Dads on childbirth: ‘The midwife turned to me and said, “Listen. This really isn’t good”’
Seven Dads, including the comedian Russell Brand, get real about the panic, pain and euphoria of watching their partner give birth, and explain why counting down from ten while she's pushing isn't necessarily a good idea
‘I was blown away by the naivety of the whole thing and wept uncontrollably’
Nick Francis’s wife Antonia gave birth to their daughter Willow on 24thOctober 2019 in Homerton Hospital, Hackney
‘The lead-up to Willow’s birth reminded me of the beach scene inSaving Private Ryan. We had done the NCT course beforehand and, like the soldiers in the landing craft, we felt we were prepared for what lay ahead of us. But nothing could have prepared me for the moment when the ramp came down and the bullets, blood and arms started flying.
We had done a hypnobirthing course, so had the yoga playlist on the iphone, essential oils and various massages ready to go. The plan was to have a fairly natural waterbirth.
We had been told the partner should make sure they get plenty of sleep in early labour as you don’t know how long it would last. When Antonia woke me at 2:30am to say that things were happening, she said she was going to get into the bath and I should rest. I lay in bed wide awake for about ten minutes, then thought “what the hell I am I doing?” and went to see how she was getting on. I had downloaded an app to time the contractions. The first timing put her at three contractions in ten minutes. That’s apparently when you should head into hospital, but when I rang them they told me not to worry and not to come in.
An hour or so later the contractions had got to five in ten minutes. I rang the hospital and, again, they were extremely laissez-faire. I felt like they weren’t really listening to me. I called a cab (we had been told to use Carrot Cars in East London as they are happy to take women in labour), but when the car arrived Antonia’s contractions were so strong she wasn’t sure she could get out of the bath. In the end we had a fairly protracted journey to the cab, punctuated by several pauses for noisy contractions.
The cab ride was eventful. At one stage Antonia screamed that she could feel the head between her legs.
When we arrived they took Antonia’s blood pressure in the natal ward any chance of the planned water birth went out of the window. At NCT the partners had been told that we were responsible for looking after the mums during the birthing process, acting as their guardians. It meant that I pushed quite hard to stick with our water birth plan.
Video: Mom ‘Dies’ During Childbirth – Then Dad Whispers 2 Words In Her Ear And Turns Pale
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