Labor Dad: How Form Ribbin' Saved My Child, Ruined Marriage

by chasereeves on September 1, 2009 · 14 comments

OMG!!! You should go to the new home for this site ==> Icetothebrim.com

It’s been 7 weeks since our son popped out in all his splendor, and I have learned a good deal through the process. I’d like to try to share some of these learnings with you, so there’s a new category here all about what it means to be a good dad in pre-/post-labor, and infancy.

The Birth Plan: Know It

James Does Aiden!Looking back on the birth, I wish I would have spent some more time understanding my wife’s birth plan. If you’re unfamiliar, a birth plan is what you write up to let your doctors know how you want to deliver the baby. Things like: do you want to deliver through your woo-woo, or do you want to have a c-section? Do you want any anesthetic, or do you want to deliver naturally? These are a couple of the bigger questions, but the birth plan can get very detailed depending on how strongly you and yours feel about this stuff.

My wife feels very strongly about this stuff. In many ways she feels so strongly that I’ve shut myself off from trying to learn more. I never cared to investigate doctors practices or pharmaceutical side-effects. To me, if the doctor says so, I’m good with it. But that’s not the case for Mellisa:

Doctor: Looks like I'll need to prescribe you some vitamin k supplements.
Mellisa: Don't bother; I'll just chew some ginger root.
Mellisa's mom: [nods knowingly]

On Vitamin K and Form Ribs

I’ll let you in on a little “Fort McReeves” inside joke. Mellisa has been running with a bad crowd online for a while now. We’re all very concerned. She found a seedy group of forum dwellers online by searching on the Google for things like “natural vitamin k supplement,” and “all natural birth resources.” These forum dwellers write (non-stop) about their questions and experiences having babies. They seriously have alternative advice for anything your doctor has ever told you. They think they know all the answers, but in actuality they’re just talkative.

Anyways, Mellisa has been running with this crowd for the past few years. She’ll hole away with her computer and read forums for hours. “What are you doing, babe?” “Reading my forums.”

Sidenote: one of my greatest talents is hearing things wrong. You’ll say something and I’ll mis-hear you saying something hilarious, or awesome, or both; it leads to amazing discoveries of things I should patent, like “Vagournal,” and “The Turbanator.”

Well, one day I asked Mellisa what she was doing, and I swear I heard her respond with “Ribbin’ on forms.” “What!?” I said, “Ribbin’ on forms!?” And since then the term has not left our vocabulary. “Where did you learn that one, babe, whilst ribbin’ on some forms?” “Where have you been,” I’ll ask, and she’ll respond, “ribbin’.” It’s my way of naming the beast that’s slowly deteriorating the mental stability of my wife.

Mellisa always comes back from her forays in the forum world ready to share her new “insight” and “understanding”:

  • “We’re not giving the baby a vitamin K shot.”
  • “I’m not going to take antibiotics for any infections, just an herbal cleanse.”
  • “You should be supportive and wear this lavender sash over your loins.”

These sorts of things always make me uncomfortable. It’s like, I love you, babe, but I still trust the doctor, and the doctor thinks its absurd to refuse the vitamin K shot… In fact, our doctor had NEVER HEARD of anyone refusing the vitamin K shot, which was more than a little concerning for me. Time used to be when her ribbin’ on forms had minimal repercussions, “oh, it looks like it’s just indigestion.” But as we got closer and closer to having the baby, the ribbin’ implications got more and more serious.

Sidenote: To give you an idea of how far away my family is from naturopathy: my uncle Wally thinks having an epidural is just the baby’s first cocktail; he’s fine with that.

Suffice it to say Mellisa and I were on a teeter totter with this stuff. She mistrusts the regular medical industry, which gravitated her, like a goth girl to The Cure, to identify herself with these form ribbin’ miscreants. This gravitation only served to heighten the “give him a cocktail” identification I had with my family. The main difference between her position and mine was this: hers was grounded in hours of study and, oddly enough, a good deal of scientific research, and mine was rooted in deep familial ignorance (in a good way) resulting in a hearty trust in dear ol’ doc. When you put the two together like that, you realize I never really had a choice in the matter.

Know A Birth Plan, Save The World

And this brings us back to the birth plan. I wish I would have spent some time understanding why these choices about vitamin K supplements and epidurals were important to Mellisa. Through her voracious appetite for ribbin’ she came across some values and practices that meant a whole lot to her, and I didn’t really support her in it. My attitude was basically: whatever you want, babe. And I wish it was more like: why is that important? Let me read the report you’ve found.

When we were about 40 hours into labor the doctor finally said it’s time for the epidural; that if we didn’t have an epidural Mellisa’s body wouldn’t relax and loosen up, and we wouldn’t be able to deliver this baby without a c-section. This CRUSHED me because all I knew about an epidural was that it was bad.

Because I never took the time to learn what Mellisa knew, I felt like an epidural was just a first step towards something terrible like the baby never breast feeding properly, or never feeling loved by the family. But that wasn’t the case at all (it can be, but it wasn’t). That epidural brought us closer to our goal and was a BIG part of Mellisa delivering the baby successfully.

So, spend some time exploring your wife’s values and feelings about her birth plan. Try to understand why she wants what she wants and maybe, just maybe, together, we can all love a little more and rib’ a little less.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa September 1, 2009 at 8:55 am

I spent a lot of time ribbin’ on forms back in the days before and after my first child was born. I was the very definition of “clueless mother.” Of course, sometimes the net just made the decision process harder, with opposing viewpoints (and valid statements) coming from both sides.

I’m a person with very high ideals and so parenting (three unique individuals) forces me every day to pick and choose which ideals I’ll aim for and which ones gets thrown in the trash. (Hence, the snark.) And for me, that is the hardest part of the job. (Well, besides the exhaustion.)

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Chase September 1, 2009 at 9:02 am

Thanks Lisa! You’re the very voice of wisdom… spirit deep and wide with years of form ribbin’.

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Brian Chinn September 1, 2009 at 9:04 am

Hey chase thanks for this! I someday will have a child and knowing this kind of stuff will save me from a lot of untold horror. I appreciate this website and look forward to more tips about having a family. Hope to see you soon buddy, take care.

Brian Chinn

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Annie September 1, 2009 at 10:15 am

i love ribbin’ on YOUR forum. thanks chase 🙂

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Reevo September 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I LOVE RIBS

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Chase September 1, 2009 at 4:37 pm

@brian: Thanks man… I really appreciate it.

@annie: Merci!

@reevo: We know.

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moomer September 1, 2009 at 9:56 pm

this was just too funny, mostly because most of it is so true. The beginning of everything important and serious.

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Ander September 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Did you cave into the lavendar loins?

Best laugh of my day. ; )

Please stop giving my husband future ideas for baby cocktails. He couldn’t be prouder envisioning slipping Macallan’s into a bottle to ensure father-future son/daughter bonding.

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Kenny September 1, 2009 at 10:31 pm

“This gravitation only served to heighten the ‘give him a cocktail’ identification I had with my family.” – I second that

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Another Chase September 1, 2009 at 11:01 pm

This is cute. 😉 Way to win points.
I have to admit I’m glad to be a few years off from having to name that beast.

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Chase September 2, 2009 at 8:14 am

@ander: I still can’t get the smell of lavender off my nether regions!

@kenny: As if there was any doubt…

@chase: Don’t speak too soon… They’re always watching, waiting…

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Austin Curtis September 10, 2009 at 11:23 am

Dude, we went through the same thing. I’m already a conspiracist, so I got ALL into ribbin’ the forms. We didn’t get a vitamin K shot – and if your doctor had never heard of someone NOT getting it, he must live under the planter in his office!

Birth plans are key – you are totally right. We went to a birth center with no doctors – just some really experienced midwifes, and it still came in handy. We did the whole bathtub-and-no-drugs thing. Crazy hardcore awesome.

A few months ago, Dara stubbed her toe and said – “this hurts more than childbirth!” HAHA – I was like “uhhh – no.” Has Melissa forgotten yet? Amazing how that happens.

PEACE

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Chase September 10, 2009 at 11:25 am

HA! Thanks Austin… your comment is more than comforting!

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