Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dueling Doula's

Dueler? Why would we need one at our child’s birth?


As the pregnancy progresses there are many things that you have to get organized for the arrival of your wonderful little creation. Nursery, baby toys, nappies or diapers, crib, clothes, baths etc. The list seems endless at times.

However, one critical thing seems to be almost forgotten and that is a birth plan. It is a great way to get organized for the birth of your little baby and start visualizing a healthy successful birth. It can be as long or short as you want, but it is a great way to discuss and organize how you want the birthing experience to happen.
Well one day I came in from working in the garage when my wife mentioned that we should start getting our birth plan organized. Since we were about 5 months out from the actual birth it caught me as a surprise and off guard. OK I said we want a water birth right? Yes she responded. So let’s find a hospital that does those and we will go there. Simply handled I thought.
Well what about a “dueler?” my wife stated, she announced that she really wanted one present at the birth.
 A “dueler?” What a guy who heads out at dawn with a piston to settle a score at 10 paces?
Why would we need a “dueler?”
 My wife then explained that a “DOULA” was a part mid wife, part cheer leader, part super woman that would help if there were any problems with the birth of our child.

It was also followed by the statement that Doula’s are not covered by insurance and it would cost a “BIT” extra!
Well I am part frugal, and part country boy from the farm. I have understood the reproductive and birthing experience since a young boy one day asking my father about what that bull was doing to that cow,
and then approximately 9 months later a baby calf popped out the back of the cow. So I blurted out that we didn’t need a “Doula” at the birth since my wife would have me there and I have been present for many births of cows,

 horses, sheep and I have even seen chickens hatching from their eggs. I have helped deliver breeched calves being delivered so I had a decent idea of the process.

Well this did little to sooth my wife’s anxiety and instill confidence in her about the fact that I could handle the birth process. In fact it may have had an opposite effect. As she shouted “did you just imply that I am a heifer?”
No I said heifers are usually young cows that haven’t had sex with the bull, she was more like a cow - MOO. This was the WRONG answer!
Well after a heated discussion I agreed to be open to the idea of having a “Doula” present for the birth.
As it happened the birthing center we ended up choosing had the girl who did our “Hypnobirthing” classes training to become certified as a midwife and thus she was present at the birth of our little bean in a doula like capacity.
The only waking up at dawn was to drive my wife to the birthing center!
The moral to the story is to have a “birth plan” in place before you go into labor. Start working on it early and you can continually revise it up till the birth day. Make sure that you include contingencies for any problems that you think may arise. It is always better to be over prepared than under prepared, so you can ensure having a birthing experience as close to what you are aiming for and welcome you brand new baby into the world as you desire.
You can read about the pregnancy from my wife's perspective on her blog Diary of a Pregnant Comedian. This blog is my perspective of the pregnancy and fatherhood experience.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Whale watching!

A close encounter with a mighty Blue Whale!

The family at Dana Wharf. There is plenty to do down there.

Our darling baby “bean” is now almost 10 months old. She just got her first tooth, took her first steps in our swimming pool and has her own distinctive crawling style! Recently the in-laws were in town, visiting from Texas. I wanted them to experience something that is distinctly Southern Californian, and that they couldn’t do in Dallas Texas. But what to do? Whale watching! Plus it is something I have always wanted to do my whole life. We called the extremely helpful Kelly at Dana Wharf Whale watching and Sportfishing on (949) 496-5794 and set up our trip.
Give Kelly and the crew a call.

We arrived at Dana Wharf and found Kelly and other polite staff inside the shop front located at 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point California. We were informed that they had seen over 40 whales that week, and today there was a big beautiful blue whale just off the coast.
The front of the boat.

We boarded the boat which is wheel chair accessible and we were able to bring our fully loaded stroller along. It was a much larger boat than I imagined and was impeccably clean with a stocked bar that served adult beverages along with the child friendly versions, a snack shop and finger foods. We found comfortable seats for all in our party as we left the dock and cruised out of the harbor.
Getting on the boat is easy and they have wheel chair accessibility.

As we left the safety of the harbor and headed to the open ocean I felt the desire to stand on the front deck and feel the cool ocean breeze on my face. I strapped the baby “bean” into our JJ Cole medley baby carrier and headed to the bow. We were both happy with the wind in our faces and scanning the horizon for a whale. We saw a seal, while the tour guide explained to those around about the whales, how they are able to track them, the different whales they had seen lately, their behavior and how they feed. My wife came and joined us at the front of the vessel, saying the “bean” was looking a little “green”. I suggested that my daughter was fine and that she was the one who was turning “green”. We put a warm sweater on the “bean”, which is something I recommend everyone bring as the coastal temperatures are lower and the wind providing additional cooling effect.
My mother in law Carol, the baby "bean" and myself on the boat.

After a relaxing boat ride we were in the general location of the whale. Apparently whales surface every 8 – 15 mins while feeding, however they can stay down much longer if required. When they surface the whales take around 4 – 5 breaths, in which they come up take a breath, then dive briefly and surface again. When they are about to dive they take a bigger breath, rise out of the water more and when they dive the tail rises out of the water.

Here are a couple of "stock" pictures as it appears everyone's phone camera or phone was out of action that day.

The whale we viewed was around 100 feet long and seeing it surface was a magical moment and I was amazed how close we could get to the whale. It is a magnificent creature that is massive and graceful at the same time. I couldn’t believe the feeling that just seeing a whale evoked. I recommend that everyone try to make a point of going and seeing a whale in the wild, it is an amazing experience. Something you should do at least once in a lifetime.

After the whale surfaced and then dived it is just a waiting and floating game waiting for the whale to surface again. My wife, who was a nice shade of green came up to try and rescue my daughter apparently from having the time of her life. It seems my mother-in-law, who I actually like, thought that was unsafe for my daughter, her only granddaughter, to be near the front of the boat as the whale may jump onto the front of the boat and we would all end up in the ocean! My wife only told me this after we returned to the dock, as she made up a story about the “bean” being hungry. There are a couple of disturbing points here: a) whales have never jumped onto boats b) my mother-in-law only had safety concerns for my daughter and not me! Also IF a whale jumped onto the front of the boat I think everyone on the boat would be in trouble.

This is a shot we got that day before the battery died! Smart phones indeed!

Over the course of the cruise we saw the whale surface 4 or 5 times, each was time was a magical moment. One time the whale popped up 10 – 20 feet from our boat. Maybe he was doing some people watching!
You never know what you will see on a tour, here is a rare sun fish.

All the excitement tried out the little baby "bean" here she sleeps with her proud grand parents.

It was a magical afternoon and a memory that will last for the rest of my life. I am so glad I had the opportunity to experience it with my daughter, wife and in laws. I would like to thank the staff and crew at Dana Wharf Whale Watching tours for an amazing day.


Dana Wharf Whale Watching and Sport fishing
34675 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA  92629
(949) 496-5794

Check out my wife's perspective of our child raising events at Diary of a Pregnant Comedian.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When do you let the World know you are pregnant?

When do you let the World know you are pregnant?

It is always fascinating finding out how other couples realized they were pregnant. For my wife and I the moment came when we were sharing a carrot juice and my wife was mentioning how it improves your eyesight, since you don’t see any blind bunnies! Stupidly I responded that there were in fact blind rabbits in my homeland of Australia.
Upon hearing this tale of the blind bunnies of Australia my wife began weeping and broke down into a teary, sobbing state. It was not improved when a Queen Song broke out on the radio suddenly there was a flood of more tears because poor Freddie Mercury had died – only 21 years ago!

I said you are either crazy or pregnant! One pee stick later it was confirmed were about to expect a bundle of joy in the coming months.

Now that you and your partner, or in my case – brand new wife have discovered that you are about to be parents, when do you announce this joyous occasion to the world? My wife being a former Southern Belle is one for occasion and following the correct protocol,

being formerly Australian I have no idea of protocol and occasion! So this has created many a humorous dilemma. Apparently there is some unwritten law that you do not tell anyone you are pregnant until after the first trimester. However this did not seem to stop my wife telling just about all her friends, just she would say “I shouldn’t be telling you, but I am pregnant. Don’t tell anyone because I am not officially telling everyone until after the first trimester.” I saw the same conversation repeated to dozens of her friends, almost to the point where everyone we regularly interacted with knew.

We went to the first ultra sound to see and hear our amazing new person, who at this stage was called the “bean” because of the size. It truly is a surreal moment when you see that little “bean” on the screen and hear the heart beat for the very first time. We were both in tears. Our little baby “bean” already had a personality. At the start of the ultra sound the “bean” was clearly seen sucking what would be a thumb. Upon realizing we were looking baby “bean” raised a hand over its face in a “no pictures please, I am not camera ready yet!”

Well the ultrasound technician managed a paparazzi shot of baby “bean” for my wife and I to take home. While she was finishing up with some blood work my wife asked me to take a picture of the little “bean” and send it to her parents, as it is their first grandchild. Being an amateur photographer I took a splendid picture which I forwarded to my new in laws and they were tickled pink.

I thought since we were so close to the end of the first trimester and since my wife had blabbed to almost every friend of hers that she was pregnant I figured it would be acceptable for me to tell my friends too! Well how to tell them? Since many live around the globe I figured the easiest plan was to post the picture on my Facebook!

My wife came out and asked if I had sent the picture to her parents and I proudly announced that I had, and that I had posted it on Facebook.  
The look of horror in her eyes spoke volumes to me that I had indeed done the wrong thing. I said “well I didn’t tag you in the photo!” like that would make it better, and truthfully we have very few mutual friends. The next second her phone rings and it is one of her friends on the line – “Karith are you pregnant?” I was shot the I told you so look while she spoke.

The moral to the story is do not mention your child’s birth until your wife / or mother in law has sent out the birth announcements to what seems like everyone on the face of the planet and some other close galaxies too!

Check out my wife's perspective on her blog diary of a pregnant comedian

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How the "Undateable Guy" became the "Least Likely Daddy!"

Yes I am truly the "Least Likely Daddy!" So how on earth did the "Undateable Guy" become a father?

I guess I should start from the beginning, it has been a long, interesting and humorous story.

I was 43 years old and had previously had 2 failed marriages which thankfully produced no children. I had just returned from my native homeland of Australia where I had been for the last year spending time with my mother who had been diagnosed with cancer and subsequently past away. I was at a cross roads in my life. Faced with returning to my former "normal" life or to take a leap of faith into the unknown. My mother's passing made me certain that I did not want to return to the daily grind. So into the unknown I charged.

The front of my house and this was during the
street festival, yes that is my beautiful wife!
I thought that at 43 years of age I was too old to meet a beautiful partner, develop a relationship, get married and start a family. I had tried some dating but I was constantly being told I was "undateable." I thought my window of opportunity for a family had past me by. I decided to forge ahead with my new venture, and I found myself closing on my new house.

My new house and yes it does have a pool!
A week later I went on an internet date. An  internet date! What was I thinking? They never work out. The picture is always from another lifetime ago, the description is highly embellished. Yet, I went ahead with the date, especially after several humorous phone calls.

This is the woman that stole my heart. I guess
internet dating does work.

Little did I know that would be my last 1st date. The date went well and soon we were inseparable. We had discussed all of our goals and dreams and we both wanted a family. Since I was already 43 and close to becoming 44 and she was almost 37 we knew biologically there was little time for messing around so to speak. Basically, our relationship was fast tracked and it withstood the tests and strains. Just short of 1 year of our 1st date we were married. Now to work on building a family together. I guess waiting 24 hours was sufficient.

Our wedding day in Nicaragua.

We were married Jan 21st and our baby was due Oct 22nd! I guess we were both overachievers; either that or the wonderful day spent riding horses through a jungle and on the beach in Nicaragua had its desired effect.

Horse riding on the beach in Nicaragua.

Here we are back at the Ranch after the ride.
Now to make a baby! LOL

You can read about the pregnancy from my wife's perspective on her blog Diary of a Pregnant Comedian. This blog is my perspective of the pregnancy and fatherhood experience.

So that is the short version how the "Undateable Guy" became the "Least Likely Daddy". So far the journey has been an exciting and rewarding experience. I hope you follow me as it continues.