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My child’s birth was full of ups and downs. A plan of a natural birth was foiled within minutes, after 15 hours of labour. An emergency C-section followed. Luckily our beautiful boy was born 2 hours later.

As prepared for everything as I was, it goes to show anything can happen during child birth. My advice for fathers to be is to accept anything and everything that happens during the birth. Regardless of preconceived ideas of how, when or where you want the birth, things can change in an instant.

It's also really important for the dad to go in there with some knowledge, so he knows how to step up and help when he's needed. For a while in the hospital my wife was doing really well with breathing techniques, but she just couldn't get comfortable. I could see how she could be more comfortable, so I coaxed her into a different position on an exercise ball, leaning onto me, and there between the two of us we were able to create a little bubble. I put on music and repeated birthing affirmations to her, reminding her to breathe and helping her stay calm and focussed. And we were in that little circle for about four or five hours.

Your main job as birth partner is to support and maintain calm for your partner during this journey. Fighting any issues will only cause stress and additional discomfort for her. Remember it’s her journey, you just get to help guide her to the final destination. Through affirmations, support and love you can help her do this.

"I remember counting the contractions with my app and following how my partner was doing. Secretly I sent a message to the midwife to let her know that my partner was uncomfortable but I think the contractions were still not closer than 5mins apart. The midwife came to our house and was about to leave but then told me that she would stay, as my partner was advancing in the delivery. This is when it hit me that, when that person leaves the house, we would be three to stay, I would be a father and everything would change after that.

I had my anxieties about being a father and doing a homebirth, and my role during the delivery. In the end my part was to be there, to support my partner mentally and physically. The delivery finally took much longer than anticipated, we were going all evening and over the night. The support was much needed... Even though for me it sometimes felt like I wasn't helping at all. My partner didn't want any massage, no snacks, no water, she just felt uncomfortable. All I could do was to try to let her relax in other ways. Over the night she was anxious that the neighbors might hear the noise, so I made louder noises to hide it! We were howling like wolves.

The end was time for the physical support. The best position to deliver was the standing squat, so I held my partner from under her arms so she could push and lean all her weight on me. It was intense. Taking a shower after all this, my legs were shaking. Then I looked at my partner with our newborn baby, looking all fresh and happy. How did she do that?! All my respect to this woman, to all women."

"I felt like I did as best as I could to support my wife during labour, although there were a couple of moments where I felt absolutely terrified. I'm not sure if she noticed. If I could give any advice to another dad, it would be to always ask what’s happening and to speak up for your partner. If I didn’t ask, they didn’t think to tell me what was going on and that’s when I would get scared and feel like I wasn’t doing my part. The other thing I would say is to make sure you eat before you go to hospital. It was the middle of the night and I was starving and that was actually a bit distracting.

Guys don’t talk much about birth, so I wasn’t prepared for how totally unbelievable it was to see my son being born. Best moment of my life. I can still picture his face. I thought he would be sleepy and crying, but he had these big open eyes and was just looking at me."

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