Interview with Coach J

In order to round off what can best be described as ‘birth week’ on this blog, I thought I’d include an interview with a real, live labor coach.  Seeing as I only really know one, my interviewee had to be the (slightly verbose) professor who kindly answered these questions.

‘Thank you for your interest in my labor coaching seminar.  I am happy to answer your questions and should your readers be interested, to provide them with my new video on the subject “A Father’s Guide to Labor” in which I cover the various do’s and don’ts of your participation in the wonderful world of childbirth. (Hint: DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT EATING HER FOOD (even if she says she doesn’t want it).’

What has been indispensable in your role as labor coach?


I try and imagine passing a kidney stone, divide the pain by 2 and that gets me into the appropriate frame of mind for understanding what my lovely wife is feeling each time she squeezes the life out of my arm.

Our vast male readership (Shawn) would like an explanation from you about what shall be known as ‘the epidural incident of 2009’. Would you care to address the incident? Please note I will edit your response if needed.


Part of being a good coach is understanding your players and what they want now vs. what they will want tomorrow. Right now your team may just want the pain of man to man pressing defense to go away and just play zone.  But tomorrow as they lick their wounds from the inevitable beating they took, they will wish they had stuck it out.  (This isn’t a direct correlation of course but merely a metaphor for the vast male audience to get into the frame of mind for the real answer, just refer to the DVD chapter “Labor is NOT Like Sports (except when it is exactly like sports)” )

More to the point.

  • The nurse for all her great qualities (pushiness, sweet accent, positive thinking, uhh shortness) wasn’t very good with the needles as the puncture wounds on your forearm will attest to.  In my one run in with the Canadian health care system (see the kidney stone incident of 2008) I also noted a lack of skill in inserting needles into my arm which was particularly vexing given my general fear of needles. Yada, Yada, Yada, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to seeing someone line up and try to hit you in the spine with a thick needle, while you were having painful contractions, sure people do it all the time, but I was worried
  • There is the matter of what happens next. Bedpans and an audience are not really your thing.
  • I can’t even get you to take an aspirin on most days and these years of seeing you build up an ethos of non intervention, just led me to interpret that what you really were saying was “Jason I know you aren’t going to let me have one, so I feel it’s safe to ask, get me an epidural. Your refusal will give me a good subject heading for my blog and will also make me feel ok about ripping all the skin off of your arm.”

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the worst possible offense and 10 being the most egregious offense) how would you rate your most recent remark to me: ‘so, when are you going to start jogging again’,  six days after I bore you a third son?

In my defense I was unaware that in addition to our third child leaving your body, so had your ability to detect sarcasm, as in “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I see you are up and walking, when are you going to really be all better and go for a jog (and maybe make some sort of awesome cake with frosting and caramel to congratulate my excellence in husbandry”…..)

Any tips for smooth and successful umbilical cord cutting? Do you do special exercises ahead of time, or do you just go in and wing it?


It always seems so cool in the movies, like it might be a moment where the room goes quiet and you become one with your wife and child.  In reality this of course makes no sense.  First of all the baby has just exited a nice warm hot tub where he is constantly supplied with food, and entered a world that is cold, with bright lights and a tiny Indian nurse, a lanky doctor and some weird unshaven guy all staring at him and you are about to cut him off completely…..  also it’s a bit like cutting through a bratwurst so these are my tips for properly observing the decorum and appropriate manliness/sensitivity of the moment.

  • Do not refuse the request.  The doctor/midwife will ask if you want to cut the cord. You may at the time be standing in something of a mess, the baby is possibly not as cute as you had hoped, maybe he’s covered in white sticky stuff… but you must suck it up an proceed.
  • Now is not the time for jokes.  You may be tempted to ask if you can use your lucky pocket knife, or maybe even chew the cord in two caveman style.  No one will laugh at these jokes, not even in retrospect, so save them for the pub night with the guys in a couple months when you can safely leave the house.
  • Cut it to the outside of the potato chip clamp they have affixed.  Don’t worry the doctor will point to the exact spot multiple times like you are a moron or something.
  • Hand the baby directly to the mother so they can both exhaustedly bask in one another’s glow.  This is the actual moment when the room seems to go quiet and the baby starts to look cute and the gentle sounds of violins can be heard in the background.

Would you like to comment on the anchovy incident of 2004?


Nope, that one was totally my bad.  I panicked.

One of the boys comes to you and says, ‘Dad I want to be an urban planner.’ Your response?

Four immediate retorts come to mind all of which are unprintable and involve references to the Banana Republic, figure skating and fascist dictators…But based on the piles of rocks, blocks and sticks I seem to trip over in every room and nook and cranny of the yard and the drawings of burning buildings, crooked streets and stacked housing with scribble surfaces they seem to favor at this point, they would make great urban planners… Certainly better than Corb anyway.

Another boy says he’s going to have a recurring role in ‘Days of our Lives’…your response?


“Can you buy me a Porsche?”

Would you rather have twin girls or send me to Canyon Ranch Spa for a long weekend by myself?


That one’s easy. A weekend of mancation mayhem, beats a lifetime of miniskirt/sweats with bizarre words like “ouchie” written on them, acne covered boyfriends with Camaros, shopping for dresses and movies about fairies and princesses any day. Are you asking this as a real question? If so then I may instead call your bluff….

Would you rather be married to Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter?


Is rupturing my ear drums and option?

What about Ann Coulter or Hilary Clinton?


What about gouging out my eyes?

What’s the best thing about being married to me?


That would be like choosing a favorite child.  It’s all so good I could never choose.

The worst? Oh, sorry it looks like we’re out of time…

Well thank you very much and don’t forget for only $19.99 all this wisdom and more can be yours…

6 thoughts on “Interview with Coach J

  1. I read your blog everyday, sometimes twice just to see if you have updated it again. I read it, most of the time, at work (shhh, don’t tell!). Today I’m sitting in my class @ the PC reading your blog and am literally laughing out loud, when one of my students is like, “what’s so funny?” How do you explain to a high schooler what I am laughing about in a post of this nature without being totally inappropriate or giving TMI? My response, “Well, I read this blog that my friend writes and her and her husband are both really sarcastic, and today it is extremely funny.” I guess that will suffice but I should just let him come read it himself. Then again, he probably wouldn’t get it….

  2. You made me laugh and laugh some more.
    However, the coach mentioned a kidney stone and DIVIDE the pain by 2 – did he perhaps mean MULTIPLY the pain by two? I would suggest to him that was what he meant.

  3. Great post, lotsa laughs! You two must be superstar parents to have time to answer/type this AND take care of three kids.

  4. Wait, what do you mean ‘take care of three kids’…what kids? And Jason totally meant to say divide…just wait Heather, David will do the same thing…they pass little mouse droppings and think they know what childbirth is like.

  5. No sports analogies, no sarcasm. Got it! This interview is an excellent complement to my recent readings in The Birth Partner. Thanks for the wisdom, Coach J!

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