Originally Posted by cathochick
This is my third baby, but SO's first. We're planning a water birth at home, which will be new for me. My boys were both Kaiser hospital births. Since he's never witnessed a birth in person, he is concerned about his role in supporting me. With my boys (I was married at the time), there wasn't a lot to do. For my first birth, I mostly lay still, half asleep, quietly praying Hail Marys until transition. For my second, it was too fast to do anything supportive.
My SO is much more hands on. What did your partners do during labor that you appreciated?
My husband's favorite part of homebirth (not that he knows any different) is how involved he gets to be. He compares it to his friends' stories of birthing in hospitals and it's like night and day, the feelings of relative uninvolvement vs. involvement.
Beyond basic "setting up" stuff (the tub, etc) the major thing my husband is great for is having a stronger person to hang on, hold, support me in a squat etc. I was in the pool with my second (super fast) birth but I loved just holding on to his arms during transition and not feeling as bad about how hard I was holding/much my muscles were trembling, like I did when holding my sister's arms. In my first birth I pushed for a long time (2.5h) and once I got out of the pool my husband was hugely instrumental in holding me up while I was squatting, holding my leg up while I pushed on my side (which is how I finally got her out -- not an unusually long amount of pushing for a first timer, but it felt endless given how fast the rest of my birth was).
Making sure I stay hydrated (i.e. offering a drink with a straw in it) at regular intervals without me needing to ask is HUGE for me, and a very big part of how I feel cared for during birth (as small as it sounds).
Eye contact with a relaxed face (i.e. mouth open) is goofy but really reminded me not to tense up in my first birth. It wasn't at all necessary in my second, but I know my husband appreciated having that tip in the first, esp. because we were alone until the backup midwife showed up during transition.
I do not AT ALL enjoy being directed in labor so these are the kinds of things that help me: nothing verbal, just having him super present and in tune with me.
Edited by brooklyn_warbler - 2/5/13 at 9:48am