“You are love in my eyes” – a dad’s story

All I can say whilst I lie on the ground next to the couch that my two girls are sleeping on is that this all feels like a dream. To be honest I’m exhausted so everything seems extremely surreal right now. Yesterday there were two of us, now there are three. So I don’t think I can quite comprehend this reality right now, but it also feels absolutely normal. And god I love her.

So let’s start from the beginning. Rosalie was due on the 27th of July. And on this morning we woke to some tightenings and a small steady flow of fluid. Keep in mind only 5% of births fall on their due date. So I decided to head into work for a bit whilst Rosalie pottered around at home, unable to do much because of the steady stream of liquid which we would come to know was a slow leak from her amniotic sack.

Moon during early hours of morning whilst driving to a home birth
Driving to their homebirth in the early hours of the morning – Photo by Rosalie and Dylan’s midwife

Now another thing, the 28th of July was a smorgasbord of celestial events. A full moon with a lunar eclipse and Mars is at its closest since 2003. So for the birth to fall on the due date and these events seemed like a long shot. But I had a gut feeling this would be the case, whilst Rosalie seemed very happy planning stuff like the weekend would pass by like every other.

I got home around 5.30pm to not much change from the morning. So we made a yum dinner from left overs and then I cleaned and set the space whilst Rosalie started showing signs of going inwards.

At around 9pm Rosie jumped into bed and I followed an hour later after vacuuming and reading Rosalie’s labour notes i.e light candles. As soon as I got to bed Rosalie started having real full on contractions where she would go to the bathroom, have a contraction and do a poo. As these escalated and she saw signs of a ‘show’ she visibly began to experience a lot more pain shown by her loud wails and cries. The first major one of these had me quite upset. There’s really something hard about seeing your partner be in such a horrific pain where all you can do is offer support. In fact it almost made me cry and think “I really can’t do this alone”. This changed when I did a quick meditation asking for the universe to support me with the necessary energy to guide Rosalie through her labour.

By around 12-1am Rosalie had gone primal, completely inside herself. Only replying with shakes and nods if she even answered at all. By this time she was positioned on her hands and knees with her knee on the toilet seat and her arms supporting her over a chair. This was a time of extremely long painful contractions and a lot of poo.

I decided at this time it was time to setup the pool. I laid down a tarp and got pumping, whilst simultaneously running to Rosalie’s aid whenever she called my name for support. With the pool up it was time to put the liner in which with the pool fully pumped didn’t fit! I got a tiny bit stressed and hot at this point because I realised I had put the liner on the wrong way!! Half deflating the pool and rearranging the cover and pumping up again we were ready. So I hooked up the tap and the water started flowing in.

Now although Rosalie had tightenings all day it seemed at around 3am that it was time to call the midwife so I did, only to be told to measure them and call back. Three 45+ second contractions later 3 mins apart I called her. After three calls she was on her way after multiple requests from Rosalie.

By now Rosalie was also requesting the pool which she hopped into after I’d cooled it down a bit. Amazingly I would say from my end that contractions dramatically decreased in intensity when she entered the pool. Her choice of position was like a raised child’s pose supporting herself over the edge of the pool. I sat on the other side of the pool offering her coconut water and advice like breathe, relax etc.

At around 3.30 or 4am our midwife arrived which felt amazing. It’s not that I
felt out of my depth, it’s more that with all her experience she was able to offer Rosalie amazing advice like sending her energy down and out with low sounds rather than high screeches.

Rosalie supported by partner Dylan and their midwife
Rosalie supported by partner Dylan and their midwife

And from there I really didn’t move. I sat with Rosalie as she went through each contraction. Most were quite intense but in others you could really hear and see that big things were happening. Rosalie adopted a low hooooooooooo hoooooooo hoooooooooo for each contraction and then sharp short squeals when baby was apparently shifting and moving down.

Rosalie held my hand for support and man I’ve never felt someone squeeze so hard. It was nice for me though, it gave me a chance to endure pain like Rosalie was.

At around 7am the back up mid-wife arrived and stuff shifted quickly. It went to the full blown pushing stage which I thought was short, but actually ended up
taking 3 hours. Rosalie spent most of this on her knees and it was so different because she would strain and push whilst holding her breathe to push the baby down and out. This seemed to go on for ages. Our midwife kept checking Rosalie with a mirror which I couldn’t see so I had no idea where we were.

Things changed again when our midwife asked me if I was ready to catch the baby. By this time I had been holding Rosalie in a squat position which had been more successful and open than knees. We tried this for ages and the baby just wouldn’t move, or when it did it wouldn’t stay down by the exit gate.

I swapped out with the backup midwife and was for the first time able to see a tiny bit of our baby’s head. Things slowed down again where you could see a lot of head but not crowning. Rosalie shifted back onto her knees to push, with one of Rosalie’s and one of the midwife’s hands on the perineum. This was extremely intense as Rosalie was putting absolutely everything into moving baby out, but it wasn’t budging.

This is when our midwife started to suggest Rosalie get out of the pool and try a different position. I saw the backup midwife setting up some scissors and some needles so I was getting quite worried. The midwife went on to tell us later that she was worried too as she hadn’t seen a baby’s head get stuck for so long before.

I started laughing with joy even though I was sure I would cry.

The instructions to leave the pool fired Rosalie up to a level which to me is the most incredible feat of human endurance I have ever seen. She changed completely and her pushes became ones of live or die. The scream as her perineum stretched was incredible. Her face covered in sweat and her body convulsing exertion, baby finally crowned. A few more and the head was through. With the next contraction the midwife dived in and helped to pull baby out as she got a little stuck again with one arm up by her shoulders. She passed me the baby which was sticky, which I then passed on to Rosalie who had opened her eyes and instantly arrived back on planet earth. I started laughing with joy even though I was sure I would cry. And we just sat there with this baby who had suddenly appeared. It was so beautiful and squished, its head elongated from its journey.

It took us over 15 mins before we checked the sex. It was a girl! Just like I wished. Rosalie hopped up out of the pool with help and delivered the placenta with a gentle tug on the cord.

Rosie lay down with our new baby covered in blood and this white sticky stuff. And that was that.

I lie here now with baby on my chest. Fast asleep with me falling asleep too, completely exhausted but too scared that if I sleep I will roll over! Soon it will be Rosie’s turn so I can get some much needed rest.

I look forward to getting to know you baby. You are love in my eyes.

Your dad xx

Rosalie and newborn baby in the birth pool with Dylan looking on
Rosalie and Dylan with their newborn baby