Birth From a Dad’s Perspective
Three days on and I am still covered by a blanket of euphoria. The pregnancy, birthing and now early fathering process has been unlike any experience imaginable for my life. Today I endeavor to convey my thoughts, feelings and emotions regarding the crazy beautiful miracle of our first born baby.
To say we were organised was an understatement. One of the longest waits of my life was between the day we had found out we were pregnant and the day we had our 12 week scan to find out we had a healthy and happy baby. This time felt like eternity as all we wanted to do was start building our nest and create a home full of love for our baby.
After the 12 week mark the floodgates of gumtree and ebay purchases starting flowing and we had begun the dream. All this while my internet download limit was on its last legs due to the high amount of birthing, midwifery and pregnancy related shows my wife and I were watching for 9 months. Little did I realise these shows, YouTube clips and stories over the dinner table (which are all the time when someone knows your wife is pregnant) were grooming me to become a man who would own a place in the birthing suite.
The day the contractions came for my wife was two days before our due date, so we were ready and waiting. We had even re-read our birth plan and list of jobs so many times I could memorise them. But even when the contractions came the thought that it was actually going to happen was not realised. Constant thoughts of “is this it?”, “its just gas!”, “it’ll take days” and “am I ready?” circled my brain for the entire time until our midwife had visited us in our home and had told my wife she was 5cm dilated. BOOM. It was game time, like preparing for a grand final or a surf that could drown you my mind was only focused on one thing; Give my wife anything she needs.
Once we had arrived to the hospital (after knowing the exact car park we were going to take) my goal was to make the room as homely as possible by putting on our birthing music playlist, making sure the lighting was appropriate and making sure the bath was the right temperature for my wife. At this time I had no idea how long this was going to take. I honestly thought it was going to take about 12-20 hours. So I laid out our clothes and got out our snacks out of our GO bag that we had prepared months in advance. I had to make sure I was fueled, hydrated and feet were warm (hospitals are freezing!) early as I wanted as much energy for when the time comes so I would not leave my wife’s side. So the scene was set and the actors were in place and fortunately only two hours later it was on.
Something had just switched (possibly called transition) for my wife where she was not just in a fair amount pain for a minute she was in an intense excruciating amount of pain for a couple of minutes. Still after all the educating, reading and videos we had watched I had absolutely no idea what stage we were at. But it didn’t matter, my wife needed me and I didn’t care where we were at. I didn’t even think to ask “how long?” or “what’s happening?” because I wanted to allow the natural course to take its place and not put any extra thoughts into my wife’s mind.
Each contraction was a battle of strength and determination that a man could never accomplish. Each space between the contractions was considered an accomplishment and an appropriate time to laugh, joke and stay positive. I had also been planning my one liners and jokes for months. Each contraction also meant we were one step closer to meeting our child and this was one of the few things I had said throughout the contraction process. I felt that just being by my wife’s side and letting her squeeze my hand was all she had wanted. The harder she squeezed my hand the happier I became as I knew I was doing the right thing. The entire process I did not need to say much, in fact I think my wife preferred it that way so she could focus when she needed to and be distracted when she wanted to. Just being there skin to skin and refreshing the face towel and cold water for her were significant acts that assisted this incomprehensible process. But at these moments I couldn’t be more proud of a person. You could split the atom or create electricity and I would still not be impressed after seeing what my wife has done.
Then there was THAT one moment. The moment we came face to face with our baby girl for the first time. That one minute of pure ecstasy that only happens a few times in life. The out-of-body, euphoric and divine minute in which you have absolutely no control over what you do, say or feel. It is unlike any feeling I had ever imagined and I cannot think of a term to use that accurately portrays how I felt. It was undoubtedly the single best moment of my life.
Three days on I still feel the same. But now it’s even more of a team effort. I have willingly lost my autonomy to ensure my wife and beautiful and healthy baby girl have anything they need or want. I cannot ever imagine looking after a newborn child without a partner. I commend anyone that can and plead for those that know someone is on their own with a newborn child to help them in anyway, even if it’s just a few containers of chicken noodle soup. For no matter how much we have prepared I feel it is still so very important to make sure my wife is well looked after and rested when possible so she can provide the care to our baby that she wants and needs to give.
At the end of the day, no matter how tired I get or how numb my arm feels from holding her in that perfect position I am still in awe of our baby and am eternally grateful to my wife for bringing such perfection into this world.
You can read my Wife’s version of Mahala’s birth here.
(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).