One Born Every Minute #dads
When we talk about our birth experiences, the focus is very much on themother. But what about the father? Netmums and One Born Every Minute (Channel Four) areinterested to hear about the arrival of our little people from the Dad’sperspective. I’ve spoken very briefly before about Miss P’s entrance into the world but how was it for Rich?
Rich was involved throughout mypregnancy. He attended every midwife appointment, put up with my mood swingsand patiently showed great interest each time I shoved a baby magazine underhis nose. Came to all the classes, cooked me whatever I was craving and rubbedmy back.
Labour was long – just over fourdays from the first contraction to Miss P finally being born. We spent the first three days at home, apartfrom one short lived trip to the hospital, and he was by my side the wholetime. He did his best to convince the midwives that I was in labour and spoketo the hospital several times.
Once we were finally allowed tostay – “Oh, you are in labour. How have you managed without pain relief for solong?” – and I was pumped full of Meptid and sucking on the gas and air likethere was no tomorrow, he ceased to exist to me for a while. He patiently satreading his book, listened to my drugged ramblings and just waited.
There was very little for him todo but Rich said that in some ways this was the hardest part. Watching thewoman he loves in considerable pain and powerless to do anything about it.Everything was out of his control.
When things changed and thatsense of urgency filled the room he took it all in his stride. Though I know hewas scared, he focused on reassuring me and then went to put on his scrubs.
My husband, the one who has aweak stomach and feels queasy at the thought of blood and gore, came into hisown. He stood near my head, convincing me that everything was going to be ok.He watched Miss P be pulled into the world, cut her cord and didn’t flinch atthe sight of my gaping abdomen. He went with her whilst I was taken torecovery.
And this is where his experiencematters. He had been told that we would all be together again in 15 minutes. Inreality I was haemorrhaging and didn’t see either of them again for a muchlonger time than that.
Rich had been taken back to theroom where I had laboured and was left alone with a very distressed newborn. Noone came to offer any reassurance or tell him what was happening with me. Noone thought to check that he was ok, no one thought to tell him that he coulddo skin to skin contact, no one came to show him how to dim the lights.
He was left in a starkly lit roomwith a baby screaming for both her mother and milk and he was alone. Andterrified. He paced the floor with Miss P in his arms, trying to comfort her.He showed from the very start of her life that he will always be there, even ifall he can do is wrap his arms around her.
Dads do seem to get the rough end of the stick during labour and birth.They may not be the ones doing the hard physical work but they don’tnecessarily get an easy time of it. They need someone to guide them throughtoo; they are more than just someone to hold the mother’s hand.
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