Supporting his partner during birth:

A man who knew what to say at the right time

I was working as a midwife when I saw this happen in a couple that I was caring for. It is a story that needs to be shared many times. The names are not real but the story is.

Taylor had been in labour for about 12 hours when it started to become obvious that things were not going to go according to plan. Angus, her partner, had been very attentive; giving her encouragement and doing what he could to protect her dignity, but she was running out of steam and the baby was not getting any closer to finding its way out.

As the baby started showing signs of distress and exhaustion doctors were called in and the parents were informed that the best course of action would be to deliver this baby by caesarean. As it dawned on Taylor that she was not going to deliver this baby in the way she had hoped she became very distressed.

This is not a particularly remarkable story but what happened next was a lesson in support.

Angus sat with her, looked her in the eye and said.

“Taylor, I have been sitting here watching you do all that you can to get this baby out all day. Nobody could have done more than you have. I am so proud of you and I am overwhelmed by your courage and strength. But I have to tell you that I’ve been worried too.

I love you and I have been getting more and more scared for you and for our baby. At first I didn’t want to be here in the hospital but I’m so glad that we’re here now.

I know you’re upset and I think I understand it, but I am hoping that you can park that for a while; come back to it later. We now know our baby’s going to be here soon, I now know that you are going to be OK and that the baby is going to be OK. Let’s be ready to welcome this baby into our family with smiles on our faces?”

When Taylor was being wheeled off to surgery she had a smile on her face and they were both well and truly ready to welcome their baby. I think this child was in for a wonderful life.

I have told this story many times and I can never tell it without welling up. It makes me think how important this time is for couples and how they need the opportunity to have it together. It also makes me think that midwives need to learn how to help dads to be the best support they can be on the baby’s birthday. This is an important step in becoming the best partners they can be.

 

If you have stories about dads getting it right you can send them to Chris.May@newcastle.edu.au so that we can publish them here at www.familiesconnectingthedots.com and they can become a resource for families and professionals.