newborn labor story

Let’s Keep it Real: The Truth About Labor

Archive, Labor, Pregnancy

Labor is a shadowy figure. For months, it peers in your windows at night. It hides under your bed and in the closet. It’s faceless and unknowable. At times your imagination gets the best of you and your fictitious labor suddenly becomes some torturous scene from the movie Saw. And I’m just a guy. I’m not doing the heavy lifting. I can’t imagine the kinds of horrors women dream up.

All said and done, though, our labor went better than expected. Here’s the CliffNotes: entered the hospital at 5cm dilated, pushing within 4 hours, and back home with healthy baby in hand at 34 hours. It was a whirlwind, but it was smooth with no real surprises. We consider ourselves very lucky.

Now having experienced the great unknowable, here’s 6 things I learned about labor (from Dad’s POV).

Women have superpowers. Whether you’re male or female, this should and will be your biggest takeaway from labor. A newfound respect for the female body and its capabilities, of nature and its capabilities, and the ultimate-warrior like strength women possess. I don’t know if you’ll ever see someone or something so wholly determined, in both body and mind, to get something done. It’s incredible and truly impressive. Bravo, ladies.

Nurses, you the real MVP. We had a terrific nurse. She was attentive, warm, and supportive. If all goes well, the majority of your stay is spent with nurses. They wait until the last possible moment to call the doctor in. And when ours finally came to deliver, he was talking to the staff about wrist watches and didn’t say hello. That’s ok, I get it. They’ve delivered countless babies; it’s just another day on the job. In retrospect, the dichotomy of my wife in excruciating discomfort and the doctor’s casual apathy is interesting from an anthropological point of view. But it certainly wasn’t helpful at the time. If it wasn’t for our nurse, our experience would’ve been altogether different. Bravo, nurses.

A bond takes time. After hours of agony, the pinnacle of any labor story is the moment your baby is born. Most stories conclude with this immediate undying and emotional attachment to your newborn the moment she’s born. It makes for a clean, resolute ending to a dramatic story.

In retrospect, I could easily paint that picture. It was miraculous, obviously. But I promised to keep it real. And in the chaos of that pinnacle moment, there was a lot to process. My wife was exhausted and outside herself, the doctor was still down there dealing with the fun stuff that happens after the birth, and the nurses were cleaning, examining, and prodding our newborn. Truth is, there wasn’t time to feel everything I thought I would. And that’s ok. When I held my daughter for the first time, our bond grew a little stronger. And in the hours after in the recovery room, our bond grew stronger still. Now, two weeks after her birth, it’s still growing everyday.

To support her is to support her. For a male, labor means providing endless, unconditional support. That part is pretty obvious. But that support will continue well beyond the birth. From what I’ve gathered in my first few weeks of fatherhood, it’s actually the majority of your job. Newborns sleep, eat, and poop (in that order). If you’ve chosen to breastfeed, you’re out of the eating equation, and you can’t do much for the baby when it’s sleeping. That leaves you changing a lot of diapers and feeling a little helpless the rest of the time. But if you commit to supporting and fulfilling your partner’s needs (she’s been through a lot), and know that through supporting her you are supporting your baby, it helps give you a sense of purpose and contribution.

Your expectations are bigger than reality. Maybe this one is exclusive to me, I don’t know. But you always hear these half-horror stories from some people with children. Telling you that your life as you know it is over.  Like there’s this huge cliff you jump off. And so I always expected a sudden, dramatic change to occur. But honestly, I don’t feel all that different. B doesn’t seem all that different. Of course, we’re tired and there’s stress involved. But that’s to be expected.

Right now, it feels right. Natural. Like it should always have been this way. Sometimes, those feelings of comfort leave me second guessing myself. Should I be feeling overwhelmingly different? Is there something I’m missing? Maybe it’s too soon to tell. Maybe I’ll read this months from now and laugh. But so far, my expectations were much worse than the reality of it.

Dreams do come true. B loves math. And she wanted a Pi baby. You know, born on 3/14/15 (the first five digits of π). It was exactly one week before our due date yet it sat on our calendar like a finish line. The odds were against us, but we never lost hope. Well, it happened. Born at 4:56am on 3/14/15. Our daughter is literally a dream come true.

Pi Baby


12 thoughts on “Let’s Keep it Real: The Truth About Labor

  1. Great post – I also experienced a lot of the same things you mentioned – for example out doctor was nonchalant too (even while we were having an emergency birth). There is also something to be said about that feeling of uselessness for us guys during the time after the baby is born – maybe we want to “do” and we instead are just supposed to “be” – be there, be supportive, be natural.

    Anyway, great post, great blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bravo and congrats! What a sweet little (pie) baby you have. Great points, very true. My best friend works in Labor & Delivery, and Mother/Baby and gets after the Docs to focus on the miracle in the room. All the best with your new normal!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your life will change drastically but, it is a beautiful change. My children are 15 and 18 and I still look at them with wonder in my eyes. Having a child exposes you to a new kind of love…a love like nothing you have ever experienced…the greatest love in the world. Parenting is a journey like no other…you can travel to the ends of the earth and not find a more beautiful experience. Congratulations to you and your wife!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter! I look back on my last labor (first child for my husband I), and I am truly blessed at how AMAZING he was and so very supportive. I had never had that with my ex-husband and feel that’s why both those deliveries ended in a c-section, and this one a successful VBA2C. Kudos to all the super supportive husbands/partners out there! It truly means a lot to us wives though we may not say it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats! Remember it. I remember mine and she started her mothers daughter with 1 and half hours labor “No drugs for you Mom. I am not waiting for any doctor either”. She is still at 19 the same way. You will remember this time and have something to tell the Prom date.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on the Pi baby! That’s really cute. 🙂

    I enjoyed reading this post from the partner’s point of view, and while I didn’t feel like a rock star on my own delivery (single, no one but my doulas), it is nice to see how you acknowledge what it must have taken for your partner to complete delivery.

    Congratulations, again!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is beautiful. I’m a female and I don’t have a child, but I imagine having one in the future and the kind person I would want to be there with me and I feel like you exemplify that kind of person. You have an awesome attitude, I’m glad you’re enjoying fatherhood. Congratulations on your pi baby! =]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been through four deliveries and none of them were babies I delivered! My sisters were the warriors in my experiences giving birth to my three nephews and my little Christmas baby niece. I am so happy to hear that your wife had a great support from you and that you aren’t totally overwhelmed by the whole daddy thing. Being part of the child birth support team does give you a whole new respect for the women who give birth and a close connection to the baby. Enjoy your little one…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations on your new arrival and a great post. I’ve experienced most of these truths and I salute you for revealing them. I don’t like the word change, I prefer adapt, which is exactly what happens. It’s a perfect adaption and long me we revel in it.

    Liked by 1 person

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