*This is a guest post
When I replay the experience in my head I often think…
Did that really happen?
Did I really do that?
Everyone knows that childbirth can be very complicated and planned home birth has its own risks. When you factor those together and add into the equation a tardy ambulance service it was an ordeal just waiting to happen.
My wife and I had previously discussed home births. We actually wanted to have one but felt that currently, the right option for us would probably be at the hospital.
Every birth is different and no matter how experienced you are, having a doctor around with the medical equipment is always a bonus.
A Cold Thursday Morning
My story started on a chilly Thursday morning. It was 4.15 am and we were ready. My wife had prepared our bags weeks in advance and I had the route to the hospital figured out.
I expected to be woken up, so I had purposely kept a night-light on to keep my sensors alert. As I helped my sore wife climb off the bed and into the bathroom everything seemed so laid back, so routine.
Only 2 years ago we had our first child so we had an idea of what to expect.
What happened next would rock my entire world, have me paralyzed with fear and put us both through an emotional rollercoaster that we’ll never forget.
Sleeping through contractions
My Wife had been waking up sporadically over the last few days to try and distract herself from unconformable pains but then normally would go back to sleep.
This night, however, was a bit different. She woke up and stayed up for over an hour.
Still half asleep and half awake I could hear her rotating on her exercise ball. I could sense something was different so I hopped out of bed to lend a hand.
She told me she had been up for about 2 hours now and was just too uncomfortable to go back to sleep. I was shocked. She had been experiencing contraction pains for over 2 hours but hadn’t woken me up!
I started to time the contractions now. 10 minutes apart, then 8 minutes apart then, 6 minutes apart. Everything was moving in the right direction so I started to get things ready.
With our previous child, we had phoned the hospital as soon as she started feeling contractions.
They urged us not to leave until the contractions were at least 4 minutes apart, lasted for around 1 minute each and had been going on for at least 1 hour.
So with that advice, we just waited. My wife endured the pain, grit her teeth and frantically let out a few shrikes of agony, while I started to get everything ready.
Why we didn’t leave early
With our previous child, we were told to wait until the last possible minute before we left. They usually prescreen mum on the phone before they authorize her to leave.
Once the contractions got closer I called the hospital. Unfortunately, the number just rang out and I had to go scramble to find another.
While this was happening my wife’s contractions went from several minutes apart to less than 2 minutes apart. Things started to get very serious very fast.
She fell to her knees as all her water broke within seconds. (it reminded me of the films!)
By this time I realized that we had missed our slot to leave in the car. We would have to call an ambulance and we would be having a home birth.
The Late Ambulance!
I called the emergency services to let them know what was happening and they assured me an ambulance was on its way. I was relieved to hear that they had been dispatched but angry at myself for not leaving to go to the hospital sooner.
With the advice of the operator, I helped my wife on her back and rooted around the house for seemingly odd things. She asked to get some towels and some pillows. Those made sense.
But then she asked me to get a clothes peg and a piece of string…. Huh?
What was this for? I reluctantly obliged but started to get a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach like she wasn’t letting me know the full story.
Why was she asking me to get emergency birthing items ready?
Wasn’t the ambulance on the way?
How long would it take for them to get here?
I kept asking and she kept politely reminding me that they were close.
As my wife lay there in the middle of the living room I started to accept what was about to happen. I dimmed the lights, and shouted at my Google home music device to “Play Waterfall Sounds!”
The paramedic asked me to check if the baby was crowning. Luckily, I’m the type of dad that reads the baby books (score) so I did remember what to look for.
As she separated her legs it was CLEAR as day that baby was in fact crowning.
I remember reading that active labour takes about 8 hours and that once you are dilated it can take hours of pushing before a baby is born. But, my wife went through dilatation in less than 30 minutes and I was crouched there in disbelief.
As the operator called out instructions to me, in the back of my mind I just kept thinking, where is the DAMN ambulance!?
Then, out of nowhere, the living room door BURSTS open and my 2 year old son came running in. He heard all the commotion and shouting and was of course worried.
He took one look at his mother and another at me and cried out “Juice Juice” (that’s his way of asking for a drink).
I scrambled to the kitchen, grabbed his Sippy cup and then directed him onto the table to sit. It couldn’t have been the worst timing!
Before I got a chance to finish my thought, my wife said, “she’s coming out…. I’m pushing!!”. This Dad was delivering a baby!
The rest was a blur and an intense emotional rollercoaster ride. As my wife squeezed my hand and the operator directed instructions at me, I was just trying to catch my breath.
Within a few moments, I could see my baby girls head. I burst into tears of joy and ecstasy, but seconds later feel paralyzed with fear and anguish. It was the most culminating set of feelings I’ve ever experience.
Such joy and fear within a few seconds. The feeling is almost unexplainable. Joy that my baby girl was born, but terror that something could go wrong.
As I supported baby’s neck, mummy pushed again and out popped her shoulders, body and the legs.
I quickly cleaned the baby up and wrapped her in a warm towel. I told my wife everything was ok and that she looked healthy. I witnessed a miracle before my eyes and I was so proud of my wife.
She had given birth to our baby at home, naturally and incredible with NO Pain relief whatsoever!I could only imagine what she had just gone through. I remember smiling at her and saying you are the strongest women I know!
Paramedics Finally Arrive
Seconds later I heard a sharp knock on the door. Finally, the paramedics had arrived. As they came in I felt an instant sense of relief but also frustration. Why did they take so long!
As they came in, they took one look at mummy and baby and then turned to me and said. “Ah wonderful, you’ve done all the hard work for us”. Witty, but not really an appropriate response for a dad delivering a baby, I thought
I was upset they had taken so long, but truthfully there was nothing they could have done. My wife went through active labour so fast that they wouldn’t have made it in time.
After they quickly checked baby we wrapped her up and headed towards the hospital. I remember rushing around the house picking up last minute items and thinking, “wow – did that just happen?”
I was on cloud 9. I had just delivered a baby. I was a bit In shock but also pleased with myself for not panicking.
Our Baby weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and was perfectly healthy and normal.
If I could share anything about my experience as a dad delivering a baby it would be to try and be prepared for anything. By staying calm, under intense pressure, I was able to listen to important instructions and provide the correct assistance to my wife. Truthfully she did all the hard work and I remind her of that all the time.
Lastly. It’s important to read the baby books! Not just for birth but for childcare and parenting. They really were invaluable for me and helped out more then I could have ever expected. All those things made a high-risk situation feel a lot more manageable.
If you feel like this story of a dad delivering a baby touched you please feel free to leave a comment!
Mo Mulla is a work from home dad who enjoys reading and listening to music. He loves being a dad and husband to a growing family. He loves writing about his passions and hopes to change the world, 1 blog post at a time! You can find his parenting blog Parental Questions. h