Fatherhood – Chapter 1

The Home Birth

A lot of people are surprised when they hear that Amber gave birth at home.  Originally our plan was to do it naturally (no medications and the very least amount of interventions) in the hospital.  All along I was pushing for a home birth, but convincing Amber was tough.  I tried to leave it up to her and not really pressure her into anything since she was going to be doing most of the work. But after thinking it over and discussing it we decided that since it’s such a natural process that we should do it the natural way in the comfort of our home.

We enrolled in a 12 week class to learn how to give birth naturally using the ‘Bradley Method‘.  We had a really good instructor and the overall experience was great (although, we watched a birth on video every week, which was weird).  After taking the class I felt prepared and pretty confident about the whole thing.  It seemed to be relatively straight forward.

Then it happened.  The contractions started around midnight on April 2nd, but they weren’t painful so Amber went back to sleep (I was snoozing and don’t recall this at all).  At around 3am the contractions started to become more painful and woke Amber up, misery loves company, so she woke me up (just kidding Amber).  In order to keep things going at a consistent rate I forced Amber to walk a lot.  We walked circles around our house for awhile until the contractions became too difficult to continue walking.  The rest of the time we spent in our room slowly progressing through labor.

For me (and I know I didn’t have the hard job here) labor wasn’t too bad, the worst part was not knowing how long it would last.  I think knowing the end time would have made it easier because then I would have had a goal we were heading towards.  Since it was just up in the air, waiting for it to be over was the hardest part.

After a few hours I felt I needed some backup so we called the midwife and her assistant over.  Even with the midwives there it was pretty much up to me to care for Amber.  In fact I didn’t even really notice them there.  It was awesome being able to support her and help her through the contractions.  It really brought us closer together.  Seeing Amber go through something so painful has given me a newfound respect for her.  As the hours passed we became more and more exhausted.  In the craziness of labor I forgot to eat anything, so I was running on a glass of orange juice and a hard boiled egg and towards the end it was starting to affect me.

Thirteen hours later Noah took his first breath.  Ten hours of labor and three hours of pushing paid off.  I can’t even find the words to explain what it was like seeing Noah for the first time.  Those that know me, know that I get a bit squeamish around any kind of bodily fluid.  But I had made up my mind that I wanted to be the one to catch my son.  After a split second of hesitation I was able to catch Noah.  I will never forget that moment, it will forever remain in the top 5 moments of my life.

I don’t know if it was exhaustion or what, but as soon as I saw Noah I couldn’t hold back the tears.   I couldn’t stop myself… I cried.  It was so amazing to be holding our son.  Time stood still as Amber and I just stared at our son.  Tears streaming down my face.   There was a new life in our arms.

I can’t remember what was going through my head.  I think it was just a blank sense of amazement.  Our lives would forever be changed by something so tiny.  Something that had been growing inside Amber for the past 9 months was suddenly very tangible and real.

Awhile later I was able to complete the second task I had decided I wanted to perform.  Cutting the umbilical cord.  The significance of both catching Noah and cutting the cord hasn’t sunk in all the way yet.  But it was definitely an important time for me.  Being able to welcome my son into this world was something that I had thought about a lot during the months leading up to his birth.

It was a crazy experience.  But I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Being able to relax at home and be in complete control of our surroundings as Amber labored was amazing.  Not to mention the fact that we weren’t pressured into doing anything we weren’t comfortable with.  Our midwife said that had we been in the hospital Amber probably would have been strongly recommended to have a c-section, which in hindsight would have been unnecessary and would have taken so much of what I enjoyed about the birth away.  It might not be for everyone but for us it was the only way to go.

If anyone has any questions or comments about home births please feel free to contact me.  I’m no expert but I’d love to be a resource as someone who has been through it personally.  I’m sure Amber would be willing to answer questions as well.

Next post – the first few weeks, a haze that I’m not completely out of yet.

Comments (1)

  1. Tear,,, that was awesome, I am so proud of you two and I am soooo glad that Noah mad it out O.K.. I still think it was crazy risky not doing it n a Hospital but I am glad everything worked out the way it did.

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