I was upstaged while giving birth to my daughter. I’d heard of dads trying to take center stage before – chatting with the nurses, befriending the doctors, that type of thing. But never in my wildest dreams did I think it would happen to me, mid-delivery.
I had made a birth plan, just like our coach had told us. And, like many best-laid plans, they were tossed aside on – ahem – opening night. When my water broke, my husband leaped out of bed, grabbing The Bag and all our accoutrements. As we headed down to the hospital, I wondered how long I’d be in labor – real, pulsating, painful labor – before I’d cave and go for the drugs. My guy laughed – he knew as well as I did that I was no martyr. The epidural couldn’t come soon enough.
When we reached the triage desk, my husband informed the nurse on duty that I wanted an epidural, stat. Per our birth plan, there would be no hysterics, no special breathing and no natural childbirth. The nurse reassured us that there was no way I was ready for the epidural as I was only about 3 centimeters dilated.
They hooked me up to a monitor for about 20 minutes, at which point I started to cramp. After another internal, the nurse reassured me I hadn’t progressed at all, that everything was normal.
Except I knew better. It was time for my man to advocate and insist I get my epidural. Things were moving along and I could tell, even if Nurse Ratchet could not. He made himself as big as he could and demanded the drugs. The nurse paged the anesthesiologist and we headed to the birthing suite.
As we crossed the hall, I doubled over, grasping the bed. I started to hurl swear words I didn’t even know I knew. Something was happening between my legs and, standing there, I couldn’t help but push. The nurse grabbed me as my husband slowly backed away. The anesthesiologist arrived, but the nurse cried out, “It’s too late, she’s not gonna make it” as my baby began to crown. The ob-gyn walked in just in time to catch her.
I lay back, marveling at my five-minute birth. When the doctor asked if dad would like to cut the cord, I suddenly remembered my husband. My rock. The love of my life.
Where the hell was he?
To my left, my big, strong advocate lay on the floor. I had my nurse, he had his. That’s right, over 200 pounds of machismo lay passed out on the floor. While I missed the vagina-numbing drugs, he missed the whole experience. Here I was, feeling like a champion, having given birth to our child au naturel. And there he was, head propped up, post-swoon. I was a tiger. He was a pussy. I warned him I’d be dining out on this story for months! What a loser….
And then he explained that he thought I was dying. For real. He thought he was about to lose his wife. There was, after all, a lot of blood; a nurse screaming, “She’s not gonna make it”; and animal sounds emerging from my mouth, the likes of which he’d never heard. I felt awful. And the raging hormones didn’t help. The dining out soon turned to humble pie. Upstaged during the birth of my first child. By a man who loved me so much he fainted at the thought of losing me. Who was the loser now?