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Dominic, UK

"Jana had a really healthy pregnancy and we decided to go to a birthing centre rather than the bigger local hospital, as she wanted somewhere that felt more personal. Hospitals make me nervous so I was relieved about that. We met the midwives before the birth and really liked their attitude, although we wouldn’t know who would be on duty when it was our turn. We went through the birth plan together, though looking back, I realise how much I thought I knew, but didn’t. It all seems so straightforward when you’re sitting looking at options and things. It's very different when you're in the thick of it. 

Jana’s waters broke at 11pm, a few days before the due date. It was treated like no big deal - nothing like the movies at all - the midwives told us to go to bed and sleep as we’d be needing all our energy. They were right because Jana woke up at 6am with the first contractions. We stayed home as long as we could. It felt really amazing, that our baby was actually coming. By the time we went to hospital, the contractions were coming every few minutes and were much stronger. It’s hard when your partner has to do it all. I felt guilty, but I think that helped me focus and try to be as helpful as I could. Jana was coping really well. She had breathing techniques that she’d learned in the hypnobirthing course and sometimes I would breathe with her. Also I was applying pressure to the base of her spine, which she found took the edge off the contraction.

When we got to the birthing centre Jana was 5 centimetres dilated. They checked us into our room. It took us a while to adjust and get back into our rhythm, but she was doing amazingly. I could feel her going into her own world, like she was slipping away from me. That felt strange, as it was so intense for her and there were certainly moments that I was just looking on. The midwives were really helpful and encouraged me to be involved. I felt like they really valued the husband's support in labour and I don't think that's always the case. I totally get why men sometimes just feel helpless. Your partner is doing all this work, and you’re just there, in awe at it all. The last hours are a blur. It got more difficult for Jana, and she was struggling toward the end, but she kept going and our little girl, Rosie, was born that evening. It was mindblowing. Like nothing else I’ve ever experienced."

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