The long and winding home birth: Tales from a new dad
My wife, Kathleen, and I had a home birth. Or, I guess it's more correct to say - Kathleen had a home birth. I stood around in my pyjama bottoms trying to eat a hamburger from Jumbo's while occasionally rubbing her back. The whole situation was, and I hate the cliche of saying something was "surreal" so I'm going to say... bonkers!
It was definitely a magical moment, but as a man you don't want to feel useless. You will eventually no matter what. There's no way (that I know of, yet!) for you to shrink yourself down into a miniature size and get into your wife's womb so that you can help push from the other side. If that technology was available I'd have surely used it and then discovered more than enough secrets of the female anatomy while becoming a tiny hero.
But alas, it was ultimately five mid-wives working their magic while my wife moaned like the attic of a haunted house. I floated around like a ghost in a translucent house coat going, "everything okay over here?"
The main midwife (she was there for the longest period of time) got Kathleen to shift her moan into this monastic hum that brought a somewhat peace to the natural pain. That was very cool to witness. I would glance over at my beautiful, lovely, incredible wife to see if she appeared comfortable. She was so red, pulsating, drenched in sweat - she looked like a thumb that had just been hit by a hammer and the thumb had no more physical space to swell - it was going to explode.
Over the literally laborious twelve hours, my wife would move from our old squeaky bed to the bathtub and back about one million times. She was trying to get comfortable, which I completely understand is impossible. Sometimes she would be in the bathtub moaning with each contraction and I would be lying on the bath mat beside the tub holding her hand like an old dog. I believe the midwife at this point was eating some honey? Maybe drinking a tea? Either way there was nothing we could do but wait for some new major action from the baby.
Many times the main midwife would say to me, "go have a nap." And I would go throw myself onto the living room couch and close my eyes for two seconds. Then I would jump up and head back into the bedroom to ask, "everything okay over here?"
I need to mention that we also have two cats, Wolfman and Bernadette, whom we have been loving like children for the past four years. Where were they during the excitement? Trapped in the baby's room, screaming and clawing at the door the entire time. Of course they could not be loose. The baby landing strip was spic and span. There was no room for wild cat hairs floating in front of my wife's privates like the wisps of a dandy lion. Nor would there be any patience for a feline jumping onto her heaving belly, begging for a Whiskas Temptation. So mix the constant wails of these furry little buggers with my wife's labour moans, plus add that we were all way beyond an ordinary tired; the whole place felt like some sort of phatasmagoric dream prison.
But of course go time finally came! Our incredible little baby daughter started emerging from her mother. At this point I was laying in bed with my arm around Kathleen. I would go back and forth from watching my wife's incredibly exhausted, yet also elated face, to watching the baby's head reveal itself from the womb that had created and nurtured her for the passed ten months. That part happened so fast. It was incredible. Pretty soon the midwives were gone and the three of us lay there. The brand new, wet, red, little one had already nursed from her mother's breast and was now nestled on my hairy chest like a squirrel that had found a bird's nest. All three of us fell asleep. Twenty minutes later I awoke a genuine father holding my first child. It was surreal.
Chris Locke is a stand up comedian, actor, writer from Toronto. You can find more of his hilarious thoughts here.