If I have one word to describe David's birth, it would be this: Back-Breaking.
No...really...at the end of the whole thing, I could hardly stand up straight and my feet hurt like crazy. No wonder doulas charge ridiculous fees for their work, it's quite a task, considering I merely did a tiny fraction of what they would do. Not that I didn't enjoy the whole process though.
Jasmine made it very clear from the start of the pregnancy that she wanted this time to be as natural as possible. I was all for the idea (can save money mah ha ha!!!) and I offered to do whatever I could to aid in the process. However, I had to draw the line when she wanted a home birth - can you imagine the cost of replacing our laminated flooring if it gets stained by all the you-know-what?!?! Anyway, she then later toyed with the idea of engaging a doula to assist in the birth but I was not very keen because I really wanted to be a lot more involved this time round. Ok, confession time: I was quite useless the last time cos' while Jasmine was agonising in pain, I was blissfully snoring away in the labour ward...model husband right? Anyway, Jasmine was kind enough to accommodate my request to make amends this time round but not without making me go through a series of literature on how to be a labour coach. I had to spend most of my night duties reading the materials on the Labour Coach's Notebook which she printed out for me.
Well, reading about the various coaching techniques was easy, executing them was anything but. What used to work suddenly got on her nerves. I had to change from one massaging technique to another because she suddenly didn't like to be touched in a particular way, I had to contort my body into positions I never knew I could so that I could support her as she writhed in pain, I never got to sit down because she felt more comfortable in the arm chair that was meant for me (and I refused to sit on the floor, knowing what often ends up on said floor)... the list goes on. In the midst of everything, I suddenly forgot how to identify the stages of labour so I didn't even realise when she actually went into transition. Before I knew it, she was ready to push and I could not even let go of her for 1 second to turn the TV off (yes, I'm a TV addict).
It was a tiring affair indeed, but you know what, it felt great! It felt great to be so involved in the process. It felt great looking into her eyes as I helped her to control her pushing. It felt even greater looking at her sigh of relief when they placed David on her chest. It felt great knowing that we did it together. Yeah, I know that what I went through was nothing compared to what Jasmine had to go through. But if you compare this labour with the previous one, this was a big deal to me.
For the record, I really respect Jasmine for having the guts to go through it with no pain relief whatsoever. Honestly, I was expecting her to cave in and ask for something, but she didn't. Maybe it helped that I told her due to the shortage of rooms, we had no choice but to upgrade to a deluxe room which meant that we had no budget for any extras... ha ha. Jokes aside, my wife was really brave and I love her so much more for it. I don't think I have that kind of threshold.
As for me, the icing on the cake was that I got to cut the cord this time...wow...I want to do it again...if The Mammy is agreeable.