I know how much you guys loved reading about my version of the birthing experience so I decided it would be great to see if it was the same or that much more horrific for Chris. After much nagging, he conceded to writing a series of guest posts on his version of childbirth and parenthood. I even promised not to edit or paraphrase anything he wrote – no matter how crude it is…so enjoy!
I won’t keep you guys waiting much longer… here is part one of the birthing story from a man’s perspective.
So…you’re woken up around 1am by your pregnant wife. The labour may be underway. I say may because neither of us have an idea if it’s the chilli playing up from dinner night before, or it is literally time to go.
Before you read any more of this you should understand two things about me:
- I don’t really panic … I am calm to a point that it probably annoys those around me; and
- I don’t try to control the uncontrollable.
None of what I am about to recount should be taken as advice. Some may be filed under exactly what not to do – but the end result is a happy healthy boy, so it isn’t all awful.
It’s 1am. She is looking at me expecting a comforting voice with a reassuring platitude – I do what any good husband does and tells his irrational, emotionally heightened, very pregnant wife that she shouldn’t worry and to go back to bed. I wasn’t completely reckless though – I asked why she thought she was in labour (it feels weird and tight) and I asked how frequent it felt weird (every few minutes). As someone who has successfully read the first few chapters of many ‘You’re about to become a dad’ books I felt supremely qualified to tell her not to worry and to try to get some sleep as this stage of labour usually last hours. Ahhh sleep that beautiful myth I seem to remember pre-Jacob, but I digress…
The next morning I check on Helen – she is all good, she still feels weird, and it still feels like go time.
We speak to our Obstetrician and thankfully he hasn’t outed my midnight gamble as irresponsible. We have a scheduled appointment with him that morning – I head to work, Helen heads to him.
I am immediately faced with the question that you will be asked every day once your partner gets beyond 8 months pregnant. Even strangers who wouldn’t ask how you like your toast will feel comfortable to ask fairly invasive personal questions.
“Any news, any updates, is the baby here yet” – “Oh she’s in labour now” I casually respond, armed with the knowledge that it is likely to be hours until anything happens and Helen and I hadn’t actually expected Jacob until the end of the week. He would just need to be patient as he was upsetting the schedule. On that note – Babies are extremely unreliable at coming as planned. Don’t make any large plans based on your due date being accurate.
Unfortunately, I had a couple of urgent work things to do. Fortunately, I had some urgent work things to do which took my mind off the craziness of what was about to come. Once completed I was told to get the f#ck out of there by my boss and to go to the hospital. By this stage Helen has been admitted. The baby is coming – and all things going to plan I will be a dad that day.
“Can you get me a large McChicken meal?” These are the words that greet me after phoning Helen to tell her I was on my way. Guys – get used to requests and comments that don’t quite align to the magnitude of the occasion, and definitely do not question if she thinks it’s a good idea to have a Large considering what is about to be pushed out (you can think it like I did – just don’t say it).
From this point on get used to feeling really useless as the male in this process. You will feel quite powerless for many of the events that you’re about to be a part of. Your partner will very likely be in pain, which will be incredibly difficult to watch. You will want to help any way you can. Trying to be supportive is as much about guessing what she is wanting and what she is not wanting. Please be aware this will alter and change throughout the labour – and you will not ever do enough to reach a 5-star rating for labour support. And that is completely okay because you’re not pushing a massive baby out of your private parts.
The labour period for us was quite anti-climactic. We thought the baby was going to come quite quickly as was the family tradition. By 6pm we knew this was not going to be the case. Whilst Helen had started the early stages of labour quickly everything after was a long, hard battle. Jacob’s head was in a bad position. The midwives kept making a Pez dispenser motion – each contraction meant his head tilted back not down. End result – massive pain for Helen and not much progress. Helen was battle weary and running out of mental and physical fortitude because it was so slow. And my nerves were shot from having to look at the green numbers of the contractions going up and the baby’s heart rate constantly fluctuating (which it will normally do).
Enter the Epidural of hope and Mr Slowtalker. Our obstetrician convinced us that an epidural would likely relax mum and baby to a point where the labour could advance normally. We are told it will take about 15 minutes. This was a lie. The problem when you have been in pain for 15 or so hours – and you’re told in 15 minutes you can have complete relief – you tend to be a little cranky if that 15 mins becomes 30 or so. Helen tried to rip my hands off as the tone got more desperate each time – “where the f#ck is he”. Enter the magical drug man. And then watch him talk very, very, very, very *yawn* slowly. He spoke like he was going to charge us for the duration of each word. Our anaesthetist was lovely – and seemingly very good at his job – but if he had taken much longer I am fairly sure Helen may have tried to give the epidural to herself.
And Helen got high …so high. Life was good again. She relaxed and went back on her phone – probably on Instragram and her email. I tried to get the last hour of sleep I was going to be able to squeeze in before we got to meet Jacob ….but before that I would witness the miracle of birth.
Stay tuned for part two…