The fab series One Born Every Minute is back on TV in the New Year (on Jan 4th in fact) and I will definitely be watching! I loved the previous series and applaud the mums and dads involved for allowing their birth experiences to be shown – something that is a very, very private thing. Although it can appear frightening, I think actually seeing babies being born is such a good thing for mums-to-be – you can read or talk all about birth when yo’re pregnant but seeing someone go through it is – I think – very helpful.
This latest series takes place in Leeds and has linked up with Netmums to allow bloggers to share their birth experiences.
The first episode (on Channel 4, Weds 4th Jan) focuses on Dads and Fatherhood, so I’m not best-placed to talk about that in much detail, but I do have quite strong feelings about the place of men in their childrens’ birth, so I can speak to those.
Our first son was born in 2008 and I think I really had it quite easy – I’m overweight, so was told that I’d be sure to develop gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and all those other terrible things. Not to crow, but I actually had a totally trouble-free pregnancy which I think I was fairly relaxed about – in fact, we only went to one antenatal class because I’d done loads of research myself and was quite happy that I knew what to do with a baby (ha ha ha). I was a little worried about the birth – as my bump grew I thought to myself ‘that’s got to come out somehow’… but having said that, it was a certainty that it was coming out somehow, so what can you do??
The labour was pretty straightforward too – I had a good night’s sleep, then woke up and started watching Saturday morning telly, feeling the first twinges at about 9am. It carried on getting stronger until – sorry to be crude – rather conveniently, my waters broke while I was having a wee, so no mess to clear up! After that it was time to phone the unit and we went into the hospital at around 1pm, where Biggest Boy was born at about 4.30pm. All very convenient, during the daytime and time for a good night’s sleep afterwards (ha – hospital ward anyone!!!)
All through labour, I was very aware of Mr W as I don’t think he knew what to do with himself – labour and birth is all about the woman so although men are encouraged to be there, be supportive and all that stuff, I think it’s difficult when they don’t know what they can do to make the pain stop or how to encourage you and all those things – I really do sympathise with them on that score. The one thing that irked me at the time was that were sent off to the ward, then Mr W had to go home. The time during the whole process when I most wanted him with me and when I really needed his support (including changing a massive first poo at 2am) then he wasn’t allowed to be there. I did think about asking him to just sit in the chair and hope no-one noticed him til morning, but didn’t, just bade him goodbye with quivering lower lip!
From Mr W’s point of view, he has told me since that he had the elation of becoming a father, yet he went home alone, to an empty house and didn’t quite know what to feel and he was back at the hospital at 9am promptly the next morning having barely slept at all.
I have read recently of plans to allow new dads to stay with their partners in hospital and, although obviously costly, I think that’s a great idea. During my very short stay in hospital, I was less worried about privacy than the fact I’d been landed with this baby then had my support taken away. I know there are Health Care Assistants there to help you, but they are after all strangers, however well meaning they may be.
Watching One Born Every Minute does bring back all the memories of that exhilarating – yet frightening time – and also the birth of number two baby, but that’s a story for another day!
One Born Every Minute is on Wednesday nights at 9pm on Channel 4 from this Wednesday and available to watch online at www.channel4.com/oneborn
If you’d like to share your birth story then please do – Mums, how did you feel after the birth? Would you have preferred your partner to stay with you? Dads, how did you feel being asked to leave so soon after the birth of your child?