Have you thought about how, when and where you will first meet your newborn? Has the delivery room crossed your mind? Whether you shriek at the mention of the delivery room or you can’t wait to see what happens to in there, we do agree that you can’t wait to meet the mini-you. You might have heard a lot about it, and I guess that from all those things that you have heard, you have concluded that it is a horrifying and terrifying place, right?
Whatever you have heard about the delivery room is partly right, but some of it is just an exaggeration! Yes, there is pain, tears, screams, stretching, blood and of course poop, but the result is overwhelming joy and love! Mothers say that the first time they see their babies, they get a high that they describe as a “rush of love!”
However, I must warn you that dads have freaked out and others even pass out. Then there are others who are given a seat, and they fall asleep- How do you sleep in the delivery room? Anyway, for most, they cannot describe the feeling- all they say is that it is an instinctive and the strongest emotion they have ever had. So, if the hospital policy allows it, don’t be so 1950s that you be hanging out at the bar. Be there with her and see what it takes. Days are gone when the birth process was strictly a women’s affair.
In this article, I will be telling you some of the things that you can do to make your delivery room experience an exceptional one.
Agree with your partner
Of course, the first thing to do is to inform your partner that you would like to be beside her when she is bringing the person who has been ‘living in’ her for the past nine months. Most will be more than glad but some, you will have to do with some persuasion. Well, if you do these other things below, it will be hard for her to say no.
Journey with her through the pregnancy
Journeying with her does not just mean asking her whether she needs anything- it is much more. It means accompanying her to the antenatal clinics, going for birth classes together, taking her baby-items shopping, taking some time off work to be with her when the pregnancy distress is too much (being a pregnant woman is tough) and helping her pack the hospital bag when the due date is almost.
It will help you know what exactly is going on with her and will help you understand where and how to help. Furthermore, seeing the baby while still in the womb and hearing their heartbeat is priceless and will assist in creating a bond.
Make the hospital choice together
Together with your partner, search then make a final decision on a hospital that allows partners to be in the delivery room. If you have a private obstetrician, you can speak to them about your plan. They will give you choices of where to go. But of course, being allowed in the delivery room is not the only factor that you should consider when choosing a hospital. I will tackle the topic of factors to consider when selecting a hospital in a different post.
Attend birth classes together
Birth classes will make you feel at ease and know the stuff surrounding delivery. The courses will prepare you for the stages of labor, and if it is a C-section, you will know what to expect. Knowing what to anticipate will make the experience less terrifying for you. Being in the delivery room does not just mean sitting down pacing up and down or just being there and wondering how the head will fit in the birth canal. It takes active participation.
You will be expected to support her by doing certain things like holding her hand, supporting her shoulders, rubbing her back to manage pain and encouraging her to push. The content taught in birth classes covers most of these things. Most of the lessons are geared towards ensuring that your presence in the room on the delivery date will be objective, exciting and memorable.
Read some pregnancy books
The more you are familiar with the labor and delivery process, the better you will be equipped not just for the delivery but also for the whole pregnancy journey. There are plenty of pregnancy books and magazines dedicated to dads. A simple search on the internet will be very helpful. If you cannot follow through a book, check out blogs devoted to dads.
Have your bag ready
Other than the hospital bag, you will also need a separate bag. This one neither belongs to the mother nor the baby; it is yours. It should have items that will make your stay a comfortable one. If you prefer to be with her even during the first stage of labor and not just during the delivery, then you must have this bag. The stages can take a long time, and you may be tempted to leave due to boredom, tiredness or even hunger.
In this bag, have items like snacks, a camera (if allowed), reading material (books, magazines or your laptop), a change of clothes and toiletries. The labor process can at times be unpredictable. You may have gone home to take a shower, only to come back and find the mother already breastfeeding. You will have missed it!
In the hospital
Be an active participant, do not just sit and watch. It will be the time to provide comfort and support. Apply all that you were taught and prepped to do. Do not forget to encourage her to feed not unless she has been told not to by a healthcare provider. She will need the energy to push. If going for a caesarian, she will be asked to starve for some hours. Once the baby is out, you can even help to cut the cord to separate the baby from the mother. After the cord is cut, you will have the first opportunity to interact with the little one by helping maintain skin to skin contact with the mother and initiate breastfeeding.
Is there any other better way to receive your baby other than in the delivery room? Forget all the bad things that you have heard about the delivery room- it is exciting, and after all the sweating, the arrival of your bundle of joy will be something that you will live to tell.
What if after all these preparations you still can’t go in?
Well, if you still cannot stand the delivery room, why not wait for them in the waiting room and once they are out, be ready with flowers and kisses for them?