I had my whole plan worked out. I knew my limitations, and I knew I would be useless when confronted with blood and babies and female parts. That’s why when my lovely and vivacious wife gave birth to our son, I was going to be up near her head, offering a word of support and a hand to squeeze.
Of course, this wasn’t my first choice.
But apparently that was too far away, so I sucked it up and decided to stay in the delivery room, albeit north of the knees. And for a while, it seemed like my plan would be successful. When it came time for the epidural, I was kicked out of the room. (I was not told that I had to come back, and had to figure that out on my own.)
Yet when the screaming started and it came time for junior to pop out, the doctors took one look at me, huddled in the corner, pale and shivering, and decided it would be a good idea for me to take an active role in the process. So I was enlisted, and immediately deployed to the front, forced to stand to the right of the delivery doctor and hold up my wife’s leg as she pushed down.
And because they assumed I really wanted to take such an active role in the proceedings, I got the one thing I didn’t want: I got a face-full of birth.
At least I was somewhat prepared for that. I’ve listened to enough vintage Bill Cosby recordings to know I knew what to expect as I waited there, ready to experience the beauty of birth in all its disgusting splendor. It’s what has come after that has thrown me for a loop.
Everyone tells you that if you have a little boy, make sure you close your mouth when you’re changing him. Because he’ll probably pee in your mouth otherwise. And then they laugh like idiots, because being a parent apparently turns you into a raving sociopath.
The whole pee-thing is strange to me, and I don’t really understand it: A baby pees on your face, and it’s cute. But a 34 year old man pees on your face, and suddenly he’s facing charges for indecent exposure and criminal battery. Sheesh, excuse me for living. (And since when did street-walkers get so fussy?)
At any rate, face-pee was not that big a deal to me. My apartment had urine all over it long before the baby came, and it will have urine all over it long after he leaves, thank you very much.
Of course, someone might have taken the time to mention that not only do babies spray like cartoon fire-hoses while you’re changing their diapers, but they also unleash a liquid torrent of poop. So as you stand there with your mouth clamped shut and one hand supporting the baby, one hand holding the clean diaper, one hand removing the dirty diaper, one hand securing the pacifier in the baby’s mouth so he doesn’t scream, one hand clutching the butt-paste and baby wipes, and the remaining hands perfectly positioned to protect against the unleashed faucet, you get blindsided by what comes pouring out the back side.
But even that is not the most upsetting to me. I can deal with sprayed feces–after all, I went to a public school.
One thing I WISH someone had thought to mention to me: Babies lactate.
I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. Babies grow boobs, and they lactate.
And somehow, it occurred to NOBODY that I might want a little heads up about this.