What to Expect During the Last Month of Your Pregnancy and More

So you’re expecting a baby?  I’ve taken the same phone call several times over the past months.  “Hey Frank, great news, Stephanie’s pregnant, we’re having a baby.”  I flashed back to when I was the excited dad-to be making the same call.   After wishing them well, and hanging up I thought, those poor bastards, have no clue what’s waiting for them. 

Whether you got here tracking your ovulation cycles on an iPhone, used the test tube and turkey baster method, or maybe something more traditional, like Netflix and chill, your life will change drastically in the next month or so.  If you’re somewhere between a little nervous and terrified I’ve written this guide so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made.

I love my son but parenthood is not all sunsets and rainbows.  Here are a few things to expect.

The Baby Shower – Whether it’s planned by a group of old women who’ve forgotten the day isn’t about them, or a group of hipsters sipping Cosmos while noticing how good the Filipino surrogate looks for eight months along, this is an important part of the parenting process.   Baby showers are the best way of filling your home with tons of free stuff, but it comes at a price, you will be sitting through hours of cheesy games like Baby Bingo, watching drunken women comparing C-Section scars, and navigating through enough estrogen to fill a swimming pool.  

Helpful Hint –Remarking how fat your wife has gotten should be avoided at all costs.

Baby Showers are a great way of filling your home with lots of free stuff.

You Have to Agree on a Name– I’ve mentioned this before but cannot stress the importance too many times.   Pick a wimpy name and you’ve pissed off the person caring for you when you’re old and feeble.  Let your wife make the decision without any input and the results can be disastrous.

Here are a few examples.   Name your daughter Brandy, Ginger or Destiny and she might be swinging from a pole and bitching about you to Dr. Phil when she’s 19.  Name your son Cody, Tucker, or Rene and risk a future of wedgies by the bigger kids in gym class.  Most important name your child Bryce, Colt, or Tripp and risk him being the douchy kid who becomes the douchy adult.

Helpful Hint-Pick a name you’ll be comfortable yelling about 5000 times before your child’s fifth birthday.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid – My cousin Leslie gave me the best piece of advice when my son was born.  She said, “Congratulations you just experienced the best moment of your life.  Your first night alone with the baby will the worst.”  We didn’t get much sleep during our first night at the hospital, but we had a charming Caribbean Baby Whisperer doing most of the heavy lifting.

Our first night at home reminded me of a Steven King novel.  We had no system in place, camped out in the living room because our bedroom was too cold for a newborn, and struggled with a cranky baby who hadn’t gotten the hang of breast feeding but still managed to keep loading up diaper after diaper.

Helpful Hint-Remove the diaper too quickly and you will be cleaning more than the baby’s butt.

Friends Will Want to See the Baby—After you’ve been home a few days your friends will want to come over to see the baby.  I thought I’d dread this but being locked up like a sequestered juror on a high-profile trial has a way of changing things.  Don’t be shy when your friends ask, “What can I bring.”  Think decadent, like lobster mac and cheese, or ravioli lasagna, it’s also helps you line up a pool of potential baby sitters.

Helpful Hint – Remember friends offering to bring dinner and baby sit only last a few weeks, so think big.

Buy Buy Baby is to Women what Home Depot is to Men— If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll notice I keep coming back to this, because it’s important.  You are going need all sorts of things for your child as they grow so you’ll be visiting places like Baby’s R Us, The Children’s Place and Buy Buy Baby a lot.  I’ve found if I spend too much time shopping there with my wife, I start craving chocolate and bitching about the outfit she’s wearing.

Helpful Hint- Bring snacks and a fully charged tablet and grab a seat with the other Dads where they sell baby furniture , this is going to take awhile.

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1Our first days as parents are a blur.  In the hospital we had a non-stop parade of nurses, family and friends. Everyone was greeted the same way—with bloodshot eyes and a goofy grin.   The first night we had the option of keeping him our room or putting him in the nursery overnight so we could sleep.  It was a no brainer—he stayed with us.   It was our baby boot camp.

We got a lot of advice those first days, one piece stayed with me, a phone call with my cousin Leslie.  After congratulating me she said, “You just experienced the best day of your life, enjoy it.  Your first night at home with the baby will be your worst. “

The training wheels came off when Cristian came home.   Tired and with no system in place that first night was rough.  Camping out in the living room, because our bedroom was too cold, rushing out for formula after Baby’s R Us and Buy Buy Baby closed (Cristian had not gotten the hang of breast feeding yet), not sleeping as we changed and fed our crying baby.  Walking him around at 3am Chico gave me a look that said “Can you keep him quiet—I’m trying to sleep here.”

Esther prepping Cristian to come home
Esther prepping Cristian to come home

Walking Chico the next morning, I checked with the neighbors as they headed off to work, making sure we were the only ones Cristian kept awake.  They assured me of it, but staggering along like a punch-drunk boxer with a coffee cup in one hand and a dog leash in the other made me wonder if they were just being polite.

Cristian napping upon coming home from the hospital
Cristian napping upon coming home from the hospital

early Cristian (2)That next morning Esther and I became tag-team parents taking turns napping while the other watched the baby.  “You sleep, I got this one.”  One changed him while the other kept family members updated.  “Mom remember how Dad said, he wanted to take the baby home with him? You can pick him up anytime.”

For me it was on the job training. We spent time watching the baby in his Moses basket and Jeopardy on TV, “Diaper Change for 200 Alex”.  Patterns developed.  “He’s due for a feeding, or time for a diaper change.”

I quickly learned diaper changes required undivided attention—you could get peed on or worse could be cleaning the carpet afterwards because you took the diaper off too soon.  The first week seemed like a juror being sequestered during a high-profile trial but the perks were pretty good too.  My crankiness and sleep deprivation was rough, but they were forgotten every time Cristian flashed me a smile.

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