One Born Every Minute: The Dad Episode

I have a confession to make. I’ll whisper it.

*I’ve never actually watched One Born Every Minute.*

When the last series aired, my Facebook news feed was chock-a-block with people’s thoughts on it – from midwife friends who loved it, to hippy friends who hated it, to childless friends who were terrified by it. I think, for me, it was just a little too soon after DorkySon’s arrival and I wasn’t quite ready to reacquaint myself with the workings of a maternity ward.

Nearly three years has now passed since DorkySon was born (eek!) and while I’m still not sure I’m quite ready to watch a full episode of OBEM, I might take a sneaky wee peek at it when the new series starts tonight. Probably from behind a cushion. With my legs clamped tightly together. When DorkyDad is out of the room.

Anyway, putting my wussiness aside… NetMums are encouraging bloggers to post on a One Born Every Minute theme every week during the series; and this week it’s all about the dads.

I’m not going to ask DorkyDad to write about DorkySon’s birth… but I will tell you that he was an absolute champ; completely trusting of me, supportive of my decisions, and a brilliant advocate on my behalf when he was talking with medical professionals.

I’ll start by saying that nothing – absolutely nothing – about DorkySon’s birth happened as we had planned. That was a good first parenting lesson; even the best-laid plans can be sent into chaos if your child isn’t feeling co-operative. I wrote an epic birth story shortly after DorkySon was born, with details of every sweep (ouch!), stitch (ooh!) and suck of air (mmmm!). I will spare you that. No-one needs that level of detail. So here is the edited version.

You should probably still stop reading now if you’re squeamish. Or if you’re my Dad.

We had planned a home birth. DorkyDad was very dubious when I brought up the idea, about half way through my pregnancy. But after listening to my long and complicated list of reasons why I wanted to give it a shot, he was fully on board. He even, bless him, came along to a home birth support group with me. He was doing absolutely fine until a discussion started about placenta art, and then I had to stifle howls of laughter as I saw his eyes growing wider and wider in shock.

So. Our scary looking home birth kit and canisters of gas and air were delivered to the house. The midwives phone numbers were pinned to the kitchen noticeboard. Our teeny-tiny bright-white babygros and vests were warming on a radiator. DorkySon’s due date came.

And went.

16 days later, 6 days after the start of regular contractions, and after 18 hours of active labour, our son was finally born in hospital. Despite the attention, support and hard work of a homeoepath, an acupuncturist, a reflexologist, several doula friends, two community midwives and DorkyDad – not to mention a lot of hard work from me – our planned home birth didn’t work out.

I laboured at home in the company of DorkyDad and two midwives from 9pm on a Monday night to 7am on the Tuesday morning before finally being transferred to hospital, where I begged for a caesarean. I didn’t get one, but I did have just about every other intervention I’d hoped to avoid; a Syntocinon drip, an epidural, an episiotomy, forceps delivery, third degree tearing, a litre of blood loss, and a retained placenta that took three hours to remove. I truly, truly doubted that I would ever walk again, let alone get in a taxi home three days later with my newborn son.

DorkyDad was a star throughout the whole birth. He made me a BLT and miso soup in the middle of the night to try and get my energy levels back up. He worked hard to persuade the midwives to transfer me to hospital much earlier than they did. They should have listened to him – he knows me better than anyone else in the world and he could see that it wasn’t going to happen – rather than waiting until I had sucked my canister of Entonox completely dry. He locked eyes with me in the ambulance, when I was terrified and exhausted, and that connection with him was the only thing that let me know we were all – all three of us – going to be okay. He lived every moment of the birth with me. And then when I was wheeled into theatre to be patched up afterwards, he sat, alone in a room, cradling our son in his arms and knowing that life was never going to be the same again.

Giving birth pretty much sucks. But having a baby is brilliant. Dads are brilliant. And DorkyDad is the best.

Check out the birth stories of other bloggers on the NetMums blog here.

And check out some more birth stories over on Mummy Central’s Parentonomy linky by clicking on the button below.

12 responses

  1. Your lovely post just gave me goose pimples!!! What a lovely dorkydad and well done dorkymum… it’s never easy but there are always those moments that make it so special and memorable (besides the actual birth of course)!! some lovely writing! xx

  2. I always laugh when mums reel off a list of how they’re having their first baby. The reality is never exactly as they picture it – unless they’re very lucky. Doubt the midwives even glanced at my birth plan. The few things I did request were forgotten in the rush to get baby out safely. I also had episiotomy and third degree tearing (ouch) but didn’t mention this in mine – in case I put people off their dinner.
    It’s like coming through a war, isn’t it?

    • Oh that’s so true – I know that for some people it does happen, but not many that I’ve spoken to! I think the best thing birth educators can do is encourage people to be realistic about the full range of possibilities for how your birth might go. I was so keen on the idea of having a natural birth that I was completely burdened with guilt when it didn’t go the way I’d planned. And poor DorkyDad still counts it as the most violent thing he’s seen. I probably should have been more aware of the likelihood that the calm, quiet birth I wanted might not happen…

  3. Wow, what a tough birth, but its sounds like you and DorkyDad coped amazingly. I would have loved a home birth with number 2, but my first birth was so traumatic, I was too scared to risk it!

    • Thanks for commenting🙂 If we ever have a number 2 I don’t think we’ll be trying home birth again either, which I’m a little sad about. Part of me still feels that under different circumstances it could have worked out better first time round, but who knows. Three years on it does seem less important than it did at the time. I guess I’m so full of good memories of my son now, that the birth is fading a bit!

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