So You're Going to Be a Dad

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Overview

For the first-time dad, useful and practical information about pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care, including: what to say?and what not to say?when you hear the news; taking care of moms-to-be; what childbirth feels like; crying, diapers, and bathtime; and baby-proofing the home.

"...a wry and funny look at the joys and trials of fatherhood...provides practical advice on pregnancy, childbirth, & baby care...covers bonding, feeding, bathing, baby-proofing the ...

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So You're Going To Be a Dad

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Overview

For the first-time dad, useful and practical information about pregnancy, childbirth, and baby care, including: what to say—and what not to say—when you hear the news; taking care of moms-to-be; what childbirth feels like; crying, diapers, and bathtime; and baby-proofing the home.

"...a wry and funny look at the joys and trials of fatherhood...provides practical advice on pregnancy, childbirth, & baby care...covers bonding, feeding, bathing, baby-proofing the home, and much more."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555612412
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 259,381
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Downey teaches high-school English in Australia.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Beginnings

If only I could have seen the writing on the wall. It would have said, Your wife's pregnant! Run away! Run away!

Sex and Its Side Effects
WARNING: The Surgeon General advises that sex may cause children. Sex is an appropriate starting point for us to ponder the wonder of fatherhood. After all, this is where the journey begins.

Because you are actually reading this page, I can safely assume that you have already passed this first crucial test. With flying colors. For this reason, and in the interest of good taste, I shall refrain at this point from elaborating any further on how much fun you had in the process and it was it good for you too, baby?, and all that.

But we know what happened. While you were sitting in bed, sighing in post-passion euphoria, an armada of about 300 million of your sperm set off from Port Penis on the first leg of their six-inch (or so) marathon swim through all that female plumbing, the names of which I can never quite remember.

(I will probably never come to terms with all those bits and pieces of the female anatomy. As a teenager, sitting in a health class at an all-boys school, I was always perplexed by the textbook cross-sections of women's insides. You know the picture I mean? That's right, the diagram of the one-legged woman. I could never follow all the bulbous squiggles and channels with the funny names. In fact, it was only years later that I discovered that the cross-section diagram was in fact a side view, not a top view. Maybe I should have paid more attention, instead of cutting up at the back of the classroom with Paul Brinkman, trying to put diaphragms on our heads like swim caps.)

Anyway, while nothing to you, those inches are a veritable New York Harbor to these little tadpoles. Like salmon swimming upstream, they have to swim from the vagina, north through the uterus (or womb) and climb one of the two Fallopian tubes, where an egg is hiding. And there can be only one winner! There are no consolation prizes. If they don't win the victor's trophy (the egg or ovum), they're out of the picture for good. And with odds like 300 million to one, much worse than any lottery played in the history of humankind, the competition is fierce. An hour or so later, with the swim mostly over (probably while you were snoring loudly, totally oblivious to the creative energies you had unleashed upon the world), only a few thousand of the strongest sperm had survived the journey. The finalists had navigated the obstacles and the plumbing with the complicated names and had located the prize, the golden egg.

Now, this is not an egg in the chicken-type, hard-boiled, fried or sunny-side-up sense of the word. It is more like a dot. A cell. A little pinprick. A dot on the back of a cell sitting in the middle of a pinprick. The point is, it is very, very tiny. It makes the period at the end of this sentence look like a beach ball.

Like the sperm, the egg too has undergone a journey. Women have about half a million of these ova stored in their ovaries. Each month during ovulation, the mature, or ripe, ovum leaves its sisters and bobs on down one of the Fallopian tubes, like a little planet waiting for the strange aliens with the tails to come and visit.

So it sits there, waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Time is critical, because this ovum has a use-by date of about 24 hours. So for the next couple hours after their journey, all the remaining spermatic contenders go into Stage Two of their biathlon, which is basically a head-butting competition. The sperm all find a spot on the ovum they can call their own, stick their heads down and start spinning around and around like fence-post diggers. The winner is the one who breaks the ovum wall and gets in first.

The instant this happens, the ovum gets all coy and undergoes a chemical change, which shuts out all the other contenders. It's disappointing for them, probably, getting all that way, only to be locked out at the last minute just because they couldn't dig fast enough. But hey, it's a jungle out there. They probably get depressed and swim around until they die.

Sad.

Anyway, what you have now is a fertilized egg sitting in its own little dark, warm universe. You can almost imagine the Starship Enterprise zooming past through this microscopic universe with Spock at the viewscreen musing...It's life, Jim...but not as we know it.

So there you have it. The egg is officially fertilized. The wheels of fate have spun and, although you don't know it yet, you're going to be a dad.

This is the miracle of life. The miracle of sex. And it is a miracle.

God really was clever to have thought it up.

And this child of yours is unique in the universe. You and your wife are the only combination in history who could have created him. Think of it this way: Your wife has about half a million ova. You have about 300 million sperm per ejaculation. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that you have sex once a week over a ten-year potential parenting period. Your child could be any combination of any single sperm and any single ovum. So if my mathematics serves me correctly (which it might not, considering I got only 42 percent correct on my math final in my senior year), then that makes your child one of 78,000,000,000,000,000 (78 quadrillion) possible people combinations.

God really was clever to have thought it up.

This is a humbling thing for a father to think about. Without getting into a philosophical debate, it's kind of awesome to think about the infinitesimal beginnings of human life -- the beginnings of the life of your child. What is at this point an indistinct speck will grow to be a person whom you will know and love intimately, a person, I might add, who will change your life.

You will see this infinitesimally small spot learn to crawl, walk and talk. It will create bizarre drawings for you to stick on your refrigerator and say great stuff like, I love you, Dad. It will get dressed up as a bear for school-play night. You will worry when it goes out on its first date and you will lie awake at night because it borrowed your car and is two hours late getting home. And then one day that microscopic cell will leave home and you'll wonder what you ever did before it came along. <%=fontsmall%> Copyright ©2000 by Fisher Books; text copyright Peter Downey, ©1994. <%=xfontsmall%>

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Author's Note x
Preface xi
Chapter 1 Beginnings
Sex and Its Side Effects 1
Morning Sickness 5
Confirming the Obvious 6
And Now, the News 8
How Do Ya Feel? 13
Let's Go Public 15
Myth Busting 17
Congratulations 20
Chapter 2 Pregnancy
Sugar and Spice 23
Internal Growth 25
Here's to Her Health! 30
Decisions, Decisions 31
Ultrasound 37
Life's Little Changes 40
More on Sex 43
Of Possums and Men 44
Chapter 3 Getting Ready
Facing the Facts 47
Working in a Coalmine 50
Nesting Urge 54
Equipment 56
Get an Education! 71
To Plan or Not to Plan? 74
What's in a Name? 79
To Cut or Not to Cut? 82
To Jab or Not to Jab? 83
When You Least Expect It 84
Chapter 4 Surviving the Hospital
A Brief History of Labor 87
Should I Be at the Birth? 89
But What's It Like? 89
Lights, Camera, Action! 91
Zero Hour 94
Stage 1 Before Birth 97
Stage 2 Birth 103
Stage 3 After Birth 105
In the Silence 107
Bonding 108
Celebrating 109
Take It Easy 110
She's Got the Blues 112
Guests 114
Get Ready--They're Coming Home 115
The Calm before the Storm 116
Chapter 5 Surviving at Home
Food for Thought 119
The Times; They Are a' Changing 120
Bosoms and Bottles 122
The Ultimate Torture 124
Do Not Feed the Animal 132
Diapers 134
Splish Splash 140
Out and About 141
Let's Party 143
Step Right Up! 146
Secure the House 151
The Truth about Cats and Dogs 154
Something Else to Think About 156
Even More on Sex 157
Some Advice 159
One More Thing 160
The Last Word 163
Glossary 165
Appendix 1 Parent Education Films 175
Appendix 2 What My Friends Had to Say 180
Resources 192
Index 193
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2010

    For My Husband

    I bought this book for my husband who is not usually a reader. When browsing in the store, it looked like it would not be too intimidating (thick book, small fonts) or boring so I bought it. My husband is very involved in our family, so he wasn't a big fan of the first couple of chapters because he felt they were condescending, however he does like it now that he's gotten through those first couple of chapters and has learned quite a bit about the whole process.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    He loved it!!

    I gave this as a gift to my husband when we found out we were expecting he loved it! He said it was informative and funny!

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  • Posted February 11, 2009

    Very funny and entertaining look at becoming a Dad

    I actually bought this book for my husband, but I ended up reading it myself. I loved the humerous way that the author looked at becoming a dad. This is not a serious book about becoming a dad, but my husband is not a very serious man, therefore I thought this book would offer him some insight without scaring him to death. I highly recommend this book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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