Written and reposted with permission by Sam Boro: an IBC student, doula client, and proud father
The day of your child’s birth will come faster than you think. Preparing for this experience helped me to better love my wife and my daughter. Through the pregnancy I read books, participated in childbirth education classes with my wife, attended prenatal appointments at the midwife’s office, and hired a doula. I could not recommend these activities more highly to future dads.
All of these things provided me with crucial information, confidence, and an emotional connection to the pregnancy. You will need an incredible amount of patience and endurance to be fully immersed in this experience. Bear in mind that you could be involved in labor for longer than it would take you to run three marathons!
Childbirth education classes and our doula were integral to my wife and I having the birth we wanted. The discomfort of labor could at times overwhelm my wife and we would try many positions we learned in class to help alleviate the pain. We swayed, walked, and used our birth ball. There came a time, however, when we had labored for a few hours and I had run out of ideas. Fortunately, our doula arrived and immediately helped my wife to attain a level of comfort that I could not achieve on my own. This also allowed me to finish packing our bags in the car.
At the hospital my wife’s contractions would not let up. Even though we had committed to not using pain medication for the birth, we both felt that our dedication had met its match. We asked what our pain management options were and after the explanation our doula talked through our birth goals and what the medication would change about the labor. Because our doula knew us before labor she could provide the calm perspective we needed to maintain our commitment and have the baby naturally.
After we had been on our feet for over eight hours, both my wife and I were exhausted. I stood behind my wife to hold her up as she worked through contractions, and our doula would stand behind me to keep me from falling. When I needed to sit or go to the restroom, or I felt overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of labor, our doula would be my wife’s support. Without a doula I would have been hard pressed to muster the strength to continue to engage in our long and arduous labor.
As limited a labor support as you may think you are going to be, know that she needs you there. You will be better at being a partner in labor than you can imagine because you love her and she loves you. Furthermore, the knowledge you have gained in your childbirth education classes and the support of your caregivers such as your midwife or doula create a firm foundation to bring the new baby into this world.
Sitting in a meeting on a Friday afternoon my phone vibrated letting me know a text had come through. It was my wife telling me she thought she was having a contraction. As all first time dads learn, game time comes a lot sooner than you expected. Friday afternoon was no exception.
Just like you If your buddies from work were going to run a half marathon together, you would probably start training so you wouldn’t be the only one to call it quits at mile six. Likewise, if your child is on the way you want to be able to stick it out through the entire labor to support your wife and welcome your little one into the world.