From a Dad’s Eye: Labor and Delivery

My first daughter’s birth was both exciting and routine, with a healthy outcome and an experience that was, of course, personal and unique to me. The run up to the big day was by the book: My wife and I attended birthing classes, went on a hospital tour, and packed our overnight bags -- all with a great sense of anticipation. Here’s how it went down:

Missed the due date: Very few new babies actually arrive when predicted, as due dates are simply an educated guess. Also, many firstborns are late. Our first daughter fit the pattern exactly: Her due date was in late July, but she was born on August 3.

Got our steps in: As the extra days wore on, we decided to follow our regular routine, which included socializing with friends and sticking to our workouts. In fact, we took a very long walk the day before my wife went into labor.

Waited -- and waited: The walk must have done the trick: My wife’s water broke the day before our new baby’s delivery, very early in the day. She spent the next few hours relaxing at home, taking a shower, and reading. I manned the frying pan and made her a wholesome breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast.

Headed to the hospital: Once we arrived at the hospital, our time was spent waiting, reading the newspaper, and talking to family members on the phone. Frankly, when you’re a dad-to-be and so excited to meet your new baby, the birth can feel like a rather long process! And just when the labor seemed to be progressing, it slowed down for a time, so my wife was given a drug to speed the process. It worked!

Pushed -- and pushed! Many hours of labor passed before the pushing phase began. My wife struggled, but our baby would not descend. It was soon determined that our new baby was presenting ‘sunny side up’, rather than face down, and would have to do a kind of baby backbend to exit the birth canal.

Changed course: I learned that it’s important to be flexible when it comes to your new baby’s delivery. In our case, the doctors determined that a C-section was necessary, so we made a quick transfer to an operating room. Our daughter arrived in the wee morning hours, kicking, screaming, and weighing in at a rather large (for a girl) 8 pounds and 9 ounces. She had lots of dark hair, chubby cheeks, and was quite healthy. I know it’s a cliché, but I couldn’t have been more proud.

Looking back at our new baby’s delivery, I wouldn’t change a thing. Of course, you don’t really have an option -- your baby will choose to come out when she’s ready. My tip to all new dads: Arrive at the hospital as prepared as possible, and don’t forget the camera to document those first few special moments with your little one!