Friday, June 23, 2006

Where's Daddy-O?

Now that Mama and I are on the weekly schedule at the doctors' office--37 weeks and two days, for those of you keeping score at home--we spend a lot more time in the waiting room there.

Having. . .

  • read every issue of Parenting and Conceive
  • checked our email
  • decided on dinner
  • chatted about how our day went
  • stared out at the clouds
  • felt 3B performing his latest isometric exercises
  • felt Mama's uterus tighten with another contraction
  • become bored
. . . we have also spent some time looking around the waiting room at our comrades in babes.

Our first observation was that most of our comrades were women. OK, no surprise, since having a baby does require a mother, but almost all of them are alone. Where are the dads, partners, or coaches?

There are many understandable impediments to a coach making it to every appointment, but it seems that, even so, we would see more dads than we do. It's not unusual that I'm the only guy in the place, except some of the doctors. Well, OK, sometimes the UPS guy stops in too, but just for a minute.

I'll be honest; nine months ago, I wasn't sure if I should go to every appointment. Neither was Mama. That's how I missed the first appointment, when they collect all the baseline information. That, of course, is the one appointment that The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Being an Expectant Father said I shouldn't miss, under any circumstances.

To be fair to me, Mama and I talked about it before the appointment, and she figured that I'd be pretty bored, since I'd just be watching and listening. Also, I didn't get the book until after that appointment.

Granted, it's easier for me than most dads, since our doctors' office is about 10 minutes from my office. Also, I've been able to make up the time I spend at appointments by coming in earlier or working later, so I'm fortunate to have a boss who's flexible about all of my time away from the office. It actually takes Mama more time to get to and from our appointments, but we picked this practice for its proximity to home, not her office. I just happen to work close to home, which puts me closer to our docs than she is.

Perhaps it's just because this is our first, but going to all the appointments has made a huge difference to me. I feel more connected to both Mama and 3B. We both heard his heartbeat for the first time together, saw him swimming around on the sonogram together, and heard his first bout of the hiccups together. I'm also able to remember for Mama the questions we were going to ask and write down the answers so that we remember those too.

It's brought us closer and made the pregnancy more of a partnership than two separate events happening in the same house, although I'm still a bit more removed from it, simply because I'm not carrying 3B. We both assume that attending all of the appointments would have the same effect for any dad and couple, so we were wondering what keeps dads from attending prenatal appointments?

In some cases, we figure that it's "by choice, man," but we think that in most cases it's likely that circumstances keep dads from accompanying mom every time. What better way to find out for sure, Mama thought, than to ask all of you--she is the brains of the outfit.

So, take our handy poll and let us know. If no answer here suits your circumstances, leave a comment and let us know what your answer is. For those of you who aren't dads, go ahead and answer as you believe you would if you were pregnant right now--but answer realistically. If you know that you would like to go, but there's no way that your work schedule would permit it, answer that you couldn't go.

I've included one answer for each of my five loyal readers and one for the mom in the crowd, so if you're the only ones who answer, we may end up with a tie and never learn anything. So, if you know a dad, have him come over here and take the poll--let's try to get a nice broad sampling.

: I changed to a different free survey tool, which doesn't require you to enter an email address. I have the records of the previous vote and will add them to the votes collected with this new tool.)

How many prenatal appointments do you attend?
I go to every appointment. I get a gold star.
I go to some appointments, but I cannot make it to all of them due to drunkeness, avarice, sloth or other commitments.
I could go to all of them, but I choose not to because. . .(tell us in a comment why you choose not to).
I cannot go to any appointments due to work. You get a gold star. Your employer gets a red X.
I cannot go to any appointments due to other reasons. . .(tell us those reasons in a comment).
I am a mom, not a dad, so I go to every appointment.
Free polls from


  1. Anonymous5:26 PM

    Well it would seem I get a gold star. But then, I have to go along because otherwise I would miss out on all sorts of blog fodder. The zygote really is a secondary consideration here...

  2. Oh, ZD, that's so wrong.

    So totally understandable, but still so wrong.

    (This from the man who just wrote a whole post about his last trip to the doctor.)

  3. Anonymous11:07 PM

    Gee thanks ZD, nice to know why you are really there. I have to say I am always surprised at how few fathers do go. I am on an online birth board and it amazes me that ZD is the only father attending all appointments. I have noticed that many women there just expect men to not go and never ask, so maybe that is another factor. I figure it may be my body, but it is our baby.

  4. Seriously, are you two firing comments from opposite ends of the house? Opposite ends of the couch?

    Yeah, it's an odd thing, this body thing. It's Mama's body, but the body within hers is ours, but it's also his own body.

    We were trying to wrap our heads around the idea that there's a brain in Mama's body right now that's not hers. I want to believe that the two brains are communicating with each other, helping each other out, if only on a subconscious level, but I suppose we'll never know.

    The whole thing is absurd, amazing, and beautiful, as well as sort of achy and tiring.

  5. Anonymous12:16 AM

    Um, I'm not a mom OR a dad. Just wanted to stop in and say hi.

    Um. Hi!

    But when we do get pregnant my husband is already planning on going to all the appointments. But who knows what his employer will think. At least he wants to go, though, so he gets a gold star regardless.

  6. I must admit it looks a little weird to communicate with my spouse via the comments on other people's blogs. But I did leave that comment when I was at the office, so it's not that bad. And I was shut up in another room working when d.w. left hers. We're not that communication-averse, honest.

    By the way d.w., you have a message on the answering machine. And have you seen my field hat? I can't find it anywhere :)

  7. Looks like I'll get a gold star and a red x.

    Self Employed/ Own your own business doesn't have a good answer here....

  8. Bill--that's a good point. I guess that I would answer either "I go to some appointments, but I cannot make it to all of them due to drunkeness, avarice, sloth or other commitments." or "I cannot go to any appointments due to other reasons. . .(tell us those reasons in a comment)."

    Samantha, I suppose I would say that you could answer just as the dads-to-be would answer, which in your case would be the "I am a mom. . ." answer. Nonetheless, your husband gets a gold star.

    Or a field hat, if you can find it before ZD or DW does.

    It's around here somewhere.

  9. ohh this is funny:)

    My hubby went to all but like two of my first daughters doc apts... the very first one.. (he always had issues during the exam, LOL)

    During the second pregnancy he couldn't go to the apts because someone had to watch my oldest daughter ( we couldn't afford a sitter) So I don't know how you'd rate that one... My doc was suprised he hadn't been to any of the second ones apts... and would ask about him..

    but everytime i was taken to the hospital for problems he was there so *shrug* we worked it out when we could.

  10. Wolf Baby, thanks for pointing out a huge blind spot of mine.

    Having to look after another child is an excellent, and I'm sure common, reason for dads to not make it to every appointment.

    Being the youngest of six, I should have thought of this.

  11. Chris went to every appointment for both kids barring a few work conflicts. We never even considered him not being involved. Except for breastfeeding, he has done it all.

    We never thought about the "other brain inside the mama" angle, but we did wonder at how the mama makes an entirely new organ, the placenta. Blogging biologists will have to confirm, but I can't think of any other time humans make a new organ once they're born.