A Father's Guide to the Delivery Room
This will be my first time in a delivery room, and it's kind of scary. I can't imagine what Kelsey will be thinking...
Kelsey made me watch The Business of Being Born early in our pregnancy, and things became real real quick. It's been on my mind a lot throughout the pregnancy and I've adapted the mentality that I want to be the best coach I can be in the delivery room.
I know I'm not an expert on how to deliver a baby, but I am an expert in being Kelsey's husband. I know her better than the midwife and nurses know her. As her husband I think I have a leg up in the situation on how to make her feel better.
With the help of the birthing class we took, I've tried to equip myself with the tools I need to be the most help I can be for Kelsey while in labor. While it scares the shiitake mushrooms out of me to go through this, thinking about what she will actually be going through scares me more.
Here's my game plan for the delivery (knowing full well I'm going to have to adjust on the fly, but having a plan is better than winging it!):
- Support: This is not about me. I think it's the rite of passage into fatherhood. Delivery is the time where it is all about mom and baby. I am there to support Kelsey however she needs me to.
- Communicate: Kelsey will be concentrating on managing pain and giving birth. I will need to be the family communicator through the process. I will be the one answering questions about our birth plan, keeping family posted of what's going on, etc. I feel better knowing that I have been to all of Kelsey's midwife appointments throughout our pregnancy.
- Comfort: Whatever I can do to make the situation comfortable for Kelsey is what I need to do. I have a list of coping techniques that we learned in our birthing class that we can try. It's going in our hospital bag so it's with me when labor starts.
- Navigate: The hospital tour was a great help to get a lay of the land. I now know where the pantry is so I can go get ice chips or anything else Kelsey might need. Although she won't be able to eat once we get to the hospital, I can be a great servant post-birth by getting familiar with the surroundings.
- Motivate: It nearly brings me to tears thinking of the pain Kels will be going through. Keeping my composure will be tough, but I accept the responsibility to keep her spirits high and to help motivate her to "push" on. Keeping in mind the end result, I know together we succeed.
Depending on the birthing class you took, I'm sure the techniques for supporting the women during labor differ, but I think the above are some great high-level thoughts to keep in mind. Being a rookie, it's tough not knowing exactly what to expect, but having a plan and going in with the right mentality is about all I can do. Wish me luck!!
What's missing from this list?
Mothers: What helped you the most in the delivery room?