This article is written by a dad. This is his take on a pregnancy and birth.
“So, it arrived. The day that we had been hoping for. After being advised by my wife’s gynae to have children soon (she has medical issues – and I couldn’t get a refund on her either – haha!), the pregnancy that we’d hoped for had finally arrived. She must have peed on about 5 pregnancy tests just to make sure before heading off to get confirmation from the doctor.
Then the panic set in…Can we afford this? Are we going to be good parents? Is my wife going to turn crazy with the mood swings (oh the terror!)? I wonder how big her boobs will get (just joking)?… The list went on and on, for approximately 9 months.
The pregnancy stage of this adventure was not for the fainthearted. My wife was extremely ill (blame those medical conditions again), and it was a really tough time for both of us. It was hard work being at her disposal, fetching and carrying, shopping for the weirdest food combinations at all hours of the night. I watched her go from being a tiny framed woman, to a tiny framed woman who looked like she had swallowed a watermelon whole. Fun times, I tell you! But in all seriousness, it was incredible to watch the love of my life grow this tiny human in her belly. I watched as she fell in love with this bump, and it made me jealous sometimes, until I realized that the bump was mine to love too. She was a champion, handling this roller-coaster like she was born to do it.
One morning (not a bright, sunny one – it was still dark) I was rudely awoken by an excited face. The face kept talking frantically, but I couldn’t understand what it was saying. Wiping the sleep out of my eyes seemed to assist my ears in hearing correctly. I made out this “It’s time. Will you get up? We need to get to the hospital already!”. What is this mad-woman talking about? Then it dawned on me. Today is the day! She’s in labour! I didn’t even manage to have my morning coffee before I had to load the car with the wife and all the bags (so many bags? Really? Are you going on holiday for two weeks or something?).
The drive to the hospital was nerve wrecking to say the least. I drove a bit faster than usual because it sounded like she would have the baby in the car (whats a guy supposed to do?). We arrived, only to wait ages to be seen to. Eventually we managed to get her admitted and into the labour ward. And this is where I got angry. I was not allowed into the ward with her! I spent the next 8 hours pacing the corridors, trying to find out what was going on, and how my wife was doing. Eventually, a midwife who was touring the hospital came over to me and asked why I was still sitting outside the labour ward. I told her the story, and she promptly went to check on my wife (who was apparently fine). She also managed to let me be allowed into the labour ward (thank you kind stranger). Finally.
My wife was a mess. Very emotional and in a lot of pain (obviously). I tried my best to help, rubbing her back, encouraging her, everything that the books said I must do. I made one serious mistake though… After a much needed bathroom break, I decided to get a quick bite to eat (this birth stuff is exhausting I tell you!). I returned to my wife smelling like her favorite packet of chips. Big mistake. She had not had anything to eat or drink since we had left home. She was starving! If looks could have killed!
Six hours after I had been allowed into the labour ward, we were informed that they were wanting to do a C-section. We were devastated. Moments later, my wife went quiet, her body stiffened a little, and she made a bit of a grunting noise. This seemed to get everyone’s attention. The nurses quickly examined her and exclaimed “The baby’s crowning!”. Huh? A moment ago you wanted her to have a C-section, and now the baby is about to arrive? In hindsight, the ensuing chaos of getting the delivery suite ready and getting the wife moved was incredibly funny!
Once we have arrived in the delivery suite, I helped strap my wife’s legs to the stirrup looking things (what the heck?!) and watched in amazement as the bottom half of the bed was removed. Everything was happening quickly now. I had promised myself (and my wife) that I wouldn’t watch the baby coming out, but the doctor said something about cutting and I couldn’t help myself! Next thing you know (and three quick pushes later) a tiny human emerges from my wife. Amazing. But so much blood though!
The tiny human was not moving. Or breathing. I panicked, saying to my wife “She’s not breathing”. I was terrified. No one in the room seemed particularly phased. A moment later, the tiny human was placed on my wife’s chest, and let out a loud howl. With that, I kissed my wife and our tiny human, and went to make the necessary phone calls.
I cried. Giant crocodile tears. I was relieved and overwhelmed. I managed to make the calls, and then rushed back to my wife’s side. She was exhausted and very emotional. I was so proud of her! She was my champion. The tiny human was wheeled off to the nursery, and the nurses helped my wife clean up before wheeling her back to the ward. I spent a bit of time with her before she fell asleep, exhausted from the days “manual labour” as she likes to call it now.
I drove home, contemplating everything that had happened that day, the miracle that I had just witnessed. I could hardly sleep, even though I was so tired (I’ll keep saying it – birth is exhausting!). I had just witnessed the love of my life give birth to a tiny human. Pride does not quite do justice to how I was feeling.
I went to the hospital the next afternoon to fetch my wife and tiny human. When I walked into the ward, there they were, sitting on the bed. My wife, holding our tiny human, looking so in love.
We walked out of the hospital that day as proud new parents. We had no idea what we were doing, but I did know that as a family, we would figure it out. One day at a time.”