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I’m having a baby! Your help required…

My wife and I are in the process of enhancing our existence with a joint-augmented new reality paradigm. i.e. We’re having a baby.

More accurately, she’s having the baby. I’m bravely standing by, dutifully watching the awful baby programmes on television where possible and getting ready to attend the upcoming baby birthing classes.

I think it suits us both for her to select, choose, configure and manage everything until she feels my input is required. So for the most part, up until now, most decisions have been down to her, with me offering opinions where required.

Friends of mine (pre and current dads) are making make what I consider to be a courageous* move by demanding (for example) they purchase an all-terrain mountain-capable monster pushchair instead of the standard ones generally approved by Mother & Baby magazines across the world. I’m sure that sort of thing doesn’t go down well any the lady who’s set her heart on a Mamas’n’Papas or a Bugaboo.

We’ve actually got the pram already. Two weeks ago I woke up one morning to find that the brand, style and colour was decided. I approved. To be honest I can’t ever see myself disapproving of her taste or decisions — that’s why I married her in the first place.

The pregnancy has, thankfully, been pretty straight forward — he says, writing with both hands glued to the wood of the desk. We’re due on the 25th of May so there’s a good few weeks yet. But it’s coming soon.

It’s on the horizon.

I haven’t bothered you, dear reader, with this news beyond an occasional reference up until now. That’s not about to change, however I felt it was necessary to make a statement on the subject because there is a mobile angle — this is principally where I need your help.

The due date is something like 10 weeks out so this evening yet I found it necessary to properly configure and assure my N86 handset was in good working order. That, you see, is the handset I plan to have on my person for decent photos. The iPhone 3G doesn’t cut it. Indeed no other handset cuts it. If you want a decent mobile phone camera, you have to go Nokia. Agree?

So I’ve got the handset ready, as well as my other usual devices.

My wife spotted a rather handy iPhone app to use for measuring contractions (or “birthing waves”) which looked pretty nifty. Although I can’t help but wonder how she’d react if I actually did whip out the iPhone every few minutes to press buttons. I wonder if — in the heat of the moment — that sort of thing becomes rather irrelevant.

So here’s where I really need some help.

I’m looking for your mobile-related suggestions for run up to the birth, during the birth and beyond. Have you tried any apps, services, products and what-not that were really helpful?

I’m definitely considering the obligatory ‘it’s a boy/girl’ Touchnote mobile postcards.

I’m wondering as to the possibility of some kind of SMS group chat for my the immediate family for updates. I can imagine sending out frequent multi-addressee texts might get a little bit annoying.

I will use the super-super-secret-mobile-service that I’m testing to connect my relatives via audio (more on that soon).

I’m wondering whether to buy a battery pack for the iPhone — you know the type that turns it’s normal sleek appearance into a ‘Brick’ phone from yesteryear? I do have a nagging worry that batteries will go flat, especially if the whole procedure requires me to exit to hospital quickly with the wife without having given the handsets a full charge.

What apps, services, products and devices have you used or do you recommend for this period?

To help with context, we’re having a hospital birth, all things being equal. And we don’t know the sex.

I’d very much appreciate your perspective.

Feel free to comment below or, if you prefer, drop me a note by email.

* I put that in for The Blandford and anyone else who likes Yes (Prime) Minister

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

31 replies on “I’m having a baby! Your help required…”

First job… select a hospital that doesn't ban mobile phones or at least has a sensible policy about flight mode and some WiFi. Or ship the necessary medical persons in and deliver the child in Casa MacLeod where I've no doubt you are well served with connectivity.

Now, I think you were looking for honest replies, so here you are. Forget tech …. (Silence) …. Yes, you heard right the first time. I think this is one of the situations that keeping everything simple and not complicating anything is good. Sometimes over analysing just causes dead brain cells. My 2.5p worth.

First congratulations… Now you bastard, you're making me feel really old. When my wife was pregnant with our first all I had was a tone based pager. One tone meant my secretary needed me, the other tone was my wife announcing that I had to get home RIGHT NOW.

As far as equipment, I'd skip the phone and bring a good camera. One of the things that you'll want to do is have medical staff snap pictures. You won't want to explain how to use the camera in the phone.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy little MacLeod!

Good luck Ewan, I'm sure your going to be a great dad! Remember babies are not about function or form…

Well, speaking from rather recent experience, the iPhone did come in handy for timing contractions and dictated to a large degree when we called the midwife in. The bog standard stopwatch with lap timer did the trick.

I agree 100% with MSfromtheOC – you don't want anything hard to use. You'll be handing the camera to medical staff. Preferably something with a non-extending lense and a really obvious big button to press. And a very good low-light mode. Flash is not good.

And also 100% agree with MeeGoExperts – get the tech outta town! This time only comes once in your life, and there is not a mobile OS on earth that deserves even a second more of your time than Mrs MacLeod and new baby does.

Any images you want to send can wait a few hours. Everyone understands. It was only a few years ago that the idea of receiving high-res photos en suite was science fiction. No-one expects or needs instant gratification.

Best of British

Mike

congrats! No specific advice on the apps front but all the best and hope all goes well rgds Ajit

Congratulations! Agree with other posters about leaving all the technology behind for the birth itself. A simple camera for some post birth photos and a phone with a ready to use distribution list so you can text everyone with news of the arrival etc and call family. That’s all you need.

Congratulations – First thing that comes to mind is Tess Daly – The Baby Diaries (free at the app store)

I'd have to agree with the “leave the tech out” brigade here. I'm a bit like you with regard to planning for all tech contingencies (Proporta, correct phone for camera use, etc) but, speaking from two experiences of this, it all becomes utterly irrelevant. You DO NOT want to spend the first moments with your new child and exhausted/drugged wife looking through electronic eyes. Use your own – the storage is more long term and won't suffer from bad clusters later on. A good, simple camera (and maybe a Flip/N86 for later when they're settled on the ward) will do.

In most cases, birth plans mean diddly squat once the action starts, and I'd say the same goes for geek planning. Accept this is your “damn it I can't control a thing” anxiety starting to kick in. Just go with it and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. A Nokia 6310i might be your best bet in the end – cos the battery will go forever when you do need to make those “it's a boy/girl” calls!

All the best to you all.

I know this sounds terribly prosaic, with all of the cool services/tech out there, but for both of my kids, I simply took a bunch of photos on my phone, uploaded them to flickr, and then sent out a mass sms/email blast to everyone with the flickr address.

You’ll find, in my opinion, that you don’t want to mess with all the different services and whatnot, just stick to what is easy and works.

OH and for the phone-geeks out there, when my daughter was born (3 years ago), I had an N73 in the hospital and Shozu did the uploading automatically. For my son (8 months ago), I had my iPhone and an N85 without a sim card — the N85 took the photos, the jailbroken iPhone provided the WiFi hotspot for the N85 to upload those (again via Shozu).

Keep it simple, you’ll have far more important (and overwhelming, and fun, and crazy, and exciting, and….) things to worry about!

That's great news, congrats and hope for a quick delivery.
I'd recommend to get the highest quality camera you can fit in a pocket.
It's best not to use flash with the newborn so a camera that produces good pics with low light is best suited.

Congrats again!

Right then you have all given a definitive set of viewpoints that are most appreciated. To summarise, dump the tech, get a decent battery on the phone and a decent easy to use camera…

1) Congrats. There are highs and lows, but it's all amazing.

2) Only c.5% births occur on the due date. My first came at 6 1/2 months. Proceed to DEFCON 4 immediately.

3) Ensure you're always contactable, natch.

4) Maternity wards are not mobile-free zones*. They may be against the rules, but every woman in there is using her mobile, some more surreptitiously than others. A spare battery's a good idea, but you can just as easily take in a charger. Nurses have more on their hands than checking for people using their phones.

*The exception being Neo-natal Intensive Care units. Although the likelihood of interference with medical equipment is extremely slim, you will rightly be rounded upon as a very naughty boy if you use your phone.

5) Enjoy a relatively low-tech birth. If you go for number two, all the nurses will probably be using iPads to keep tabs on things by then 😉

Ewan, congratulations to both you and your wife!!!!!
Ditch the tech for a while and make the most of the chance to be there for the birth! I think the missus will appreciate you holding her hand and not holding the camera. After the event you can snap and post pics happily ever after!!!

Momento for the iPhone would be an excellent way to track the early days- builds into a nice momento of the special time.

Otherwise, get a decent standalone camera, put the phone away and enjoy every minute!:)

Agreed, but it would be nice to see some development on that before your baby arrives. Can't think of any other good diary apps that work on a desktop as well.

It's a real problem. I don't mind using Momento, I think it's a beautiful app. But nobody can access it, nobody can see it. It'd be great to share between family members or similar…

Wee Jock Macleod just became the Mayor of Ward 4! Click here to Retweet / publish to Facebook / Retrieve phone from window frazzled mum just threw it out of.

😉

Good to see democracy won out and this will be a low-tech affair. As it should be.

Other critical tech stuff for month 1:

Is your clothesdryer 100% functional? (kinda tech, in a runs-on-'leccy way)
Do you have a 24/7 supply of nappies/wipes/botty cream on speed-dial for 30-minute delivery?
Is your backup dryer 100% functional?

I concur with the good camera and flickr option on a phone – my wife has become an even bigger fan of her N82 and started to use the flickr upload option once our daugher arrived. Its a great way of sharing the moment with family and friend

For the birth of our son, due to my busy schedule, the wife and I decided to have a scheduled c-section, so that we could both be there.

The advantages are: no pain for the mum, timing of birth very predictable. Another advantage is that when doing the operation, the surgeon has lots of very bright lights pointing at the subject. So I was able to get lots of great pictures with no flash. Used a small Canon digital camera. Regards the SMS blast, surely you just make a group entry on your N86, add in all the people that you want to send the message to, and bingo, write once, send to many.

Scheduled c-section really does sound convenient Greg! Regarding the N86 address group, you're right that it makes sending really easy, but replying is a total arse. For instance if I send an update to 10 family members, each of them is probably going to write back with a statement or question. I'd like that to be copied to everyone too.

Many congrats Ewan. What we did over 3 years ago, I bought a keyword via ITAGG and set up a bulk messaging system – all I did was send one text message to the ITAGG number that was on my chosen keyword and automatedly sent a text message to all 300+ people, job done!

I purchased £25 worth of credits and keyword BABYALERT and sent to 60300.

Bear in mind this was over 3 years ago, so technology has moved on since!

Why is why Awesome Note is a better solution. Sync with Google Docs and share with anyone you like. I think the presentation and speed are better too.

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