A lazy breakfast then childbirth...
Our second child’s birth was vastly different from the first. My wife went into labour at around 6am on a Sunday. We lay snoozing until 8am when my daughter got up.
We went downstairs for a leisurely breakfast when we realised that the contractions were coming thick and fast. There was just time to drop our daughter off at her friend’s birthday party before we rushed to the hospital. We arrived at around 11am, filled the pool and our little boy literally popped out at 2.30pm. From talking to the midwife and, dare I say it, having a good look at how everything was going (well, second time round you are an old hand!), I knew early on that our new baby was going to be born very quickly.
My wife found the speed of delivery scary at times as her expectations were based on what happened with our daughter. She must have thought that the midwife telling her that the baby would be born very soon was simply designed to keep her motivated. My wife was expecting a long labour. I, on the other hand, knew it would soon be over and for that reason I was bordering on elation. So whilst my wife started to push very strongly I found myself laughing, smiling and chatting with the midwife. Not surprisingly this drove her completely mad! But I couldn’t help it.
The family is complete
I was so glad it was a boy and remember being overjoyed when he came out, in contrast to the simple feeling of relief when our little girl was born. Why did I feel like that? Lots of reasons. I was delighted that it was over so quickly and that my partner would have enough energy to enjoy her little boy (she got to stay in the pool for a while and cuddle him).
This time round, I was also more excited because I now knew what this all meant and what was to come, the joy of bonding with your child, seeing them develop and grow up. I also was pleased that it was a boy not because a boy was of itself important to me but because having both a girl and a boy made me feel that our little family was complete.
Selfishly, I was also glad that the whole process was quick because, the longer the labour, the more useless and helpless I felt.
For me, there is only so much the father can do, and after a protracted labour our basic moral support just doesn’t cut it. The mother’s real needs can change very quickly. Breathing exercises and encouraging statements begin to sound hollow as the doctors become interested and the prospect of intervention becomes all the more real. This time, we avoided all of that. This time, I felt part of the process rather than an observer.
Now don’t think that this all went without hitch. My wife had an infection during pregnancy which meant that both mother and baby needed to stay in hospital for 2 or 3 days for observation. This was not so good because I hate hospitals and our daughter was desperate to bring Mummy and her little baby brother home as soon as possible. In any event, it all went fine and everyone was home within a few days and life was back to its usual chaos. I wouldn’t change a thing…apart from a few hundred nappies that is.