Not in the case of my birthing partners, I was very happy to have both my husband and my mum in the delivery room when I had Austin. It felt very natural to have mum there and Phil was happy with the support too! I asked mum to give her account of watching her first grandchild being born.
It was an honour to be asked to be a birthing partner for my daughter and her husband’s first baby. I did have some reservations, I didn’t want to usurp Phil’s position in any way and I did wonder how it would feel to watch your daughter go through the pain, especially knowing what it could be like. The thought of seeing your grandchild come in to the world however won. I had watched the eggs being harvested, so I already felt an attachment!
Having been at many births over the course of my career I was also keen to be there from a professional stance too, to make sure there were no problems and interfere if needed! Thankfully all went incredibly well and Kate received magnificent care from the doctors and midwives at East Surrey Hospital. So when Kate called me on the morning of her due date to say she had a show, I felt it was my motherly duty to calm her down a bit and say I am sure it will be a while yet! So after warning the hospital that things were moving the big wait began. I felt on tenterhooks all day and it brought back all my birth memories, some good, some not so good. We were constantly in touch by phone and text as Kate and Phil laboured at home.
That night I dozed fully dressed on the sofa ready to go. After a couple false visits to the hospital to be told, sorry not there yet, the call eventually came that we were all systems go, as Kate had suddenly shot to 9 cms and ready to push. It wasn’t meant to be like that, I was going to amble up there when Kate was in established labour. I doubted she would actually give birth that quickly but I still drove to the hospital in record time, through the back streets route to avoid the rush hour traffic, I didn’t want to miss it! It was a sunny March morning and I remember thinking what a nice day to be born.
I joined them in the birthing suite, Kate looked calm and in control and was just starting to push. Fast forward a couple of hours of pushing, energy drinks and position changes amid a fairly jovial, optimistic atmosphere, suddenly it all changed. Kate needed assistance to get him out as both were tiring. I did then think of my son’s birth and started a little internal angst but the staff were so wonderful that there was no panic and we were all calmly moved to another room for a ventouse delivery by the medical team.
I felt every pain, knowing exactly what she was enduring but it was my job to be calm and reassuring and to step in when they both needed it.
I could see by Phil’s face that I was needed at the business end for the last few tugs of the ventouse, trying to encourage and reassure, whilst he held her hand. I knew it was imminent and suddenly there he was. A little battered, with a ventouse cap swelling and bruise, but perfect in every way. The love was immediate and overwhelming, even for an old, hardened nurse like me and I wiped away some tears.
I felt I knew him already, almost like one of your own being born. I felt so proud of how well Kate coped with labour and delivery, better than me I think, I swore at lot. She did however leave me with 2 bruised arms from her fierce grip at the end! I would do it again in a heartbeat and am so pleased to have been at his birth and would recommend it but only if it feels right for you and the parents. I would not have missed it for the world, I felt instantly bonded with my first grandchild and couldn’t wait to start” Whatsapping” his first photos.
A granny at last.