Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Childbirth... From MY Perspective

(See what I did there with the title? I specifically narrowed this down to JUST ME. That way, no one can accuse me of speaking for anyone else out there.)
So, we have four kids… And, my wife has given birth to each one. And, I was there too. Involved. Working. Doing my part. In my Father’s generation, I don’t think much was expected from the Husband during labor and delivery, if he was even invited in the room. 
Not so anymore. Just in case there are any non-Fathers out there right now reading this post, let me tell you, you will NOT be able to just sit back and relax while your child is being guided into this world. No, more than likely you will NOT be able to read a magazine, play Angry Birds on your phone, or watch Judge Judy re-runs while your wife and the Nurses are coaxing your progeny “to the light” as it were. Just a warning.
I have to say that just like every child is different, so is every birth, I would imagine. Our four certainly were. Two of those births were medicated, one was induced, one came right on her due date, one was turned the wrong way and almost had to have a C-section, one delivery required very little pushing, two of them required a whole lot, and one had some complications (the umbilical cord snapped off). For two of them I was able to cut the cord, and during last one, the midwife had to sort of yell at my wife “No biting!” because, well, it looked like she was going to bite my hand.
This statement by the midwife made my wife sort of mad. I, however, was grateful.
Anyway, I feel like I can kind of speak from experience about childbirth. Here are some thoughts that I have about it (and most of these will likely be the exact opposite of what you will read on childbirth blogs):
1. I personally would advocate all women to utilize whatever pain relief they can. In other words, I say “get the drugs!” My wife got epidurals for the first two and opted not to for the third child. (Personally, I thought she was nuts!) The reasons she decided this were to hopefully shorten labor and pushing (the first two were both really long) and to try to get her milk to come in sooner for breastfeeding (both times before it took 5 days, even with “doing all the right things”). Well, for this third child, she pushed for 2-3 hours (even longer than the first two – the baby was turned the wrong way) and her milk STILL took 5 days to come in. So, then she decided for the fourth child that she definitely wanted an epidural, but she got to the hospital too late and the baby came very quickly, fast and furious. 
Katie, #1
(this was before we had a digital camera)
This leads me to the next thought that I have:
2. Get to the hospital later than you think for the first babies and earlier than you think for the later-borns. For the first baby, we got to the hospital (after my wife had had contractions for hours) and she was only dilated 2 or 3 centimeters. It was a long stay. But for the LAST baby, she was trying to do too much (although, I certainly did appreciate that awesome brownie that I ate en route to the hospital!) and we were only there a short, short time (too short to get an epidural) before her water broke and she entered the pushing phase of labor.
Annabelle, #2
(NICU baby, because of her umbilical cord problem)
3. The brownie reminds me of another thought… Men, eat when you can. I know that you will feel bad when your wife is not allowed, but this “guilt” will only last for baby number one (although she can have popsicles, so if you want to be really awesome, go find her one), but seriously, if you happen to have a long labor, you will need energy. It is quite a workout, especially when you find yourself fighting with your wife’s body (that’s another story). Those Labor and Delivery nurses know from experience how much work it is, so take their advice and go get a sandwich or a granola bar or something when you can. Trust me, they’ll tell you if you can’t. I guess the only time you wouldn’t want to do this is if your wife needs you. It would be more loving to wait for an opportune moment. That’s why I grabbed the brownie on the way to the hospital (and, I’m glad I did, because delivery #4 was intense. That was the delivery my wife was instructed not to bite me.)
Caroline, #3
(born right before Christmas, hence the hat)
4. Women, you should eat when you can too. Once you start having contractions, you need to go to 5 Guys Burgers and get a triple burger with a large order of fries and a Sprite. Because once you get to the hospital, they CUT YOU OFF. No food (unless your husband finds you a popsicle), only ice chips. (BTW, my wife tried to get me to give her a pretzel once, but I said no for the sake of her and our baby.)
Emily, #4
(My wife looks so serene, you would never imagine that she was going to bite my hand off just moments earlier.)
5. And, speaking of intense labor, be ready to go through the ride of your life. Childbirth is one of those times where you feel completely out of control, sort of like you are on a roller coaster minus the fun. So many things can go wrong, and there are so many variables that you just have to be strong and stay in the moment for the task at hand. Pray, and do what you can to encourage her. And wives, know that although you may be going through the pain, there’s almost nothing worse than seeing the person you love most in the world enduring it and knowing that you can do very little about it (which is why I wrote #1).
Like I stated earlier, this is just childbirth from my perspective. I’m not a midwife, doctor, nurse, childbirth educator, or doula. Just a husband with the births of four girls under his belt and the urge to write about it.


  1. I feel sorry for the dads. It's much worse to watch someone you love in great pain. You did well - so did Liz. Just go earlier next time and no time for baking brownies. We are all satisfied with the results.

    1. The brownies were necessary. They were fuel for the horrors that were about to happen.

  2. What an entertaining blog. Of course this is from a woman who can relate. My husband was quickly overwhelmed and kicked out of the room to keep him from fainting. I don't think he knew what he was in for. Thank goodness I had already contracted a plan B coach! Women need someone there other than the hospital staff for sure. I too arrived too late on the second one for pain meds. How miserable. Now, anyone who says to me that they want to experience the entire beautiful experience childbirth is - pain and all - having it "naturally" they say - I say - you are too inexperienced to make that call - DON'T BE CRAZY! GET THE DRUGS! Or it's true - your spouse may end up with a missing finger or two. It is beautiful - AFTERWARDS. ha!

    1. Before my wife experienced "natural" birth, I told her that there was a reason an epidural was invented, and became so popular. Who would WANT to experience that much pain if it could be prevented?