Ep 81: A Father’s Perspective on Pregnancy & Birth with Falcon Rankins – All About Pregnancy and Birth Podcast
by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins

Episode #81: A Father's Perspective on Pregnancy & Birth with Falcon Rankins

I talk a lot about the experience of the birthing person on this podcast, which often means that I don't talk as much about what it feels like to be the supporting partner. In that spirit, someone recently suggested that I share the perspective of dads on the podcast. I thought this was a wonderful idea and I knew exactly who I wanted the first guest dad to be. 

In this special episode my husband Falcon is joining me to talk about his feelings and experiences during my pregnancies and births. 

Our daughters are now 12 and 10, so it was really interesting to look back on what it was like to become parents and hear what things felt like from Falcon's perspective. I even learned a couple things in this episode that I never knew, which just goes to show you how valuable having this conversation with your supporting partner can  be. 

Falcon and I mostly focused on my first pregnancy and birth, what it was like navigating the NICU, and why things can feel so much more stressful when you are a first-time parent. We also talk about hanging on to the more joyful parts of the early, boring days of parenting and how we learned to be parents side-by-side. This was a really wonderful conversation and I'm so glad to have had Falcon on. I look forward to spotlighting more supporting partners' stories on the podcast!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What Falcon thought about the prenatal care during my first pregnancy
  • His perspective on my labor and how he supported me during that process
  • Why hospitals can bring up complicated feelings for different patients and partners, and how those feelings shape the birth experience
  • Why Falcon feels it is important to protect some of the feelings and experiences we had during my first birth
  • What he felt as we navigated having our first baby in the NICU
  • Why so many things felt easier with my second pregnancy and birth
  • Falcon's top piece of advice for the supporting dad or partner as you make the transition into parenthood

Links Mentioned In The Episode

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Transcript

Ep.81 A Father's Perspective On Pregnancy & Birth With Falcon Rankins

Nicole: This is a really special episode for me. I have my husband on to share his story of our daughter's birth. Welcome to the all about pregnancy and birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankings, a practicing board certified OB-GYN who's had the privilege of helping hundreds of moms bring their babies into this world. I'm here to help you be knowledgeable, prepared, competent, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy and birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer @ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer. Now let's get to it.

Nicole: Hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 81. Thank you. Thank you for being here with me today. So on this episode of the podcast, I have my husband Falcon. Yes, Falcon like the bird, and he is on to share his experience of our daughter's birth. A while back, I had someone reach out and say it would be great to hear a dad's perspective of a birth story. And I decided that I really wanted the first dad on my podcast to be my husband. So kind of harrassed him until he agreed to come on and I wanted him to come on because he is such a great dad, as you will hear me say in the episode, but honestly, I was also really just kind of curious about what he would say. This isn't something that I ever feel like we've talked about in great detail, even though our girls are now 10 and 12.

Nicole: And I actually learned some things that I did not know after we had this conversation. So we had a great talk about what prenatal care was like from his perspective, how he felt about the transition to parenthood and preparing for it, what my labor was like for him and why he didn't want to talk about how my C-section experience was for him, for anybody who's listened to the podcast before or followed me. You know, that my first C section was done with inadequate anesthesia was a bit of a traumatic experience for me and he shares why he actually didn't want to talk about that in detail on the podcast today. Now y'all, he was a little bit nervous to come on, but he did a great job. And I know that you are going to enjoy this episode now real quick, before we get into the episode, let's do a listener, shout out the title of the review.

Nicole: And this was from Apple podcast, says a boost of competence, and it says, Dr. Rankins, thank you as a male listener. And first time father to be this podcast has provided me a great, and that's all caps GREAT boost of, confidence for being a supportive and knowledgeable partner for my wife, as she carries our baby, your podcast is very insightful, unbiased, informative, and a great resource on questions that we had and questions we didn't know, we had, we've learned so much and feel very empowered as we matriculate through this pregnancy, we've utilized the free course on creating the birth plan and successfully found an OB based on using the interview questions provided in the course, we look forward to learning more and we'll continue to support you in your work. God bless you. The Baxters. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for that really lovely review.

Nicole: I so appreciate it. And I love how you are so involved in getting educated and empowered as an expectant dad, I 100% encourage all partners to do exactly what he did in that regard. So you should definitely encourage your partner to listen to the podcast or go through my materials with you, whether it's my free class on how to make a birth plan that works, or my signature online childbirth education class, the birth preparation course partners should definitely take part so that they too can be empowered to really advocate for you as the birthing person. All right. So let's get into the episode with my husband.

Nicole: So we have tried to do this many times and we keep laughing or, cause it's just weird because we're in different rooms, but in the same house, and we've never done this before. This feels like a little bit awkward, but at any rate, I am really excited that you agreed to do this after I kind of slightly harassed you a little bit to that. Well, okay. Okay. Fair enough. But I really wanted to have the perspective of a dad on the podcast. And of course I wanted the first dad on the podcast to be my dear sweet, loving, wonderful husband of almost 15 years.

Falcon: Well, hopefully that doesn't end up being a mistake on your part, but cool. Let's do this.

Nicole: It will not be, alright so I thought we were focused on our first daughter's birth because I feel like that was the one that was a lot of things, things for us and a little bit of trial by fire.

Falcon: Yeah.

Nicole: Okay. So why don't we start off by having you talk about what was the experience of prenatal care like for you?

Falcon: Um, I mean, which aspect specifically, cause it was really just sort of me showing up for appointments with you and paying attention And......

Nicole: Yeah, so I, I guess I wonder like how do you feel like you as a dad retreated during visits, do you feel like you were ignored? Do you feel like you were invisible? Like what did it feel like for you?

Falcon: I wouldn't say ignored or invisible at least to you. Yeah. You know, sometimes it really came down to who the, who the provider was, the nurse that we were seeing in their particular temperament, I guess. Um, so yeah, there were certainly times where I felt sort of like secondary in the whole part. Um, but I think that's kind of understandable, you know, the, uh, I guess we reflect a lot of them, like how, you know, society builds these roles for us as men and women and, and yeah. Like most people are probably generally, you know, less concerned about the father or the male in the room at the time. So I guess it wasn't surprising maybe to feel, you know, secondary in these visits.

Nicole: So kind of like accepted as sort of how you would expect, but I mean, I imagine, do you want to do dads feel like ignore, like, is there something that you would have wanted differently I guess?

Falcon: Yeah. I mean, of course it'd be nicer, nicer experiences. I felt more engaged in it, uh, engaged by the provider. Um, uh, but you know, and that, the thing too is, you know, this was, this was what, 10, 12 years ago or how old their children are. Uh, I'm sure. Uh, I'm hopeful that attitudes have changed a lot in the past 10 years, but, um.

Nicole: Yeah, we'll have to ask people after the episode, what their thoughts are on that things have changed for sure. But yet it has been awhile in fairness, also in fairness, I delivered and I got prenatal care at that place where I worked, where I used to work. So people knew me.

Falcon: Yes. That probably did not help.

Nicole: And so it was natural for them to kind of talk to me more than, yeah. Yeah. So what was the experience of me being pregnant, us being pregnant. However you want to say it like for you, because I know that I was pretty anxious.

Falcon: No, I mean, I was no more anxious than usual. Yeah. What was the experience like for me, for you being pregnant? Um, I remember feeding you a lot, you know, a well balanced diet and we're getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, things like that beyond that. I don't know. Like, I mean, it's kind of weird. This doesn't answer the question, but like, uh, I guess in thinking about things for this, you know, this podcast interview, you know, just sort of reflecting on how much, like you kind of expect having children to be this life altering thing. And it hasn't really been that way for me. Like it just kind of feels normal, you know? So it's just kind of like this weird question of like, well, what was it like, what was this particular period? Like, I don't know. That's just kind of, part of it is just another part of the 15 years that we had together. You know, like it's not, I guess I understand why it's just stick out, you know, because we were bringing new lives into this world, but you know, it just, you know, thinking back on it, it just still feels very normal. And just like, almost like a typical day in a sense, I don't know if that makes sense or not.

Nicole: It does, and I think it speaks to like your general kind of personality, but also it makes me feel like one, did you just marry a crazy anxious person? Your just used to it? Because for me it felt like, especially in the beginning I felt, I, you know, looking back, I just felt really like really, really anxious. I was anxious about getting pregnant. I was, you know, like trying to get pregnant. And then when I had that bleeding episode and the very beginning,

Falcon: I remember that. Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. And then once, like we found out that she was going to have a problem, quote, unquote, at birth, it was just so much for me, but it's interesting to me how you seem to have processed it either, you know, later or in the moment, it just felt like something that was part and parcel for what you signed up for so to speak.

Falcon: Yeah. I think that's really what it is. Like, you know, we were going to love our child regardless of what the outcome was. Right. So yeah, obviously like the drama was, was not fun, you know, um, the multiple traumas throughout that pregnancy and delivery, but you know, I guess like looking back on it, like it, it all worked out, so it's kinda hard to like, not hard, but you know, I don't really look back and have those same sorts of feelings of anxiety. You know, those aren't the parts I hang onto, I guess, but certainly yeah, like, yeah, it was scary at moments. Um, but it's that kind of fear where like, you don't really have an option, you know, like you, you have to keep going, you have to figure something out, you have to face what's going on. So what's the point in, I don't know.

Nicole: I mean, I get what you're totally saying it totally speaks to how, like I said, how you are as a person and in general, I think how you help balance me out and keep my anxiousness at bay and keep it, keep it from getting like overwhelming, you know, that's how you as a support person, you know, that's why I lean you. I'm getting a little sappy here, I guess, as, as my partner for sure. And best friend for sure.

Falcon: And also, I mean, I guess I should clarify that, like, you know, just because I'm sitting here and sort of, I don't want to be dismissive of this, like for other people that are going through this or even like, you know, ourselves at the time, like, yeah, this is like scary stuff when you're in the middle of it obviously. But yeah. It's just, like I said, looking back on it, like those, aren't the sorts of things I hang on to, I guess. Right,

Nicole: Right. So let's look back a little bit on some of the more drama moments, like you said, how, what was, what were your thoughts when we first found out? And I remember very clearly we were at an ultrasound and they realized that there was a potential or that something was wrong that they could see on the ultrasound. What were your thoughts about when we found out that we made this, she had this, this issue and I should say the issue guys is duodenal atresia. Our first daughter was born with an intestinal malformation where her, the first part of her intestines weren't connected. She had to have surgery three days after she was born. And we'll talk about what that was like, but we found out during the pregnancy that there were some issue. So what was that like for you?

Falcon: Yeah. I mean, same sort of thing like this, of course it's, it's a shock and it's, it's scary because you don't know what the outcome's going to be. But I remember talking to a friend and like, you know, just sort of confessing, like, like I'm supposed to be this child's father. Like I can't protect her from this. And he's just like, you're, you're, you're being stupid. Like, you know, of course you can't protect her from this. Like this is just what's happening, you know? Um, you know, so I guess like, you know, talking to that friend, sort of almost having this moment of feeling like, like I've already failed in my duty as a father, you know, which, you know, to stop something that was clearly out of my control, you know? And so like, yeah. So I guess maybe once I kinda got that foolish thought out of my head....

Nicole: I didn't know that you thought, by the way, I'm guessing you didn't tell me that at the time today. Today, I didn't know that you felt

Falcon: Yeah. Well, you know, you learn something new every day and it was, I think maybe I probably didn't confess it because I, I think even at the time, like, you know, I realized how ridiculous that was, you know, but again, it speaks to like in the moment you have these thoughts and like, how do you deal with them? And yeah, I think my way of finding peace of it is just like, you know, whatever's got happens will happen. And if this child comes out this way or that we're still gonna love her, we're still gonna take care of it. We're still gonna do everything, you know, to the best of our ability. So, you know, you just have to keep moving forward, I guess.

Nicole: Yeah. I know. I felt definitely very stressful because we had to make that decision about, because, because this particular malformation can be associated with, um, chromosome issues and we like, uh, particularly, um, try solving 21 or down syndrome most often. And we had, you know, we decided to do the amniocentesis to look at the chromosomes. I felt like that was stressful and how we would have handled that.

Falcon: Yeah. And by the time we had gotten to that point, like, I really, like, I had found peace with that. So whatever the test results were going to say, like I was, that was going to be okay. You know?

Nicole: Okay. Okay. So we got the diagnosis, we did the amniocentesis, everything was good. Then I remember us meeting with the pediatric surgeon. And after that, I kind of felt more calm about things. Cause I felt like he was just kinda like, Oh, most of these babies are born full term. They, you know, they, they stay in the hospital for a couple of days and we fix it and then they go home. Do you, do you recall that at all?

Falcon: I don't even remember that vaguely remember going to his office. Yeah. But I don't remember the discussion. I don't, you know, that didn't, that doesn't stick with me. Okay.

Nicole: Yeah. Cause that's so different than we actually experience. So before we talk about like me going into labor and her being born eight weeks early, did you feel like during the pregnancy, like you felt like you needed to do anything to prepare for your role is like being my support person or being a dad?

Falcon: Yeah. I mean, you know, I'm, I'm always kind of like about the preparation and the stockpiling and, and, you know, because of us, we didn't have to buy toilet paper, you know, through the first what's a quarantine,

Nicole: We didn't have to buy toilet paper or paper towels. And I still haven't and I haven't been in a grocery store and I dont know how long because of you,

Falcon: So yeah. I don't remember the specifics, but I'm sure that like I was hard at work kind of setting things up and making sure that we had what we needed. And I do remember like after, after she was born and you know, my, um, my fully stocked diaper bag, you know.

Nicole: You have always been so much better at those things than me, for sure.

Falcon: But yeah. You know, it wasn't that I was, I don't know how to say it. Like it wasn't that I had this sort of like, you're going to be a dad now, so you have to go and do X, Y, and Z, you know, this is happening. Like we have to make sure that we're all ready for this, so what do we need? Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And then, was there anything that you thought about, like, in terms of the actual experience of her birth that you felt like you wanted or needed or anything, or was it just kind of like, I'm going to show up and we're going to have a baby,

Falcon: You know, like this part I think is harder for me because I think really, you know, again, sort of like thinking about, you know, thinking back to some of the stuff that happened as we were going back and forth and you were twisting my arm to do this interview, but just like, I don't have, I think, a healthy relationship with hospitals in general. Um, and you know, just the hospitals are not associated with positive outcomes for me. And, and I think again, of reflecting on this and looking back on that, like that whole lead up for the hospital, I probably didn't even want to think about, um, yeah, so it wasn't, you know, I would never like try to imagine what the perfect ideal setup for this was, you know, like in hindsight, I was very much like from the time we showed up, it was always like, what do we have to do to get out of here as quickly as possible?

Nicole: Do you think that's related to your experience with your dad?

Falcon: Uh, yeah. You know, so not just my dad, you know, I've got multiple uncles and aunts and cousins who have gotten sick and died, and I've been at the bedside of, you know, two loved ones as they passed away. You know, so yeah. I think these things really don't give me a very rosy outlook on what hospitals are.

Nicole: Yeah. 100%. Yeah, for sure. So you kind of like, felt like I don't want to I'll deal with it when that comes. I'm not going to think about like how this experience should go sort of thing.

Falcon: Well, I think at the time it was probably much more sort of avoidance kind of thing. Like I'm just not going to think about it. Um, but yeah, like again, sort of reflecting on it, you know, especially 10 years later, 12 years later, um, you know, and just kind of realizing that about myself, but yeah, I think from the moment that we stepped foot into a hospital, like my mind was just trying to figure out, like, how do we get out here as quickly as possible?

Nicole: Yeah, I can, I can see that for sure. All right. So let's talk about the big day. So I will share a little bit, and I've shared before in the podcast about how the experience went for me. And, um, so it started out with me having contractions and I remember being at home in the bathroom having contractions and then saying, Hey, I think we need to go to the hospital. So what was that day like for you?

Falcon: Um, I was trying to detail my car correctly. It was exactly week after my birthday. Like I was still trying to celebrate. Um, so you know, the first time that you said it, it was kind of, yeah, it was kind of interruption!

Nicole: And keep in mind that I was anxious, so I would like little things. I would just be like, what's going on. Like, so,

Falcon: Yeah. Yeah. And that's, that's what I was about to say. Like you, we're honest, like, you know, sometimes at first one is just kind of you being anxious, you know, that first complaint is just you being anxious. So, so there was sort of like the process of trying to like figure out, you know, is this, is this real or not? You know, well, sorry, they're all real, but isn't something that we really need to, um, you know, be attentive to. And if I remember correctly, like it didn't take much to convince me to get in the car. Right?

Nicole: It didn't, it didn't. And I should say I had been having contractions before that, but they weren't, they were irregular. They weren't like pain really painful, but it was, it was clearly like very different that day. So what about the car ride to the hospital?

Falcon: Yeah. You know, I think I will admit that. And I've told you this before, like I was still skeptical until we got on the interstate and looked over and saw you like gripping the handle and the door. Um, which is my realize that he actually were like, you were experiencing something for real. And that's when, when I definitely started taking it more seriously. Yeah.

Nicole: And I'm not like a, I don't think loud, I'm going to be more like, quiet about what I'm in, if I'm in pain about something. So yeah. So we pull up to the hospital and I knew that you thought it was serious because then you let somebody valet the car.

Falcon: Yeah.

Nicole: Which you never ever do, you let somebody vallet the car. So I was like, okay. He's like....

Falcon: It was your car. So that did, there's a little bit easier.

Nicole: Ah, so, um, we get up to labor and delivery and then

Falcon: We're on the show. Like tried to convince everybody that everything was okay if I remember correctly,

Nicole: You mean me trying to convince or like,

Falcon: No, everybody like you and the nurses and the doctors are all just trying to be like, yeah, everything's fine. You know,

Nicole: See I dont remember it like that. Like you, I feel like I don't know what they were saying or, but you definitely seem to perceive like, so I was having contractions and then it was like, I got this all, like they just kept coming.

Falcon: They did the floor reduction, right? Yeah.

Nicole: You're right. So then they decide, cause I had guys, because I had, um, ex the, this condition called duodenal atresia where she couldn't swallow amniotic fluid. I had a ton of extra amniotic fluid. So they thought that if they maybe reduce the amount of fluids, so drained off some of the fluid, then it would help like the contractions slow down. So they drained off like maybe a leader of fluid somewhere.

Falcon: And then you started having more contractions. And then everybody that's when like everybody was kinda like trying to smile through it and be like, yeah, well maybe we'll try some magnesium or whatever it was. You know, I just remember at some point calling my mom

Nicole: A ha cause you were like the go to, the in between to talk to the family.

Falcon: Yeah. And then y'all like almost trying to clown me because I was telling her that everything was going to be okay. And that was looking back as y'all like, y'all been lying to me this whole time trying to act like everything's okay. So how are you, you know, like how are you

Nicole: And by y'all you mean like, why are you include me? You like when you were a doctor and you included in the rest of them, look you're professionals, all y'all were like, it's going to be fine.

Falcon: Right. Right. When obviously, like, it was obvious to me that things were a little bit more serious than people were laying on. But again, this could also be just me and my natural suspicion of like, like I was just walking in the hospitals and have this expectation of something bad's going to happen. So.

Nicole: Gotcha. Well, you were very calm. Like I never felt like you were, felt particularly worried about things, even if, even if you, you were. So I remember getting, I never felt like I was in a ton of pain, to be honest. Like it wasn't like a, I don't feel like I looked like that was, I mean, I knew I was hurting and I was having the contractions and I ended up getting an epidural just because they thought maybe that might slow the contractions down too, which it didn't, but I don't remember like looking or feeling in a lot of pain. What do you remember about how I was like?

Falcon: Yeah, but I mean, you, you, you, you were, you sort of typical you, so yeah. You were quiet throughout most of it. Like maybe you let on that you were having the bad attraction once. And that just remember that because like it stood out because you know, you were so quiet the rest of the time.

Nicole: Gottcha, and then I do remember when my water broke and then feeling like, okay, like this is legit kinda happening.

Falcon: Yeah. I think I was just like, yeah, like y'all have paying attention to what's going on. Right. We stopped pretending now.

Nicole: Great. Okay. So let's talk about the C-section.

Falcon: Uh, let's not talk about that.

Nicole: Oh, we gotta talk about the C-section. So I ended up getting to a point where her heart rate kept dropping and they were like, well, I think at that point I was eight centimeters. And uh, they're like, well, we can try and see if you can push, if not, you know, then we need to push because she's smaller. Maybe she can come out with me being eight centimeters. So we went to the back for the operating room that didn't work and then decision was made to go to C-section. So I've talked about how the C-section was a difficult experience for me, because I could feel things that I not have felt. So what was that like for you?

Falcon: Um, I mean, obviously it was not fun, you know? Uh, and I dunno, you know, like I am kind of hesitant to talk about that part a couple of reasons. And again, like I've been thinking about this just because that was sort of, you know, you shared the questions with me beforehand and that was the one that I saw at the top of the list is like, you know, first child's birth and, you know, and just serve immediate. It was like, I don't really, I don't know. Um, I'm not really like happy to discuss that and couple of reasons, I mean, but, you know, we're kind of at this moment in history where there's been a lot of, um, you know, acknowledgement of racial pain and suffering the suffering and pain, uh, among black people in particular, or just this, this, this sort of acknowledgement of the inequities, you know, the society around us and, and in awakening among a lot of this country who, you know, maybe didn't recognize just how bad things are, but at the same time, like so much of that wakening is like centered on, you know, having to have these examples of black pain and trauma for them to process and understand things. And, you know, like I think, you know, that moment, like I really see that as like a moment of like black pain and trauma. Right. You know, so,

Nicole: And you don't want to share that experience.

Falcon: Yeah. So, so I guess our personal trauma, right. And, and that's the part that I left off. Right. So, so, you know, there's, there's all this like awakening around racial injustice and it's all like, you know, facilitated by, by certain people sort of like, you know, absorbing these stories of black pain and pain and trauma and just don't that doesn't sit right with me. Right. Like that shouldn't be the way for so many people to learn. You know, we shouldn't have to have that be the central way for us to learn. So just to kind of like, I guess, stay true to that part of myself in terms of, you know, not necessarily putting forth, you know, these examples of black pain and trauma into the world. Like that kind of gives me pause about, to talk about this, about this delivery.

Nicole: Yeah. I think that's a hundred percent fair, so,

Falcon: Well, I was gonna say also too, like, it was, it was like a really personal moment. Right. Like I do, like the part that I think stands out the most clearly to me is like me, like standing over you like trying to get you to focus just on me for a moment. Right? Yeah. And yeah, I guess I just kinda want to stay true to that. Like I was, you know, I just wanted that to be about us at that moment then I kind of still do if that makes.

Nicole: Yeah, no, I think that's a hundred percent fair. I actually really liked that. So, so yeah, so that, that, I really liked that and I appreciate that. I think we can summarize it up that it was fair to say that it was, and I've talked about it before that it was traumatic for me experiencing a C-section with inadequate anesthesia. And then let's move on to the moments though afterwards. So we saw her being born, which will forever be ingrained or something when she got held up and she looked like a monster.

Falcon: Purple monster.

Nicole: I was like, she is like coming for everybody so that I remember.

Falcon: Yeah. And then they kind of wisked her off to the other and then the sort of decision of like, do I stay here or do I go over there? Yeah. But

Nicole: I don't remember that because they had given me drugs, but like more drugs by then. So I don't remember a whole, whole lot after that.

Falcon: Yeah. They've made the decision a lot easier when you, uh, because you were only like conscious for a few moments.

Nicole: Wait, did you actually go? Cause I don't remember.

Falcon: Cause you don't remember. Cause you were, you probably don't remember anything for like an hour later.

Nicole: Okay. I did not know that. Listen y'all okay. I believe is we've been married for 15 years. Child is about to be 13. And I did not know that he left.

Falcon: I mean, I didn't leave the room.

Nicole: I didn't mean leave the road. Like I didn't know that you actually went to go see her in the other room. I did not remember that.

Falcon: Yeah. But I mean, just to be clear, like it wasn't like that the rooms were attached. Like I can still see.

Nicole: Yeah. I very, very vividly remember. I mean, that's where I trained to be a doctor. I remember the setup. Exactly. Okay. That's funny. All right. So then we get to the recovery room and yes, I wanted Chick-fil-A so bad and shout out to my bestie, Kesha Reddick, who y'all have heard on the podcast before for bringing me that Chick-fil-A, that was like the best chicken fingers and fries I've ever had in my life. And then I remember, I do remember you going to the NICU and taking pictures and coming back and me being like, Hmm,

Falcon: I'm going to let you describe them.

Nicole: Oh, is she okay? Like, look at her ear was like, look at her head. Like what? I just thought she was like, not, I didn't get the warm, fuzzy, like, oh, here's my cute baby pictures. I don't. What did you feel when you saw her? Cause she was tiny y'all she weighed three pounds, seven ounces. She was long.

Falcon: And she, she had a skull that kind of like the fragments of the skull kind of rose up on top of each other for it lost original top of her head, which was kind of strange. But

Nicole: Yeah, I do, yall forgive, I love my child. She's beautiful. She's growing, but it kind of reminded me. I want to save like a Vulcan from Star Trek, forgive me. But what you didn't think that? Tell me why you thought that it's just me.

Falcon: It's just you.

Nicole: That just extra over the top. Did you really look at her? Was like, you didn't think, Oh my gosh. She's so little. She said why? She looked funny? Nothing. That was just me.

Falcon: No, that was just you

Nicole: Shout out to me being a superstar. A mother.

Falcon: No, I mean she was, she was out. She was that child, you know?

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think that was just a continuation of my well known anxiety problem, which I've gotten better at, but it was just the anxiety.

Falcon: Okay.

Nicole: Oh, are you saying no, it's not. Nobody thinks things. It doesn't cause you to think your child looks like a vulcan is that right?

Falcon: Oh no. I was talking about the anxiety getting better part.

Nicole: Okay. My anxiety is better. It's better than it was then

Falcon: When it comes to our children. I mean, yeah. I mean, I guess, cause they're older and you know, they can tell you when something's wrong.

Nicole: Cause for a long time I was, especially when I'm going to get into that, how, when I took her to the doctor and I thought she'd throw up and all that kind of stuff. Mmm. All right. So let's okay. Let's focus. Let's focus

Falcon: At the time, but she actually liked projectile vomited and I kept it quiet. It didn't feel like going to the doctor.

Nicole: I knew that I would like lose it if I saw. Yeah. Oh, alright. So let's talk about having a child in the NICU. Um, for me that was so hard, even though we went to see her every day, twice a day, except for one day we didn't go see her twice a day and I still feel guilty about that. Um, I remember crying every day just about for awhile and then like kind of cutting back on that, but that was definitely stressful.

Falcon: Yeah. I mean, of course that was stressful. Um, I just remember at some point, you know, especially once things kind of cleared up and be you know, there was less than a question, you know, actually I take that back. I've never really had any, I was never really afraid that something bad was gonna happen, which is of weird. Cause like I remember the extubation, you know? Oh God. Yeah. And maybe, um, maybe I was in denial, who knows. Um, but I just, I do remember like, as things kind of went on, you know, a few weeks into it, I guess just actually feeling kinda grateful almost. Um, I think it was, it was the kid that was celebrating their first birthday in the NICU.

Nicole: I still remember that too. Yeah, for sure. That was, that was definitely like a, I don't know, humbling grounding kind of experience to see this child who had been in the NICU for a, you know, an entire year and we were just there for a month. Like it just, I definitely, I think as we got closer to her, going home felt grateful that she was doing well. She was growing all those things.

Falcon: Yeah. And I mean, you know, I guess you hate to benefit in a way off of somebody else's suffering, but you know, that moment was just kind of, you know, this, this experience was obviously hard to get through and you know, not fun at all, but everything was worked out. So it was just like, we had sort of gotten this insight into like how fragile this whole thing could possibly be. And you know, I guess how lucky we were.

Nicole: For sure. Yeah. Because after the surgery, which was funny when we, some of the moments that we joke about were how the surgeon comes out. He used to always say the child because I'm guessing he couldn't remember if he had just, it was the boy or girl. So he would just call them all the child.

Falcon: He was also German. So he's proficient that way. Yes, exactly. Should we mentioned that I'm half German before somebody sends emails.

Nicole: Yes, yes. Yeah. He is. His mother is German. So, um, so that was a funny experience. And also we had, I think I'm gonna be honest. I remember none of the doctors who I saw at all while she was in the NICU, except the time that, that time she got extubated too early, that was right after her surgery. I do remember that doctor cause he helped calm me down, but the nurses were great.

Falcon: Yes.

Nicole: We're just like, I remember them being like, Oh no, you're going to come wash this child. You're going to come change it's diaper. Um, we, I was in upstate and we were both had a flexible work schedule. We could spend quite a bit of time there. So I felt like we got to know them.

Falcon: Yeah. And to go back to the question earlier, you know, feeling, if I felt treated differently as a father, like they did absolutely did that. They were just as engaging and you know, willing to, to bring me into things as they were you, you know? So there, I definitely felt treated equally. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. And in the, actually I do remember one other doctor, the one at the very end, cause she ended up, she got transferred to um, the second hospital cause they needed space at the big hospital at Duke. I do remember the doctor being like, y'all might want to go to the movies or something cause she's going to coming home next week. And we were like, what? I mean, it was like Friday and she was like, Monday is going to happen or something.

Falcon: Yeah. And I remember the moment of like who he showed, this is a good idea to send this child home with us. Cause we don't really know what we're doing. So

Nicole: It was like, she's a doctor. Y'all think she knows what she's doing, but this is different.

Falcon: Totally true. Yeah. No, you know how to get the babies out, but after that your,

Nicole: Clueless clueless yeah. But we managed, we'll figure it out. We did, I would say the hardest part. And then as we kind of wrap up was that in the beginning, like that, that just sort of adjustment when she came home, we had to feed her all the dang time.

Falcon: Um, yeah. Uh, yeah, that was a lot, like I remember the, I've got a picture of like all the little jars, breast milk in the refrigerator.

Nicole: Every three hours we had to feed her, I want to say.

Falcon: And the stupid, uh, the bottles with the valves, um, had to be cleaned out and all that stuff. Yeah.

Nicole: Ah, and now look at her she's 12.

Falcon: Yeah. Taller than you or

Nicole: Much taller than me, five, five inches at least at this point and counting. So, so I think we did good.

Falcon: Yeah. Yeah. And that's, that's I think another part too, that just kind of like, let go of is like all the work, you know, not just work, but the, the road kinda like, you know, like washing bottles, you know, that sort of routine where you like, you're in the middle of this, just so like tired or something boring. But yeah, that part, I just kind of forgot about the go. Yeah,

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. So, um, the second time around felt easy for a second pregnancy to me and the delivery, the C-section that in general felt like easy peasy for me. How did it feel?

Falcon: Yeah, same. Like, I don't, it's horrible to say, but I don't really remember much. I kinda remember going back to the room with you and you know, a couple minutes later, they're like, here's our second child.

Nicole: I don't even, I think I was like, you don't have to come to the appointment. It's fine. Like, I'll just, I'm just popping over for an appointment. Like it was just way more laid back. The second time.

Falcon: I believe I went to all the appointments, so. Right, right.

Nicole: Is it bad that I can't remember. I feel like I was worried. I don't know. I felt maybe you did. Maybe. I don't feel like it felt like a big deal. I know I wanted you there for the first time for all of them, but the second time I felt a little bit more like laid back.

Falcon: Yeah. No, I mean we were definitely more relaxed. Yeah, yeah,

Nicole: Yeah. And the C-section was a much better experience.

Falcon: Yeah. But again, you know, Sam short thing where I was just from the moment we hit the door of the hospital, it was just like, well, we gotta do to get out of here. You know,

Nicole: Let's talk about that for a second. Okay. Because most of the time people go home on the third day after a C-section now I was motivated to go home early yall cause I'm not a hospital person. Anyway. Even though I work in hospitals, I don't like being a patient at all periods. So day two, I had to keep my catheter in for a little bit because I had like some scar tissue or something or whatever. And my, my physician was being extra cautious. Like just keep it in, gave your bladder some rest. So on day two, my catheter comes out and Falcon is like, all right, let's go. We go home. I was like a couple other things have to happen before I can go. You were just like, let me go get the car.

Falcon: Oh, I mean, cause I don't want people to think that I was like, you know, like, let's be clear. Like you, you wanted to leave too.

Nicole: I wanted to leave. Completely wanted to leave.

Falcon: And if I remember correctly, it was more that like the nurse left out the part about, you know, she was like, well, we'll just pull this catheter out and then y'all can go. But she left out the part about you having to like use the bathroom two times or something

Nicole: Because proved that I could use the bathroom before I left.

Falcon: Yeah. So I was a little bit irritated, you know, now we still had a few hours to go,

Nicole: But you did, you, you, like you said, I I'm being a little bit dramatic eyes. I wanted to go to, so it's not like I was ready to go. I hate being in hospitals and he did to his credit. I had staples and I was not going back in order to get my staples taken out. So I took a staple removal kit home from the hospital and all this stuff for, and he took my staples out at home.

Falcon: I feel like we were in trouble over telling that part. Like when she's supposed to go back to the doctor for that.

Nicole: Well it's out there now and you did a very, and you did a very good job of taking my staples up. So thank you. You're welcome. All right. So last thing, what would be like if you could give one piece of advice to expectant dads, what would that advice be?

Falcon: Relax. I don't know. That's that's a good question. Um, Oh, so I guess I'm not a huge fan of this whole like mom dad thing. Right. And this whole like division, you know, so yeah. What's the advice to dads. Like you get in there and be a parent, you know, like figure out what needs to be done and do it. Don't get tied up on the roles of what, you know, youth, what you feel are the people think you should be doing, you know, whatever expectations you, you think other people have, you know what parts you should be involved in it not being involved in, you know, like this is, yeah. So just get in there. And then I don't like this answer. See how like this part of the answer. Cause it's like, I don't want to say like get in there and help because I don't want to sound like preachy about it, but you resist this urge to be, feel that, you know, dads do certain things and moms do certain things, you know? Um,

Nicole: I heard you said it's already, already great. Like don't feel tied to kind of like society expectations or anybody's expectations of what a dad should be.

Falcon: Yeah. So, I mean, I guess that advice goes for, for, for all parents, you know, not just dads, but, but, um, moms too, you know, it's the don't don't have these, don't feel beholden to these sort of larger expectations about what your role should be in, in either the pregnancy or the birthing process or, or, or raising the child afterwards. You know,

Nicole: That is something that you want a hundred percent live by because full confession, everybody between the two of us, my husband is like the better, more organized parent in terms of getting things done for our children. He takes them to school. He does my girl's hair. He does the best Afro puffs I've ever seen. Um, you know, he takes care of school forms, appointments, things like that. So he like the whole get in there and just do what needs to be done is certainly words that he lives by. And I of course am forever grateful for that.

Falcon: Well, I'm grateful for the opportunity to do it.

Nicole: Maybe like 90% of the time, but sometimes you like, can you get in here and do like a little bit of this?

Falcon: We'll say that for the next podcast.

Nicole: Okay. Okay. Alright. Alright. Well husband, thank you for coming on to my podcast and for being such a wonderful support person for me for nearly 15 years.

Falcon: You're welcome. Uh, Im gonna resist a snappy, come back. You're welcome.

Nicole: The comeback of, well, yeah, I came one because you harrast me until I said, yes!

Falcon: I'm happy. Thank you for letting me do it.

Nicole: Oh, thank you. Thank you. Okay. So I know that I am biased a bit, but wasn't that a great episode? I feel like I did talk a lot. Maybe I was trying to do that to help him feel more comfortable, but I do hope you enjoyed hearing our conversation now, you know, after every episode, when I have a guest on, I do something called Nicole's notes where I talk about my top two or three takeaways from the episode, and these are my Nicole's notes for my episode, with my husband.

Nicole: Number one, I love how he said that he doesn't hold on to the more anxious parts that he holds onto the parts that were more joyful. I think we can all take a lesson from that. It can be easy sometimes to hang on to, or, um, kind of get stuck on some of the negative pieces of, of an experience because those emotions can be pretty strong, but you should also be intentional about hanging on to, or focusing on the positive parts, the joyful part. So even if things don't go exactly, as you expect, be intentional about focusing on the positive parts that will serve you well in the long run.

Nicole: The second thing I want to say is that after we finished recording right after he was done, he said, wait a minute, I have one more piece of advice. Moms don't know what they're doing either. And didn't mean that the sense that, you know, moms literally don't know what they're doing. What he meant was that first time moms are figuring it out as well. Moms and dads are both figuring out how to be parents, just because you're a mom doesn't mean everything is going to suddenly pop into your head or that everything's going to be natural. That everything is just going to happen. Just because you gave birth to this child, that you're going to automatically know everything that is not how it works. He is very correct that you're both kind of figuring things out together and you do figure it out, but don't expect that you're just going to know everything right off the bat. It doesn't happen that way. That's okay. That's normal, but you will figure it out.

Nicole: And then the third thing I want to say, and this is me getting a little sappy, but this was definitely a confirmation for me about why I married him in the first place and why I love him. So he truly helps me to be the best version of myself. And I'm grateful to have him as my husband and best friend.

Nicole: All right. So that is it for this episode of the podcast, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and Apple podcast or wherever you listen to Spotify, Google play. And I would love it. If you leave a review on Apple podcast, it helps other women to find the show. It really helps the show to grow, which the show has been growing leaps and bounds, leaps and bounds, leaps and bounds in the last few weeks. I so appreciate that. And I also do shout out's from those reviews. So do leave that review in Apple podcast, if you don't mind. And if you feel so inclined and like the show also you and your partner should head on over to my website, check out my free online class on how to make a birth plan that works in this one hour on demand class, you will learn questions to ask your provider how to get your medical team, to pay attention to your birth wishes. Some things you need to know that are very influential in your birth experience and much, much more. You can sign up for the class @ncrcoaching.com/register. Again, totally free on demand about an hour of your time and a well, well worth it.

Nicole: Now next week on the podcast, I will have an interview episode. I'm not quite sure which one I'm going to choose yet, so you'll have to come back next week and find out. So do come on back next week. And until then, I wish you a beautiful pregnancy and birth.

Nicole: Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the all about pregnancy and birth podcast hit to my website and ncrcoaching.com to get even more great info, including free downloadable resources on how to manage pain and labor and warning signs to look out for after birth. You'll also find information on my free online class, on how to make a birth plan, as well as everything you need to know about the birth preparation course. Again, that's ncrcoaching.com and I will see you next week.

Keywords

Pregnancy, prenatal care, fatherhood, C-section, birth, hospital birth, parenting

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