Paternity leave for men – the story so far

In my country, men get 3 months off work with 80% pay. Roughly. Rather good eh? So the state pays me to be with my one year old daughter. It’s a once in a lifetime thing for me. I have worked since I was 18 – except for one year where I focused on being a student only. It’s a whole new ballgame for me. I can easily understand why people want to stay at home and do little – because that way you create something out of nothing and you keep yourself busy. Well, that’s another story.

I am halfway into my paternity leave now, and it’s been more than interesting.

It started off fine, but after one week I started to develop allergies. I have always been allergic, but I have barely noticed the past years and this was off season. It caught me off guard totally, and it didn’t really help that my girlfriend thought I only had a cold. On top of that I got some kind of virus on my lungs, so I have been breathing in asthma medication like never before. To finish off my health first, I continued to cough and feel shabby until like a week ago. By then I had seen my doctor several times and gotten new prescriptions for more allergy medications. Something happened to my allergies one week into my leave, and I am now taking allergy meds every day alongside the odd inhaler (I did lots more a month ago, believe me). And you know what, my throat is sore again now. I was barely back to my old self and now I get another cold. I will go through this entire duration of my leave halfways sick. My lungs still hurt from coughing so much from that goddamn virus.

My father nearly died. In September they discovered a tumor on one of his kidneys. They decided to take away all of the kidney, and into surgery he went a week ago. He was unlucky, and the tumor had grown onto his colon. The first surgery was botched. When they took out the kidney they ruptured his colon in the process without knowing. Back from surgery, he was rather quickly poisoned by intake of food and water. A very serious condition which needs immediate surgery. My mom was called up by a surgeon informing her of what went down. I called her in the middle of all of this without knowing the state of affairs, and she told me. She was extremely upset. I immediately walked outside for some fresh air. Walking alongside the small river, I stopped somewhere and cried before I walked onwards and collected a few ordered bottles of beer from the mall. My father survived the second surgery, but is now in a very sorry state. I don’t know how close he was to dying, but I have a feeling it was too close. I talked to him today and offered him a few magazines to read. He said he was so tired he had no interest in it. When my brother and cousing visited yesterday, he nodded off when they were there. I saw him on Saturday, and it shocked me how much he looked like his mother from when she was ill during her last years. He wasn’t really the man and dad I used to know any longer – not in that condition. I can only hope he will be fully back to his own self within a month or more.

My mother in law came home to her house on Monday to find it had been turned upside down by a burglar. She was of course scared shitless, and this didn’t do much to help her already massive anxiety. I went straigh on the case, made phone calls, talked to the police, called her security alarm company and so on. Her veranda door lock has been broken for years, and she haven’t used her alarm in years either. Well, being that sloppy with your affairs came back to bite her massively. I mean, no one deserves a burglar, but when you can’t even bother to fix the lock on a veranda door…

Anyway, nothing was stolen. While I don’t know who did it just yet, he had turned the bedrooms upside down taking all her clothes out and so on. He also had a knack for underwear and had collected several of those into a pile in the bathroom. It couldn’t have been worse. It would have been better if it was just some silly Eastern European robbers making their rounds. I went online and managed to track down a drugged out guy visiting several houses on his way south during the night. He had also been caught on tape. It’s more than likely this is the guy who broke in – sorry – walked in the veranda door and screwed the bedrooms up royally. The idiot left his cell phone in the house though, so if the police actually manages to lift a finger we will know soon enough. All of this detective work thanks to me. My mother in law is still sleeping here – a week after the incident and even after 99% knowing for sure who did it – a random drug addict. She have barely started to tidy up. God knows how long this will take. My God what a nightmare. In the middle of all this there’s me, screaming on the inside for some privacy. Just an hour ago I found myself just staying in the bathroom a few minutes longer than I had to, just to feel the quietness. Tomorrow I’m going to my mom, I’m taking Emma with me so she can be with my mom and I will just lay on her sofa. That’s what I will do alright.

This has been some paternity leave you know. I had no clue it was this bad to stay home. I want to go back to work almost, maybe all of this other shit will stop happening that way.

I’m tired. My throat is sore, my mother in law is in the living room watching TV, and I want to go to bed.

Please help?



Birth from a mans experience

I didn’t really know what to expect from childbirth. People giving me information about what to expect was all over the place. Everyone from my girlfriend to co-workers to friends and family. Not one story was the same, and not one attitude towards it was alike. Some women almost hostile to the idea, and being vocal about the hell they went through. Other women being more relaxed saying they “have had worse” than child birth coming to them. And what was more annoying was how everyone kept asking me about it. “What do you think? What do you expect? Are you excited? Are you scared? You haven’t done this before, have you.”

What am I supposed to answer these questions with? I can’t say I’m excited because my girlfriends friend had just been on a 20 minute long rant about the hell she went through. I can’t say I’m scared either because another friend said childbirth was not all it was hyped up to be. I didn’t know what to say if I was asked what I expected. Once, I said I didn’t really expect anything because it was impossible to get a clear cut view of the matter from anyone. Once I said; “well, the baby have to come out one way or another” and my girlfriend ripped me a new asshole for it. Still don’t get why though, as a month later she said the same thing repeatadly to me and her family.

So, all in all, very confusing stuff. So I thought, for those dads-to-be that have not yet been through this – I will give you the real deal. The truth. This is what you can expect to happen. As a man. Not as a woman. As a man.

Here’s the deal; it’s all individual. There’s three people in the room. Mother, father and child (we don’t count those midwives), Everyone of those three will experience this differently, but it is the mother who is in charge of the event. If the mother is in pain or scared out of her mind, it won’t be very pleasing and the father will be dragged through a process of watching a loved one in desperate pain. She might scream her lungs out. It will all be like a nightmare. Or, it could be the complete opposite. A woman in control of her pain and focused towards her task with no hellish screams. Make no mistake, the task is very tough, but women deals with it differently. How your loved one will react to this if she haven’t been through it already is anyones guess (and births can be very different). All you have to do is come along for the ride and try to help out in any way you can (and those options are few). If you as a man does not like a bit of blood or the look of a placenta coming out you might want to look the other way. Some guys might feel a sense of panick. Other may find themselves in calm and focused control of themselves. There’s just no way of knowing. It’s even about you as well. Are you uncomfortable in hospitals you might be in for a troubling time!

So, if people ask you about this matter. Try to answer as proper as possible, but the key is this; “individuality”. You can’t expect this or that. There’s no way. You simply have to roll with the punches and see how things unfold. If you’re overly excited and happy, you might get a shock of how serious birth can be. If you expect World War One to happen, you might feel that it wasn’t such a big deal after all. But if you’re gonna speak of your experience afterwords, make sure you speak only for you and recognize your girlfriends pain and what she went through.

And as for me, I honesly expected more of the bad stuff. Everything was done so quickly I had no time to think (individuality once again). We got to the hospital about 1645, and the baby arrived 17:37. My girlfriend was in deep pain, but instead of screaming or cursing the midwife out, she went some place deep inside herself and just focused on the task. There wasn’t really much I could do, but I am pleased to know that I calmed down and felt focused during the process. I expected World War One I guess, and was pleased to find out it was not a situation I couldn’t handle. The blood and gore was fine. It felt more natural than I expected. There wasn’t much of anything from my point in the room.

And, then she arrived. This little creature with eyes scared shitless of the process she had just been through.

If I meet a man with a pregnant girlfriend and he asks me for what I think, I won’t say this or that. I will simply say it’s all individual. Expect the unexpected. There’s nothing really I can say either way.

That was birth. Then there’s the rest. More on that later.


I’m sitting here waiting for my life to change. In one way or another. I’m off work now, taking the rest of my holidays, the mandatory ten days for fathers after birth and another two weeks worth of overtime. It will be one and a half month of free time.

The baby is not born yet. She’s on overtime. She should have been born yesterday, but it’s all theory and calculations. No one can really say when she will be born.

We’re sitting on the sofa watching daytime TV. I massage her neck, her feet, her legs. The house is quiet. Very quiet. Just the sound the tiny canary bird flying around the house being his happy self can be heard. The TV is on, but the sound is almost mute.

“This must be how the soldiers felt before Normandie”, I tell her. I don’t really know if she actually knows what Normandie and 1944 means, but I tell her anyway. How the soldiers waited in ships, landing vessels, in aircraft and in large barracks. All ready to go. They knew that once they were given the order, they were off to Normandie. Their lives would change forever, Of course, their situation was much more serious. Their own lives depended on luck, strategy and their own abilities. But, nevertheless, they were there – waiting for their life to change. Forever. So am I.

At any point now, we will have to go the hospital. My life will change. Nothing will ever be the same. Cross fingers the change will bring joy and happiness. A new person will arrive. My daughter. My parents granddaughter. We’re all waiting. My aunts are waiting. My friends are waiting. My co-workers are waiting. It feels like we’re all just waiting. And so we’re just sitting in front of the TV waiting. Waiting for our lives to change into something else.

And to you, my dear daughter. I don’t know your name yet. I haven’t met you yet. Just be very careful. You are so close to being born now. Arrive when you feel like arriving, but don’t wait too long. Stay safe through your journey. It will be tough for you just as it is for your mother. Myself too. I don’t know what to expect now. I’m here, like a soldier before D-Day knowing damn well that once the order comes through – my life will change.

Travel into this world safely, and I will take care of you from then on. See you soon.

Second ultrasound – This is Family

I’m at the hospital waiting for the ultrasound appointment. They want to see if the placenta have moved away a bit so she’s all ready for a natural birth. Besides, she’s 38 and they want to keep steady ship.

She’s bringing her daughter for this appointment, and she calls me to say they’re a bit late. Just five minutes. By the time they have arrived we haven’t been called in yet, so it’s all good.

Five minutes later, and we’re shown inside. Like last time, we shake hands with the woman in charge of the apparatus. Her daughter sits on my lap while they start to study her. Quickly, we’re told to go outside while they do check the placenta. Her daughter gets a bit worried, but I tell her it’s all fine.

Coming inside again, the ultrasound scan shows something – but the baby is too big for a good view of anything. They switch on the 3D version, and we suddenly see half a face. Her closed, left eyelid and surrounding facial area looks like my father. Or me? Maybe it’s just my imagination. While the nurse explains to her, I explain to her daughter. I make a point out of explaining to her and giving her information and attention – not simply looking at the screen and study the numbers. She curls up on my lap. A little bit out of boredom, but also because it’s all a bit weird to her. Suddenly there’s a 3D image of her little half sister on a TV screen.

Everythings fine, but the baby is a tad small. The nurse asks about my stepdaghters weight when she was born and concludes they’re about the same size. All normal, but they will check her again in a few weeks just to see if she develops properly and on her own terms. She does.

With her daughter curled up on my lap and my girlfriend on the table looking at my daughter still inside her – I conclude that this is family. And it’s mine. I think I got out of everything alright in the end. If I had only known…

Midnight hospital visit

I sold my house a few days ago. Funny how stuff simply falls into place sometimes, just as easily as they sometimes fall out of place. I got my asking price as well. So, we decided to celebrate and went to this fancy seafood restaurant. The weather was all peachy like it has been the past month. We ate a seafood platter outside and had a wonderful dessert to go with it.

It is when we’re heading back home she says she doesn’t feel that good. She’s been having cramps in her lower abdomen. They keep coming and going, and she’s been having them all day. We decide to call the hospital. She gets one when we’re calling them, and I start to time them. Another comes fifteen minutes later. They seem to be frequent. The hospital doesn’t take any chances, and wants her in for a check. And so we swing by the hospital just before 23:00. We’re not nervous when we walk through the hospital corridors, but we’re slightly tense. I automatically start to think how maybe everything will come crashing down again, it’s after all a hairs bredth between victory or death in these matters. At least to me.

They check her well and good, but their communication skills leaves something to be desired. It’s always like this in this game. The doctor that checks her is Swedish or foreign with a Swedish accent. He looks at the monitors with a very strict and serious face, and it takes forever before he says «it all looks good». Not once do they say what they think is going on, they just ask questions and look serious. It’s almost a surprise when he says everythings fine. Then he says «this gets me worried». He refers to the placement of the placenta.

He feels it’s quite low and might block the babys exit. However, once her inside expands – the placenta moves along with the expansion. Almost like if you mark the bottom of a balloon and then blows it up. The mark have most likely moved away from the very bottom. But he would like us to come back in week 32 for a check. My girlfriends gets worried – anything but a natural birth scares her. We tell the nurse about our worries. She’s a better communicator than the doctor at least. We wait it out at the hospital for about two hours, as recommended.

After almost two hours time, the doctor comes back in and apologises for being a bit blunt about the placenta. There’s no need to worry apperantly, and we’re heading back in week 32 for a check anyway. It was already scheduled. I find it a bit odd as the placement of the placenta have been described in previous documents as «high on the backside». The placenta doesn’t move on it’s own – only by expansion. I mention this, but get no clear response. So someone is looking at things wrong, we just don’t know who. Up until this point, we have gotten no explenation about what’s causing the cramps/pain. We think it might be because of the placenta, but the doctor says it’s not. My girlfriend asks if it’s Braxton Hicks. The doctor says he thinks it might be. It dawns on me that he wouldn’t have answered or explained what it could be if it wasn’t for her asking him directly. But I’ve seen this before. Lack of proper communication. Doctors so confident that they simply forget to inform the most important person about what’s going on. Being more interested in the check than the conclusion.

And while waiting it out at the hospital I had already Googled Braxton Hicks and concluded that if it wasn’t an early-birth situation (which I could conclude it wasnt sure to the doctor mumbling «everythings fine», it must be Braxton Hicks.

And so we leave the hospital at 01:30 in the morning. I hope I won’t be back until week 32 and then for the birth – and at the right time.


“It’s a girl”.

Week 19 (+1)

The Babylon 5 episode titles will now end. It is only fitting.

I can honestly say; hey, that went quite well. Smooth even.

We went down to the hospital, and I think we were both a bit tense. I have never been with someone I can sense the way I do with her either. It got better once we came down there. We got inside at the exact moment our appointment was. The first thing the midwife said when she put the ultrasound device on her was; “well, lots of activity here”.

Well, a big sigh of a relief then. The baby had certainly survived that fall up in the hills.

So, alright. It’s kicking and moving and everything’s fine.

“You want to know the sex”? she asked us.

“Sure” I said.

“It’s a girl,” the midwife replied.


I had such a distinctive feeling it was a boy.

But yep, it’s a girl, and due date is 20 September.

Going back home we had no heated discussions or emotional outburst of any sort. We ordered sushi, but almost forgot to pick it up.

We spoke of children’s name on our way back. It was just fine. Finally something that turned out to be a good day. It had to turn around eventually, and perhaps it just did.

I waited until after football practice to tell my parents. Like 22:00 hours. I had told her to stay awake because I had a photo I needed her input on. I told her I didn’t know what it was.

So I showed my mother a blurry ultrasound photo. It took her about two or three minutes until she understood what it was. It my was dad who first said it was an ultrasound photo. I don’t think she dared to even ask if it was. She was over the moon. Just like I expected her to react. It was just lovely. It felt like the fulfillment or conclusion of that difficult talk I had to do with her in the spring of 2016 when I told her I had split from my ex wife – and I told her all about the IVF at the same time. This was finishing that talk with a good outcome. An almost Three year struggle. It felt like a demonic entity lifting off my shoulders. Like some grey mist that just left me. It was peculiar and bizarre. At one point I felt like I was floating. Imagine that.

And now the real job will commence soon enough.