This week I’m really excited to introduce John Adams of Dadbloguk to my guest series – The Partner’s View. John is married to Gill. He is a stay at home dad with two daughters; Helen aged seven and Izzy, aged three. John has been writing Dadbloguk.com since 2012. He was present at both births and here he shares his experiences and how different they both were.
What were your thoughts and feelings leading up to the birth of your child?
I was very nervous leading up to the birth of both my children. Before the arrival of Helen, my eldest, I was worried about how I would cope as a father. When Izzy came along three and a bit years later, I was concerned about how we’d cope as a family and what Helen would think of her younger sibling.
Both times I was very concerned for Gill, my wife. Giving birth isn’t always straightforward and so I was worried about the kind of experience she might have.
As a birth partner, how did you prepare for the birth?
Gill and I spoke together about the birthing plan and I made sure I knew it inside out. I also read a number of parenting books and attend National Childbirth Trust classes. It’s definitely advisable to take these steps. Sure, you never know what’s going to happen when the labour starts but to turn up clueless suggests you don’t care. I’m unequivocal in my stance; you are equally responsible for this child, your responsibility starts well before they are even born.
Tell us a little about your partners birth?
Both births were radically different. Helen’s birth involved a 33-hour labour and she was delivered via forceps in an operating theatre. Although discharged the next day, she was unable to leave the house for a couple of weeks and it took about six weeks for her to recover fully.
Izzy’s birth was the complete opposite. From beginning to end labour was five hours and the final stage just 15 minutes. Gill had nothing more than gas and air and she recovered much more quickly.
Unfortunately, however, Gill’s blood pressure rocketed up a couple of days later and she was re-admitted to hospital in case she had eclampsia. Thankfully it was a false alarm but it was a very worrying time.
What were you most afraid of during your partner’s birth?
I was afraid for my wife’s health and also for my children’s. Things can go wrong, medical professionals can make mistakes. You just don’t know. Although both births came with their complications, everything worked out in the end.
What was the best and most positive part of your partners birth?
I guess holding my child and knowing my journey as a father had just begun. After a cuddle with mum, some midwifes will wrap baby up and simply hand the child to dad and walk off. This happened to me after Helen’s birth. My wife was with the medical team for 44 minutes after the birth and I had Helen in my arms the entire time.
In my opinion this is the best thing any midwife can do. A huge amount of focus will be on mother and baby in those early days. Father and child must get familiar with each other so giving them the opportunity to spend some time together after the birth is simply genius.
How did you support your partner and baby after the birth?
After Helen’s birth I simply had to do….everything! My wife could barely walk so I had to run the household and to give Gill the opportunity to sleep and recover I took Helen into another room to sleep with me.
There’s a bit more to this story. We later found out Helen wasn’t feeding properly for the first week. She was sleeping all day but screaming all night because she was hungry and I didn’t think this was fair on Gill.
It was a crash course in parenting. Tough, but exceedingly valuable.
What advice would you give to a birthing partner?
Learn absolutely everything you can about the birthing process. Also learn about all options. As I’ve mentioned, Gill had a forceps delivery with Helen. We hadn’t even considered this as an option on the birthing plan as Gill thought she either wanted to deliver naturally or C-section. Just keep all options open.
Also, if you’re a guy (let’s not forget, same sex couple have babies too!) you have absolutely every right to be present and to be involved. No matter what anybody says, a father’s place is with his children no matter how young they are.
John, thank you so much for taking part in my guest series – The Partner’s View.
If you would also like to take part in my series, then drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org