Birth Story – A Dad’s Tale


“How would you like to have a baby this time tomorrow?” said the smiling midwife. Now, who would say “no” to that question? But it turns out that was just a big, fat lie. And that our daughter is stubborn as a mule. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

With my wife’s gestational diabetes (which I still don’t think the readings showed, but that’s another story) the hippie midwives had decided that maybe it might be best if our little infant came out earlier rather than later. They would induce about a week before the due date. We were nervous and vulnerable. Of course we said yes. (I should mention at this point that the ultrasound technician – who should not have been offering any opinion at all, we were later told – had shifted our worries into high gear at the start of this visit by suggesting our child was small enough to be concerned. My daughter was later born at a rather normal weight.)

Here’s how I pictured it happening: We arrive pre-dawn. As the pill drops into my wife’s mouth, we hear a rumbling, like on Indiana Jones, when he picks up the bag of… whatever it is, and the giant boulder starts chasing him. Get the catcher’s mitt ready, cause there’s a baby a’comin’!

How it, in fact, happened.: We called the hospital in the pre-dawn hours, like they’d told us to, only to be told that they had no beds. Call back in a few hours. We called back. No beds. Ad nauseum. We ended up seeing an evening movie, called afterwards, and were told to call again the next morning. This day should have been my first clue that perhaps things were not as imminent as we’d been told.

When we finally got a room, they gave her the magic drug (not, in fact a pill) and…and… Nothing happened. Nothing at all. They gave her more. Nothing. We went on for a few days like this. I grew more and more confused. I got her lots of cranberry juice and ginger-ale. We watched TV. Pretty boring, actually. ‘I thought you said this baby was in a hurry to get out?’ I repeated, to no one in particular.

What feels like weeks later, her water is broken, and contractions have started. She pushed! And pushed…  And pushed. For hours she pushed. And those clueless hippies came and went and encouraged her while each was there. “You just… go!  Get that baby outta there!”, they said, in an accent like Tina Fey used for Sarah Palin.  Turns out our daughter was in there with her head pressed to her shoulder, essentially saying ‘No. Not ready yet! I’m doing something…’ just like she’s said in one way or another every day since. If we’d had any brains at all, maybe we’d have listened. Instead, we made the decision to cut her out. The hippies (finally) faded into the background as the sterilized medical professionals took over.

Now, I may not be the best witness about this, but from my perspective, what happened was that we were standing in an operating room, and there were medical looking people on the other side of a sheet, and my wife was there, and they said some words, but I didn’t hear them. They pulled me over towards some kind of light, and then the people, the room, my wife and everything else dropped away into nothingness and obliteration, as I stared into the eyes of my daughter for the first time and tried to stop her crying. Had the hospital collapsed, had the world ended? For a minute or so, I didn’t know.

The rest of that night was a happy blur. Eventually, the little one went off with the nurses, and we rested in some way. You wouldn’t think I’d be able to sleep on a night so momentous, but the next thing I remember, I was awakened the next morning on the hospital room floor by the doctor who’d written the baby book we’d studied in the weeks leading up to the event. I didn’t even know she was still at the hospital. It was confusing, and shocking, and a good initiation into parenthood, it turns out. Nothing much about my life has been perfectly understandable to me since.

Rob is a freelance writer who lives with his family on the north shore of Boston. To read more of his work, check out and His daughter started kindergarten this year.

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Birth Story – A Dad’s Tale

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  • Emma: I’m actually the more "hippie" in this couple, and I was fully in favor of a midwife: until the birth. Glad you loved it! Thank you.

    Jenni & Sarah: I’m sorry I made you cry, but I’m touched that you liked my little story! I was just trying to put my love of my daughter in words. Thanks.

  • Here's another story from the perspective of a father of 2 (names have been changed):

    The Miracle of Birth
    Alternate title: HOLY FREAKING CRAP!!!

    Yeah, you guys knew this blog was coming. I mean seriously, how could I witness something like this and not write about it? That'd be like a kid from my family refusing to get an extra piece of pie…

    As Christine mentioned before, the whole labor thing was kinda a surprise. I actually made her wait for me to take a shower before we went to the hospital.

    When the nurse told us about number 4's and other technical terms that I don't really understand, I looked at Chris and said, "wait…so are we having a baby here?"

    When she said yes I believe my response was "Holy -insert word-"

    In my defense, she had the same reaction!

    I remained pretty composed. And by remained pretty composed I mean I called a bunch of people and freaked out.

    I did okay until they did the water breaking thing. Think 24 is exciting? Imagine watching a gallon of liquid falling out of a loved one right in the middle of a Law and Order episode. That'll make ya miss a few plot details let me tell ya.

    Now I remained loving and supportive. That lasted about 2 hours. Note to soon to be fathers: DO NOT tell your pregnant wife that you could have finished the Law and Order marathon.

    After about 5 hours of being there things got pretty serious. They decided that pushing was a good thing to start up.

    Now I just thought a few pushes and the kid would pop out. Kinda like a champagne cork.

    This is not the case.

    Apparently you have to push for like and hour and a half. That all looked like fun and everything, but my approach was to just stay up at Christine's head and stare at the wall behind her occasionally throwing out a "you're doing great honey"

    After about an hour of pushing the good doctor Jim shows up and starts doing his thing.

    Everyone told me that there would be a sheet so you didn't have to worry about seeing anything.

    Everyone lied.

    No sheet.

    No nothing.

    So unless you were legally blind, you saw some action.

    At this point I realized it was a universal rule that anyone within 20 miles of the hospital had to come "check" Christine.

    I'm pretty sure we had 13 nurses, 3 doctors, 2 janitors, and 8 U.S. senators look at my wife.

    It was a touching moment.

    Halfway through the pushing where the Doctor is pulling on stuff, I kinda saw a bit more than I wanted and had to leave the room. It was that or barf on my birthing wife. We opted for the cleaner option.

    Now don't you folks worry. I didn't leave her all alone in there. The minute we found out she was going into labor I called for reinforcements.

    You people have no faith in me. Sheesh.

    After about 5 minutes I got back in just in time for the last push.

    And there she was! Our new baby squid made of clay.

    …what?! That's what she looked like!

    They rushed her off and did their baby cleaning thing. I stayed with Christine because standing up would have resulted in very large man fainting. I thought the whole thing was done there.

    Wrong again. She still had A LOT more stuff to do.

    I'm telling you, mad props to the women. I am seriously proud of Christine. As a man, I can darn well tell ya that I could NOT have handled anything she went through. There was so much crazy stuff after the birth. I don't even know where to begin. The doctor kept pulling on stuff. There were all kinds of different fluids. I'll spare the details.

    I managed to make it over to the baby eventually. She was kinda cute.

    A little squished up.

    But cute.

    Eventually the 300 people left the room and we were able to relax.

    Christine had no dignity. I had no clue what just happened. Allie had a squished nose.

    All in all, I'd say that I can add that the whole experience taught me a very valuable lesson:

    I am SO thankful I'm a dude .

    "Miracle of Birth" Part II
    So you people have all seen the cute baby pictures of my son. Yes I know, he's adorable. But he's my kid so I kinda expected it.

    Now I'm sure that you all are waiting for me to whine and complain about child birth. I'm not sure why you would expect that, it's not like I've ever done that before……

    One of the big differences between the first time and this time, is they didn't just spring it on me during a routine check up. We knew James was coming. We set aside time. We were prepared, I made sure I had March Madness updates on my phone.

    Another big difference is that we had a nurse the entire time. She never really left, just sat there monitoring buttons, beeps, and occasionally violating Christine. This was pretty handy because it gave me opportunities to leave the room when "preparation" things were happening. Ultimately I spent alot of time in the cafeteria.

    Everything was going pretty normal (well, normal as far as labor experiences go). We just kinda hung out. Everyone had their role they played well. The nurse took care of Christine. Christine communicated with the nurse and was uncomfortable. I played with things in the room and ate food in the cafeteria.

    Around 2:30 Christine was complaining about the epidural not being strong enough. So they brought in an anesti-watever to come help her out. They started shoving all kinds of stuff into that IV. And it worked really well cause Christine was flying like a kite 15 minutes later.

    It was also about that time that her mom showed up to help out.

    What, you seriously thought I was going to do this on my own? Sometimes…I feel like you people don't even know me…

    About 3:15 we had to rouse Chris from her drug induced hallucinations and tell her to start pushing. I assumed my position at her head, crouched and hiding so I couldn't see what was going on. The doctor assumed the position of an NFL quarter back. Christine was a real trooper and only had to push for 11 minutes. It was all smooth and I was doing great. Until…

    James was born.

    Now when Allie was born, she was wisked away to be fixed up. This was not the case with the heir to my throne. When he was born, WITHOUT WARNING, the doctor just plopped him right on Christine's stomach. Slime, cord, squid-like offspring, everything.

    And cue my freak out.

    I totally did not see that coming. My pale face immediately was burried into the side of Christine's pillow. The whole labor thing had been planned, plenty of warnings about what was happening, and then the doc throws this curve ball.

    Eventually things returned to normal. I'm not sure how much of it Chris remembers. She was still pretty high. For all she knew they placed a tye-dye penguin on her lap. So there you have it. All-in-all everything went by the book. Christine healthy, offspring healthy, 2 year old jealous, and BYU made the sweet 16.

  • " then the people, the room, my wife and everything else dropped away into nothingness and obliteration, as I stared into the eyes of my daughter for the first time and tried to stop her crying. Had the hospital collapsed, had the world ended? For a minute or so, I didn’t know." TEARS IN MY EYES!!! thank you for such a great post.

  • Love it! You often do forget that Dad has a perspective too. I wish there were more stories like this one — mostly so I can share them with my husband. I sometimes think he has a slightly skewed vision of what labor will be like. I'm 18 weeks pregnant with our first and I can't tell you the number of times my husband has told me I'm making "hippie" choices when it comes to labor/birth and diapers in the last week. It was actually comforting to see that he's not the only husband out there who mentions that word when it comes to pregnancy/bith :o)

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