It seems like just yesterday that I was anxiously pacing outside of the delivery room, waiting to be let in to see the birth of my first child. Since then though my daughter has had a few birthdays and I’ve welcomed my son into the world. Now as the proud father of two young kids, I’d like to share some of my experiences helping, as best I could, my wife through the birthing process.
We had always planned for my wife to go through a natural birth and all of our preparations were along that path. Together we painstakingly combed through tons of magazine and online articles about preparation and picked out a plan that suited us, everything had a place and all was in its place; but then it all went wrong.
I was at work when I received the call, “They just induced me you need to come now! ” That’s all. I had no real idea what was going on, it was two weeks before her due date, which isn’t unusual on its own, but something was obviously wrong.
So into my car I rushed and headed… directly into traffic. An hour later I arrived to find my wife hooked up to a fetal monitor. Apparently the baby’s heart rate had dropped very low a few times and the doctor was concerned that she might drown in there.
We later found out that this had been caused by gestational diabetes, which had been diagnosed a few months previously but we had thought we were on top of.
Almost as soon as I got there the baby’s heart rate dived again, this time it was too much and the doctor decided that my girl had to come out right now. Forget the natural birth, a cesarean section had become a necessity.
Now it should be noted here that I am a foreigner and not particularly fluent in Bahasa Malaysia in a hospital where all of the otherwise very helpful nursing staff were not particularly fluent in English, so there was a lot of the above was not really explained to me.
I was sitting there chatting to my wife when suddenly she was wheeled away and I was given surgical consent forms to fill in. My limited understanding let me know roughly what was happening but I didn’t know how worried I should be getting, so obviously I went straight to maximum worry mode!
Upon completion of the forms I was sent to wait in a corridor and told to stay there until the doctor arrived and I could go in.
This begun what was probably the longest 15 minutes of my life. All I could see was medical staff rushing purposefully outsole the operating rooms and near the end, our usually cheerful doctor rush past, game face on.
Luckily this story has a happy ending, as soon as I was released from my corridor of torment, I was ushered to a doctor who finally explained what was going on and that everything was in hand. I got changed and went into the operating room and within minutes was holding my perfect little girl.
My son came into the world earlier this year with much less drama; because of the events of the first birth we were advised to do go for an elective c-section and everything went to plan. But what I learned from the first birth will stay with me for the rest of my life; you can plan as carefully as you like but fate can still make life interesting.
So fathers-to-be remember this: you are only along for the ride, stay calm, expect the unexpected and just try to be there for your wives. A steady, calm presence can make a big difference to your wife, anticipate their needs and remember even though it might seem like you have just gone through the most stressful event of your life, you haven’t just had a baby pop out of you!
Written by James Molony, Father of two.