So, I admit, I have a “hot button” when it comes to pregnancy. I’m going to try and discuss it rationally and limit my number of All Caps, Bold font, and exclamation points, and here it is.
Brian and I have discussed, and agreed, that he will not be present in the delivery room for the birth of Potato. I do not like constantly defending our position on this, there’s a part of me that simply wants to say, “Back off. This is our pregnancy. Go have your own birth.” However, I understand that having husbands (or boyfriends) in the delivery room is a somewhat recent phenomenon and has taken on some weird almost political undertones. Here is an article I recently read that discusses the debate from somewhat of a middle ground. http://blogs.babble.com/being-pregnant/2011/10/26/debate-fathers-attending-labor-and-birth-of-their-babies/
Here are our reasons for opting out of Brian being present, in no particular order.
First, I don’t want Brian there. Let me explain: our first “real” fight after getting married was over me nicking my leg shaving and Brian wanting to put superglue on it to seal the cut (superglue really does work wonders on small cuts, did you know that was it’s original design?). I said, “No. I’ll do it.” I let him, eventually, but not after discovering some pretty interesting things about each other. I have fractured and dislocated my elbow, I’ve sprained my ankle numerous times, I’ve gotten whiplash from landing on my head, I’ve sprained both wrists, my elbow, broken multiple toes, and pulled numerous muscles, have had appendicitis, and recently pleurisy. I’m a walking hazard and no stranger to pain. I have an intense dislike of others being witness to my pain, and an even stronger dislike of being “coddled.” So in the most painful experience I’ve yet to experience (where I’m already going to be irritated at the medical staff for not letting me deliver the baby myself), I don’t want to argue with my husband over what I should do to make myself more comfortable. Secondly, Brian has no desire to be involved in the medical field whatsoever. It grosses him out. So I’m going to be spending half of my focus worrying about how he’s handling all the ick. Not cool. And not something I can control. He’s my husband, of COURSE I’m going to worry about him, and when I’m in the middle of pooping out a watermelon, I really don’t need that extra distraction. Yeah, yeah, “he can stay above the sheet” mhmm, and how many times has THAT flown out the window when the doctor demands the husband holds a leg because a nurse is off doing something else? Don’t even. Birth is unpredictable, there is no guarantee that Brian would not become far more involved than he ever wanted.
Second, Brian doesn’t want to be there and his feelings are absolutely valid. He has no interest in feeling Potato kick either. When I finally got him to tell me why he kept avoiding feeling Potato move his sheepish response was, “Feel a half developed baby through a layer of skin and muscle and uterus move? It’s kindof weird…” I reiterate, the medical field is out for Brian. I find it fascinating. But I found the first time I saw an open femur fracture fascinating, too. Brian isn’t me. He’s completely weirded out. Is he going to be worried about me? Yes. Will being present and watching me in pain push out bodily fluids help him worry less? No. It’ll make him completely shut down and go into robot Brian mode. And hopefully not vomit. And don’t tell me, ever, that you know my husband better than I do. Will he bond with Potato? Yes. Will it be in an instanteous rush of tears and emotion? Um, highly doubtful. Maybe if he were high? It will probably take months for him to bond, whatever that means, and thats ok. In the meantime I have no doubt he will be an involved parent and continue to be an active and loving husband.
Third, it’s our decision, so, yes, back off. Couples have children with the father absent every year due to unavoidable circumstances (like deployment). Every pregnancy is different, every birth is different, and every gosh darn marriage is different. Do not tell me I am “doing it wrong” when we have been very happily married for almost 5 years now. Brian will drive me to the hospital and be there when I’m walking around between contractions, but once it’s go time-for the sake of both of our sanities-he’s going to wait outside. WE are completely at peace with our decision. And it is OUR decision. And Potato is not going to be any worse for it.
There. I feel better. Now, I have nothing against men being present in the delivery room, some guys love it! They describe it as powerful and moving and emotionally supercharged and just the most fantastic experience they’ve ever had. Other’s say it was awful and scary and distressing but they wouldn’t miss it for the world. Some wish to even catch their own child and/or cut the cord. Brian is not one of those people, and I, the wife and mother, am more than ok with that. I am not ok with the notion that Brian is somehow less of a father for not wanting to be present at the labor, or that I am some how denying him access to this experience. I am definitly not ok with anyone who isn’t Brian or I telling us one way or the other how we should or shouldn’t give birth to our child. If you have an opinion, keep it to yourself, and plan your own child’s birth.
If Brian suddenly changes his mind on the way to the hospital, we’ll see. I’m still not thrilled about the idea of having him in there, but he’s my husband and if he really wants to we could probably figure out someway to make it work. I really really doubt he’ll change his mind though.
Oh, and don’t tell me “He did this to you, he should be there even if it makes him uncomfortable!” Mhmm. Revenge has no place in a marriage, EVER. And our child is not a product of revenge, nor will he/she be a point of revenge. Potato was conceived in love and will be delivered in love, with us MUTUALLY deciding on how that will happen. There will be no pointing fingers or blaming or yelling at each other, that’s not how Brian and I “do” marriage. If you prefer to keep scorecards in your relationships, go for it, let me know how that works for you.
Although, since Brian is putting together the music playlist for the delivery room, I did tell him if he plays the Rocky Theme song more than once I will murder him.
***Like the article I posted above mentions, there is one doctor who swears having fathers in the delivery room make it worse. And there are others who swear fathers in the delivery room make it better. I swear that knowing your partner and making a decision together probably makes whatever option better. It’s not rocket science, here, people, and if being pregnant has taught me anything, it’s that “one size fits all” is a farce.