Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest Post: Baby S's Birth from His Father's Point of View

My husband was kind enough to share his thoughts about our oldest son N's birth here. He issued a challenge for us to reach 200 likes on the Facebook page before he'd write about his impressions of S's birth. So, here is the long-awaited second chapter, S's birth from his dad's point of view.


I know I promised I’d write this when the Facebook page got 200 likes. It passed 200 likes a while ago, but better later than never!

So, birth number two, our son S. I will come right out and say, this one was the hardest for me. For starters, it happened much earlier than we expected. In the afternoon Jessica went for her regular doctor’s appointment, and a few hours later she called me to come to the hospital because they were going to induce her due to high blood pressure.

We were pretty new to the area and did not know many people. We had no one to leave N with, so I brought him with me to the hospital. This was fun for a while. We hung out with Mommy, and he was on his best behavior and really sweet and cute. 

Later on, as my wife’s labor got more intense, we played “Let’s scream with Mommy!” By then it became obvious that we needed to find a solution for him. He couldn't stay there anymore. We eventually found a friend who could pick him up and bring food for me, but it would take him some time to get there. I was hoping he would make it before the birth!

Let’s back up a little. By the time I got to the hospital, Jessica was already in her Labor and Delivery room, and ready in the hospital gown and hooked up to an IV, and assigned a nurse. This already felt weird for me. I got there later; I did not take her there. I felt like I was just a spectator. The nurse was flaky, weird, and, well, I did not like her very much. In return, she seemed to not care for me much either. She pretty much ignored me most of the time. I was there with my wife, but detached from the process. Of course, having N there with me, distracting me from the labor, did not help that much either.

Finally, our friend arrived and I took N out to meet him. N was screaming and unhappy; he thought he was going home with me. I felt terrible about that. By the time I got back up to Jessica’s room, she was already pretty advanced. I do not remember much from the whole birth. I only remember feeling like I was not wanted there by the medical staff, by the nurse. I resented that for quite a while. I kept reminding myself that it is not about me, I am just there to support my wife, and will do what she needs me to do.

S finally arrived, vaginally. I was happy for her, as this is what she wanted. They placed him on her, as she wanted him skin-to-skin right away. He was just with her, he was her baby. I think I did not get to hold him until much later, maybe it was next day when brought N to see him, maybe it was when we brought him home. I just recall feeling like I had very little to do with anything at that point, and fighting the feeling that I did not think this was right, insisting to myself that this moment was about her. I was there to support her. I became edgy waiting for the nurse to come back, to move to another room, settle down, so I could go back home and pick up N from our friends’.

Finally the flaky, cheery nurse who ignored me (bear in mind, I might have imagined that she was ignoring me – that’s just how it felt to me) came back and took us to the postpartum room, but not before triggering a bunch of alarms because she went through the wrong door with the baby. After that, I was free to go and pick up N. I had great time with him for a few days, just him and me. But, I was bitter about the birth. I had wanted to be part of it, like last time. I did not want to feel like a guest at my own kid’s birth!

Today when I think of it, I realize what I did wrong. It was my mistake. I was trying to be there for her only. I did not factor myself into it at all. Partly because of what I felt, part because this is what society tells us, or was telling me at the time, men are only guest at the birth, they shouldn't interfere. But in the end that’s what caused me to feel so alienated, to be so frustrated. The fact that I ignored my own wishes, never spoke up to her or the medical staff about how I wanted to be involved. I just accepted it as it was. I made myself not important. I made myself just being there. Sure, it might have been done with good intentions, but unhappiness in any relationship is not good. It left me distant from S for a very long time after his birth.
My only advice for men would be, take a stance, but accept hers as well and be ready to be wrong. Because speaking up for what you want and letting her know what you think is support, too. It is what opens up a dialog and shows her that you are interested in the process and want to be a part of it. Just accepting her wishes creates a distance and disinterest for yourself in the birth and in your baby.

That, and bring food. Always remember food.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jessica! My name is Heather and I was wondering if you would be willing to answer my question I have about your blog! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com that would be great!