I'm sort of embarrassed to be posting about this in this community but I'd love to get some perspective from others in the same boat. Let me start off by saying that my husband is a fantastic guy, an incredible father and partner, and we have a great partnership.
Our situation is a bit unusual since he's the stay-at-home parent and I work full-time (though this seems to be becoming less unusual). I'm also in Canada so I've had year-long maternity leave with all of our children, plus I work for the federal government so I get quite generous maternity/parental financial benefits. Not sure how relevant this is, but I thought I should give some background.
My two previous births were hospital births. I had a pretty cool OB with my first. My water broke at home at about 7 in the morning, and she told me to hang out until contractions were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, so I laboured at home until about 4 p.m. then headed to hospital. I had an epidural since I just figured that's what everyone did (wasn't an MDC member at the time) and things went fine - though I pushed for awhile (2.5 hours). I sort of fell into the whole AP/natural parenting by instinct. My daughter breastfed like a champ and we co-slept because I liked having her close to me and being able to just roll over to nurse her when she woke up.
My son was born 2.5 years later. He was 8 days overdue and my OB (a different one - we'd moved to a new city) scheduled an induction. Again, I went along with it because I just figured it was the thing to do. I actually joined MDC the week before my son was born because I was going a bit stir-crazy just waiting for him to arrive. I remember I posted in a due date club thread at the time about my induction and someone questioned me about why I was going ahead with it. It gave me pause and I talked to my husband and other family members about my feeling that it wasn't really necessary, but they weren't supportive and they all believe "dr knows best." I also had somewhat of a traumatic fall just days before the induction that scared me quite a bit and I felt like I wanted to see that all was fine with my son, so I went along with it. The induction sucked for me (though my husband thought it was great - so scheduled and by the book!). The contractions were really painful from the Pitocin and they just made me walk and walk and walk in circles around the hospital. Again, I had an epidural when the pain was too much for me, the OB on call broke my water, and my son arrived soon after. I only pushed for 15 minutes but he came out sunnyside up and that made pushing a challenge. They gave me an episiotomy (don't recall consenting to this) and the recovery from that was miserable, though thankfully short-lived. Again, he nursed like a champ but was a much fussier baby overall, compared to my daughter. He still only occasionally sleeps through the night.
So, now a full-fledged MDC member, I see the mistakes of my past and want to go the natural route. Instead of an OB, I have an absolutely fantastic midwife who lives just down the road, coincidentally. My pre-natal care with her has been so much more thorough and caring compared to my experience with OBs. I would go for a homebirth but can't sell my husband on it, but the midwife has privileges at two local hospitals so it's a bit of a happy medium. My husband likes to make jokes about me going to see the witchdoctor/voodoo/dirty hippies, etc., but he's met the midwife and he knows it's not like that. She works out of a very professional practice and it looks looks like a typical doctors office in the waiting area.
I was excited after my midwife appointment this morning because she was telling me all about how things work in the hospital. I call her when it's time to go in (or if I'm unsure, she'll come to my house to see how I'm progressing), she meets me at the hospital with her student midwife, they set up the room, close the door, leave the lights dim, there's a tens machine, all rooms have a tub, I don't have to wear a hospital gown unless I want to (yippee!), and they stay with me the whole time. As I'm telling my husband all about this, I can see fear and panic! He's become so used to the hustle and bustle of being constantly pestered by nurses coming in an out, following all the rules (like wearing a gown), and thinks using a jacuzzi tub is... WTH! He just doesn't get it. He's also nervous at every ultrasound I've ever had and a nurse had ot make him go sit down during one of my epidurals because he turned green and was about to faint! So here I am all excited about labour and delivery and he's freaking out! He sees our previous experiences as completely normal and good and doesn't understand why I won't just get a damn epidural! (Forgot to mention that I've had ongoing numbness at my epidural site - mostly when I go running or do any sort of exercises lying on my back).
I told him that if he's not comfortable with this, he can stay home and I'll have my mom there with me. He really does want to witness the birth of his third child and I know he'd regret not coming, but I'm a bit afraid that his uptight-ness is going to ruin my experience. I've also been trying to get on the hypnobirthing train, doing lots of reading up on it and relaxation exercises (can't afford the actual course which costs $500 in my city). I can tell he just thinks it's hippie BS. But I need him to be a supportive birth companion or it just won't work! I know I can have the birth I want - I hate pain but I'm also very stoic and a mellow person, so not much gets to me. I do have some fears about "letting go" and making noises in front of people. I'm an introvert so I really don't like drawing attention to myself. Going off on a bit of a tangent here...sorry.
Anyway, he won't do any reading on natural birth or hypnobirthing - he doesn't like to read. I asked him to watch some videos or do some internet research on being a birth companion and he was like, "send me the links." Imagine making him search for them himself! If anyone has any suggestions for that sort of stuff, please let me know. I devour books (I commute to work 45 minutes each way) so I know I can be well-prepared, but I don't trust him to be.
Sorry for the novel. I'm usually a poster of few words but this is bothering me. I feel like my husband is the one who needs to be practicing how to relax and doing some deep breathing exercises!