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Daddies, help a mama-to-be out!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
In short, what was the labor process like for you?

How involved did you feel, and what would have made you feel more involved?

Is there anything you feel you could have done differently?

I'm really excited about DP being involved as muuuuuuch as possible, and he is too! What would you suggest?

post #2 of 17
A stiff drink, and a train ticket... LOL... j/k

I wouldn't have traded being there for anything...

There are only a few things that I can suggest...

1. Stay by her side... No matter what!
2. You know her (mommy), you love her (mommy).. you know how to talk to her, and the things that make her feel better... Use those tools...
3. Ask Questions... if you don'y understand what is going on..ASK.

oh and the most important, and something I discovered during labor.... Mommy is going to be angry, and in pain: : .. it is going to be exhausting... Be there for her, but also CALM DOWN... If you are over excited, you might miss something crucial , let her be the one over-excited.. if you are calm and collected, then you can comfort her easier.

We are all in this together... I am pulling for ya --- Red Green

I am not a huge sports fan, but this analogy helped me....

This is the final game and we (Daddies) are behind the count... It the bottom of the ninth, and there are two outs... Are we going out calmly and focused... or overexcited, and strike-out.
post #3 of 17
Not a daddy but... it's hard to say what you're going to want once you're actually IN labor. The best DH did was just be there- and let me call all the shots. He did exactly what I wanted, got me whatever I wanted, relayed to the nurses whatever I asked-- and he asked my permission before as much as going to the bathroom. lol. For once, he just didn't argue with me.

He really did just wing it and listened to what I was saying. The only thing he did that really irritated me was looking down and making "ewwww" faces.
(did I mention his ability to make me laugh really helped?) Overall- He did great.
post #4 of 17
Be a butler! Take orders! Be there for every need she has.

I felt like i was taking in all the stress and doubt out of her (Mommy)...
post #5 of 17
I got to be her advocate. We had a midwife home-water-birth so it is not like they did all kinds of stuff she didn't want them to, but I was by her side passing orders along and trying to make things comfortable for her.

The midwife and someone else were chatting outside the bathroom and someone said "If she had to transfer to a hospital bla bla bla. I have a feeling that would not go well bla bla bla."

I had to go out and say "Um why the hell are you talking about transfering, what is going on, we should be the first to know."

They apologized profusely and explained that they were talking about someone else... Ok.. Don't discuss hospitals unless you are recommending transfer.

I watched her face to know if it was ok for us to talk through a contraction, or if we all needed to shut up and directed the crowd.

I kept her hydrated.

I held my son while she climbed out of the tub to birth the placenta.

I cut the cord once it stopped pulsing.

That is the kind of stuff I did.

My DW wanted to be pretty much not messed with during the whole thing, so I kind of focused on her environment rather than on rubbing her back or holding her hand (I did do some of both of those though).
post #6 of 17
(I'm a mom, not a dad)

I've had one child, and with me was my ex and my mother. If you're a labor support person (husband, female partner, friend) for someone and you've never done that before; this is my advice to you....

Someone's signature on here read something like "Labor is not an emergency; it's an emergence" ....and it's so true. So first things first: don't panic. There's no need to. Help "mama" get her things ready for the hospital stay (if there is on, and help get things organized for home birth.

When the time comes, if it's hospital time, make sure any other kids are directed to the proper places, get the hospital bags; tie up loose ends in the house (lights off, etc); and basically just make sure mama's only job is being comfortable and relaxed. Help her to the car. If it's homebirth time, call the necessary people, do the chores that help set up the planned things; and again, basically make sure mama's only job is being comfortable and relaxed.

During delivery, do what you can to make her comfortable. Don't be in her face asking questions all the time, but don't disappear alot either. Stay near her and be available if she needs something. If you have to leave her side, let her know where you need to go, ask if this is a good time or if you should wait, ask if she needs anything, don't be long. Timing is everything when it comes to your needs. Try and do things for yourself (if you're a smoker, take note) at the beginning of the labor. Don't leave in the later stages (when contractions are one after the other). Make sure her drink is always full and offer her the cup after every push. Don't get upset if she snaps at you, understand she's REALLY uncomfortable.

Your roles in the later stages of the labor are really important. No matter if you're at home or at the hospital, this job is still the same. Mama will likely start to panic a little; outwardly or in her head. This is because the contractions are very close and she hardly has time to recover in between; the pain is intensifying and if this is her first labor especially; she doesn't know how much longer this is going to last and she starts to wonder if she's going to be able to handle the pain and if she's going to live through it. Your job at this point is to keep her focused. Take it one contraction at a time, together. Remind her that she's a strong woman, and that she can do this, and that you know she can. When it's time to bear down and push; encourage her to push with all she's got (except if there are medical complications, of course); and be right there to hold her hand (or put your hand on her shoulder) and hold your breath with her as she's pushing. After the push, look into her eyes and re-focus her breathing with her...deep breaths in through the nose, out the mouth (or lamaz breathing if you took the lessons). If you're comfortable, find out how far the baby's out, and keep her updated "head's almost out, you're doing great...almost there!" ..."head's out; one more good push, maybe two, and it'll be over...ready?"

To prepare yourself; why not browse around and look for signatures on here where other moms are giving you access to their homebirth stories? Hospital or homebirth, you'll find some useful tips as mama's share what was great about their support team. It'll give you an idea of what to expect and some tips for things to do to make mama more comfortable.

Good luck!
post #7 of 17

Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth

My not-very-crunchy DH tells his guy friends about the Bradley Method class we took for our first baby and recommends it highly. It factored largely in his being calm, attentive, and excited about the birth. The classes gave us time together, even in the car ride there and back, to talk things over. It was a nice time that I will always remember. I recommend the classes too!!
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Forwarding this to DP

Thanks everybody! Tell me more, tell me more!!!
post #9 of 17

Natural Birth Stories

Fill your remaining days with natural birth stories, as recommended by another poster above. You can get more of these in Ina May Gaskin's books, They have a bit of a 1970's flair to them and are interesting from that standpoint as well. I loved reading them in my countdown to my second birth; they helped me get in the headspace.
post #10 of 17
Just ask her what she wants. Make sure that you are focused on her and not yourself (your discomfort really won't matter to her lol.) and be her advocate as much as possible. Keep the nurses away from her if she wants, or get them if she has a question.

I didn't really like the mushy, honey you're doing a great job stuff. But lots of women do. My dh had to ask me so he knew what I wanted. I know a mama who didn't want anyone near her, not even in the same room unless he was bringing her a drink. Make sure that you don't feel disappointed if mama deals with it differently than you had hoped. She shouldn't have to worry about hurting anyone's feelings. (the only reason I mention this is that I have known men to complain that their wives didn't want their help, it is only help if the other person wants it)

good luck, I am sure it will be great.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by rachelernst.com View Post
Fill your remaining days with natural birth stories, as recommended by another poster above. You can get more of these in Ina May Gaskin's books, They have a bit of a 1970's flair to them and are interesting from that standpoint as well. I loved reading them in my countdown to my second birth; they helped me get in the headspace.
Before you posted this, I'd actually reserved IMG's book at the library. As much as I *know* about it, I've not yet read it. I can't wait!!
post #12 of 17
Again, another Mom posting, but here's what helped my husband.
I started laboring early in the morning, and checked into the hospital before noon. After I got settled and my mom arrived, I made him go get lunch. Damian gets cranky and flighty when he hasn't eaten, ao I made him go get lunch so that later on, when it came down to crunch time, he could focus without worring about being hungry.
He also had a large bag of Skittles candy that was his coping method for the stress of labor. Every single contraction I had that day, he had a handful of Skittles. It kept him calm, and made me laugh. He was able to focus and be a better support for me because he had his own coping "tool."
So, I guess, my recommendation is that make sure Dad takes care of himself too. My dh timed it nicely, and was a better support because he wasn't starving or nervous.
Hope this helps!
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
So long as DP chooses Skitles and not Cigarettes, I'm thrilled to let him take care of himself
post #14 of 17
What was the labor process like for you?
Watching all of our carefully laid plans quickly unravel, and having to cope on the fly. (don't mean to scare you, but that's what happened) We went from a quiet, natural labor in a birth-center with a midwife, to an emergency-transfer hospital drugged-up birth in the span of about 24 hours. But everything turned out more than OK. Truly a miracle for us. We have an unbelievably wonderful son to show for it. So... Labor for me? It was physically and mentally annihilating... which is nothing in comparison to what it was for DW.

How involved did you feel, and what would have made you feel more involved?

I went from being intimately involved to being a spectator, as we made the transition from birth center to hospital.
Not being pushed around by the hospital medical establishment would have made me feel more involved.

Is there anything you feel you could have done differently?
I could have been a better rock-of-support for DW when things got particularly trying. It was uncharted territory for both of us.

What would you suggest?
For myself, I wish that I had:
-Gotten more sleep, eaten better, and exercised more during the pregnancy.

For you and yours I suggest:
-Be aware of what can happen (good and bad). Plan for the good, but just keep the knowledge of the bad in your back pocket so it doesn't get the jump on you in a pinch.
-Have a small team of loving people around, if possible. DW and I did it by ourselves (by choice). Looking back, I wish that we had involved at least a few people to help shoulder the burden.
-Have every possible comfort at your disposal. Small things can go a long way. Anything to increase the happiness level

Blessings on your new family.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
You're all awesome!
post #16 of 17
It was a great experience. I would do it again but we are stopping at one.

Pre-plan with a written birth plan that you can post on the wall and give to the nurses. Discuss it with your Doctor before your due date.

Make sure your DH meets the Doctor at appointments so they can build a rapport.

Plan snacks and such a head of time for him so he can eat on the run.

The Dad should be there for the Mom making her as comfortable as possible. Massage is wonderful for that. He should tell her what is going on and keep track of things. A note pad helps. Mom will not remember things so he has too.

After the child is born Dad should make the necessary telephone calls (keep the list short BTW) and then ensure you all three get some good sleep. I highly recommend a Do Not Disturb on the room and the telephone for the first essential sleep. Ensure that the nurses know that Do Not Disturb applies to everyone even folks telephoning from Europe.

I highly recommend that he room with you at the hospital and that he takes two weeks off of work post partum to help at home unless you have family to help with you such as your Mom.

Most of be there for Mom. Pamper her as best you can and share in the joy of all of the hard work.
post #17 of 17
In short, what was the labor process like for you?
I think labor was really hard for me because I saw my DW so uncomfortable. However, my DW is a doula and I am fairly educated about birth as well so I felt very comfortable with the stages. In fact, when she was ready to transport to the hospital for an epidural, repeat c-sec, and some good strong drugs I knew she was in transition even though she had no clue. I had a big smile on the inside knowing the baby was almost with us.

For our first child though, it was a c-sec at a hospital. The whole process sucked and I was barely allowed to be involved in the birth.

How involved did you feel, and what would have made you feel more involved?
I think I was more involved than our birth professionals for many parts of the birth. During transition, I think I was the only one involved with my DW; in fact, anyone else in the room may have been hurt. I felt about as involved as a DH could except for the fact that the midwife was there and assisted my wife in catching the baby rather than me. In hindsite I think that is something I would have changed--in fact, we are going unassisted this time so I will be as involved as I can be without actually giving birth.

Is there anything you feel you could have done differently?
see above

I'm really excited about DP being involved as muuuuuuch as possible, and he is too! What would you suggest?
Learning the birth process but not reading too much. In fact, I think after learning some facts about the process watching natural birth videos of births is one of the best things you can do because you can learn the stages of birth and different comfort measures. Another thing is make a plan and know what you are going to stick with and what you will change if you have to. For instance, my DW was sure she wanted a water birth but during the latter stages water was almost repulsive to her and she didn't want to be near it***Be flexible, don't try to shove a laboring woman into a birth tub***However, during transition when DW was talking about transport (and she was unaware she was in transition) I knew I had to get alone with her look her deeply in the eyes and tell her, "You are in transition, your body is doing exactly what it is supposed to, we are almost finished, and you can do this!"
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