In The Eyes Of A Father – Pregnancy & Birth

When a new baby arrives, most of the focus is on that little piece of heaven. If it isn’t, then it is on the well being of the mother. This is just the way it goes and it is completely understandable why.

I noticed that the majority of people just give the father a pat on the back and a ‘well done’. The joke is slipped in there that ‘dad didn’t have to do much’ once the baby has been born. This is always funny and there is nothing wrong with cracking a joke, in fact i found humor most welcome in the early days.

But on the other hand, I can’t imagine how it must feel to watch you other half grow a baby and then go through labour and birth. As a woman, I think you become a mother in your head the moment you find out you are pregnant. However, for a dad, I’m not sure if it’s well and truly real until you see that baby for the first time.

I have decided to do a post on what it is like to become a father. This post is how Dan coped and felt throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and becoming a father. Once Immy had gone to bed, we sat and ate dinner whilst I did a Q&A with him. Every experience is different, but this is what it was like to be in Dan’s shoes.

Dad’s Point of View

Q: Did you always know you would have children?

A: Yeah, when I was younger I always thought I would like to be in my 30’s. As soon as I met you I knew I wanted them and the age thing stopped being a factor.

Q: How did you feel when we found out that I was pregnant?

A: Ummmm…I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I suppose it wasn’t a nervous feeling as such, but knowing that I was (almost) definitely going to be a dad was so crazy. You can’t help but feel excited straight away but it’s hard to get your head around.

Q: Did anything change immediately for you?

A: Probably not as much as it must of for you. It was emotional, in a good way. I just wanted to squeeze you.

Q: How did you feel at our 7 week scan?

A: It wasn’t very nice being at A&E. I don’t think you know what’s at stake until you see. Once we got to see her and were told that everything was okay it was lovely. To be told by the sonographer that she was ‘text book’ for seven weeks felt such a relief. And now I had seen what you were growing, our very own little seahorse was actually in there and it was amazing.

Q: Did you notice any of the changes I was going through, if so how did you cope with them?

A: Well I definitely noticed your mood swings. But to be honest, I think you could of been worse. Every time you got annoyed it just meant that you had a valid excuse. Although, I think maybe you were more tearful than shitty. I don’t know.
I remember constantly backing away from you because you could literally not control your gagging. Even though you were never sick, I was never convinced at the time and always thought you were going to throw up.
Your boobs definitely got bigger, not that it benefited me in any way because it was like a serious zero sex drive time. For you, I mean.
And also, as your bump started to grow it was strange feeling it. I feel like it came out of nowhere. I didn’t notice it as such and then it was like right in front of me. I don’t think you ever really had a huge bump. I’m not sure if it was because she was breech or not, but it was always so neat and compact. Talking to it took me ages to get used too though…so weird! I got there eventually.

Q: Was preparing for a baby what you had expected?

A: Well it was f#*king expensive. But I loved spending that money. Building that flat pack was a highlight, yep. Loved that. My favourite things to buy were all the gadgets, gro eggs, baby monitors. Had some good fun setting those bits up. Obviously buying breast pumps etc was good too…I will never forget the night I tried that out. The weirdest feeling ever.

Q: Did the prospect of labour and birth play on your mind at all?

A: Yeah a little bit. I never like seeing you in pain and i wasn’t looking forward to seeing it to that extent. I was mainly worried about not being good enough or helpful enough. Saying the wrong things and being in the way.

Q: How did you feel when we went to hospital due to less baby movement?

A: That was the worst feeling I have ever had, when they couldn’t find her heartbeat all that time. I didn’t know what to do. Luckily i’m quite good at being positive in the moment or at least I felt I had to be for you. At the same time it was amazing becasuse then when they did finally find it, it felt so good. Also it was the first time I had ever heard it so that made it even better. The relief was insane. I pulled myself together but when it just me and you in the car I couldn’t control myself. I was overwhelmed.

Q: How did you find the name situation?

A: That was the one thing I really struggled with. I couldn’t think of any that I actually wanted to my child to have. There was hardly any that I was happy with. When we eventually did start talking about it there were a few, but there was always an issue with it. But I love the name we chose, it suits her.

Q: Did you find the ward tour and the classes beneficial?

A: The ward tour was okay, I don’t know if it was something I would bother with again. It was good to know we would be just five minutes from the bakery. I was just relived when they said we would get a parking permit, otherwise we would of been parking a good 10 minute walk away.
I’m glad we went to the classes, I learnt a lot. But not much of it was actually applicable because you just can’t teach it. There’s not been one thing that I’ve though ‘Oh yeah, I remember that from the class’. A part from learning how heavy a car seat is when it has a baby in it!

Q: How did you find the last week of pregnancy?

A: Well I just remember spending most of my time frantically massaging your perineum because you really didn’t want to tear. Although all I did was get to know you even better because we needn’t of done it in the end! I loved falling asleep to the hypno birthing CD,  It was so relaxing and I don’t think you would’ve fallen asleep any other way.
*I then asked Dan about my insomnia in the last few weeks…he repied ‘What insomnia?!’. That answers that one then.

Q: How does it feel trying to bond with the baby when it is just a bump?

Reading to bump

A: Yeah, that took a while. It took me so long to get used to talking to the bump. It just felt a bit strange. I was worried that i wouldn’t have a bond with the baby, I would have been so gutted. But as I got used to talking to it and I rubbed oil into you every night I felt a lot better.

Q: What was labour like for you?

A: When you said your waters had broken, I honestly thought you were over-reacting. Turns out you weren’t! I just thought i’d better get a bit of sleep in so I did. Being woken up every now and then from you squeezing my hand or making groaning noises whilst having a contraction.
When we got in the car that morning to go to the hospital, we were so convinced we could be coming back home. Why we decided to go the main road way, I will never know? As soon as we were stuck in traffic your contractions were all of a sudden just 5 minutes a part, not going to lie, I did panic a bit then.
When we were in hospital, you had gone to the toilet after finding out baby was breech. I got cornered by the midwife and she told me to go and get the bags out the car because we would be having a C-Section very soon. That was a bit of a shock to the system. Because we were told weeks before that baby was head down, I had completely ruled out C-Section in my head. I felt so bad for you because I knew how gutted you were going to be and how much you really didn’t want one.

Q: How was the birth for you?

A: I found the C-Section okay because everything was so controlled. There wasn’t much chance to stop and think. They were telling us what was happening step by step and I think that helped. Seeing you so scared was weird. I don’t think I have ever seen you like that, I was so sad for you. But you did me proud!
Hearing her cry for the first time made me cry straight away. I was scared the midwife was going to tell me off! I didn’t realise until after but I don’t think you were aware that she was out because she took a fair while to cry. Looking back I think I’m happy you didn’t realise.
The first time I saw her was so amazing. I got to put her little hat on her and cut the cord. I was frightened to hold her because I didn’t know how and I was worried I would drop her. Turns out it actually comes very naturally.
I’ve never felt a feeling like it before, our little baby, forever. It is the best feeling ever.

I found interviewing Dan really interesting, although we went through it all together and he was the person I spoke to at every step and every little twinge. Sometimes you forget to ask how they are feeling. I think it must be just as daunting going into fatherhood as it is motherhood. Dads have to be the strong ones and put mum and baby first. So it is nice to see how they may be feeling too.

At some point I am going to do another Q&A with Dan, but about the first 3 months or so with Immy.

P.S. Thanks Dan for letting me question you throughout our ‘us’ time. You the man!

Thank you for reading…Anna xx

Written by Anna Louise Austin for her blog, Young Pregnant and Winging It.

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