A Group Visit to the Midwife

So the day finally came where we met with other expecting couples.  We were to meet at the midwife's office with seven other couples.  This should be fun.  It would be good to hear other people's stories and perspectives.

We were in the elevator and ready to go when I realized that I had forgotten my gloves.  I was going straight to work from the midwife, so I needed my gloves now.  Swedie didn't want to be late (we were ten minutes early already) so she couldn't wait for me to go back up to the apartment on the elevator (2 minutes max!) to get my gloves.  Great start to this moment!  It took me less than two minutes to get back down and somehow Swedie had disappeared.  I walked at a brisk pace in the hope of catching a glimpse of the sprinting pregnant woman that I call my wife.  No sign of her.  She's fast as hell, I guess.

So I finished off my THREE MINUTE WALK to the midwife that Swedie was too stressed to wait for me for and enter the room with all of the other COUPLES.  Great, now I'm the uninterested father!  We waited a few more minutes and then we were all joined by the midwife.  She told us all to follow her to the back room where the meeting would be held.  Everything seemed normal until this point.  I was one of the last to walk into the other room.  To my shock, everyone was removing their shoes!  What?  Why would you take your shoes off here?  I had been here before and never taken my shoes off.  This was bizarre.  I looked at Swedie.  She was taking her shoes off like everything was normal.

      - Why are we taking our shoes off?
      - Welcome to Sweden.
      - This is stupid.

I was instantly annoyed.  I think people should be warned before they are in situations like these.  What if I had those socks on that Swedie told me to throw away 6 months ago?  Then I'd be walking around with holy socks and likely ashy feet.  You gotta think about stuff like this, Sweden.  You can't just make people take shoes off in public places.  I understand this in homes, but not in public places.  One lady took her shoes with her.  Nobody's trying to steal your Uggs, lady!  I'm in the Twilight Zone!

My confusion about the shoes and general Florida walking style (I don't move in hyper-speed like Stockholm people) caused me to be the only person without a chair once I got to the room.  There was a stack of less comfortable chairs that I was able to choose from.  This just keeps getting better.  I got the chair and sat directly next to the midwife in our circle.  The midwife did her introduction and then wanted us to introduce ourselves.  Of course I was first and I didn't know what to say.  I didn't want to sound like an idiot (which was inevitable).  Should I speak Swedish?  English?  Everybody understands English and I won't feel as dumb and immigranty.  Why did I have to be first?  Can I pass?  Forget it, I'll just look at Swedie, mumble inaudibly and then say something to the group.

      - Um... my name is Jonathan?

What?  Did I just ask the group my name?  Swedie rescued me.  She said her name and how far along we are.  Dammit.  I could have done that!  The rest of the couples followed suit and introduced themselves.  It turned out that our due date was one of the furthest away, but Swedie had one of the biggest bellies in the room!  Way to go, big boy!  Maybe we'll have a big strong athlete.

By the way I'd like to mention that the midwife must have had gas for the entire meeting.  I heard her stomach bubbling up the entire time and I wondered if she was sneaking out airplane farts while we were expressing ourselves.  I digress.  She went through her notes and tried to get some engagement from the group.  I knew she wanted engagement, so I tried to assist.  Of course I sounded like a jerk.  I don't think my sense of humor translates to Swedish just yet.  I was trying to kid about how newborns are all funny-looking and look like they're not quite done yet.  I felt like an asshole immediately.  Swedie laughed.  Thanks.  One guy agreed with me.  Whew.  I didn't learn my lesson and shut up, though.  Later on the midwife talked about the first few weeks after the birth.  The mother's body goes through so much.  None of it sounded like fun to me.  She talked about bleeding, hormones, possible depression and then dealing with this baby that can only communicate through crying.  She suggested peeing in the shower at first to avoid possible infection.  This made me ask (half-jokingly in my Swedish) why any woman would have more than one baby.  The midwife has three children, by the way.

Then Mr. Happy Pappy spoke up and said maybe the positives outweigh the negatives.  He was so excited about everything it was sickening.  I get it.  You're a nice guy and you're going to be a perfect dad.  If only you knew that I will be too.  And I'll be fun and teach my son cynicism.  That's important, Mr. Happy Pappy.  My innocent joke now made me an asshole.  Every single person in the room, including Swedie said they wanted more than one child.  I was on my own.  I give up.  At least now the group was engaged against me.  I decided to just shut up now.  Maybe it was for the better.

The meeting was productive.  We got to see that other couples expecting their first child can feel as clueless as we feel.  That made it alright.  I'm sure our parents felt this way and our child will as well one day.  It was cool to hear other fears and the things other people plan to do once their baby comes.  The feeling of anticipation and anxiety filled the room.  It was nice.  We ended by watching a video about shaken babies.  I learned that shaking a baby 6-7 times is deadly.  How do they come up with that number?  Why even give a number?  So 3-4 times is bad, but a couple more and you're a REAL scumbag?  How about leave it at just don't shake your baby.  Period.  I won't be shaking mine.  At least not 6-7 times.  Bad joke?  I'll never learn.  Until next time...

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