Growing up, and even in adulthood, most of all I knew about childbirth was from television and movies. I was the baby in the family, so I never got to see or learn about natural birth or birth itself. All I really knew was that it looked like it hurt and that it made women loathe their partner at the time. Also, all I knew of the dad’s was that they almost always they stayed above the waist line and when they did peak, they fainted! This is what television and movies had taught me.
My fiancé, Albe, taught me differently. He showed me what an amazing birth partner was. I also learned from my research and hypnobabies classes that my perception of childbirth was way off and with the help of my amazing birth partner, we could change what our minds once knew, and truly believe in a comfortable natural birth.
All I really knew about birth was that it looked like it hurt and that it made women loathe their partner at the time
Being a strong, wonderful partner in birth is not all that makes an amazing birth partner. The pregnancy counts too, guys! Albe was so supportive the entire 9 months leading up to the birth. From doing his best to not miss one appointment, supporting my decision to change over to a midwife and plan a homebirth, financially providing for me to give me a relaxing pregnancy and the birth I wanted, to attending every hypnobabies class with me. Oh, and making sure that our completely unfinished house had a comfortable, finished birthing space and finished living room space for my postpartum stages.
He was the most amazing partner during labor, which I will tell you about in detail in a minute, and also during the first couple weeks postpartum. (They count too, guys! Maybe even the most!) Albe typically worked 7 days a week, minimum 12 hour days. He runs his own construction business so he is a busy man! In the first couple days he did not leave our side. He helped me walk to the bathroom and back, got my food and water (OK – that was mostly our moms but he helped!), changed diapers and bonded with us. After that, he began working 5 days a week, maximum 8 hour days. Oh, and probably stopped home 2-3 times during those days to check in and give kisses! Now, almost 5 months in, he is home for dinner every night (which I now cook!) and off every weekend he can be, showing me that he is not only an amazing birth partner but an amazing life partner.
OK – back to the childbirth part. So, I am going to try to get this out without retelling you my birth story, which I already did. (Click my name at the bottom for my author archive which has links to my home birth stories, Part One & Part Two). When my water broke, we were just falling asleep, Albe helped me out of bed and to the bathroom to clean up. Then he immediately (my contractions, which I call waves, began within 10 minutes) helped me time my pressure waves so I could keep the midwives updated. He got me calmly through the night (water broke 11 PM) and made sure my birth pool was filled by 8 AM. Meanwhile, my midwife came for a check at 6 AM and I was only 1 cm dilated, which I wasn’t told – my choice. He never made me feel like what was happening wasn’t important or that it was going to get way worse, thankfully, he just acted totally normal. As normal as you can when your fiancé is indeed in labor, I suppose!
Once the pool was filling, he helped me into the shower so I could still be in water until the pool was ready. He then got me comfortably in the pool and my midwife came back around 10 AM. I will admit, during those first few hours in the pool, Albe had answered what seemed like 100 phone calls already and had walked in and out of the room a thousand times, and I was definitely worried. Annoyed? I was something, but I decided to let it go each time that damn T-Mobile jingle blasted through his pants. He was just running his business – organizing for the day(s) he was about to miss. Eventually I shouted, “Can’t you at least turn it on vibrate!”. I still ignored it, as I was so deep into my “zone” of hypnosis by now. But I can tell you this…once things progressed and I was using my vocals during waves and really needed him, he left his phone in the other room and did not leave my side.
Things were really progressing. Frozen towels, fans, water, Gatorade, reheating the birth pool, cooling down the birth pool, food, dilating, back-to-back waves, longer waves, harder waves….I really was in need of his full attention, which I got without a doubt. Holding my hand through many waves, spraying me down with that lifesaving $8 spray bottle fan, holding my water, putting more hot water in my pool, putting ice cubes in my pool, switching my towels, rubbing my back, whispering to me how much he loved me and how great I was doing. Everything counted.
As things progressed I started pushing around 7 PM. I pushed in the pool for an hour or two, with Albe right behind me, giving me my relaxation cues and supporting me. Eventually, it was suggested that I push outside the pool which I was NOT happy about. He helped convince me was a good idea and I should try and that’s when we moved to the ottoman beside the pool. He leaned against the wall and I sat between his legs and leaned against him. This was also not working and I was exhausted. My team decided it best if I lay down on the pull-out bed in the living room and try to sleep between pushes. Albe rubbed my back, my head and did all he could to help me rest.
While I was side lay pushing, he was holding my leg up for me, supporting my weight. After an hour or two of this, my team wanted me to move the bathroom to squat and toilet push. For hours, Albe held me up as I swayed against him, dropping my full weight into his supporting arms with each push. We were both tired, drenched in sweat, and working so hard. We did this facing each other, and my back to him. Eventually, he had to sit on the toilet to support himself while he held me in my squats. He was being so patent with me, as he had now been able to see our daughters head for 3 hours. After this, we moved back to the ottoman where I attempted pushing on all fours. Albe was behind me (YUPP, behind me is right) ready to catch our baby. He was helping guide her head out and telling me how cool this was. This is when I thought to myself, WOW, I cannot believe his face is where it is and he is excited and coaching me to push, telling me when her head is most visible and when it is slipping back in. “Hold it there, keep pushing, she’s coming, you’re doing it!”, are things he would say to me. Counting like a sergeant on a battlefield to help me push longer. I never felt insecure for a second.
My midwife suggested I try standing and giving 3 big pushes, this was going to be it. But if I stood, he needed to hold me and could not catch the baby. “What do you wanna do babe, wanna try standing, you should I am ready to meet our baby”, he says. “I don’t know babe, then you can’t catch, it’s up to you, it’s your moment,” I reply back. It was at this time, 27.5 hours of labor in, 7 hours of pushing and 3.5 of crowning that my heart melted. He had been so great this whole time, I wanted him to be able to catch. He was thinking I had been so great this whole time and it was time to meet our baby and end this long, hard journey. This is when I thought to myself how silly the movies were and how could any woman ever yell at their partner during this spiritual and intimate moment? I did switch positions, I stood up and within minutes we were holding our beautiful baby girl. WE did it.
Albe – Thank you for being the best pregnancy, birth and postpartum partner a girl could dream of. And for all you do for us. I cannot wait to marry you and do it all over again. And maybe again. 🙂 You helped make it an amazing, beautiful experience and I know I can do anything with you by my side. I love you.
If you have an extra 4 minutes, check out our homebirth video (appropriate for anyone to watch) filled with more pictures and some video from our birthing time and see for yourself the love and strength my amazing birth partner gave me. You may need a tissue….
We would love to hear from you so leave us a comment below! How was your home birth experience? Did you have an amazing birth partner as well?
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