How helpful was the Father of your Child during labor?

Over here, kelebrian talks about her non helpful husband during her delivery.

Mine was similar. I called him on our daughters first birthday at 1:00 in the afternoon when she was born to mark the anniversary. His response “I though she was born in the middle of the night.”

“No, honey, you just slept through most of it, so it felt like the middle of the night.”

My husband is a wonderful guy, but he was so lost - and so completely unprepared for being woken up at 3:30 in the morning for a hospital trip three weeks before the due date. My parents (who came to pick up my son when I went into labor- my son had arrived via airplane six months earlier, that was an easy delivery) had to push him out the door saying “our daughter is going to give birth here if you don’t take her to the hospital.” Once he got to the hospital, he was completely unprepared for watching me go through the pain, not at all ready to deal with the blood. He was helpful when being told exactly what to do, but I was in no shape to coach him, and our labor and delivery nurse was - well, that’s a pit thread.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he was there. I just wish my sister, who had been drafted as the backup labor coach (because I suspected my husband was going to be lacking) wasn’t in Montana when I delivered three weeks early (who knew?). Or that I would have had the second delivery nurse (shift change) for the entire process, she was wonderful and would have got him through.

Had we done a second birth, I think he’d be better prepared for number two. He just was completely out of the loop on what to expect (despite classes - and possibly because he thought he’d have my sister, a RN, there to help).

So, how helpful was the father of your child?

During the 12+ hours of labor, he was utterly and completely useless – like he was annoyed that he had to stay up all night. I was thinking, well at least you’re not in freaking PAIN!
After the doctor (finally) decided we have to go with a C-section, though, I have to say my husband was helpful – he was standing at my side and his facial expression didn’t change one bit as he watched them cut me open! I was pretty impressed. I think if he had winced or something it would have made me even more nervous.
Son #2 was a scheduled C-section, and hubby was much more helpful during that one!

Father of the Child(ren) here:

1st child - completely NOT helpful, in fact, hurtful. She was stressed for not only the obvious reasons, but suspected something was up when the (still in utero) baby’s heartrate would fluctuate. I tried to help her get her mind off of it and just made it worse. And of course it turned out to be a genuine issue requiring an unplanned C-Section (the cord was wrapped around our baby’s ear, so when his head began to move into the canal, whenever my wife contracted, the cord was squeezed between her canal and his head, cutting off his oxygen). I have formally apologized to her a lot of times - I still feel awful about it.

2nd child - much better, according to her. A VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean), and I just shut up, did whatever I was told by my wife or the doctor and our daughter was born after 15 minutes of pushing.

Face it, men for the most part stink at this stuff and we need to completely sublimate ourselves to what our wives are going through - and don’t necessarily do a good job of that.

Mine was about as useful as a fart in a spacesuit the first time! It wasnt really his fault, he was just terrified and was totally in my face towards the end. The second time was just perfect all round really, including his input. He felt extra good when he held Phoebe first and told me what sex she was. Third time I gave birth in the antenatal ward, lying sideways across a bed. He spent a good 40 minutes supporting my body from the torso up, no mean feat I can assure you!

Mr. Tech was so wonderful through all three births.

I don’t think I could have done it without him. Well, eventually the baby would have come out but I you know what I mean.

With my first son, my husband at the time was AWFUL. I had an extremely difficult pregnancy and spent the last 2 weeks going to the doctor’s office twice a week for steroid shots in my back to help develop the baby’s lungs enough so my labor could be induced 7 weeks early.

They broke my water for me at 7:00 am and by 1:00 pm I was in hard labor, lots of pain and things were not going well. The doctor had said it would probably be a while before it would be over. At around 1:30 hubby stood up, streched his back and said to my complete and utter shock, “I am SO sore…I think I’m going to run home and grab a nap before things really get going.”

He left me there with my mother, father, sister, various friends and church support and came back 2 hours later. My son wasn’t born until 9:30 that night.

I divorced him about 9 months later and I should have done it sooner.

With my second son, Husband #2 was an absolute dream. He went to doctor’s visits with me. He listened as I cried about how ugly I felt and how uncomfortable I was. He got me hot fudge sundaes whenever I got a craving…even if he was already in the bed and tired. He rubbed my back and my legs for me. He sent me to a spa for a wonderful day of pampering and a pregnancy massage.

And during the actual labor he talked to me, tried to make me laugh, when appropriate, got visitors out of my room when I didn’t want them there and told me how great I was doing.

He held my hand when I had a bad contraction and he told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of me.

I couldn’t have asked for anything better and the contrast between the two labors was amazing.

Oh, mine just sucked. In the triage area he refused to look out the window for me to see if it was snowing. After they broke my water for me, they told me to go walk. After about 10 minutes (which included the time for him to have a fit because the soda machine ate his dollar) he declared the walking wasn’t helping and insisted we return to the room. He kept moaning and whining that he was cold, hungry, thirsty and tired and while he had some beverages and food, he never felt better. He did a lot of sleeping and was quite put out when they made him get up so they could give me the epidural. He went to Dunkin’ Donuts at one point. He complained to me about the price of coffee in the cafeteria of the hospital like I gave a CRAP. The remote to the TV was missing and, because he was asleep, I had to watch the looping news channel for 16 hours. At one point the nurses insisted he help me with my ice chips and he shoved huge spoonfuls in my mouth so he could go back to sleep. Once they opted to do the c-section, he kind of snapped to a little, but I’ll tell you, 4 years later I still love him less than before because he was such a jerk.

Wow! I appreciate my hubby but I’ll have to give him extra kudos now!

With our daughter he was wonderful. He held my hands and talked me through the amnio (had to make sure her lungs were good before the induction) We then spent a bit wasting time waiting for results and conjecturing about what birth and our lives after would be like. One uncomfortable night in a labor room and one very long day in the labor room too! My friend came up to help and the only time he left me was with her when I told him to go get lunch. When labor wasn’t working and the baby’s heartrate got all messed up it was C section time. He was right there with me and when they handed him our daughter he was great with her (even though he’d never held a baby before!) He spent all 6 days in the hospital with us and is a great father. I could not have made it through the whole thing by myself. Oh and when they discovered I left the hospital with pneumonia he took care of both of us while I recovered.

He’s also taken me to every prenatal visit we’ve had (and that includes the ones for the baby I’m currently carrying)

This next one is a planned C section and we do have the munchkin to consider so he won’t be staying every night in the hospital with me this time but it wont be because he doesnt want to!

I was due May 12. I had some very regular contractions on Tuesday April 25th (and had been dilated to 2 centimeters for a couple of weeks). I told everyone I thought it was nothing, but my work sent me home and hubby left his work to be with me. By the time we get to the doctor’s office, they are spacing out and calming down. False alarm.
Friday April 28th I start having contractions again around noon but this time I opt not to tell anyone since they freaked the last time. I leave work just an hour early at 4pm. Hubby was at a Cub game, so I watch TV, wait until the game is over and then call his cell phone at 6pm.
“Come home - I am in labor.”
“Sure, just have to drop so-and-so off first.”
After which conversation he doesn’t answer the cell phone again until 10:15pm. (I have meanwhile had best friend come over so I was not alone - doctor says not to go to the hospital until I am “huffy puffy” as he called it, which I am by this time.) When he FINALLY answered at 10:15, drunk, I might add, he asks “what’s up?” I say “I am having the baby without you, that is what’s up!!!” and hang up on him. He got home at 11. I made him shower first because I refused to have him smelling like a brewery in the hospital. We got to the hospital at 11:45, I was in a room by 12:15, and my son was born at 3:23am. I was too mad to really notice anything else, whether he was helpful or not, but he was definitely drunk.

He still pulls this crap on me to this day. Have I mentioned I will be divorcing him?

I hate being touched when I’m in pain, I have to be left alone to kind of concentrate, so he tried to be helpful, poor guy!! He was so great and understanding though! At the end the doctor had him hold my legs and whatnot, and I was happier it was him than some nurse.

I was thankful for his company, just being there while I was in pain, so I wasn’t alone. So he was just great!

1st time around, my ex-husband did ok. He held my hand and was supportive through everything, even when I had to stay in the hospital for a week beforehand.

The 2nd time around…well, he became a complete ass. My delivery was a scheduled, induced laber. I went into labor at 12:00AM when my neighbor and friend took me to the hospital. He was at work. He got off at 3AM and went home. He called and asked me when I “expected” things to “get going”. I said I didn’t know. He said to call him when my contractions got to 2 minutes apart. I called him at 11AM when they decided I was going to have to have a C-Section again and he showed up at noon. Since my family was all thousands of miles away, I’d spent 10 hours completely alone in labor.

We divorced a year later.


Wow, I came into this thread to say that my husband wasn’t particularly helpful, but after reading some of your stories and remembering a little more, I must say he was a gem!!

I had to be induced twice. The first time it didn’t work. The second time (a week later) it didn’t work either, so we ended up having a C section. Turns out my pelvis is too small for a baby to fit through. Who knew?

Anyway, during the second induction, he found the book “Tuesdays with Morrie” in the labor room. We were fortunate enough to be in a hospital with all private rooms, so we didn’t need to worry about bothering anyone else. So, he read the entire book aloud to me during the 12 hours I was in unproductive labor. It helped so much, and the book itself was so moving and inspirational that it really helped me to feel connected to him even though there wasn’t much he could really do.

The reason I was perturbed with him, was because my epidural didn’t really “take”, so they came to give me a bolus. I said to the anesthesiologist, “Don’t give me any narcotics.” I’m very heavily effected by them, and didn’t want to be totally out of it for the birth. The anesth. didn’t listen to me, and my husband told him to give it to me anyway. I think he hated to see me in pain, but I think I would have preferred the pain to being loopy. So, I was pissed off (not during, I was too high, but afterward.) It ended up that they gave me three boluses because they kept wearing off, and by the time they brought me in for the C section I was so drugged up that the increased epidural they gave me went too high and I had to be completely put under. It sucked.

So, I wish he had respected my wishes more, but actually he was a total sweetie and stayed with me the whole time. Then, he stayed with me in the hospital for the entire five days I was there during my recovery. He coached me during a very trying time at the beginning of breastfeeding, and I think without his support I would have given up on that. To this day he is an incredibly hands-on Dad, and we share in parenting duties almost equally. He’s fantastic, and I am super lucky. Thanks for reminding me.

I’ve been with my wife through each of our three daughters’ births, and I like to think I was at least some help for each of them.

For our first, we were both very young and clueless, so neither of us really knew what to do. We had taken all the classes and such, but those only prepare you for so much, really. For my part, I just tried to be there and support her. It didn’t help much that our doctor was sort of an ass. But, we both muddled through.

Our second was the “textbook” delivery. In the hospital, but with no pain meds, I helped my wife walk around the delivery unit as her contractions came and went. It was a fast, easy delivery, and I was there the whole time with her.

Our third was hard… because the second had been so easy, we were trying for a home delivery with a midwife. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as the second. My wife called me to come home and I did (unfortunately, the trip home takes an hour and a half at the best of times), and then she was in labor, on and off, for over a day. It just stalled out, with her water not breaking for ages, adn no progress for a long time afterwards. Finally, we chose to go to the hospital after all, and with the midwife, me, and our older daughters there (they wanted to see the birth, and they were old enough) she was finally able to deliver, after something like 30 hours of labor. We were both exhausted.

Overall, what I remember most of each one was a feeling of helplessness. I was there, yes, and I was helping out where I could. But really, I wasn’t in much of a position to do all that much, when it came down to it. Still, even if I felt helpless at the time, my wife tells me I was helpful to her. That’s what matters, I think.

We took all the classes, but they didn’t help all that much. He took me to almost all of my prenatal visits, until they were once a week and he couldn’t take that much time away from work. He held my hand through my amnio, and even though the needle must have been freaking him out, he was very calm.

Did I mention that he hates needles, blood and hospitals? But he was pretty cool throughout labor, although not particularly helpful (we were lousy about the breathing thing). He held me when they gave me the epidural, and didn’t freak out when they rushed me (doctors and nurses running around!) into OR so they could perform an emergency C-section, and he was incredible during the operation. He kept me calm, watched them cut me open (the man afraid of needles and blood), and then ran back and forth from the baby to me to tell me everything the nurses were doing to him and what he looked like.

He was great. Can’t wait until I get to put him through it again, whenever that will be.

Instrumental in my coping. Not ‘essential’ in that I could have coped without him, but instrumental in having things go as well as they did, both times.

First time, he was one of the team who were helpful. Doulas, mom, him, midwife. All working together to ensure that my needs were met. His was the only voice I could hear for major parts of the process, the rest were just buzzing. It was his tears that told me that I was almost done, and gave me the strength to go that last 15 minutes. I can’t imagine it without him.

Second time, even more important. My hypnobirthing instructor was more active, as a doula, but he was critical at a variety of junctures, being on my side when whe were in conflict with the (backup-never-seen-me-before) OB, keeping the nursing staff quiet, dealing with conflicts when they arose (even though he hates conflict), and kicking in on the most potent hypnotherapy at critical moments. My subconscious trusts him absolutely (he ended my lifetime pattern of nightmares just by telling them to stop), so when I’m in an altered state like labor, he’s got the direct line to my internal process.

Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually great. So great that after my first son was born, my two doulas went out to lunch, talked for a bit, then one looked at the other and said, “What must it be like to have a husband like that?” and they both burst into tears.

He’s also great in the aftermath. Years of it! :slight_smile:

Oh, and we highly recommend the book “The Birth Partner” - we bought it, um, I think the day of our second son’s birth, and flipping through it afterwards, he kept noticing things he wished he’d known. The book is designed to be a quick flip reference for different situations, but you really have to have read through it first to have a clue.

Doulas were also instrumental - meant he could nap when he needed to (first was a LOOOOOOOOONG labor), pee, eat (somewhere else - if I wasn’t eating, nobody was eating near me!), and talk to the midwife outside the room without leaving me ‘alone’. We were even concerned about doing a second labor with (GASP!) only one doula. Spoiled, I think you call it. :smiley:

That was actually the only time in the 3 yearswe were married he was useful. Even my mom says so and she hates him. The thing that impressed the nurses most was after several of contractions they suggested that I might feel more comfortable after a few minutes in the shower. I was a little wobbly on my feet so he held me up and just walked right in there with me with all his clothes on.

That was his big shining moment. After Junior arrived (all 9.5 lbs with no drugs) and we were being moved from recovery to a room the nurse explained that the hospital allowed fathers to sleep in with the mothers and babies. he said, “I’m kinda tired. I think I’ll go home.” Excuse me? You’re kinda tired? Did a whole person just come outta you? Tired?

As mentioned above, my husband was no help when I delivered either child.

My most amusing moment, though (NOT that I found it funny at the time) was when, after hours and hours of labor, I begged my husband to please, please, rub and push on my back when a contraction would come. He did that for, I don’t know, maybe 15 minutes max. Then a nurse came in and said, “Honey, you can’t have him do that every time. His hand’s going to get tired!” (whereupon my husband went, sat down, and resumed reading the paper).

Excuse me?!? Oh, NO! Anything but HIS HAND GETTING TIRED!


And may I just mention – with my first daughter, I went through 65 1/4 hours of labor (notice: I remember & mention the 1/4 ;-).
I was allowed nothing to eat or drink throughout that time and, due to contractions, also got no sleep. My husband, in my presence, drank and ate. Often. Also went home to sleep a full eight hours each night, because “Gosh, [he] was tired.”

Amazingly, we are still married. :wink:

Kelebrian/Mrs. Furthur

I’m feeling much better about myself now. Father of 5 kids (that’s what she tells me :wink: ), 4 deliveries (2 C, 2 VBAC), and I mostly felt like a 5th wheel. The only thing close to a serious problem was my wife’s refusal to take an epidural until it was too late for one. The other stuff made her sleepy. “No, honey, the doctor isn’t lying. The babies head is showing. Wake up and push.” I was also not allowed to sit down, or let go of her hand. (So maybe I couldn’t handle the pain of childbirth. I * can * go 8+ hours without a leak.)

I do remember talking to some fathers, though. Many guys seemed to have a problems dealing with what they saw. I figure there is a reason few ancient cultures allowed the father to be present. However, in all honesty, I can’t understand why so many of the fathers described here were such a$$holes. The worst part for me was the inevitable post birth statement “Oooh, let’s have another one”. And she wonders why I don’t understand her.
Uh and gwendee? Was he supposed to sleep in sopping wet clothes?

My best friend’s husband is my personal example of bad…

he ate chips while sitting next to her and breathed nacho breath on her while she was starving (57 hours with no food). He was no help at all until she had a c-section. He was okay for that part. But then he said being a father made him feel old, and he hated it. Didn’t bond to his son (until he was much older).

Next labor, he came home all excited at around 7 months along in pregnancy, and announced he’d signed up for some training. Two weeks. In Australia (they’re US residents). Right smack around her due date. She’d be okay, she was just planning a VBAC. No, no risk, no worry about uterine rupture, no need for additional support. Nope. But training. In Australia! Cool!

He went on the trip.

She had the baby while he was gone. (VBAC, 41 hours)

She named their daughter after her doula.

And for revenge, his daughter is a charmer, and he fell madly in fatherly love with her. One suspects he regrets the decision to ignore her birth…


Those stories are why I insisted food be eaten elsewhere - and why I opted for doulas… that made it okay for my husband to nap or be tired or have his hands hurt too much to continue, because someone else could take over. I’d have hated it if we didn’t have a doula. (or two or three)

Mr P fainted at the second birth. He didn’t get to come to the third one because we fought during the second labour. He kept telling me to be positive and I told him to shut up. We were not a team in any way and it had effects later. I had high expectations he didn’t meet and well, it wasn’t a good mix.

In his defence, our first son was stillborn. I laboured on my own for most of that labour by choice while he slept. we’d known for 4 days that the baby was dead and had hardly slept or eaten. He was very scared during the next labour that we would lose this baby too and it was Not Good. We both needed the other one to be very very strong and neither of us had it in us to do so.

We’re over it now but I wish more people talked about the effects of traumatic births on the partner when the next birth happens. It’s like we just expect the men to suck it up and deal. My best friend was highly judgmental of Mr P during the second birth – well, hello, a year ago he was holding his dead son, is he supposed to be Superman now?