A guys’ perspective to labour. I have two children, a boy and a girl. I went to both of the labours and they were definitely both life-changing experiences. With my firstborn daughter, it was more of a scary experience. My partner who was 36 weeks pregnant woke me up in the middle of the night. She was in severe pain in her upper stomach and it was severe in her shoulder.
I quickly woke up at early hours of the morning, got my clothes on and the ambulance crew arrived at our little flat. At first, I thought it was normal because I had little to no experience with pregnancy, labour and childbirth.
The ambulance crew seemed worried and they quickly got us to hospital. My partner’s pain got worse and when we got to the hospital she was given strong pain medication. They then inserted a cannula into her vein and took blood for testing.
They tested for protein in her urine as they suspected it was pre-eclampsia and it was exactly that. I had never heard of that condition before. After I found out more about it, it became more clear that the pregnancy-related illness can be very serious. And if left untreated it can be fatal for both the mother and baby. Symptoms can include pain in the upper abdomen, shoulder, headache, very high blood pressure and flashing lights.
The doctors were unsure of what the problem was but treated it as if it was pre-eclampsia. They told us both many times that it was and then that it wasn’t and messed us around quite a lot. They were going to induce my partner then decided not to and repeat.
After my girlfriend’s blood pressure went down, she was discharged from the hospital. One week later during the night, she has rushed to the hospital again. With high blood pressure and in pain from the pre-eclampsia. I worried for her life as she was in a bad way, in fact after her pain medications started working there I was having a panic attack and she told the nurse that she was worried about me.
Experience with midwives
That night she was induced, it was a slow process. A lot of it involved waiting around, babies really do come in their own time. We walked up and down many flights of stairs until the baby dropped down and my partner’s waters broke. Shortly after, our daughter was born. It all happened so fast and our little girl came out not breathing. She had to be resuscitated for three minutes but the midwives who were amazing and responded really fast.
With my second-born son, my partner went into labour in the middle of the night and due to her first labour being fast towards the end, we went to the hospital to find out that she was in slow labour. Because of this, we went home, to let the labour progress and then everything stopped for a little while.
The next day we were at our flat cooking up a tasty chicken and rice dish for dinner, when labour had started again, but this time more rapidly. We decided straight away that it would be best if we could get someone to pick our daughter up just so she didn’t have to come to the hospital with us.
No space in the hospital
We phoned the closest hospital letting them know that labour had started again and they informed us that there was currently no space in the hospital which is known as a bed block. They said that we had to go to a different hospital which was further away and that an ambulance would pick us up.
In the ambulance, my partner was screaming in pain and was using gas and air as her only pain relief. When we got to the hospital, I felt much more relaxed and started to eat my chicken and rice (I took it with me in a big bowl.) I even offered the midwives some, which they found funny. My partner was not amused that I was going about my main meal as usual and very quickly our son was born.
Do we need in-laws and outlaws in the labour room?
Having the in-laws and outlaws there to share the experience was nice. It made it more enjoyable having other people to talk to. And to have others to take their turn with their hand being squeezed. Whilst being alone could be a special experience for both of you, having other people there lightens the load and will allow you to occasionally rest. Babies come at any time of the night and your sleep may be scarce!
Up next: What is Preeclampsia?