When it comes to pregnancy and having a baby, planning is critical. This will be the case whether it is the birth plan, you planning 7 different routes to the hospital to factor in things like traffic at certain times of day, what to pack in the hospital bag and so on. But there is one area of pregnancy, that is often overlooked when it comes to planning because it is an uncomfortable topic to discuss. This is what the two of you will do if something goes “wrong”.
Contact Details and other essentials
As a starting point, you need to make sure that you have every contact detail imaginable. Make sure that you keep these both in your phone and also a written copy in your wallet, or bag or something. Batteries die and if there is an emergency in the middle of the night and you need to rush out of the house, the last thing on your mind will be to make sure that you grab your phone charger. I am assuming you will remember the overall emergency number 911 in the US, 999 in UK etc. But it is also important to make sure you have the numbers of the emergency room at the local hospital, your doctors out of hours number, your partners insurance information, health information such as what medication she takes and all the important family contact numbers. You may not like your mother in law, but you may need to call her at 2am so you had better have the number to hand. You should also have the relevant addresses of each medical centre and know their operating hours. There are many horror stories where someone needs to go to A&E at 3am, they arrive at their local hospital and then find out due to budget cuts, that hospital no longer has an A&E department and instead they need to go to another hospital a few miles away.
Discuss the difficult topics
Its also very important to have a very unpleasant and difficult conversation as a couple about what you would do in a whole host of worst-case scenarios. What would you do if there was a miscarriage? Would you try again immediately? Take some time to process? How would you communicate this to family and friends? Would you tell them or keep it as a secret between the two of you? What would you do if the baby were likely to have some sort of birth defect such as Down Syndrome? Would you terminate the pregnancy, or would you be willing and able to provide the extra support required? What would you do if the doctor turned around to you in the middle of an extremely difficult labour and said that there are complications and they can either save your partner or the baby, but not both? These are all incredibly awful things to even think about, let alone discuss. But its important that you do so. There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions either. It’s a matter of personal choice, what may be right for you and your partner may be wrong for another couple. This is not about judgement, its about being prepared just in case. It’s awful to discuss, but its much easier to discuss on a Tuesday lunchtime when everything is well and you can think rationally, then being confronted by a scenario such as this unprepared and only having a minute or two to make a decision.
*If you would like a personal coaching session via zoom with myself to help you navigate your first time dad journey, you can reach out to me directly by sending me a message on social media or the “contact” page on my website to organise a session