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A decade apart: a father's evolution in the birthing experience

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As a father of two daughters 10 years apart can be quite a challenge.

You have your oldest who is on the verge of not quite needing you as much and you’re starting to see your free time come back a little, to a newborn that is completely dependent on you and your spouse. You’re challenged to try to remember every detail from what were “the rules” back then, up to the present day is almost impossible.

My eldest, from a previous marriage, is incredibly helpful with her sister and is forming an amazing bond. My wife, who has zero shortage of motherly instinct running through her veins, comes from generations of natural caregivers and strong, loving women.

When my wife and I found out we were expecting, I was nervous that I would not be able to remember what to do and when to do it. I remember telling myself that I would need to let natural instinct take over and just take each event as it comes. As we talked more about the birth plan something just wasn’t feeling right about how we were doing it and the experiences we were having with our OB. We knew we wanted something a little more welcoming, warm and comfortable. Not to say the traditional way is wrong, it just wasn’t for us. 

I remember my wife coming home from prenatal yoga excited to share what he had learned in class and that is where she learned to tap into her curious side.

I watched from a distance Elise mentor and guide her to feel confident and empowered. My wife was bringing new ideas to me that I hadn’t heard of before that she learned in class… hypnobirthing, birth plans, doulas, etc. The more she brought to me the more curious I became. 

I’ll admit at the beginning I wasn’t so sure what this was all about and I questioned at times if it was right and would my wife and unborn baby be safe and protected.  As our journey went on, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. 

Decision time

We ended up electing to go with a midwife instead and along the way, found a few helpful techniques and options to welcome our newest little one. We knew that Elise was our missing link we were looking for in our birthing journey and we had to hire her as our pre and postnatal doula.

She was the glue that held us together. Her visits to our home to guide and teach us, to helping us draft our birth plan along with teaching us  yoga positions we could do together to help prepare for the birth. She was a very important part of the process because she put the courage and knowledge in us so that we could feel confident making decisions all the way through the birth and after. 

Having had our daughter, Luna, in October of 2022 and looking back at the birth of my first born Ryleigh over 11 years ago they were equally beautiful and amazing, but the one with Luna I felt a part of, not a passenger as I think sometimes fathers intentionally can feel.

With Ryleigh I basically let the doctors and nurses lead the way. I didn’t know my wife at the time and I could say no to the “suggestions” or object to the phrase “we’re gonna move things along by doing…”

Now, back then I hadn’t educated myself and known our options either. If I had, I would have tried to follow a different path, a path more like ours this time around. We were able to make choices, keep the lights dim, play our music, emit essential oils, eat, get up and walk, shower and most importantly of all let the baby decide when it’s time. I think so many couples, especially first time parents, are tense and excited and sometimes things seem to revert or lose progress on the way to the hospital. Or sometimes, it can happen right in the delivery room with medical professionals trying to move on to the next and speed up your process. 

Luna's birth day

Luna was born and I was right there, holding my wife’s leg and watching our daughter be born in the most incredible, calm and loving space. Elise continued to support our family through the postpartum time and I was thankful for her time with my wife as I had to return to work.

She continued to be that figure that guided us, kept us curious and kept us in control of our own story. 

I write this from a fathers perspective because often ours isn’t represented in birth stories and this experience has forever changed my perspective thanks to Elise and all her wisdom about peaceful birthing.

There’s options. Even if you don’t follow every piece of advice you’re given, at least do yourself a favor and explore your options!