1.Two weeks away from your due date you are on high alert. You have checked the main road, air and sea routes to the hospital. This could happen at any moment.
2.As in, ANY moment.
3.Your several bags are constantly packed to leave at a moment's notice. In them are snacks (that you won't eat), a birth plan (which you won't read) and, weirdly, baby clothes that you will need.
4.In reality of course, nothing dramatic happens. Instead there's a whole bunch of waiting and waiting.
5.And to make it harder, when something does finally happen, no one tells you when to go to the hospital.
6.And if you want to get geeky about timing contractions, there is an app for that. In fact there are several.
Keeping an eye on contraction times is one of the few useful things men can actually do to elevate themselves from pointless male appendages.
7.You have to be very careful while driving a woman in labour to hospital.
8.So we're at hospital, we're having a baby right? WRONG. Welcome to many more hours of waiting, contracting, sitting, standing, swaying, moaning, groaning, vomiting and screaming.
9.But before long you are forced to watch the woman you love in the most excruciating pain. Which isn't very enjoyable to say the least.
10.Your partner will be making noises by this point that neither you or her thought possible.
11.It turns out hand-holding and gentle encouragement at this stage is actually quite helpful. Thankfully, you have a job to do and are not just a redundant male bystander.
12.Your baby's heartrate - and mum's - is monitored the whole time, so that's reassuring.
13.But the heart rate sometimes goes down, which makes you panic slightly and press the big red panic button, only for a busy midwife to come in and turn the alarm and tell you to stop stressing.
14.You may or may not, amid the chaos, remark that the gas and air your partner uses to help with the pain lowers her voice, making her sound not unlike Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters II.
15.After a few hours of this, you're both tired beyond exhaustion (OK, her maybe a little bit more so).
16.Things can progress very quickly. When's it time to meet your baby you have to enter The Birthing Room. Your first thought: "What the HELL are all those machines for?"
18.Your baby arrives. You are in floods of tears blubbering at the sheer weight of what just happened.
19.Can't. Stop. Crying.
20.Then they weigh her / him and your reaction is either OMG IT'S A WHOPPER or OMG IT'S TINY WHAT WENT WRONG?!
21.At this point, your partner is being stitched up - quite literally - by doctors. When we said recently "don't Google episiotomy" if you're squeamish or you're not fully prepared to have kids, we really meant it.
22.When that's over, the doctors leave and then it's just you and your new family.
23.And then comes the crushing realisation that this bundle of joy is yours now. You have to take it home. And parent it. Forever.
24.And don't forget your car seat - and the instructions - you're going to need it.
25.You are left with three burning, passionate beliefs, the first of which is that the NHS is a wonderful thing.
26.The second is you have a previously unfounded respect for your partner and lastly, it's almost embarrassing how much you love your baby.
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