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Birth Planning Tips for Dads

The birth plan is a vital conversation (or, more likely 36 conversations!) that you and mum will have during the pregnancy and before I say anything else I will impart this vital piece of wisdom: If the lady who will deliver a baby from her vagina has a preference of how exactly that should work, I'd go with that as a start point.

As the birth partner you'll be there throughout, as the supporter, runaround and, most terrifyingly, the advocate for what you both want from the birth. Having been to two births that didn't exactly stick to script I can tell you that when your wife/partner/babymomma is in agony and the doctor comes to talk options, you'll want to know what the hell is going on and remember what your next step is. At this stage tossing a coin to see if you're going with the epidural or emergency caesarean probably won't cut it. I found that the midwifes we worked with through both births were our best supports and even gave us advice to challenge the doctors on a couple of occasions (after they had left the room, they aren't crazy!) listen to them but know your own mind.

I enjoyed the planning and, though my wife and I were on the same page for most of it, there were details we had to nut out. For most couples a decision of which doctor, hospital or facility would be a decent place to start. Knowing a little about the public system here in Darwin, Aus meant we were very happy with the option and the fact that they would support our natural preference and were amazing with breast feeding support (the conversations you have when you grow up, huh?). But it's worth shopping around if you aren't in the lucky position we were in. Look for a midwife/doctor/team whose first instinct matches yours to avoid being pushed in the wrong direction early on. You'd be surprised just how many people end up with births that don't fit their own ideals. After this the ability to play music, birth in a pool, wander round the garden, or whatever else you fancy doing that day are mere details, they won't make or break the gig. Have plenty of conversations and ask plenty of dumb questions, it's not too bad getting laughed at by a widwife as you pretend you were joking (I should know!)

As the birth gets closer read and re-read the plan and make yourself comfortable with it. It can be a pretty scary time (though it absolutely shouldn't) but your job is to fill the mum-to-be with confidence as this itself will help to ensure a smooth delivery. Imagine you're the one squeezing a baby out of yourself... now imagine doing it when you're already stressed and anxious. hurts, right? So help her chill the hell out. Positive affirmations, running baths and a few naughty massages (that may not turn out as naughty as you'd like!) through those last few months will help set the scene for a serene and uncomplicated day at the hospital.

During the birth you'll have a plan A that hopefully will come through. But discuss and prepare for plan B, C, D and so on - there are heaps of interventions available as things don't go to plan and waiting for a doctor to advise on the day would be a pretty stressful option. Know at which point you'll ask for each so that a panicked scream of "JUST GET THIS FUCKING THING OUT OF ME!" doesn't become your new birth plan.

The best thing to remember is to enjoy the birth. You're about to meet your new boss, best friend, pet and family member all rolled into one and get a lot closer to wifey in the process. Despite some challenges and visiting almost all of our planned interventions over our two births, they have been overwhelmingly positive experiences. Enjoy, relax and get ready for your world to grow!

The video below is the story of the birth of our son, Finley Beck (born 16.05.2017) from finding out we were pregnant, to the birth. Have a watch, if you like.

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