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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Baby’s Birth Story: From A Dad’s Perspective

Like any fisherman spinning his yarn, Jake has embellished this story with some humor and good ol' fashioned sarcasm. It's all in good fun. He doesn't mean to offend or give the impression that he isn't an involved and active father. He was great during my labor and he's an awesome dad! As sleep-deprived parents, we just need to laugh, like, a lot, so I hope you can enjoy his take on the birth of our second son, Theodore. —Dani

by Jacob Grant

So Dani wakes me up around 3am and tells me I need to start setting up the birthing tub. Nothing she says makes any sense. I’m still thinking about the new AMC show I’ve been binge-watching called The Terror, based on the historic voyage of two British ships in 1845. The story is filled with mutinies and frozen arctic isolation and cannibalism and a demonic polar bear. It’s riveting stuff.

“What?” I ask, groggy.

“I think you need to get the birthing tub ready,” she says.

“Are you in labor?” It’s the only question I can think to ask.

An avalanche of words falls out of her mouth: “I got up to pee and was having some cramps so I tried distracting myself with some television but the cramping got worse so I started timing it and I think they’re contractions so I called our midwife but I can’t bring in the birthing tub or get it filled up so I need you to get up and come help me.”

I understand very little of what she says, but slowly my brain comes to the startling and awful realization that I’m not going to get any more sleep.

“Are you sure?” I ask in secret desperate hope that maybe this is one of those pregnant lady false alarm thingies.

“Pretty sure.”

I sighed. Pretty sure isn’t sure. As I think about filling up a birthing tub with 150 gallons of hot water, my mind darts to our checking account. If this is false labor, this month’s electric bill is going to be awesome!

Wrestling around with a large birthing tub isn’t the kind of thing anyone should be doing at 3am. I pretend I’m one of those poor stranded seamen on The Terror, dragging their lifeboats across the unforgiving tundra. That’s essentially what the birthing tub is, I figure: a lifeboat. Get it? That thought makes me chuckle, even though I can’t get over the fact that it’s 3am and I’m not sleeping.

Back in the kitchen, I see my wife walking around rubbing her belly. She stops to lean against the kitchen table and do some deep breathing stuff. She looks like she’s in pain, but it passes after about 10 seconds so I figure she’s fine. Maybe it's just gas. Maybe this will all go away and I can crawl back into bed and return to dreamland.

The next thing my wife says shatters any and all hope I have of going back to bed: “The midwife is almost here.”

I should probably mention that we’re doing a home birth. This is because we’re evil people who don’t care whether our baby lives. Just kidding, we care, just not enough to go to the hospital and give birth the way normal people do with doctors and medicine and sterile environments and such.

I set the lifeboat in the kitchen and start filling it up with hot water. In my head I see the numbers on the water bill ticking up like the readout on the gas pump. After 20 minutes the tub is barely half full and the hot water heater is empty. I start heating up pots of water on the stove. I bet those guys on The Terror wish they could’ve heated up water on a stove. All they had were campfires and animal skin blankets, which, after thinking about it, sounds really fun right now.

The midwife arrives with more work for me. She’s got about six thousand bags and small suitcases filled with enough medical supplies to help a third world country. As I drag it all into the house, the midwife checks Dani. She’s only four centimeters dilated. I have no idea what that means other than she still has a long way to go. I know this because my wife whimpers and says, “That’s all?”

At this point, I figure, the baby is coming whether we like it or not. We’ve passed the point of no return. Our ships are stuck in the ice and there’s no going back. We’re in no man’s land now. Time to bunker down and brace myself for the long haul.

I decide to make a sandwich. I think about offering to make one for my wife, but when I look at her she’s hunched over the birthing tub doing another deep breathing thing, except she’s kind of crying.

Oh, and we’re low on mayonnaise.

Dani crawls into the birthing tub. Her contractions are coming closer together. I think she’s a little nuts to not want a hospital birth with an epidural, but, as I’ve learned, she’s one tough chick, and when she sets her mind on something there’s little anyone can do to change it.

I kneel behind her outside the birthing tub and rub her shoulders, but I don’t know why. There’s literally nothing I can do to help except pray that everything goes smoothly, which makes me wonder if I really need to be awake for this. Couldn’t I just go back to bed and come out when they need me to lift something heavy?

Around 6am, the sun starts to rise, and then things get really dramatic, like the third act of a Jason Bourne movie. There’s a lot of grunting and pain and moving around while my wife struggles to push the baby out. The water in the birthing tub fills with goopy stuff as the baby pokes his head into the world.

Then, the unthinkable happens: the baby gets stuck. With the way Dani is sitting in the tub the midwife can’t get enough leverage to help the baby out.

“Get out of the tub!” says the midwife. “Get out now!”

“Finally,” I think, “something to do!”

I hook my arms under my wife’s armpits and lift her up like Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard. I’m Liam Neeson and Action Jackson all in the same moment. I set my wife on the floor. Mission accomplished! I think about celebrating with another sandwich, but there’s more work to do. And, besides, there may not be enough mayonnaise. Who can eat a sandwich without mayonnaise? It’s just gross, you know?

Speaking of gross…

“Push!” says the midwife. “Push, push, push!”

Dani gives it her all. She even screams at the end like Wonder Woman. My Wonder Woman. The baby slides out, a slimy, disgusting mess of blood and fluids and floppy little limbs. A mutant lizard baby. Dani hugs him to her chest and lies back. Her voice is trembling as she mutters, “Hey, Theodore! I’m your mommy.”

The mythical Tuunbaq.
I can barely process what I’m feeling at this moment. I’m still stuck on how much I miss my bed, and how horrific that demon polar bear is on The Terror. I guess it’s part of an Eskimo legend. The Tuunbaq, they call it. It sorta looks like a polar bear, but it’s also much bigger, and it kills vengefully. The thing gives me the creeps.

It’s kind of funny, the show is based on a book, which is based on the 175-year-old mystery of the disappearance of these two British ships. Shortly after the book’s release, and just before the show started to air, some folks actually found the wreckage of the two ships. I guess the real story of this lost expedition will come to light soon. It’s just kind of ironic that as soon as AMC started this show, someone finds the real wreckage. Kind of spoils the fun of fictionalizing the whole thing, doesn’t it?

Now where was I?

All kidding aside, when I look down at our mutant lizard son, all yucky and gross, tears fill my eyes. What an amazing miracle life is, isn’t it? I’ve known this was coming for quite some time, but nothing can really prepare you for that moment when your whole world totally changes.

Theodore Isaac Grant. Eight pounds, 21 inches, blue eyes, black hair, and as perfect as can be, if not kind of smelly.

This is Theodore in upside-down mode.

I cut the umbilical cord, happy to have something else to do, and then Dani pushes out the placenta, which looks like the mutilated remains of many horror movie victims I’ve seen over the years. Later, the midwife shows me the ooze-covered placenta, holding it open over my kitchen sink describing its function.

“The whole baby fit right in here!” she says, fascinated. “And here’s the umbilical cord which attached to the placental wall and fed your baby for nine months.”

Oy. I don’t care so much that I can’t even form the words to explain how much I don’t care. I just hope she’ll disinfect the sink when she’s done doing whatever she’s doing because I’m going to make breakfast there soon.

I take the baby while the midwife stitches Dani up.

He’s here, guys. My second son. My little buddy. I’m thrilled and pallid and half wishing this is all just some kind of nightmare that I can reflect back on as I burrow into my big beautiful comfortable bed. But no such luck. This is all real. He’s here to stay, and now its time to go make that sandwich.


  1. LOL! After having watched a couple of your movie review videos, I could "hear" and see" you say this. I was in stitches, because your brain really does work like this! LOL! Well done, and Congratulations! :)

  2. This was about as real an account of the process as it could get. I’ve been on both sides both giving birth and assisting as you did . Your description was right on the money with your own personal twist to it. Never stop sharing your magnificent mind

  3. Hahaha!! Oh my goodness, congratulations to both of you!!

  4. Love Dad's perspective. Now we all know what he's thinking (it's probably more true than we think - most men just aren't brave enough to admit it!)

  5. Soooo funny! Thank you, Jacob, for giving us this hilarious account of Teddy's entrance into the world. So glad everyone is doing well. XOXO