Television and movies lead us believe in a very particular birth narrative. Labor starts instantly (after the mom's water breaks, of course), and everyone comedically or dramatically rushes to the hospital whereupon pushing begins immediately. More often than not, this experience is shown from the perspective of the father-to-be instead of the laboring woman (I've rarely encountered same sex/queer parent birth scenes), yet neither of the perspectives shown are especially accurate. So I asked partners to describe what it's like to be in the delivery room for the first time. Because birth partners are important, and their experience deserve honest examination, too.
The only time I've ever been in a delivery room was to give birth myself. I've never accompanied a friend, family member, or romantic partner. So I asked my own romantic partner, my husband and father of my two children, what his first delivery room experience was like when I had an emergency C-section after 18 hours of labor. "Whirlwind," he told me. "We went from no baby to baby so fast. I thought the process would take a lot longer." I mean, this is fair, but from the perspective of someone who was actually in labor for almost a full day, "so fast" is not the phrase I would think to use.
But hey! That's why we have these conversations, right?! For insight! For clarity! To give our partners the opportunity to let other would-be parents know what they might expect, like the following: