I don’t consider myself an expert on many things. In fact, I often confuse the idea of what it means to be an expert with what it means to be a connoisseur. I have the latter part down.
You wanna know about what your Hollandaise SHOULDN’T look like on that Sunday morning benedict? I got you.
You interested in which line of men’s boxer briefs has the longest shelf life or ‘burn rate’ before you start shredding holes where your leg meets your grundle? I’m your guy.
Need to know the only gas station chain along the mid-Atlantic that sells Wild Bill’s Tender Tips Beef Jerky? Boom, these are all too easy.
But what about an expert?
I mean, how exactly does someone even begin to consider themselves an ‘expert’? From where I sit, an expert is simply someone who does the same activity a bunch of times with a moderate level of success and has a handful of experiences in which shit goes sideways. Figuring out how to avoid kneeling in that ‘shit’ again and offering advice to the general public qualifies you as an expert in my book.
It just so happens that over the last few years, a handful of folks have introduced me as a parenting expert. And while I insist that each parent has their own style, their own way of doing things – I do have some opinions based on my experience as an expectant father – over the course of FOUR pregnancies.
Today marks 7 days shy of my second book being released. “We’re Pregnant! The First-Time Dad’s Pregnancy Handbook” is a weekly outline of mom and baby stats, combined with humor and those ‘sitting in the shit sideways’ anecdotes that evidently made someone think I might be qualified to offer advice on a global scale.
Not only are we a week out from my book debut, but my wife and I are 3 days away from welcoming a 4th child to our team of little people. I’ll be deployed on my final tour of duty in a labor/delivery and post-partum room at our local hospital and I had to dig deep to remember all of the little nuances that made my stay better each time…
7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Labor and Delivery:
- Hospital Pillows Generally Suck: And that’s only if you manage to get one. Pillows are a hot commodity and you’d be best off taking your own head cushion from home, with a back up pillowcase in the event you get thrown up on.
- Size Matters: You’re not spending the week in Cape Cod or at a work conference in Europe, pack like you need to haul that bag up a mountain. Only the necessities – plus, the closet is super small and there’s almost nowhere to store your bag when it’s not in use. This will become an issue when you have your entire extended family jammed into your room fighting over who gets to hold the baby (while sitting on YOUR lap thanks to the lack of seating).
- Bribe Your Nurses: Our friend Michelle tuned us in to this a few years back: Don’t be afraid to put together a few little goodie packs for the nurses on staff – some snacks here, a dozen donuts there… they’ll take care of you on the inside.
- There’s No Water in the Desert: You thought it was tough to get a refill at the Egg Bistro brunch last weekend? Don’t get caught in the cross-hairs of the driest air on Earth and the occasional Dixie cup of non-filtered water. Bring a case or two of your own bottled spring water.
- Extra Large Ladies Underwear: I know, I know. There’s a time and a place for everything and you’re probably thinking that it’s not here or now. But the reality is that my wife didn’t realize she was going to be allergic to the standard-issue latex string mesh “underwear” that she wore during c-section recovery. Having to run out to Target at 10pm and buy several pair big enough to fit over the gauze pads or parachute over the South Pacific could’ve been avoided. Amazon Prime ahead!
- Pediatrician Rights: Once you’ve decided on a pediatrician (ask friends and your doctor for referrals!), make sure that they have rights to the hospital you’re giving birth at – this way they can stop by during your stay to say hello, assess your new little bundle, and get you set up with those important first visits.
- Take a Book: And not just any book, a guide crafted by yours truly. “We’re Pregnant!” is a book for dads-to-be, written by a dad who’s been. I break the pregnancy into 4 trimesters (with checklists), so I’ve also got your back for those first three months you’re at home trying to get acclimated.
“We’re Pregnant!” is currently available on Kindle and officially begins shipping out to homes on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Think ahead and grab your copy on pre-sale now: http://bit.ly/FirstTimeDadHandbook and bring it with you to the hospital.
Best of luck to all the father’s to be!