By Eric on February 29, 2012 19

A Father’s Guide to the Delivery Room

This will be my first time in a delivery room, and it’s kind of scary. I can’t imagine what Kelsey will be thinking…

Kelsey made me watch The Business of Being Born early in our pregnancy, and things became real real quick. It’s been on my mind a lot throughout the pregnancy and I’ve adapted the mentality that I want to be the best coach I can be in the delivery room.

I know I’m not an expert on how to deliver a baby, but I am an expert in being Kelsey’s husband. I know her better than the midwife and nurses know her. As her husband I think I have a leg up in the situation on how to make her feel better.

With the help of the birthing class we took, I’ve tried to equip myself with the tools I need to be the most help I can be for Kelsey while in labor. While it scares the shiitake mushrooms out of me to go through this, thinking about what she will actually be going through scares me more.

Here’s my game plan for the delivery (knowing full well I’m going to have to adjust on the fly, but having a plan is better than winging it!):

My Role

  • Support: This is not about me. I think it’s the rite of passage into fatherhood. Delivery is the time where it is all about mom and baby. I am there to support Kelsey however she needs me to.
  • Communicate: Kelsey will be concentrating on managing pain and giving birth. I will need to be the family communicator through the process. I will be the one answering questions about our birth plan, keeping family posted of what’s going on, etc. I feel better knowing that I have been to all of Kelsey’s midwife appointments throughout our pregnancy.
  • Comfort: Whatever I can do to make the situation comfortable for Kelsey is what I need to do. I have a list of coping techniques that we learned in our birthing class that we can try. It’s going in our hospital bag so it’s with me when labor starts.
  • Navigate: The hospital tour was a great help to get a lay of the land. I now know where the pantry is so I can go get ice chips or anything else Kelsey might need. Although she won’t be able to eat once we get to the hospital, I can be a great servant post-birth by getting familiar with the surroundings.
  • Motivate: It nearly brings me to tears thinking of the pain Kels will be going through. Keeping my composure will be tough, but I accept the responsibility to keep her spirits high and to help motivate her to “push” on. Keeping in mind the end result, I know together we succeed.

Depending on the birthing class you took, I’m sure the techniques for supporting the women during labor differ, but I think the above are some great high-level thoughts to keep in mind. Being a rookie, it’s tough not knowing exactly what to expect, but having a plan and going in with the right mentality is about all I can do. Wish me luck!!

What’s missing from this list?

Mothers: What helped you the most in the delivery room?



Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. What about pictures??? Is there someone in there to do that because you will want them!!

  2. I think you have a great list, Eric! You’re right — having a plan and the right mentality going in to it will help you in the delivery room.

  3. i have never given birth nor been in a delivery room so i dont have much to say. BUT it does sound like a nice plan. and its really sweet that you have kinda planned out your role and you and kelsey have talked about expectations. im sure that is a source of a lot of comfort for her.

  4. I guess my biggest piece of advice is to expect the unexpected. Of course we all hope that our birth plan(s) go as planned — that’s why we have them — but birth is very unique, individualized and can deviate from your birth plan in the blink of an eye. Be firm, yet flexible. That’s clear as mud, right? :) And, also, Daddy…don’t take anything Kelsey says/does/wants/needs personally! It’s unlikely — from what I know of your relationship based purely from what you post on here — but it might be that the best way to support her, love her, and encourage her is to just step back and let the midwife and nurses do their job. And, that’s okay! The most important thing to do is to give her what she needs, no matter the form! Lots of well wishes…we all anxiously await any news! :)

  5. This sounds great! I have two little boys of my own (3 and 1) and am expecting my third in September. Both of my children were born naturally with no pain medication, and, if it is the Lord’s will, so will the third!

    I have an extremely supportive and tuned-in husband. It sounds like you are too. I often say that I’m not sure I would have been able to do it all naturally without him! It’s neat you have a midwife who will be there with you! We had a doula at our first baby’s birth and it was so nice because she had certain ideas for coping with pain and she would tell my husband and he would walk me through it. He knew the best way to explain things to me and it helped me to relax even more when it was my dear husband holding me, pressing on my back, etc. It’s the best of both worlds to have both an experienced birthing midwife and your husband!

    Every birth is SO different but I do have to say two things that helped me.

    First is that when you feel like you won’t be able to handle the pain any longer that usually means your baby’s birth is SOON! I asked my husband to remind me of this frequently. YOU CAN MAKE IT THROUGH and then get to hold that precious bundle. Seriously, you can do it! Use your techniques and continue to focus on the end goal.

    The second thing that helped me a lot is remembering that the pain WILL NOT last forever, it will end. Most of the time contractions come and go (as you know from the few you have had). I also had my husband remind me during each contraction that it will come back down. Taking one at a time helped me a lot. But I needed CONSTANT reminders from him! I would often ask him when I was in the think of it, “I don’t think I can do this. Do you think I can do this?” He would say, “You tell me if you need something to help you, but I do know you can. How about we just try one more contraction?” That always helped me so much because he wasn’t telling me what to do, but TOTALLY supporting me and keeping me focused!

    You two will be great together! God’s blessings!

  6. I’m totally showing this to my hubs. You guys are gonna do great!! We are expecting a little girl too–in June. I got the Business of Being Born from the library, so hopefully we’ll watch it this week. Thanks for sharing so much of your journey with us.

  7. This is awesome, Eric! I love that you’ve put so much thought into this. I’ve never had children or witnessed someone else, so I have no advice to share but I know you will be an amazing support to Kelsey.

    Good luck to both of you!

  8. Have your video camera charged and ready to go. I had an unplanned c-section and was in the recovery room the first hour of my daughter’s life. I missed her first precious moments in this world and I missed seeing our families reactions to seeing/meeting/holding her for the first time. 2.5 years later and it still makes me sad. I wish I would have thought of someone to video tape these special moments that I missed. I am hoping your birth plans falls into place, but make sure to keep plan “B” in mind and be familiar with your new role. Good luck to you all!

  9. those will be GREAT ways to support her during the labor and delivery. it sounds like you’re going to make an amazing team together for this moment in your lives.

    as for my experience – my husband was very caring, supportive, and sensitive during the whole experience. i think for us, something that was unexpected was that at some intense moments, i almost needed a little “space,” if that makes sense. sometimes i just needed him to be quiet, and sometimes i even needed him to not touch me for a bit. he would put his hand on my arm, but in the moment, it just wasn’t what i needed. it broke my focus. i think that actually caught both of us off-guard. and i know that was particularly hard for my husband, because he felt so bad i was hurting and wanted to comfort me. i know not all women have the same experiences, but that was one of our unexpected things that didn’t go “according to plan.”

    you guys are going to do GREAT! you seem so attentive to kelsey already, and that is exactly what she’ll need. thinking of you guys!

  10. I love that you have a plan. With the birth of both my munchkins, my iPod and my husband were the only two things that kept me sane. In fact, I bragged on my hubby so much after the first that I think he felt more pressure with the second to be the support he knew I needed. I would just say to be flexible. The only person who could make me feel better was my husband…I wanted to hold his hand through each and every contraction. But everyone deals with pain differently-Kelsey will help you figure out how she needs you! I wish you both a quick and easy labor and delivery and I have loved reading through this journey you have been on.

  11. Make sure you both are on same page with birth plan (I know this is too late since you already have your little one). But it helped to have my hubby know what I wanted as my “wishful labor” to look like. So when I was unable to communicate (in pain) he spoke for me. He made sure the doctor never did anything I didn’t want done (like episiotomy) or let them know what I wanted. I had a painful hard labor and I was so thankful we had fully discussed my wishful plans. I had even showed him the book I was reading that helped back up my thinking. When he heard the reasoning behind it, he better understood and agreed. It allowed him to speak up for me and himself. We were a team 100%. And when I became anemic during the labor and was passing out afterwards he was right there to help with our baby. He was a good sport. :)

    • I totally agree Mary. As the husband, it’s tough to know how to help if you are not informed. So it’s important for the line of communication to be open throughout the pregnancy so that the husband can understand the wishes and help advocate when labor comes.

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