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Anyone else's partner not sold on a natural birth?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

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!

post #2 of 8

Hello!!  I want to encourage you to NOT think about your previous births as mistakes!!!!  I don't think you should be embarrassed AT ALL!!!  If anyone questioned you with your last birth, it would like it was only b/c they were looking out for your best interest.   Everyone has a different life story and I know that Mothering.com would be horrified if they thought they lead you to believe you made mistakes.  Anyway-- enough of that. 


There are multiple moms on here that have OBs, are having hospital births, schedulled C-sections, etc...  I read all the birth stories from the DDC's here on Mothering (b/c it's fun) and MANY mom's have epidurals, homebirth that are tranferred to hospitals, etc...  So, you are perfectly at home here on Mothering no matter what!!


I have similar birth stories.  My 1st was an epidural and then pitocin in a hospital with a nurse midwife.  My 2nd was natural in the hospital with a midwife.  I have ZERO regrets and loved EVERY birth.  My epi birth was amazing and spiritual.  I just kept crying and saying Thank you God over and over for what felt like an hour.  It was an out of body experience.  My natural birth was equally amazing, but afterward I was in a lot of pain and it wasn't so moving.  We moved 9 months ago, so this time we have the opportunity of going to a midwifery center with water birth available for those who want it and no interventions used unless needed.  It is in a hospital though, and I can transfer to labor and delivery if there are any problems.  I like this option...I can have a natural birth if needed, but on the other hand, I can have an emergency Csection if needed and a NICU if needed.  I have worked with infants and toddlers for 10 years as a speech pathologist.  I have worked with babies that needed emergency live saving care at birth....and I will always want that option.  But, that is me, and other do not want that at all.  That is the beauty of our DDC....I have NEVER read words of judgement-- we are all supportive of eachother. 


Sorry for the soapbox...I just want you to feel welcome and supportive no matter what!!!


I think that your husband is a lot like many other husbands.  He does not want to see his wife in pain and he wants to feel in control.  He may have underlying fears that the baby is in danger in some way.  I would focus on gentle and encouraging education for your hubby.  There are tons of awesome water birth videos out there and tons of reserach that support natural and/or water births.  I have no doubt that once he sees you give birth naturally, he will be a changed man!!!  In the mean time, though, just recognize his fears and educate.  Maybe the midwife could also help??


There are also lots of OBs out there that are huge supporters of natural childbirth/water birht.  Maybe if he read info from an actual physcian he would feel better??  I can't think of any names...but maybe I'll be able to find them soon.


One last thing...I, too, am not comfortable vocalizing out loud by myself.  My sister (and doula) told me that her husband vocalized out loud wiht her so that she didn't feel alone.  She is going to vocalize with me if I need to during labor.  On that note, if possible, I would strongly urge you to hire a doula.  My husband is GREAT, but not a great birth partner b/c he is so emotionally involved with the birth....so a doula is what will work for me. 


Sorry for my long message too!!



post #3 of 8

Get yourselves a doula!  Someone to help BOTH of you through the birth process.  It's said over and over on MDC, but it's true.  The last thing you want to worry about is what your dh is feeling in the middle of your labor/delivery.  My dh is sorta indifferent, for the most part.  Of course, he wants us to be safe, blah blah blah.  But he won't really ready anything, isn't interested in discussing any of it, so on and so forth.  He knows I'm trying for a vbac, that I have read about it, and feel it's the best option, have talked to my dr about it, and that the hospital supports it.  But if I had or did at any point say I wanted a c/s, he'd be fine with that.  I do wish that he was more interested or concerned about WHY I want what I want.  And he does kinda have the 'dr knows best' attitude.  He thinks I'm a hippie in a lot of ways, and can be kinda dismissive.  I do not want to have to explain or confer with him the day of on everything, my doula is a very close friend of mine, and I look forward to NOT having to worry about him the day of.  I know, it's a very emotional experience for him too, I just don't want to be 'taking care' of him while trying to give birth!  Anyways, this has probably already occurred to you.  I don't have any advice on how to get him on board with the natural birth, I would just advise using a doula.

post #4 of 8

If my husband vocalized with me, he probably would have been kicked out since I was screaming my lungs out, lol! I ended up taking the gown off b/c I felt hot and it was hanging in my way. The baby was not the only buck-ass naked person in the room when she was born :) And this was all in a regular hospital in the middle of our city :)


Have the two of you, together, done the labor and delivery hospital tour? It sounds, to me, that your husband is scared that it is not going to be a "real" hospital in case something goes wrong. He might need to see that just b/c the delivery room looks like a bedroom that it is most definitely a room in a state-of-the-art hospital with a nicu staff, surgeons, etc. Men can feel VERY out of control when it comes to birth b/c there is literally nothing they can to do make anything better or fix anything. They must completely trust in you, the midwives, nurses, doctors, etc. DD2's heart rate crashed at the very very end of pushing and dh defines it as the scariest moment of his life b/c he thought she was going to die. For me, it was not scary b/c I could feel her from the inside & knew how close she was to coming out. I think that seeing the delivery ward and getting to ask any questions he wants to would really help your husband feel more comfortable. Mine is in no way okay with a homebirth b/c of what happened with dd2. I can totally see his point and would rather that we both be reasonably comfortable during the birth than to have one of us beside themselves with worry, so I'm seeing the same midwives at the same hospital as before. He has absolute trust in them, which is important for the men, too. Talk about this with him and see what he thinks about getting a doula. They support both of you.

post #5 of 8

I second the get a doula sentiment. or find out if that's the role that the midwife's assistant will be playing. One of the great things about doulas is that they bring the partners into the birth experience in ways the partners might not have thought of previously. She'll get your husband busy finding ice, water, massaging your back, ect... and make each of those things sound like the MOST important thing the world for him to be doing to help you through this. He'll feel busy and as though he's helping you which often is all the turn around fathers who are a bit weary of natural birth need. 


In  my experience, it's not that the fathers are against natural birth...or even that they truly believe the medical way of doing things is 'safer' for babe and mom. It's more that they just can't take watching their loved one in that primal place birth brings you. It's a side of you they may never have seen or even expected from you. And, I think it can be very scary for them. So keeping them busy but involved with the help of someone else (like a doula) is often enough to make that experience something really wonderful. 



It sounds like you have an awesome birth planned!!!

post #6 of 8

My personal opinion is that yes, dad's can have input, but mom's choices trump! If he's not willing to do any reading or research, he doesn't get to have any say in your decision. It's your body, you are the one going through labor. Emphasize that to him and talk about the numbness at the epidural site--another epidural could do more damage to your spine. 


It sounds like he has some fear about natural birth. I would insist that he come to meet the midwife and ask his questions. 


My DH was initially skeptical of home birth but a few bits of information about hospital birth (plus the home births of friends) easily convinced him that it was the best, safest option for us. Now he's a natural birth advocate.

post #7 of 8

My husband was.... detatched? from both of my births. I honestly would not have known he was in the room.  The first was induction-pit turned into c-section. My second was a med-free VBAC.I'm kinda worried  when you say you need him to be a supportive companion or your hypnobabies won't work, I agree with several posters above, get a doula.  I did the hypnobabies with my doula, she was great.


BTW I am totally jealous of the whole Canadian maternity leave thing. You (and your lucky babies) are blessed up there, I swear!

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful responses.  I appreciate the feedback more than you know.


sillymom - You're right about not looking at my previous birth experiences as mistakes.  There were some things I would have done differently in hindsight, but overall I had good experiences.  I just feel like I can do better this time.  I'm more embarrassed to admit that my otherwise supportive husband is being weird about the birth of this baby.  I think you're right that his opinion will change once he sees this birth (that actually motivates me a lot too).  It's true - he won't like seeing me in pain and not be able to fix it.  He likes to provide solutions.


marmo and pregnova - I was looking into having a doula but again, my husband's not sold.  He's a frugal guy and doesn't understand why anyone would pay out of pocket for such a thing.  I talked it over with my midwife and while she left it up to me, she said that it's not really necessary since both her and her student will be there.  I think I'll talk to her ahead of time about making my husband feel useful.  He'll like that.


dogretro - I love your birth description!  Ha!  I'm usually pretty reserved but I can see myself getting buck-ass naked if I get too hot.  I was reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth on the bus and felt like I had to hide the pictures of naked ladies in labour from other bus riders.  I'll make him watch the video tour of the hospital.  I watched it myself and it looks the same as the other hospitals I gave birth in, with the addition of the tub in the room.


miss_sonya - Good point on telling him about the numbness in my spine.  I'm sure I've mentioned it to him in the past, but I am afraid that it will be worse with another epidural.  He has come to meet the midwife but has been too shy to ask questions.  I think I'll insist he come to my next appointment with her.


Lisa - My husband wasn't detached from the previous births but he did emit sort of a nervous energy.  He's not a fan of hospitals in general but the idea of a homebirth is just way too out there for him.  I think I just need to have a good heart to heart talk with him about how he'll be able to support me.  We'll see how it goes.    

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