This week I’m excited to introduce Becca from Pears and Chocolate Sauce to my guest series – The Partner’s View. Becca’s husband writes very openly and honestly about child birth, and how amazing the body is to create and give birth to a baby. I know very few people who managed to use a midwife led unit, and have a water birth, and it is lovely reading Becca’s story.
What were your thoughts and feelings leading up to the birth of your child?
I was nervous and excited. It was helpful that a few of our mates, including my brother, had already had babies, so that gave me an idea of what to expect. I really enjoyed planning all the things that we would do, and imagining how our lives would change. But I was also worried about some elements – about my wife and looking after her. Birth in the UK is so safe, but it’s still a risk. I also wondered how I’d connect with a little baby – I’d had such little experience of them.
As a birth partner, how did you prepare for the birth?
We did NCT classes which was a big help – learning about who to expect in the room, what would or could take place, what might be asked. I was amazed at what my wife’s body would do to adapt to this little baby growing inside of her. My wife and I talked a fair bit about our hopes and expectations for the birth. I wanted to make sure I knew her wishes if I needed to speak for her.
Tell us a little about your partners birth?
It went reasonably well. It was the busiest day that they had had at the hospital for a very long time so we didn’t perhaps get the best attention. Having said that, the midwife we were given was fantastic. We’d hoped to be in the midwife led unit but when we arrived that was full. However we were moved there after around three hours. We were told that there would be around half an hour wait for the room she was supposed to be moved to, and were put in a triage room in the meantime, but the half hour became seven or eight hours. My wife was amazing! She was on a very narrow bed, in a pretty basic room without even gas and air hooked up. Our midwife was brilliant and scoured the building for any portable gas and air tanks – she had to do this several times as one tank broke and another was emptied! After a few long hours of heroism, we got into the room – it was a really good feeling to finally get in and have access to the pool! My wife wasn’t in for long and the midwife’s shift ended. While our new midwife was reading the notes, Becs felt the urge to push and the head was born! I rushed out to find the midwife and the moment she arrived, the rest of the baby followed! And Becs picked up this little purple bundle out of the water.
What were you most afraid of during your partner’s birth?
I was concerned about the pain being too much; the gas and air was sketchy at best. She was handling it well but she was exhausted and was ‘in the zone’. It was strange for her to be so uncommunicative and I found it hard to know how to help.
What was the best and most positive part of your partners birth?
The actual birth, without a doubt. Meeting my little girl; telling my wife we’d had a boy (I was tired too!); cutting the cord; and choosing her name. It was such an awesome feeling.
How did you support your partner and baby after the birth?
I did as much as I could to enable both of them to sleep and rest. That probably included hiding how nervous I was about doing things I didn’t really know how to do and trying to be strong! I’d love to take full credit but my mother in law had cooked at least a weeks worth of meals for us and our church did another fortnight, which really enabled me to focus on my wife and the baby.
What advice would you give to a birthing partner?
Study up – go to classes or do as much as you can to be prepared. Make sure the mother isn’t the only one who knows all the details, in case she needs you to speak for her. Bring food. More food that you’d expect – you can’t leave the room as easily as you might think and it could go on for a while! This one I wasn’t expecting, so I’ll give you a heads up – it’s gets lonely, especially if your wife isn’t able to talk. The midwives, understandably, are not focused on you, and neither is anyone else. There’s nothing you can do about it – but be prepared!
A little bit about Becca: