some kind of large chocolate pump. Pretty sure watching that scene as a child is the main reason I’m now claustrophobic. The old one. Not the shit one with Johnny Depp.

Anyway, gestational diabetes isn’t uncommon apparently, but it isn’t exactly good news as it can lead to a high birth weight, and increased chance of the baby getting diabetes in later life. Fortunately, although there was glucose in Katie’s urine, the blood tests showed she doesn’t have gestational diabetes. Which is good. I guess my wife is just so lovely even her urine is sweet.

B Minus 38 Days

Here we are. Just 38 short days until a fresh new life ejects itself from my wife’s undercarriage. What was once such a beautiful, inviting place will become a bloodbath of amniotic fluid and responsibility, and will never be the same again. A landscape changed forever. Like a once idyllic country meadow transformed into a smoggy dual carriageway, lined with roadkill and dilapidated Little Chefs. A marvel of nature. Ruined. Forever.

But…much like the M6 at the  Catthorpe Interchange, this road will lead us to new and exciting things. Like a lifetime of vomit stains and crippling financial debt (and laughter and smiles and endless baby posts on Facebook, obviously.) Or Stoke-on-Trent.

Onwards and upwards we shall go, continuing forward on our journey, unphased and committed to our destination. Apart from the odd glance at our rear view mirror and the wonderful, exciting things we’re almost definitely missing, we’ll keep our eyes fixed on the road ahead, moving forwards, never looking back for fear of losing our focus and crashing into a BP service station in a horrifying, burning fireball.

Parenthood, here we come!

We decided to start this blog to entertain ourselves and others, and maybe provide the odd bit of useful or insightful information along the way. I think the plan is for it to be a general mashup of baby-related musings, anecdotes and reviews of products and services, but could just as easily degenerate into a collection of links to hilarious videos of cats. Who knows. Let’s see where it takes us. Oh, and rambling analogies of ruined vaginas aside, we’re both super excited about our new arrival.