If my husband wasn't in the delivery room with me during my second childbirth, I know that it would have ended much differently. You see, I was desperately — and I mean desperately — trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section), but as every woman who's been through labour knows, it doesn't always go as planned. Luckily, it ended well for us, but if it weren't for my husband being in the delivery room, I don't think it would have.
He clutched my hands and said, "You can do this. Know that you can do this." Tears started to fall down my cheeks.
When you're trying for a VBAC, doctors suggest trying to avoid an epidural and letting your body progress naturally. But after 20 or so hours, I lost it. I literally lost my sh*t. I started swearing at the nurses and throwing whatever I could get my hands on. I was out of control, but somehow, my husband managed to calm me down by massaging my back and shoulders. He spoke slowly and sweetly to talk just enough sense into me . . . but it didn't last long. Finally, after 38 hours of labour, I begged for an epidural and got it.
After that heaven trickled into my body and stopped the pain, I was finally able to rest for a few hours on and off. My husband pulled up a chair and held my hand the whole time. If I was awake, he'd ask me what I needed (and I always needed something!). And if I was resting, he made sure to leave me be. Then finally, the time came to push. I was fully dilated.
The first 30 minutes of pushing seemed to be going well. "Wow, you're doing so great," my midwife said. "I think your baby will be here sooner than we think." But after two more hours and the damn epidural wearing off, I sat defeated. I had nothing left in me. I still wanted that VBAC so badly, but I just couldn't do it alone. The midwife's optimism suddenly turned. "I'm sorry, but I think we have to send our head OB in here to see if we need to look into another option for delivery."
My heart sank, and my husband felt it. So when the midwife left momentarily, he clutched my hands and said, "You can do this. Know that you can do this." Tears started to fall down my cheeks. I was so sure I had nothing left in me, but I suddenly believed him. I can do this, I thought. "OK," I said.
From that moment, my newly found adrenaline rushed through me. When the OB came into the room, she wanted to watch me push, and damnit, I pushed harder and stronger in the minutes that followed than I had in the past two hours. "She's going to deliver this baby vaginally," she said. And you know what? I did. Actually, we did — my husband and me as a team. Without him in the delivery room with me, there's no doubt in my mind that I would have given up. I would have had a C-section again, and mentally, I would have been destroyed, because a VBAC was something I wanted so desperately.
The moment our daughter laid her furry head on my chest was, by far, the most magical moment of my life. I thanked my husband for simply believing in me that night in the delivery room, because as partners, that's all you need to do.