Episode Series

Men at Birth Series – Episode 1

Hello, Alexander here. This is our first episode of performance review where we are going to watch husbands just performing at the births of their children. And, just a big shout out to the men and women who post these videos. We certainly don’t deserve to see this intimate moment but we are grateful that they do share these moments with us.

Masseur: Husband, Where is the pressure point?

We start right off with this husband here who’s giving a back massage. She communicates to him that she doesn’t want to be touched or the pressure is maybe too much, and she– you can hear that she is in the middle of a surge. He’s still there, he’s still present. He’s doing a fantastic job of attending to her, providing some slight pressure and that is very common. Women like to, usually like to receive pressure on the lower back. 

This is funny. It looks here like he’s playing on his phone. I would actually call that out. Normally, “Hey” like, “Hey! Why is he messing with his phone?” Usually, you don’t even bring the phone into the room. It depends on the women. Here he is looking up some pressure points on how to better give massages to his wife. Kudos to him for staying focused on the task at hand even though he is using his phone. 

It’s great to see children, right, present. That little girl is going to grow up with a better perception of birth. The husband is there. You know, he might have somebody else there. It looks like somebody standing in the corner there. It’s great to have people around that you’re comfortable with. 

Then this is the baby being born. And there he is present. 

I’m Here Baby…

This next video is a little bit different. This is a longer birth video. But the husband was not present at all in the video. Which isn’t to say he wasn’t there. But at least he is here. Afterward, he was holding his baby. It’s great to see him involved. You know, as we know, women certainly can give birth without their husbands. But I believe that every woman should have the option of having a strong, supportive, knowledgeable husband present there to support her when she is giving birth. 

Hello, Normally, Hands-on Dad

This next one is a little bit more graphic. So we have the backside here of the laboring woman. My wife, when she was watching this clip, she just freaked out about the birth pool. That plastic would drive my wife insane. Having that loose plastic around touching would be irritating for her. But everyone is so different. 

It’s almost impossible to make absolute statements regarding any aspect of birth. It’s so nuanced, so hyper particular to the couple– to their relationship, to the experiences of that woman, to the experiences of that man. This lady apparently doesn’t mind the plastic. It doesn’t seem to be doing anything. But anyway, you know the husband’s there, and he’s putzing around doing different things, tending to his little girl there–another generation growing up that’s going to be exposed to the normalcy of birth. That’s fantastic. Obviously, it’s not traumatic at all for that little girl. You know, because the parents both have this attitude that “hey, this is hard work, but it’s normal, right?” 

They’re calm. They’re happy. They’re just doing what needs to be done from moment to moment, right? And, the little girl sees that. She is going to pick up on the emotional cues of the father and of the mother. That’s what we see happening here. She is just really content. She is probably very, very excited to see her little sibling ’cause I’m sure parents have been telling her about it, right? 

And the husband – this is funny here–so the husband is doing like a play by play. Like he, literally, is like telling somebody on the phone what’s happening. Normally, you wouldn’t want to do that. Now I am saying “normally.” There is no “normally,” really. But, for whatever reason, this woman wants her husband to do that. She has somebody else in her family that maybe she doesn’t want to be present or who couldn’t be present. And she wants them to know how things are progressing. And so, that’s what he needs to do. He needs to inform. But you don’t have to do that, okay. If there is somebody else in your family who is stressing you, you have every right to cut them off completely. But that’s not what this couple chose. So they’re keeping somebody else informed of the progress. And that’s fantastic too. 

He is there. He’s providing his hand, his attention. He’s looking at her. It’s not magic, right? He’s just there. He’s talking to her like a person, right? Like a person who is in the middle of a lot of really hard work. And you don’t want to disturb them but you also want to be there to help them. So he is doing a good job, sitting down waiting patiently. He’s not panicked. He’s very calm. He’s very collected. And yeah, I am talking a lot about the men. I don’t want to say I am ignoring the women. But this video, this series, is about men performing at birth. Again, like I said, we’re trying to encourage men to fill that role and to be confident that they have the capability, the knowledge, and the emotional stability to play this role in their family’s lives. 

So yeah, this video is a little bit longer. There’s a lot more footage of the father, at least his knees. Now there he’s got a little– it looks like a little fishnet. I don’t know if you heard it, you probably didn’t hear it when I was talking, but you can go back and watch the video. If you like what you see, I highly recommend watching these videos in their entirety.  I’ll include links to these videos in the description. He’s got that fish scooper for the poop. Because poop happens when you’re pushing a baby out of the birth canal. The head is pressing along the colon. And it’s a biological necessity that the colon is emptied. That’s not a problem even in a water birth. Yeah, there’s a little bit of poop floating in the water. It’s not going to hurt anything. And he just had that there to fish it out. And you’ll see he doesn’t even use it, right? So it’s sitting there. This guy is very well equipped. You could see the birth ball in the background. You know she’s in her environment where she’s most comfortable: her home. And they’re just rocking this birth. She’s actually crowning right now. I think he’s gonna pick up the phone. I don’t know. Somebody is calling. My wife would flip out if the phone was ringing and she was crowning or she was laboring. But everybody is a little bit different. Here she’s holding up her hand. 

I love this part. The little girl steps in. I love it. She’s ready. She’s a doula-in-the-making, right there. Look at her. 

So, he’s holding on. But my wife would freak out. So we’d shut off the phones. We’d shut the doors. We’d have a lot of children. We have ten children.  Sometimes, my wife wants one or more children around. 

And the head just came out. And there’s the baby. 

So, with the waterbirth, nobody needs to catch it. The baby just comes out and then the mother picked the baby up. When my wife gave birth in the water, I was the one to pick up the baby. 

Look at the girl. It’s nothing magic, right? You’re just there. You’re just present, right? And yes, there’s blood. There’s blood in birth. But there’s a certain amount of blood that it’s normal. You know, there’s extra blood volume that the woman can lose during birth. The body produces an extra amount. And that is another reason why it’s so important to keep the woman hydrated and well-fed. You have to be well-fed and drink to thirst. If you are thirsty, you should drink. 

So many places outside the home forces you to not eat and no drink. I mean if you were hiking up a mountain, and if you knew you had to do a twelve-hour hike..you know birth can last twelve, sixteen, twenty-four hours. And if somebody told you, you couldn’t eat or drink, for twelve hours? You are setting yourself up for failure, okay? You need to eat. You need to drink. And that’s true for the woman. Absolutely true for the woman whose laboring. It’s also true for the husband, right? So he should make sure that he’s well-fed and he drinks a lot so that he can perform emotionally and physically. He’s got to communicate with other people. There’s a lot of different things going on that he’s got to do. He needs to take care of himself as well as the needs of his wife, his children, and the birth attendants. Ultimately, he’s the one who’s responsible for the choices that he makes in the weeks and months coming up to this event. Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing. 

He’s got the towel. And yeah, they’re doing a great. I mean there’s nothing–I can’t say anything bad about this. It’s just absolutely fantastic. The towel goes on the outside. You always want that skin to skin contact. You never wrap the baby up completely in the towel. You want to have the baby’s bare skin on the mother’s bare skin. 

At least, when the cord is still attached. And the cord is still attached right now. She probably still has not given birth to the placenta. I don’t think they are going to show that here. But it’s also important to note what they have not done. So they have not cut the cord. That’s a common practice still. Believe it or not, it’s hard to believe that hospitals still cut the cord immediately following birth. But they do.  And so they did not do that here. That’s important because the placenta is still attached inside the woman. That cord is still sending fluids and blood to and from the placenta. The transition doesn’t happen immediately. It does if you cut the cord. If you cut the cord you are causing serious injury to the baby and to the mother. Do NOT cut the cord. You, wait. Ideally, you wait until the placenta is delivered. It might take an hour. It might take two hours. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that the cord is intact. You just let it happen at its own pace. 

The husband is here. She’ll eventually start nursing. I don’t know if she is nursing already. That nursing action also helps the placenta detach and come out. 

She requested that he records this video. He’s in charge of that. He is a photographer here as well. A lot of times, they’ll hire a photographer. But this time they did it themselves, and that’s great. But there is a lot that the husband can do. You don’t get to see it on camera. We’re only seeing like one percent of what the husband did in the days, and weeks, and months, and years leading up to this event, right?  

This is the culmination. This birth event is the culmination of years of small decisions and small choices. You only get to see the tip of the iceberg but there is a lot more to it. You know husbands can be critical elements to a successful birth outcome. So many different things. That is what this series is about. It’s examining just that tip, right? We can see the husbands performing at the birth. Obviously, husbands can also be a hindrance to a successful birth. We want to see husbands be an asset, not a liability when it comes to the birth and the pregnancy as well. 

That is so beautiful. 

Alright, that’s it for this episode and we will catch you next week. I’m not sure what videos we’re gonna be reviewing. But stay tuned. Hopefully, you’ve learned something today about Men at Birth.

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