The Birth of Baby William - A Dad's Perspective

Husband and birth partner, Elliot is a first-time dad who supported his wife during a planned homebirth.

We were of course expecting our son to arrive because it was twelve days past his due date. We had been talking to the midwife about giving him as much opportunity as possible to be born naturally by holding off induction or even hospital attendance as long as possible. We really wanted to maximise the chance of a having a home birth. We really didn’t fancy the long drive to hospital, if it could be avoided. 

In the morning my wife mentioned she felt different. She got up from the kitchen table where we were sitting for breakfast and casually informed me of a pain in her abdomen. The feelings were to the front so she wasn’t sure if this meant the onset of labour, which she was expecting to feel in her lower back. We discussed at length when to rig her up to the tens machine. The instructions said it was best to start using it in early labour, before it is needed, so we unpeeled the sticky pads stuck them to her back and connected the power leads. A quick run through of the button functions and she was good to go. 

By late morning I discovered that she was having regular surges and had started to time their durations and the intervals between them using a phone app. The app also spoke calmly to her during the surge, counting her breathing; ‘in-two-three, out-two-three-four-five-six.’ When she showed me the screen, I was surprised to see that they were already happening every 4-5 minutes. ‘Blimey, this is really happening’, I thought! She retreated back to the spare bedroom, and I started to concern myself with birthing partner duties. There was no need to phone the midwives – we had been told it wasn’t necessary to call the triage-line until surges were 3 in 10 minutes. They weren’t far off that, I thought, but labour can take days sometimes, so it seemed premature to pick up the phone just yet. I swarmed around the house, clearing surfaces and fetching the pile of midwife stuff from our bedroom. Tarps, towels, tea bags, a box of Malteasters, a big selection box of chocolate biscuits and even a chocolate orange. My wife had thought of everything, and when they arrived, I thought the midwives would be pleased to make themselves at home in the well-prepped kitchen/birthing green-room!

I popped upstairs to see how things were going and discovered my wife in the spare bedroom where the dimmer lights were turned down very low, and the tea light burner was evaporating some essential oils (three drops for labour and birth) mixed with water. She was knelt on the floor, her forehead on the bed, a hoodie hiding her face. She was getting ‘in her zone’. She seemed to be coping well, so I headed back downstairs to set up the birthing pool.

Next time I checked on her I explained that we were in a good place with the birthing pool, which was filling up nicely. The house boiler was on boost, to keep up with the demand for hot water. ‘I can’t talk’ she said as she depressed the ‘boost’ button on the tens machine which was clipped to her waist like a walkie-talkie. Once the surge had passed, we reviewed the phone app and agreed to call the midwives because surges were now happening about every 3-4 minutes and lasting a minute or so each.

My wife told me she wanted to get into the pool, so I checked the temperature, which had fallen just enough to get into. She plunged into the water and let out a huge sigh of relief. The relief was relatively short lived as surges continued to intensify. Our attention turned to counting her breathing through each surge. I tried stroking her during the surge but she quickly told me to stop and just touch her, but no stroking! After a while she said she ‘felt pushy’. During the next surge, I saw her whole abdomen do a huge depression, kind of a pumping action. I think this surprised her as much as me. Blooming heck, I thought, the midwife hadn’t even arrived yet! I phoned them back as it had been easily over an hour since I had been told someone was on their way from ‘one hourish’ away. My phone conversation was interrupted by my wife telling me she needed me to count. Things were becoming seriously intense! She spoke to the triage midwife on speaker between surges and after advice to call 999 if the baby started to come, we hung up the phone to focus on coping with the surges. 

There followed some very strong surges during which continuous out-breathing was replaced by fast panting! Thankfully there was a rap at the front door – The midwife had arrived. I barely exchanged words with her before my wife yelled at me that she needed me there to help her by counting. There was no time for chit-chat! 

The midwife was keen to get her out of the pool and although she didn’t feel able to, after a bit of encouragement she agreed. Gas and air provided a slight relief but could now clearly see the top of our son’s little head, so the midwife suggested stopping with the gas and air and doing three big pushes with each surge instead. This seemed like really hard work for my wife and not much seemed to be happening. But after maybe 6 or 7 surges our son’s entire head was visible. 

Man with baby

He was still in his sack, which is very rare and considered by some a good luck omen. So on the next push as the rest of his body slid out, the sack had to be broken and pulled away from his mouth to ensure he didn’t inhale it. Seconds later we passed him up to mum. Every time I think of this moment, even months later, I am still overcome with emotion. 

What a miracle!


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Demelza Sayers - KGHypnobirthing Consultant
Tel: 07961 898215

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