Duncan’s Story: A Homebirth “From the Man’s Perspective”


It all started for me some three and a half years ago at an antenatal class – a bunch of expectant first time parents sitting there with a group of strangers wondering, “What the hell am I doing here?” Midwives! Bring on the doctors, the machinery, the drugs, and the other wonders of modern science. But there I was, dragged along by my wife’s excitement, listening to what I thought at the time was the “hippy” section of the medical profession, subscribing nature’s way and homeopathic remedies for childbirth. These, I thought, were the people probably not good enough to get a job at the hospitals – HOW WRONG I WAS!

In hindsight, women have been giving birth for quite a few years now and why I thought giving birth in a hospital would be better, I have no idea.

Now, onto the birthing part. I remember organising the birthing pool which I wanted to collect from the hire place four months before the due date just in case. Apparently, this is not allowed, and I ended up collecting it about three weeks before my son arrived. We were organised; birthing pool, seven hundred thousand square metres of heavy duty polythene (apparently, or so I was told, there would be blood and stuff everywhere) and some old sheets, bubbly, camembert and pate in the fridge, we were ready to go. The BIG day, Ange awoke on the due date and had some crampy things (I have never really understood what that is all about, but I have sympathised with her all our married life). Anyway, she had had these before, so no real panic at this point, just carry on, breakfast and the other normal things people do on the weekends.

Another hour or so, cramps a little worse and the toilet was continually occupied (not a great day to relax and read the weekend herald). Perhaps this was it; having not been there before I was unable to offer any pearls of wisdom as to whether or not labour had started, but it had … Lunchtime came, a little more serious and time to ring the midwife who arrived not long after with the usual spiel that if you’re not sure you are in labour then you’re probably not … They are not perfect – we were in labour. (You will notice that I use “WE” as it was difficult for me to watch my wife in pain, and as a man who wants to fix things, not be able to do anything about it other than let nature take its course). Midwife explained that we were only four centimetres dilated and that as a rule of thumb one hour for 1cm, so, still six hours to go. She left (with our permission) to go and call on a couple of other clients and we were left to it.

Anyway, time for “ACTION MAN” – polythene spread out to cover the entire lounge and half way up the walls (I was planning for a war zone!) including furniture, towels and old sheets spread out, the pool up and filling commenced. Let me tell you, those pools are big – no trouble with the cold water but the hot water cylinder was drained, so pots out and boiling on the stove along with the jug and anything else that I could find to fill up that pool.

Things starting to get more intense with Ange unable to get comfortable, stand up, sit down, lie down, stand up, walk around, all the while I was not quite sure what she wanted me to do so I hovered, cold flannels, rubbing her back, cold drinks etc, just to be there for whatever she wanted. I thought I did a pretty good job, but you probably need to check with her to see if I did the right things or not. Big thing here is just do whatever they want, and life will be perfect.

I phoned the midwife when Ange felt like she needed to push, and they arrived about 30-40 minutes before Lucas turned up in the pool to the absolute delight of his father. Guys, I consider myself to be pretty much a man’s man, but let me tell you, nothing prepares you for the sheer overwhelming joy and love you feel when your child is born. Also had some dust in my eyes which made my eyes water (my wife will try and tell you that I cried but that simply is not true).

What I can honestly say is that for me, having my son at home has been the best decision we ever made, despite my initial concerns. To be able to spend that time with my wife, pretty much on our own, was just such a tremendous privilege; no doctors, no smell of disinfectant, no machines beeping, just the comfortable feeling you have when you sit at the place you live in. You know where everything is and visiting hours never end. There was no rush to cut the cord, no rush to do anything and best of all I got to be the first person to dress my son and pass him onto the most amazing woman I know – my wife.
I will always make time to talk about what for me so far in my life, has been one of the greatest days ever.