Emergency C-Sections, Incubators, & Hospital Protocol: Men Experience Birth Trauma, Too

by Birth Without Fear on August 28, 2011

Birth trauma is very real and probably much more frequent than women in our society realize. But birth trauma is not exclusive to the moms and babies. We dads experience birth trauma, too, but in a very different, very mentally draining way.

Postpartum Depression for Men?

I am very involved in my family and find that my life revolves around them no matter what I do. I lie down with the younger two kids at night and, if I’m home, for naps during the day. I draw for my son and play superheroes and tag with him often (though not often enough by his standards, which would be 24/7/365), and I’m constantly teaching my oldest the differences between right and wrong as she begins getting older and discovering new language and behaviors (that we aren’t always thrilled about). I recently had to quit a steady job that demanded too much time away from family and I am now currently starting up my own business where I can make my hours revolve around my family.

With all that being said, it should not came as a surprise that I am very involved with the ins and outs of Mrs. BWF’s pregnancies and births. When she goes through trying times, I go through trying times.

Birth trauma is a very real thing for women. In fact, I will go so far as to say that birth trauma can account for much of the postpartum depression that happens in our society. It just never gets addressed because the very ones women trusted to guide them through childbirth and violated that trust have placed themselves on a holier-than-thou pedestal. It wasn’t anything the OB or the nurse or the midwife did, it is all in the new mom’s head. Her experience, good or bad, happened all by random chance and nothing the “expert” care providers did, right? It is up to the new mom to deal with it all by herself after, many times, no would leave her alone when she needed it most. Nice logic.

I say this because I have seen it first hand with Mrs. BWF. I have watched her move on past the trauma and postpartum depression by herself. I was there, but I am not a trained counselor or therapist. There’s only so much emotional support I can offer because I have never experienced it first hand.

But what about me? What about the husbands reading this or the husbands of the women reading this? What happens to them when they see their wife’s plans go up in smoke, when the hospital staff mistreats or violates their wife, when these supposed childbirth care providers instill their ignorant fears and hospital protocol on humans in a one-size-fits-all manner? What happens when we are there to support our wives through the thick and thin, but can’t because only she can birth her baby?

I was there to support Mrs. BWF, but I never realized I needed someone there to support me.

Deer in the Headlights

I was there, supporting Mrs. BWF throughout her first pregnancy, when she literally vomited every single day. So much so, that we had to take her to the Outpatient Center to get IVs so she could stay hydrated. I was there when three different midwives palpated and said the baby’s head was down, only to find out at 36 weeks that the baby was Frank Breech. Not nearly as natural minded as we are now, we opted for the c-section, believing that a Frank Breech was impossible to birth naturally.

After planning a natural birth at a birthing center for months, it was a huge disappointment to go this route.

But I was there, by Mrs. BWF’s side, looking at her insides during the c-section as they tugged our first baby free. I was there in the hospital room the next three days, sleep deprived from the nurses barging in repeatedly to check Mrs. BWF’s vitals literally every single hour. I was there to watch her cry in frustration as the baby wouldn’t latch on, all because bonding couldn’t happen after the c-section.

Fears, Crackpot, Stress

I was there during Mrs. BWF’s second pregnancy when she had constant low back pain, despite going to a Chiropractor. I was there when she began labor for the first time. Labor continued for the next 54 hours unable to progress because of birth fears never addressed. I was there when the inconvenienced midwife thought Mrs. BWF was lying about the pain, asking me what I thought we should do. I was there when we rushed Mrs. BWF to the hospital and they said she had an infection (of which they never told us what)… and the midwife later admitted she thought Mrs. BWF was making it up (being in active labor).

I was there when the strung-out crackpot OB, on edge and jittery from at least two whole pots of coffee in the last thirty minutes, performed a hack job on my wife as I watched. I was there when my son had a fever and they wouldn’t let me or my wife touch him. I was there, for an hour, talking to him, unable to touch him, while he cried in the incubator until all his vitals settled down. I was there pleading with the nurse to bring him to his mom, so she could hold him for the first time… two hours later. I was there three days later, when the nurse wouldn’t let me carry my own son to the car in his car seat due to hospital protocol. So I ripped the car seat out of her hand, finally fed up, rudely explaining that he was MY son and I would carry him to MY car and buckle him in MYSELF, of which she obliged (my death stare is second to none).

I was there when the crackpot OB took the staples out of the incision five days later and told Mrs. BWF “You can never attempt a homebirth ever again.” I was there when the crackpot OB told Mrs. BWF that the numbness in her left thigh since the surgery was due to sciatica and not the anesthesia, simply to shut us up because she had another patient waiting.

I was there a week later when I had to take five exams in seven days (I was in grad school and could not miss any time). I was there, every night, studying, helping Mrs. BWF with the new baby and sleeping an average of an hour and a half each night for a week. I was there when, after too much stress and too little sleep, severe back spasms kept me from doing anything except lie on my back for a week. I was there feeling like scum that my wife, recovering from a traumatic emergency c-section, was taking care of me because I couldn’t move. I was there for the post-partum depression that lasted weeks and months because of the failed homebirth, emergency c-section, and lack of bonding between mother and baby.

Under the Table and Social Services

I was there for Mrs. BWF’s third pregnancy, which, actually, went very smooth. I was there when we hired a midwife, but had to keep it to ourselves because the state we lived in outlawed midwives attending homebirths for VBACs. I was there when the midwife dropped Mrs. BWF from care at 42 weeks because Mrs. BWF wouldn’t try to naturally induce, leaving us to figure out what to do. I was there when we had to find another midwife (because we felt we needed one), and when we did find one (a vile CNM), we couldn’t tell her anything, making us look like the most ignorant fools walking the planet.

I was there when Mrs. BWF went into labor again (at 43 weeks, six days) and tried to do it unassisted. I was there when she realized she hadn’t prepared for an unassisted birth and that we had to go to the hospital. I was there when, in the hospital, they wouldn’t let Mrs. BWF walk around or squat, again because of hospital protocol. I was there when the rude OB came in and, without introducing himself or saying much at all, gloved up and inserted his fingers in my wife’s vagina without asking, prompting her to scream “GET OUT OF ME!” I was there when he suggested a c-section and she shot him down immediately. I was there to watch her push (finally) and to tell her the baby was crowning. I was also there to watch the vile CNM reach in, pull the baby out, and tear Mrs. BWF so badly that I was stunned to see shredded bloody flesh where it should normally be smooth and pink. I was there to see Mrs. BWF realize they had given her pitocin to “help her uterus contract,” after she had explicitly told them not to.

I was there, not wanting a repeat of the helpless feeling we had with baby #2,  belligerent and uncooperative with the nurses as they tried to run every test under the sun on our new baby (running a glucose test to check for diabetes on a six pound baby… seriously?). I was there when the vile CNM called social services on us because we (I) refused all the tests. They soon realized the vile CNM was a fool because we eventually had them done anyway (Mrs. BWF was exhausted, drugged, and didn’t want the confrontation so she gave in). I was there when the vile CNM admitted to Mrs. BWF that we made her tired because the nurses, not knowing the specifics of each test, had to go and repeatedly find out from her what exactly they were testing (shouldn’t they know that?).

The Hell With Them All & The Best Day of My Life

I was there to hear a leader in my profession speak about how her first four babies were born at home, just her and her husband and no one else. I was there to come home and bring it up to Mrs. BWF during the the first trimester of her fourth pregnancy (after she brought it up to me during her third pregnancy and I said “NO WAY!”). I was there to watch her gain confidence by reading books, blogging about it, and visualizing it. I was there at church where, because of the blog, people avoided her and pointed at her like she was a freak. I was there to hear our church leader say that other women in the church wanted him to do something because they were worried something bad would happen.

I was there when Mrs. BWF went into labor in our apartment. I was there when she went into transition in the bathtub, slipping off into a peaceful trance. I was there when she got up and stood over the toilet and pushed. I was there to see the baby crown.

I was there, finally, after so much heartache, and stress, and frustration, to catch my own baby.

I was also there to watch Mrs. BWF bond with our baby for the first time without anyone sticking their nose in our business. I was there to watch mom nurse the baby without any trouble. I was there to watch our kids wake up and realize that they had a new sister laying on mom as she sat on the family room couch. I was there to watch our oldest cut the cord.

I was there to finally experience my own healing. After the disappointments, the frustration, the anger, the heartache, the pain, the stress, and fear of another pregnancy/childbirth, I couldn’t help but feel elated, relieved, and healed by Mrs. BWF’s accomplishment.

And to this day, it was the best day of my life.

What Do You Mean Your Own Healing? You’re a Guy!

Watching your wife literally go through hell three different times doesn’t exactly render a sense of peace and comfort about birth from the male perspective. Having three bad experiences in the hospital and four bad experiences with a midwife doesn’t give me a sense of confidence in any birth provider whatsoever. Trusting birth, after my trust in it was profoundly shaken, is not an easy thing to do. Even now.

Despite our amazing experience with our fourth baby, I still have fear. But not of birth. It is a fear of what will happen to Mrs. BWF. It is the sense that if something happens to her, I can’t do anything about it. It is a very helpless feeling, and I don’t like to feel helpless.

Sure, our fourth experience was an unassisted pregnancy and homebirth, but the only thing that alleviated the fears I had was witnessing the absolute faith and confidence Mrs. BWF had in her body to birth that baby after two c-sections and an intervention-riddled VBA2C. The result was truly amazing to behold.

I’m sure most of you know Mrs. BWF is pregnant for a fifth time, and again, I still have my fears, despite the healing we went through with baby #4. But I don’t focus on them. Instead I focus on the faith and confidence I have in Mrs. BWF.

Watching Mrs. BWF become a beacon of hope to other women with similar experiences, and solidifying her own faith and confidence in her body to, once again, birth this fifth baby reminds me how good an experience birth can be.

That is what pushes me past my fears.

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{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharalyn June 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Oh–I am in tears. Beautifully written. Thank you so much. We just had our second child at home (a beautiful, healing birth) after 9.5 years of trying to get over the trauma of our son’s birth. What you stated about your 4th child is exactly what we just experienced with our second (well, 6th if you count miscarriages–most of which I attribute to psychologically not being ready to confront birth again).

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Flare June 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Loved reading this! Wonderful husband :)

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Barbara June 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I have tears. Wow, thanks for sharing!

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LuCinda Miller June 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm

How beautiful. God bless you guys… After all the birthing troubles to still hop back on that horse and go for an unassisted home birth is AMAZING! WTG! Very inspiring!

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Marie June 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Such a beautiful story….in absolute tears… so inspiring. Just had an emergency C and looking forward to a VBAC at home. Love reading about what is possible. Thanks for the post.

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Heather July 18, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I just have to say that this is beautifully written. What a powerful thing to read. Thank you.

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Angie July 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

Wow! This really helped me understand what my husband went through with our second child’s birth. It was a wonderful labour and birth up until the last moment. Then my son got stuck (shoulder dystocia). Our wonderful midwife had me do the Gaskin maneuver, baby slipped right out (did brake both collor bones pour guy) but all was well until…until I started to hemorrhage. At the time I was oblivious to all the commotion. I had little knowledge of the severity of things. I was in happy bliss holding & nursing our new baby. I do remember how strained my hubbies face was. I recall wondering why. It was 30min after birth that they started talking blood transfusion and I suddenly felt VERY weak I realized something is wrong. Thankfully the bleeding slowed, baby perked right up and in the end all was well. Or so I thought. Two years later (last July) baby #3 came and throughout my labour and delivery my husband was NOT the relax joyful supportive coach he had been with the first two. Honestly he stressed me out! When it came time to push I looked around trying to find my support, my love and he was accross the room as far from me as he could get with tears running down his face. I’ll I wanted was to tell him things where going great, all was well. I couldn’t understand the fear I saw in his eyes. After a beautiful water birth he then admitted he was worried but that is all he would say. Even a year later he wont talk about it. We are both in agreement we want more children but before that happens I want my amazing husband birth coach back. So how do I get him to heal as you have?

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Chelle June 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Have you heard of taking the herb Shepard’s Purse to prevent hemorrhaging? I took it only occasionally from 35 weeks on in my recent second pregnancy and bled very little. My midwife recommended it to me since I have large babies and bleed quite a bit–though my OB basically forced petocin on me after I requested not having it in my birth plan, which prevented it for my first baby.

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ashley August 27, 2011 at 1:07 am

Thank you so much for sharing, this gives me so much hope!

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C/S mummy August 27, 2011 at 3:54 am

Wow!! I am in tears reading about your story. I had to have a C/S at 36weeks because i had HELLP syndrome and it was not traumatic at all for me but i was in ICU because of my HELLP syndrome and my partner thought they were going to loose me so he spent every minute with me and only saw our son every few hours for the first 5 days. He doesnt talk much about the pain he feels about the birth of our DS and i think that is because he has experienced birthed trauma. Thank you for sharing!!

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Wendy August 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

Wow! What a great job writing from the dad’s perspective. I work with pregnant mom’s (and dad’s), I have 6 children, and my husband and I have had to ‘fight’ to get what we wanted several times for our births. I would love to talk to him more now about what his experiences were like. Thank you for writing this!

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Elisabeth August 28, 2011 at 12:06 am

Thank you for sharing! Planning home birth for our first baby and this blog is perfect example of why. People who ask me why I would be willing to risk the life of my child do not understand that it is the way they treat you in the hospital (as well as the fact that statistically for most women home birth is a safe option)…OK,maybe not all the time, but the possibility this could happen is why I am having my baby at home. I am lucky though to have a really awesome midwife, am sorry it was so hard for you guys to find a good one, but admire you for taking initiate and control of your birth!

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Ari August 28, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Wow. Thank you SO much for writing this. You just made me love my husband even more :)

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Dr. Nancy, Your Birth Coach August 31, 2011 at 7:05 am

Wow. I am in tears and speechless. It is insane the abuses done to women and no one in the system even thinks they have done anything wrong. I personally think modern obstetrical practice is barbaric, assaulting, and abusive towards women. You are right that it is also very abusive towards men. The first birth I attended, as a friend/support person, the nurse jumped up on the table and pushed on my friends abdomen so violently to force the baby out. I was standing at moms legs, dad by her side, and all I could see was the look of total helplessness on his face. How he so wanted to save his wife from this trauma but didn’t have the ability to do anything. I really appreciate you sharing a father/husbands perceptive on traumatic birth. Trust in yourself, as you know what is right for your new baby, I’m sure you will have a wonderful birth experience with #5.

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Alexis Ryan August 31, 2011 at 11:05 am

This was so beautifully written. It’s not often that we hear about the guy’s side of things, it’s important to remember how good husbands and partners experience a lot of these things too, and how it must be difficult to watch the person you love suffer and not be able to help them the way you want.

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Sarah Coss September 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I have had 2 wonderful home births with no interventions either time, and still my husband experienced a trauma watching me birth on my 2nd child, his 1st. He only opened up to me a few days afterwards and explained his fear while watching me birth and his feeling of helplessness. He tried to find support online afterwards and to find a similar story but all other home-birthing stories he came across were of fathers who were elated. I think it is really beneficial for father’s to know that their fears are legitimate too and that they are not alone. It is a testament to how much they love their partners that that they worry : ) We are expecting our third child in 10 weeks, who will again be born at home, all going to plan. I hope reading stories like this will help him to feel secure and confident to express his fears, and to know he is not helpless, his presence and support is essential for me to be able to birth so easily and peacefully

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Linda September 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Thank you so much for writing your poignant stories. I am a Nurse and I have a Neurobiology degree…and I can relate to much of what you said and agree wholeheartedly about PPD and the cause being birth trauma. SO many woman are oppressed and bullied and degraded and not allowed to even listen to their bodies or intuition.

It is time for women to take their birthing power back. And sharing our stories is a way to do that. My husband would agree with many of your feelings and observations. We talk often to people as to how to pick good providers(there are many out there including OBGYN’S), how to be empowered and to listen to your body, and how to advocate for yourself in the medical system.

There are fabulous people out there doing the precious healing work (including myself) of our birth stories.

I am planning on becoming a midwife and birth educator…and my experience was pivotal in this decision.

Many blessings to you on your journey.

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Lisa September 3, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I know this was written awhile ago, but I was just recently introduced to this website. Thank you for writing this. I am a missionary serving in South America and we had our first baby last September. It was awful. Horribly traumatic. So much so that I had counseling while we were in the States for 3 months over Christmas. But, my husband – I think it was almost worse on him. Everything was in Spanish and we had no family or friends with us – no one to help translate. We went from everything being okay, to everything being traumatic. I went from, “You’ll be giving birth by 9am” to “Emergency C. Now.” in 2hrs time. My husband breathed with me during a contraction that lasted 2 solid hours thanks to a reaction to medication to induce labor. My husband had to call my mom, back in PA, and tell her everything was not okay, that I was going in for a C-section, and that he’d call later because calling cards were too expensive. My husband had to pay for the C before it even happened, before he even really realized how serious everything had gotten. My husband had to stand at the door to the surgery room and wave goodbye to me… and then wait for 3 hours to know if I was okay or even where I was. He convinced myself I had died. By the time I was wheeled into my room, without the baby (I didn’t see the baby for 5 hours, and even then I wasn’t allowed to hold her), all we did was cry. It was horrible. Elena turns 1 on September 29 and I’m still scared of doing this again. This website is the first time I’ve read encouraging stories – stories very similar to mine – and it gives me hope. Thank you.

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christie September 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

thank you for that, i wish my husband could talk to me about his feelings of my birth. my son was footling breech, we opted for a c section. it went really well it was relaxed and the midwives and doctors were excellent, our son never left our sight. but i didnt bond, breastfeeding was difficult to start but no more than usual, its hospital policy for mums to room in with bubs, i stayed for 5 days which was lovely, by then my milk had come in so id gotten the support i needed. but when we went home i kept expecting his parents to come to the door and take him like i was baby sitting, i loved him but i didnt feel connected, i dont want that again, i want to be involved in my baby’s birth. i would try to talk to my husband but he was rarely home, he works nights sleeps days so wasnt able to help. im now pregnant with our second child he is terrified of me going into labour, id love a home birth but all he can say is what if something goes wrong if he had his way id already be in hospital when i start having contractions, i know that im made to give birth but his lack of confidence in my body really weighs on me, i wish there was some way for me to get him to tell me whats going on

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ginger October 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

christie… I can so empathise with your feeling “i loved him but i didnt feel connected…”
My son is 6 months old, and that totally describes how I feel. I love him, but I don’t feel CONNECTED. It’s like this is someone else’s life that I’m just borrowing. I feel like a babysitter, not like this beautiful baby’s mom. I thought it was just me, having a hard time accepting this life transition. We had wanted a natural birth, but at 37 1/2 weeks, the high-risk dr decided that my high blood pressure was TOO high, and I was spilling too much protein in my urine. I was devastated at being induced, especially being induced early. Every intervention I had feared, ended up happening, up to and including an emergency c-section under general anesthesia after a day & a half in the hospital. And, its entirely possible that the dr was not exaggerating; that my health really was at risk by staying pregnant. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I wasn’t able to give my baby the birth that he should have had, and even half a year later, it doesn’t feel like he is MINE.

And … after watching me go through all of the things I was afraid of, and watching me be suddenly wheeled away for emergency surgery, my husband said he can’t go through that again. That if we were ever going to be pregnant again, he would rather schedule a csection than watch everything go wrong.

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Joe Valley October 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Right on! Reading posts like this one remind me that we are ALL CONNECTED. When one person close to us feels something…then we are sure to feel the ripple of that emotion. Thanks for taking the time to really go there with your experience.

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Helen October 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Wonderful. Thank you, thank you for this

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Mr brooke not miss November 27, 2011 at 3:50 am

thankyou for sharing this was a beautiful story. my wife and i have had two home births and have thankfully not needed to go to hospital once.
my fear is not in birth its in hospitals

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Tina February 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Thank you for writing this! I do believe that men’s feelings are entirely overlooked during this process- but really should not be. It is a very emotional time for all! If it weren’t for my SO I wouldn’t have been able to stand up for my own rights and give the hospital my birth guide, and I appreciate him so much for that. He knew how important it all was to me, and helped me protect myself.

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Brandi February 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm

What an amazing story! Your blog never ceases to move or amaze me. It was so nice to read about birth trauma (not the act itself, of course) from a man’s perspective. It gives me a small glimpse into what my hubby was feeling when dealing with the horrible delivery nurse at my daughter’s birth. It is a shame we have learned so much since and now know so much better, but at least now we are prepared and knowledgeable.

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Jessie March 14, 2012 at 6:13 am

Beautiful Post! Hopefully it will help my husband understand how badly I don’t want to schedule a c-section for my baby(currently frank breech at 38 weeks). He worries about the dangers of homebirth, I worry about the trauma of hospital birth and c-section.
Thank You!

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Angie April 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

His concerns are so valid… Your instinct is so valid…

I wish I’d seen this comment a month ago.
I know a few dads he could talk with, were he interested. ;)

Keep reading, learning, talking, discovering.

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Stephen Grant March 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

Thanks for the article. Makes the rest of us Dad’s feel better!

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wanda dumire April 26, 2012 at 11:00 am

well writen. it felt like my husband could have written this himself which makes me think about his side of journey for once. we too had 3 csections, 3 tramatic hospital births. treated badly and felt left with no power or say. my first it made it very difficult to bond. after 5-6 years when we found out we were having our fourth i decided to stay away from all medical professionals from the beginning. we did not tell anyone this. we had to tell lies and keep secrest through the whole pregnancy just to protect ourselves (somone called social services after we attempted a vbac with our third) we were terrified. not of would could happen during birth but what could be done to us or our baby if we lost the control. so with our fourth i did all my own care and went into labor on my own for the first time. he was born in our bed just 5 1/2 hrs later. my husband always says it was the best day ever. and at first i didnt understand because i thought he was favoring this baby over our others. however i came to realize we both gained our strength and confidence back that day. which im not even sure we knew how much we lost before that day. thanks for being out spokent and sharing your journey. it really will help many people currently fighting this battle themselves.

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Jen April 26, 2012 at 11:58 am

Thank you for having the courage to write of your experience. As a counselor, I had never even considered the father’s experience of trauma because I focus so heavily on the trauma experienced by the mother, however now you have opened my eyes. I feel even more blessed to have had my 2 boys born at home. I pray that you and Mrs. BWF continue to heal and thrive with your growing family!

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Angie April 26, 2012 at 11:59 am

My applause can be heard from Jupiter.

I want to meet you guys. No words will be needed. Just the smiles and the mutual knowing (understanding).

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Katie April 28, 2012 at 2:27 am

Wow! So well written, thank you for sharing!!

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Christene September 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

Thank you for sharing your insight. I did not like my first time birthing in the hospital, not because I was in a hospital, but for the fact my ob, did not show up until 15 and a half hours after I was admitted to the hospital. I was dilated to 3, and was awake the entire time until the sun was shining through the window. The nurses put and IV in my arm for antibiotics, because I was told I tested positive for group B strep. They put the IV in a spot where it made it very hard to hold on and squat, when there was a contraction. When I told the nurses I wanted my ob there, they called her, and she told them to check me, and If I was not dilated to 5 to send me home to labor there. After they called her to tell her I was at 5, she did not show up for another 3 hours, I was requesting to have my waters popped because, baby was not budging, and contractions were so intense, I had no pain meds, because I wanted a natural as possible birth. When The Ob finally showed up, I told her i wanted her to pop the water bag, when she did, she did something wrong, and tore me with the hook from the inside out to my clitoris, Then of course all the mess came. Labor after that was super intense, and docs, would not stop putting the monitors on me, because they said baby’s HR, was dropping, and he was losing oxygen. they kept throwing a mask over my face. I am a person who don’t like to be crowded, and they would not let my body do what it knew how to do. Finally baby is born, and as soon as I cut his cord they wissked him away from me, to clean him up and give him O2, they did not give him back to me, after giving his first apgar of 8, I kept screaming at the nurses to give me my baby, finally they had enough of mom’s outrage. and brought him to me, but would not take the stupid O2 mask off of his face, made me so mad, because all I wanted to do was hold him close to me, and begin to nurse him. They gave him a 9, and another 9. So apgar was 8,9.9. There was no reason at all that my son could not have been cleaned up on me. This time around I have a different OB, and said to her, no matter what I want my baby first He is my son. Unless he is purple I want him now. I know that other’s have had it much worse than this for there first, but I totally agree with what you said, My husband did not show how he felt, but I know he was upset at the fact, I did not get my wish. This time I hope and pray THE nurses listen to me, or I will fire them. I learned that from reading other mom’s blogs on here. It needs to be done. Thanks for all the love and support you and your wife, MRS. BWF put into this page. It has made me stronger just reading everybody’s stories.

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Vanessa September 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

I’m a relatively new reader of BWF as my husband and I are (re)trying for #1 after a miscarriage last year, and had never heard your full story all in one go…the fact that you are both still together and stronger than ever is amazing in itself!

Thank you for reminding me that this process is not all about me :)

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Melanie Corrigan September 10, 2012 at 11:25 am

Thank you. Beautiful sharing . . .

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Julie September 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm

You and your wife are amazing. I am so happy you all finally got your experience you so innocently wanted. I was given pitocin and the grumpy end of shift nurse boosted it to a level it should have never gotten to is what i was told from my hero of a nurse. OB suggested cesarean, nurse talked to daddy and both agreed that I do it that it would benefit us all. Doctor and a diff nurse agreed on epidural since 12 hrs in didn’t get me dilating. I regret to inform having both legs and entire birth area numb for 24 more hrs after our angel was born. Needless to say I wasn’t the one performing the first tub time. I wasn’t even able to hold her promptly when she left my body due to protocols. I am I too am reading my options with my now 2nd baby. I am

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Julie September 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I am thankful to have this amazing man and father of my children who truly knows best for me and is completely supportive of my wishes. He is very encouraging. Thank you for sharing because I would have never thought of all my experiences being just as mentally scarring for him.

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KaritaG October 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

Amazing. I am crying right now! I had a beautiful homebirth with my first baby in january and was so thrilled to get to the part where you finally got the birth experience you wanted. I am also a childbirth educator in training and am going to print this out for my planned “dad portion” of references for my proposed curriculum. Thank you for sharing. Love and light :)

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Ivy October 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm

this article meant so much to me i printed it out to give to my husband to read. thanks so much for you work and effort you put into BWF. i’m a mom of 3 hoping for vba3c for our next baby. although not yet pregnant with our 4th i’m eagerly looking forward to a healing birth!

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sarah j October 31, 2012 at 12:33 am

Wow! Thank you for sharing. I whole heartedly believe in male birth trauma. My father has suffered his whole life with it because of my birth 22 years ago. I had my daughter (his first granddaughter) 4 months ago at a birth center with 2 midwives. For the first time I saw some healing come to his life. He still has some ways to go, partially because he doesn’t belive he has birth trauma or even knows what that is(but I hope with sunsequent births he can totally heal). Thank you for bringing awareness to this horrible plague in america!

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Nicola December 14, 2012 at 8:27 am

I believe my DH has yet to heal after a 90 minute surprise unassisted home birth. The ambulance arrived 3 minutes before my DD (Second child) and he barely speaks about the experience. It gives me hope that after all your experiences there is hope that in time he will recover. Thankyou for sharing your experiences, you never hear the partners perspective so it is nice to have the other side of the story. Inspirational :)

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Paige December 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

Thank you for writing this. I am 24 with 2 wonderful children .i had nonidea there was the option of a vba2c or even vba4c very informative and healing as i have also had a semi traumatic birth of my son and have sone fears still from stories my mother has told me of my own nirth.im glad to know i can still have a vanginal birth after not being able to do so with my son and then having fears with my daughter hopefully ill have the chance to have a vba2c.thank you so much for giving me hope to have a natural birth when i felt like there was no hope for it to happe

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Salihah January 3, 2013 at 6:52 am

You’re both heros. For all the babies, and all of us out there, thank you for being there.

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Leah January 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I have never been so moved by one of the stories on BWF. I didn’t realize until the last paragraph that this was LITERALLY Mrs. BWF he was talking about and now having a greater understanding our our blogging master, I have a stronger faith in the community that she has created… and in myself and my own birthing experience to come.

I could not imagine the helplessness one must have felt as a mother or husband to be so violated (sometimes literally violated) by medical professionals, whether doctor or midwife. It once again reaffirms for me that I know what is best for my body, and no one else is allowed to have an opinion about my birthing choice.

Thank you for being so open with your story. My greatest wishes for baby #5. I will keep your family in my prayers and will always be grateful for the incredible information that has been shared.

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Mrs. BWF January 15, 2013 at 9:46 am

Hi Leah,

Thank you! We had #5 22 months ago. Another homebirth. :)

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Emily January 15, 2013 at 1:01 am

Thank you so much for sharing this. I absolutely love this blog and thoroughly enjoy the honesty found in each post. As a doula, an aspiring midwife, and a not-yet-mother; this perspective is eye-opening, enlightening and inspiring. May this birth be met with much health & happiness!

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mel b January 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

what a beautiful story, not often at all are the partners, husbands thought of during the course of pregnancy, their memories, feelings and emotions are all a part of this too. All the very best for you and your growing family

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T.K. February 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Wow, Mr. BWF! Thanks for sharing your story!

My first was a trainwreck induction turned emergency c-section. The nurse we had during my labor was so incompetent, my DH didn’t feel like he could walk away from me long enough to use a bathroom. Shortly after they wheeled me in for surgery (without allowing him to come along), some moron in the hospital decided to do a “code pink” drill. Apparently, this is a routine exercise to practice what they would do if a baby went missing, but my husband had no idea what it meant and thought his world was coming to an end. He held our squalling newborn for 2 hours waiting for me to be brought out to nurse him. He got to deal with my PPD, too.

Anyway, I can totally relate to your homebirth being healing for you as well as your wife, because I watched it in my husband. When planning our first homebirth, I wanted a chance to prove that I could “do it”, but my husband was really the one who had to deal with fear. We found a wonderful midwife (so sorry you never did!) who answered all his tough, brutally honest questions without flinching. When my labor became very long, he was able to walk away and actually take a nap (it was the middle of the night) because he knew I was in competent care. We’ve had 3 homebirths now, and we’re planning our fourth. He still is uncomfortable with birth (he walks away when my friends and I talk birth stories, LOL), but he’s a firm believer in homebirth because it was better for me, better for our babies, and yes, better for him, too. :)

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Summer February 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I have a sleeping baby next to me so I am doing my best to not sob hysterically right now, but it’s tough! This is the best post about birth trauma I have ever read. Thank you for your honesty, your vulnerability and your commitment to your family. Blessed be!!

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G. Rivera February 25, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for bring that up into light so at least people reading this blog can acknowledge birth trauma does exist and despite what most of the people say to you, you still feel it and have to get over it by yourself. It is amazing to me than women have conquered a lot of things in professional areas, but we cannot own our own birth experience. It is always about the system, regulations and so on.

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Mrs. BWF February 26, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Lady,

We invite you to read more on the blog and our FB page. You will quickly find that is not the ‘mentality’ of this blog/community. :) Thank you for your thoughts and comment!

January

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Jennifer April 12, 2013 at 8:20 pm

My husband and I have not endured any birth trauma together, but both of our first children were born under conditions that made us both decide to birth outside of a hospital (though, this time I am planning on birthing in a hospital – just my gut instinct, and I really like, and trust my midwife). He is very much invested in how the birth happens (or happened).

No, he cannot physically or emotionally experience the things I do, but he is there, in the trenches with me. It most definitely affects him.

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Lekki Frazier-Wood April 12, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. I had aimed for a natural birth, but due to various risk factors we agreed to an induction. Our OB team were amazing and kept it as ‘natural’ after that as possible – gave me a full 2 days on pit (i.e. didn’t give up after 8 hours of no progress and demand a C-section), with a good rest and a meal between. They used a foley balloon, maintained their promise not to offer me an epi and didn’t panic when the baby was transverse, but guided him out. We had the best birth experience possible, but I hemorraged severely after – such that it took me 10 units of blood to recover. Like Angie, I don’t remember. I passed out on the way to the OR – I only have snatches. It was my husband who had to watch the blood pour, who was handed our son and told to wait, who when he asked whether I would be back was told ‘we hope so – we’ll do our best’. He sat on the floor outside the OR, he sat by my bed while I screamed in my sleep all night (they saved my uterus by performing a procedure that left me contracting, against a ‘babies head’ equivalent [their description] every 2-3 minutes all night, right after birth). Then the recovery was long and difficult, even once I left ICU. He is *terrified* of another birth and it’s a difficult topic in our house because I desperately want more children. Congratulations on your healing journey and thank you so much for sharing. It gives me hope for the future.

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Stefani Vechery April 13, 2013 at 6:28 am

What a beautifully written story! I am an L&D nurse and not all nurses, midwives and doctors are as bad as the ones you dealt with. I’m sorry that you had such terrible experiences with care providers. As a L&D nurse, I work hard to respect the wishes of my patient and her family while still following the guidelines I have as an employee. But I have no problems with “bending the rules”, while others do. Follow your heart and do what you feel is right for you and your wife. I wish you both a beautiful delivery of your next baby. Thank you for sharing from the husband perspective.

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