It is time for the first doctor appointment. As an expectant daddy, it’s important for you to attend as many of the doctor appointments as possible to be supportive to your wife.
So, be prepared to walk into a waiting room with women in all phases of their pregnancies — from their first trimester to a woman days away from her due date. Smile, dads, and wipe the shock off of your face. This is what pregnancy looks like. This is a preview of what's to come. Here's a tip from a fellow dad who's lived through it: women nearing the end of their pregnancies are usually quite uncomfortable, and seem to be always waiting for their next chance to pee or eat.
The reason you need to keep your facial expressions to a minimum? Expectant mothers are very sensitive, and will scrutinize the look on your face. I suggest practicing your calm, comfortable, friendly smile in front of the mirror prior to this appointment. Seriously. If I can tell you two things about the doctor’s office it's to ALWAYS give up your seat to the pregnant woman with swollen feet, and to ALWAYS go pee prior to going to the doctor’s office, or else hold it. On a few occasions I have used the bathroom at the doctor’s office, and you do not want to be on the receiving end of the glare from the pregnant woman who's waiting to use the restroom after you... just trust me on this one.
The first visit to the doctor’s office can also be shocking for your wife. If you're shocked by the size of all the women in the waiting room, imagine how your wife feels. Help her find a comfortable seat and sign in for both of you. If there are extra seats go ahead and sit down, but when another pregnant woman walks through the door and has nowhere to sit – give up your seat.
The nervousness of expecting our first child really set in for me in the waiting room at my first doctor's visit, while I was tagging along with my wife. I thumbed through the brochures and pamphlets about what mom and baby will go through in these nine months they spend together. Chances are your wife is also feeling a bit of anxiety over the future, too. She will likely be thinking, Can I actually have this baby? Will she look like that woman over there? Will the baby be healthy? Will I be healthy? What are all of these tests that they are going to do? Why do they need to do them?
My advice to every daddy-to-be is to simply grab her hand, give it a squeeze, and make the eye contact that says, “everything will be OK” - even if you are completely scared yourself.
And lastly, dads, be prepared to sit and wait. Even if you're tired, even if you're late for another appointment or late to work, or even if the doctor's office is running behind schedule. Just wait.
What was your experience like in the doctor's office for the first pregnancy?