I think my job during my wife's pregnancy is mostly about being ready for anything. She's craving pickles and ice cream? Better have the fridge stocked. (And really, I always have snacks handy for whenever hunger may strike.) But when it comes to the safety and health of my lady and my baby, I have to remember to stay calm and have a plan to take care of anything that might come up.
Just a few weeks ago, my wife Chelsea (who was 13-weeks-pregnant at the time) woke me up in the middle of the night a bit scared. She was experiencing something that she hadn’t before, and we had to decide whether to head to the hospital at 4 a.m. or hold out until a reasonable hour and talk to our doctor on the phone first. We did a little groggy web search of her symptoms, talked through the way she was feeling, and ultimately decided to wait until morning. We went to see our doctor first thing, and thankfully nothing was wrong. Getting jolted out of bed that morning was a small hint of what I need to be prepared for over the next six months and beyond.
That night, we learned a few important lessons about being pregnant. We learned that there is always an on-call doctor that you can page if you think you are having an urgent issue. We also learned that it is really important to be in tune with your body and trust your gut to know the difference between a fluke and an emergency. And while our situation didn’t necessitate it, if there is any doubt or fear, there is no shame in just getting in the car and going to the hospital.
For me, the key to being prepared is staying calm and being informed. Like The Hitchhiker’s Guide says — don’t panic. I just try to take a deep breath, assess the situation, and take the proper steps to deal with it. That means already knowing where the hospital is and not having to waste time figuring it out. It also means having a bag ready to go with snacks, clothes, and other essential items in it. And it especially means waking up at the drop of a pin and being able to take care of business even if it is the wee hours of the morning.
The biggest part of my job, though, is to keep my wife calm through any health scares. I have to help her and make sure that she feels safe and not alone. Pregnancy can be a scary ride, especially for first-timers, and the more support I can give, the safer she will feel.