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How important is DH/partner's presence at the birth for you? Pls help me keep it in perspective

(37 Posts)
blondecat Wed 03-Jul-13 14:13:03

I have a wonderful DH. I admire his work ethic. And I know that my father wasn't there when I was born nor was his. But they were at least in the hospital. And my sister laboured alone and was just fine

We are all affected by our current environment so I struggle to imagine DH not being there.
Is it / was it important to you too? Or it didn't matter? And if he couldn't be there how did you explain it to yourself?

As things stand DH will definitely make it only if the baby doesn't arrive early (He scheduled a business trip to India for 5 days in my weeks 38) or late (my 41 week = unmoveable meetings). And I am not supposed to go more than 3-4 days past DD

In fact the only guarantee he will be there is if forget about the VBAC and just stick to ERCS. That's in his diary

Luckily (??) unless the baby turns again another c section is probably for the best anyway.

Did anyone feel that if DH wasn't there because of work and it wasn't deployment or nuclear crisis etc your relationship would never be the same? I fear I will resent it no matter how I rationalize. And before you ask I can't change his diary. He has no deputy and dates are set in stone.

If you had a VBAC/ Normal birth were you ok alone? MAybe you preferred to be alone? How did you explain it to yourself if you wished the father of the baby was there?

I know i worry too much. Baby may decide to stay as is or arrive in week 39 and all this fretting will feel so silly. And maybe I wouldn't risk a VBAC anyway. But a friend gave birth last week and is in great shape and it would be so wonderful for DD not to have me unable to pick her up for weeks after her brother arrives.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 03-Jul-13 20:39:09

I gave birth with just the mw the first time but DH was in the hospital and was off for 2 weeks after. Giving birth without him was my own choice, he was really stressed and was making me feel worse.

Could you talk to him about how you might feel if he wasn't there? How is he going to feel if he couldn't see dc2 for the first week?

Gonnabmummy Thu 04-Jul-13 11:20:30

I think you both need to discuss how important it is with each other.
Not really helpful but it means everything to me and DP to be with each other at birth. He wants to be home the second I go into labour but I've told him that I will wait it out a little if he hasn't got long left at work. I couldn't imagine doing it without him though

TarkaTheOtter Thu 04-Jul-13 12:54:11

I would struggle to have a sense if perspective about it too. No meeting is set in stone. I would be horrified if a client came to a meeting with me whilst his partner was giving birth.

StiffyByng Thu 04-Jul-13 13:15:43


You want him there. Never mind conditioning. It's completely natural. He must be really extremely important to have such a fixed diary. If this is non-negotiable, you're best off planning for him NOT to be there so you ca be sure of support. Have you thought of another family member being your birth partner? Or a doula? The presence of a doula can reduce the likelihood of an EMCS too.

For what it's worth, I recently had my second child. At the same time, my stepdaughter was dying. My birth plan included that I wanted my husband to be with her rather than me if the two events clashed. The midwives knew what might happen and that I shouldn't stop him going. I knew my midwives and felt that they would be enough support for me if it came to it. But even given all that, my husband was still very torn about what to do. I cannot imagine a meeting in the world that would have stopped him being there.

ballby Thu 04-Jul-13 13:30:19

I had a doula. Dh works away a lot (Paris, Vienna etc) but arranged for his last trip to be at 38 weeks. But I was under strict instructions to order him home at the first sign of labour, wherever he was. He desperately wanted to be there. In the end, he was only a 15 min drive away when he got that call. Unfortunately the labour was so quick neither him nor the doula made it anyway!

I would prepare for doing it without him but also tell him how strongly you feel about wanting him there. I would be very sad if dh hadn't gone to the effort he did to be available. It didn't matter to me that he didn't actually make it. He tried to and wanted to (and bloody should have made it if my body hadn't decided to eject the baby in 20 mins!).

MrsHuxtable Thu 04-Jul-13 14:09:26

If the midwife is great, I don't think I'd need DH this time. He didn't do anything last time. But he wants to be there.

I think it's the midwife that makes or breaks a birth!

GingerJulep Thu 04-Jul-13 19:36:31

blondecat we were told at birth classes that you get an improved birth outcome by having an older woman around during the birth. The midwives don't count for this as they have their job to do - it should be someone who isn't there in that professional capacity... perhaps a mother you know/your mother/doula/independent midwife acting like doula etc, etc.

Having said that I'm having my OH and no older woman.

And I'd probably divorce him if he didn't put me before some meetings.

BUT then I didn't choose your OH - and you did. :-) You say you admire his work ethic so probably this isn't too huge a surprise.

He'll be well-enough rewarded to hire you a doula or maternity nurse or similar to help you out (before, during AND after the birth).

If you like the work ethic thing try to focus on the positives (paid help) that can come from it.

If it still really bothers you just say so.

I work in a terrible industry for work/life balance. But even our chaps (however senior) take paternity leave.

emsyj Thu 04-Jul-13 23:36:45

I don't remember having anything to do with DH during my second labour (a VBAC - well, HBAC actually). I couldn't remember him being near me or even being in the room when DD2 was born, but he says he was there and that seeing DD2 coming out was 'startling' grin. I had the room dark with a relaxation CD playing and was in a zone, I felt as though I was alone IYSWIM. He could have spent the entire time in bed, or at the pub, or in the garden and I wouldn't have noticed.

BUT if he scheduled work trips abroad such that I had a very limited window in which to give birth if I wanted him to be there, I would be absolutely devastated. I actually made DH work at home for nearly 2 weeks before DD2 arrived as he works a good 1hr 20 mins away from home and I had quite a quick labour first time around. I would be resentful if he had missed the birth, yes - although the birth itself would have been fine without him.

Bunbaker Thu 04-Jul-13 23:43:27

I would think less of any employee of mine who put a business meeting before the birth of his child.

It isn't as if he is the prime minister or anything.

BackforGood Thu 04-Jul-13 23:54:09

I would be horrified to find I was in some kind of business meeting with someone whose wife was in labour.
If my husband had thought this was a genuinely acceptable way to behave I would be having very serious conversations with him.
I would have been totally lost without him there.
More importantly, he wouldn't have missed it for the world. It's the only time I've seen my dh cry. It's a very emotional and very personal and hugely 'love strengthening' time in a relationship.

Obviously if someone is in the forces overseas or something, they can't be there, but I would not think very highly of anyone putting a work meeting over being there.

MrsLianeB Fri 05-Jul-13 09:42:31

After TTC for a long time plus 4 mc me and OH have been through a bloody long road together to get to were we are and both of us would be devestated if we didn't get to experience our pfb birth together.
Also we have both lost our mums at a young age and so if he wasn't there it would have to be a doula or midwife only and I know for myself that I want my OH there to make decisions for me if I needed them to be made as opposed to a stranger.

wouldyoupleasemove Fri 05-Jul-13 11:05:15

Dont normally post but felt v sorry for you OP. I hold a senior position organisation and would be frankly appalled if someone turned up while partner was in labour or shortly after birth. Your DH needs perspective. Both recent Prime Ministers attended the births of their children and um, they hold the nuclear codes...
I think birth and death are the two events in life when it is acceptable to drop everything, ask for favours from total strangers and everyone will help.

emsyj Fri 05-Jul-13 12:12:41

I have just come back to this to say that it is enormously unfair for you to be faced with the choice of 'major surgery but with DH present' or 'unknown quantity with DH 50/50 chance of being present'. What would you do if you ended up with an emcs and he wasn't around? Are there other people to help you?

blondecat Fri 05-Jul-13 23:10:27

I am keeping quiet as just found out this afternoon that he can't get a new Indian visa without 2 free pages in his passport. He has only one left and if I am lucky he won't be able to get a new passport in time. Then he can't go. grin

It was tough not to smile when he told me. Poor DH - his wife is secretly happy for his troubles.

So that's week 38/9 resolved perhaps. Week 41 won't be so easy but at least he is in town. My sister pointed out that a labour is more than 4 hours usually and often in the night so he should make some of it at least.

VisualiseAHorse Sun 07-Jul-13 00:23:04

I wasn't that bothered, but OH wanted (or maybe felt like he had) to be there.

It was nice having him there, but I think I could do it without him. I'm a bit 'meh' about it actually, I felt very 'insular' during the last couple of hours and couldn't have cared less who was there. It was lovely that he cut the cord and stuff though.

joanofarchitrave Sun 07-Jul-13 00:37:18

If I'm totally honest (and I would NEVER say this to him) I slightly wish that dh hadn't been there.

He gets calmer and calmer in a crisis, and says calming things. The midwife thought he was wonderful, and retreated to the background, leaving us together.

But I didn't want dh saying I was doing really well, I wanted a midwife, who actually knew what the fuck she was talking about. Who would not say generic things but might actually give me some information that would help me understand what was going on. I was terrified. But realistically, that might just have been birth.

Having said that, if you want him there, tell him to sort it. If he was in labour, someone else would have to go to the meeting or it would be postponed. This is the moment for a Spousal Look. The sort that takes no shit.

ithaka Sun 07-Jul-13 00:52:47

My DH was a rock through our my 3 births, utterly wonderful. He is my emotional crutch in life, in general. I know it is not fashionable or maybe healthy, but I really depend and lean on my DH emotionally. I could not have begun to cope with the thought of doing something as scary and intense as giving birth without him. But then, he would swim through sharks to be there for me - he would never put work before me & the children.

Swings and roundabouts - DH does a worthy job, but is not a big earner. I know from friends that it can be different with men who earn a lot and I can see it would be nice to be provided for financially, but that is not how we roll. I can earn my own money, but I really need him to have my back.

tumbletumble Sun 07-Jul-13 07:23:53

For DC1, my DH had a work trip abroad scheduled for the week before the due date. He didn't have to go, but it was the final culmination of a project he had been working on for months and he would have been disappointed to miss it. In the end DC1 was a week late so all was ok.

However, he would not have gone if I'd been in labour or already had the baby, and he would have tried to get home if I'd gone into labour while he was away.

I'd be more concerned about the meetings in week 41 tbh. Does that mean he won't be taking any paternity leave? I could have managed the birth without DH if necessary (although he was brilliant) but I would have really struggled without help in the first week (no sleep, getting the hang of breastfeeding etc). I also think it sets a worrying pattern for the future if he isn't involved at the start (him working, you doing everything for the baby). Is that what you want in your relationship? If not - set the tone early on and insist your DH makes some work sacrifices in order to spend time with you and the baby.

I know the birth looms large in your mind atm, but it's actually coming home with a newborn which is the difficult bit IMO!

Hope it all works out OK for you.

eurozammo Sun 07-Jul-13 07:35:53

I'm pretty shocked actually. I work in a field that demands an awful lot of people (evening and weekend work, cancelled holidays, etc) but I don't know of anyone who has prioritised work over being at the birth of their children. Your husband really needs to take a serious look at his priorities.

lucamom Sun 07-Jul-13 07:46:32

My DH was there for my first two children's births, but missed the third (after spending 36 hrs with me at hospital, he was sent home and annoyingly the mw didn't believe me when I said to call him as was having the baby, so he arrived when DD was about 5 mins old).

The week previously, our eldest had to spend the night in hospital (DH stayed with him), so I'd made peace with the idea beforehand, in case it happened whilst they were in hospital. Also, having other kids there's always the possibility in your mind that the people on standby might not make it so childcare is the priority.

I can honestly say I'm glad he wasn't there-the baby came quickly on the ward in the end (so not even gas & air), and it was better for me not having him to worry about, I could just focus on what I had to do. He is gutted but it makes not one difference to his relationship with DD.

He was there before the birth and has been there since which is the important thing.

Gingerandcocoa Sun 07-Jul-13 08:06:54

OP, if you don't mind me asking, what sort of work does your DH do? Is he perhaps in senior position in government, or a sportsman that has a competition he has to attend?

I'm just struggling to understand why you seem to not mind the fact that he is choosing to be on a business trip than with you, giving birth!

I don't mean to make you feel anxious or anything like that because I'm sure you'll be absolutely fine doing it on your own, but I'd be really really upset, and don't think I could forget it.

MortifiedAdams Sun 07-Jul-13 08:15:31

I would be very unhappy that my DH is planning to only be there fits in around his exisiting plans.

If there was some.sort of emergency, I would be fine doing it alone, but I would as I say be very unhappy with the above.

MumnGran Sun 07-Jul-13 08:26:50

Is there also a cultural aspect to your DH attitude? some cultures do not encourage/want/permit men to be present at births and if this is his background then it may be a struggle for him to outgrow the mindset.

I have three, and my XH was useless at the first two, and arrived at the last by the skin of his teeth. To be honest, after the first - when I was a newbie to the process - it would have been a lot more useful if he had stayed at home. Of course I understand that for many women the emotional support of having a DP with them feels paramount + all the factors around bonding with the baby.......but, actually, practically, mine was a pain in the neck and less help than a chocolate teapot. After the first, I just wanted to get the job done, and that was always an easier process without H in tow.

Its wonderful that fathers can be present, and very much the standard nowadays, but if they are not needn't prevent bonding, and you will be fine providing you have someone with you that offers you absolute personal support .....mum, sister, doula so many people have already said.

As to my thoughts on a man who chooses to prioritise a meeting over the birth of his child? .......unprintable.

tumbletumble Sun 07-Jul-13 08:28:26

Tell us more about the un moveable meetings. Do you mean he can't move them in advance to free up time 'just in case'? Or do you mean that he would still attend them even if that involved leaving you mid-labour or with a tiny newborn, or that he wouldn't come home if you phoned in the middle of a meeting to say you'd gone into labour?

If it's the former then that's fair enough - it's tricky to plan your diary when there is such a wide window for the baby to arrive. If it's the latter then I find that absolutely shocking sad

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