My first birth was a rough one. 3 weeks for start/stall labor. 3 days of active back labor. DH was a rock. He came home every time I called to say "I think this is it" with out grumbling when it wasn't. He stayed awake for 3 days with me (I'm sure he napped, I just was not feeling the lack of his presence.) He applied ridiculous amounts of pressure to my sacrum for hours and hours at the end. He was in the gross pool water with me to help catch (baby was born with me kneeling so he passed her to me.) He stayed calm and was reassuring through my PPH and the through the weeks of recovery after wards. He reminded me I was doing a fantastic job of being a mom when I cried hysterically 3 days into motherhood in frustration (DD needed 2 weeks of help before she would latch properly and we got the hang of nursing.) He kicked my parents out when all they would do was sit on the couch and criticize us for having a home birth "because you could have died" and "if you need this much help you should be in the hospital" when my mom refused to bring me food and drinks that first week when I could not get out of bed (hardest thing we have ever done!) when the whole reason they were at our house was to take care of me so I could take care of the baby and DH could go back to work (out of paid days off.)
Second birth was awesome. We went way off the traditional map doing a lot of prenatal self care and working through a stressful week of broken water before active labor kicked in (worried about infection!) This time we where in his family's hometown and I did not know at the time, he spent a week fending off his family's demands that we go to the hospital and other criticisms. Some how he managed to take fantastic care of our 3 year old and me at the same time during labor after his mom agreed to hang with her but dumped he back on us when I did not have the baby in the 5 hours she had her, I was going way to slow in her mind. He was super labor support, he learned at lot the first time around, and never had a fearful moment when I got loud. I remember holding onto his neck while squatting through endless contractions and he knew just how to move, when to be quiet, and when to give me a reassuring smile. Again he was in the gross pool water, netting out poop and mucus without a complaint. He caught and passed my DS to me, again I was on my knees. We shared the best high five ever when 3 minutes after greeting our son my placenta birthed and a quick check from our midwife showed my uterus small and hard and there was hardly any blood. No PPH this time! He gracefully defended our son's intact nature to the nasty comments his mother made when she saw he was not circumcised. I had to laugh when he responded to her, "What? Have you seen how little he is? You think we should make it smaller?"
This time around we know not to count on family for help and support. So nobody will need to be kicked out and nobody will be in a position to let us down or harass us. Grandparents will get a call when there is a baby to meet.
This pregnancy was a surprise, but not a shock. DH has been super supportive of my worries and fears (DS has Ds and leukemia, I'm 40, we have 2 more years of chemo to get through.) He has supported my wanting to find local health care and my toying with a hospital birth. He stepped up even more when the local care and hospital route was turning into a giant stressor for me and just not what was right. This time around DH is OK with the idea of a UC should or midwife not be able to get to us in time (she's traveling from out of state) and he is unbelievably convinced that a home birth is the best way to go, that all will be well, I will be healthy throughout the pregnancy, and the baby with be healthy and typical. He gave me super support when I spent a week not sleeping well, nervous and freaked out, trying to decide if firing my MW/OB hospital based care givers was the right thing to do. Money is tight for us so I felt guilty taking up so much of it to pay for another home birth, the hospital birth and prenatal care would have been free. He was 100% behind spending the money on a home birth. I've experienced a lot of morning sickness this time around, very different then the other 2 pregnancies, and DH has been good about helping me get food in front of me any way we can. He's taken on more child care duties, he's been able to get DS to bed without me! He seems to really have a good grip on what a 3rd child is going to mean logistically. Big change from the last 2 times. I think DH will be willing to take unpaid days off, if it comes to that, to keep things calm and easy after the birth, which will also let him have a bit of a baby moon too. He's been back to work within a day or 2 of the other births, so it will be nice. And something silly, he's cool with my names this time around! He likes another name a little bit more, and nothing is final until the baby is here and a birth certificate is applied for, but he has gifted me with final say on this one.