Recently, a man named Justin Theriot was playing Pokemon Go while his wife, Jessica, was in labor. While capturing a Pidgey that had perched on her bed, he captured the image and uploaded it to social media. Most people, his wife included, got a chuckle out of it, but more than a few people suggested that he should have been focused on his wife instead of catching them all. The thing is, he probably was very focused on her…for a very long time, but labor isn’t like it is in the movies. It’s not constant teeth clenching and hand squeezing and breathe-honey-breathe and you-did-this-to-me! That’s only a small part of it. The rest of it can be quiet…almost zen. Dull even. That’s why a smart labor partner will put a few time wasters into the birth plan.
15 Sing a Song
Sing it out loud. Change the lyrics of popular song on the radio so it'll be about the labor process. It’s easy. For example, the lyrics to the song “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers can be changed to “Don’t make me, don’t make put on this gown!” If you’re feeling particularly funky, you can turn the constant rhythm of the fetal heart monitor into a cool rap about how many centimetres she’s currently dilated or how long you’ve been waiting for the doctor. Just try to keep it clean. It might end up in the baby book. Remember. This is for posterity.
14 Play a Video Game
Seriously. If you’ve got some down time, why not? Just choose the game wisely. It has to be something you can throw down at a moment’s notice if your partner says, “I need a backrub” or “it’s time to push” or “cut the umbilical cord.” This is important. It just can NOT be a game that might cause you to respond to her requests with, “hold on…just let me get to a save point” or “There’s a Pikachu in the waiting room, I’m going to run and get it. Don’t push until I get back!” That can never, ever happen.
13 Put on a Show
Make up a puppet show with whatever you can find around the room: Q-tips, tongue depressors, deodorant, pill bottles, a bed pan. Recreate your favorite telenovela or a safe sex film from high school health class. Do the silly voices. Create a subplot where the toilet paper roll stops talking to the bedpan, which is unfortunate because they need each other now, more than ever. Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself. In fact, try to embarrass yourself. Your partner will appreciate you going first.
12 Nickname the Baby
It doesn't matter if you’ve already named your baby or not because the labor and delivery room is no place to discuss such a momentous decision. It is, however, a great place to discuss baby’s nickname. Choose something basic like Snappy, Peeper or Tadpole, or irreverent like demon spawn or scream-a-pillar. If you’re Harry Potter fans, Gringott’s Goblin or Mandrake will do, and go with Jiggly-Puff if you're a Pokemon fan. It should be noted that you must not actually name the baby any of these monikers. Kids are cruel, and even if they weren’t, how could they resist teasing a kid named Jiggly-Puff or Peeper?
11 Deejay the Push Mix
Push mixes are important for morale and for inspiration. Just when your partner thinks she can’t push anymore. Bang! You put on "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor, and suddenly she’s in it to win it. A couple Dos and Don’ts. Do take requests. (Did someone just yell "Freebird?") Do play "Cat’s in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin if you’re having a boy and "Hard-Headed Woman" by Cat Stevens if you’re having a girl. Don’t forget the tissues, though, when you do. Don’t (and this is a big don’t) hire your friend’s band to play live, no matter how good their cover of Salt N Pepa's "Push It" is.
10 Crank Call Your Friends and Enemies
People love it when they get a call from the delivery room. It’s an honor. Your friends surely won’t mind if you call looking for a guy named Mike Rautch or from Tony’s Pizzeria to let them know that the 48 anchovy and olive pizzas will arrive in less than five minutes. It would be better, however, not to call your mother-in-law and tell her that Google maps has listed her house as a massage parlor. For one thing, she probably hasn’t gotten over the fact that her house is now a Pokémon gym. For another thing, considering who is the one pushing a baby out of her body, that little prank might be best saved for your mother.
9 Start the Baby Book
Make a bunch of entries in the baby book under the heading: Fetus’s Last. Fetus’s last rib kick, fetus’s last meal (ice chips), fetus’s last contraction, fetus’s last song (hopefully whatever was playing on the push mix and not your rendition of "Don’t Make Me Put on This Gown). Baby books all over the world are filled with firsts. Baby’s first steps. Baby’s first food. Baby’s first swear word. Your baby book will be the only one filled with Fetus’s lasts.
8 Start a Poetry Slam
Recite every poem you’ve ever been forced to learn in high school by memory. Every single line. Even Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. Scratch that. Especially Jabberwocky. Won’t the labor and delivery staff be pleased as you recite Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. It’s not that that they’ve never heard anyone recite that one before, it’s that they like to chuckle knowingly when you get to the the “miles to go before I sleep” line.
7 Make up Limericks About Your Unborn Baby
For example: there once was a fetus named Snappy/ who made her parents very happy/they can’t wait to meet her/to kiss and to greet her/ and to change her first little nappy. Bonus: if a member of the hospital staff overhears your rhyme, you can add it to the baby book under fetus’s last public humiliation.
6 Become Incredibly Literate
Start reading the most ambitious book you downloaded to your Kindle. Go ahead. Put down What to Expect When You’re Expecting and click on that Tolstoy. Feel good about yourself. You are a reader. A reader of the classics. A member of the literati. A thinker. You’ll get to halfway through the first line before giving up on it until the baby enters middle school. Spoiler: it was also the worst of times.
5 Place Your Bets
Take bets on everything and anything. How long each contraction will be, what are the Vegas odds on how high baby’s Agpar score will be, and does baby have to beat the other baby’s score or just beat the spread? What’s the over/under on how many pushes it will take to bring your bundle of joy into the world. (Warning: if you want your partner to continue to love you, you’ll want to take the under.) This won’t be the last time you’ll gamble on your baby, but it will be the first, so remember to write down your win/loss percentage in the baby book.
4 Practice Your Baby Burrito Wrap
Just grab a few blankets and wrap everything you can get your hands on. Stuffed animals, your partners purse, your left shoe, the vomit bucket (check for vomit), your right shoe. It’s important to get it right, because how well you burrito wrap your baby will become a big point of pride for you in the coming few days. If you’re especially good, you can challenge the other dads and partners in the maternity ward to a little competition.
3 Eat Something
Labor can last for hours and hours and days even. You are in this for the long haul, and you’ll need to fuel up. Don’t be obvious about it. Your labor partner is going to endure the greatest physical feat her pelvis has ever attempted while eating nothing but ice chips (which is actually a cruel way to describe an ice cube to a hungry person because the word chips makes it seem like they're fried). When things are quiet, tell her you’re going to go look for a Pikachu, and then run down to the vending room for a frozen burrito. If she tells you that she smells taco sauce on your breath, you tell her that you heard that women who smell phantom scents during labor are more likely to give birth to gifted babies.
2 Have a Grown-Up Discussion with Your Partner
You might not have a chance at another one until your first date night…and who knows when that will be. Talk about anything: your childhood stories, your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations , your latest Game of Thrones theories…anything. Just as be sure to avoid the following topics: poop, vomit, pee, breast milk (any bodily fluid actually), nipples, nappies and anything baby related. You’ll have time for all that soon enough.
1 Take a Nap
Sleep for the next year or so is going to be harder to come by than a Mewtwo. The hospital folding chair that resembles a giant Mars bar will be the perfect place to curl up into a joint-numbing, unnatural position and let the gentle sound of alarm bells and heart monitors lull you into a frantic sleep, one that you will wake from immediately as soon as your beloved grabs you by your hair and screams, “It’s go time!” When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how you spend your time when she doesn’t need you because you will always be there when she does.