OMG I'm a parent!
As of August 2022, I became a parent for the first time! It's certainly something that comes with a lot of learning. Our condition was not too far off normal, though we did have to pursue IVF and our daughter had a severe tongue tie. More on that later. For now I wanted to share some of the tips I learned along the way in case it helps other new parents out there.
In theory, getting pregnant shouldn't be difficult but our journey wasn't quite the norm. My wife had thyroid cancer long before we met. Part of that treatment was a low dose of radiation. Unfortunately that damaged some of her eggs. Ideally her medical provider would have told her this and brought up the possibility of freezing her eggs before the treatment. Unfortunately this did not happen. She had no idea this could damage her eggs or that it was even an option to save her eggs.
So after trying for a couple years, we decided to go the IVF route. This was a good way for us to determine whether my wife had any good eggs left as well as potentially have a selection to find an undamaged egg. Unfortunately in the US and especially in California, IVF is fairly expensive (on the order of $30k USD!), so we could only really afford to try it once. We lucked out, however and one time was all we needed!
⚠️ Life lesson: Always ask your doctors about the side-effects of medical treatments. And if you're considering kids in your future, double-check about reproduction related side-effects.
My wife is fairly active and continuing to do pregnancy safe exercises was important to her. So the pregnancy really didn't change our lifestyle that much. As the non-pregnant person in the family, it's very easy to just continue with your normal hobbies/priorities during pregnancy. Other than helping your wife of course! But if you know your wife is expecting, now is the time to do as much learning and preparation as you can as time will be limited in 9-ish months.
It was important to us to have a natural child birth. After some research, we found a birthing center near us that had a lot of good reviews. We heard from various sources that it is really important to have a birth plan. Both the Mamma Natural course and the book Caring for Your Baby and Young Child by the American Academy of Pediatrics talk about this. They provide a good set of questions to ask and things to consider to ensure you have the delivery you want whether you want to just go to the hospital and not think about anything or have a home birth and everything in-between.
During our pregnancy journey we found a number of really good resources to learn from. I figured I'd share in case it's useful to you.
There's plenty of videos and courses out there. These are the ones we used:
|Taking Cara Babies||Sleep Training||$80|
|Mamma Natural||Natural child birth||$264|
|Karing for Post Partum||Newborn instructions||$79|
Mamma Natural was an excellent resource for getting familiar with the childbirth process and what to do before birth. Especially for someone who has never witnessed human childbirth, I found it really helped me to know what to expect and find out how I could be a part of the process. (I got to catch our daughter!). It's also a good course to watch to understand what typically happens during hospital births and how that can differ from other "natural" birth methods.
Taking Cara Babies is excellent for understanding how to manage sleep and what to do after birth. It focuses on understanding the cycles of sleep, wake, feeding, etc. that your baby will go through. There was an eye-opening moment for me where she showed a baby that was full on crying in their sleep. If I had not known about this, I would've made many mistakes in waking my baby unnecessarily.
Here are some YouTubers that we like:
- How to Calm a Crying Baby - Dr. Robert Hamiliton Demonstrates "The Hold" -- a simple way to hold a newborns that can help keep them from crying
- Hey Shayla -- She's an excellent resource for any other "crunchy granola" types out there (vegan, natural birth, etc.). She talks about everything from pregnancy to handling her children.
- Hapa Family -- Talks about how to follow Montessori principals in arranging your home and routines for your child
- Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, 7th Edition: Birth to Age 5 ~$22 by the American Academy of Pediatrics -- I've only read the pregnancy section of an older edition that was gifted to me. But it was also invaluable in understanding the process of what to do about child birth, what happens in hospitals and why, etc. It also has good recommedations on how to come up with a "birth plan" to ensure you have the birth you want (or at least a better chance of it -- your baby can always have a different plan!).
- The Wonder Weeks ~15 -- An excellent book that breaks down the developmental milestones your baby will go through. It's a really good way to understand what behaviors to expect so you know how to better respond to your baby when they start doing something different, don't like something they used to like, or appear to regress in behavior.
- You are your child's first teacher ~$15 by Rahlma Baldwin Dancy. This book is a great introduction to the Waldorf view on the developmental needs of children. In addition to that, it's a great read to get you thinking in different ways about the type of relationships and "rhythm" of life you'd like your family to have.