My Husband Totally Stood Up For Me During Labor

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There have been so many times that I’ve been angry at my husband for not speaking up on my behalf. Like that time some dudes at the pool hall told me that since I had hit the 8-ball in the pocket, I was officially out of the game. Um, it was my first time playing so I should have been allowed a do-over, right?

Okay, so maybe I tend to make a big deal over trivial matters, and there are times when my husband is right to not say something in certain situations. But over the years, he's proven to me that he knows when to step in and advocate for me, because actually, my husband stood up for me during labor.

Giving birth to my first daughter was terrifying. I was anxious throughout my entire pregnancy, and while I tried my best to prepare for giving birth by taking the breathing classes and learning all I could about the process, not knowing what to expect put me on edge. I was beyond nervous, but I did all I could to prepare by writing a birth plan and packing my hospital bag. I was as ready as I could be at that point.

Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Of course, my water broke a week before my due date which meant I was in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day and my doctor was not on call. I was stuck with a doctor who was not warm or present during my delivery, which did not do much to alleviate my anxiety. Sensing my nervousness, my husband told me that the nurses seemed capable, that I would be fine, and that the doctor would be in the room at the end of the hall if I needed him. (After my daughter was born, he confessed that he hadn't been a huge fan of the doctor, either.)

My husband was not only my rock during the hell that was labor and delivery, but he was also my voice. He asked for ice chips when I needed them. He tracked down a nurse when I had to go to the restroom, or needed help getting comfortable on the bed. And when I needed an epidural, he called the nurse and requested the anesthesiologist come by immediately, as I was in a lot of pain.

My back was sore, my lower back was hurting, and I was worried that the anesthesiologist had no idea what he was doing. I was a shaking, runny-nosed mess.

My epidural didn’t work. Not on the first try, the second try or the third try. By the fourth try, the anesthesiologist was preparing my back for the epidural as another contraction hit me. My back was sore, my lower back was hurting, and I was worried that the anesthesiologist had no idea what he was doing. I was a shaking, runny-nosed mess.

My husband knew this. As the nurse came toward me to hold me still and the anesthesiologist prepared my back, my husband told him and the nurses to stop and give me a chance to breathe through the next contraction so I could actually be comfortable, since I’d been in the same hunched-over position for a while at that point. He knew I couldn’t tell them to back off, so he did it for me.

Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

After a faulty epidural and a baby that was refusing to turn or make her way out, the doctor said an emergency c-section was required. I wasn’t prepared for a c-section. I was overwhelmed by the thought that I would be incapable of delivering my child vaginally, the way I had planned, and that I would have to undergo major surgery.

My husband asked all the questions I couldn’t: how long it would take, what would happen if we didn't do the c-section, would our baby still get skin-to-skin contact, etc. He also asked if I would have to get another epidural, since the fourth one obviously was not working. I was told that I could either try another epidural or be put under. I asked to be put under, a decision that my husband completely supported.

As the nurses rolled me down the hall, my husband kept reassuring me everything was going to be OK. He promised to give our daughter all the skin-to-skin time she needed until I came to. He kept his word. When I finally woke up, she was sleeping on his chest before he handed her over to me.

As the nurses prepared to roll me down the hall into the surgical room, I was a hot mess. One nurse handed me a cup with two pills and told me to take them. I told her I couldn't swallow pills and she just stared at me as if I had spoken a foreign language to her. “She can’t swallow pills. Can you crush them or give her something else?” my husband asked. The nurse left the room, reappearing with a cup of a thick white fluid and told me to drink it very quickly. I have no idea what it was, but the second it touched my lips I gagged. The nurse tried to force it in my mouth, but my husband told her to stop.

As the nurses rolled me down the hall, my husband kept reassuring me everything was going to be OK. He promised to give our daughter all the skin-to-skin time she needed until I came to. He kept his word. When I finally woke up, she was sleeping on his chest before he handed her over to me.

Courtesy of Ambrosia Brody

Recovery from a c-section was uncomfortable, but I was back to myself after the medicine wore off. In other words, I had no problem telling the nurse that I needed my pain medicine crushed, and I wrote a complaint letter to the hospital about the staff's failed attempts to administer an epidural. I was back.

Although I was completely overwhelmed, anxious, terrified, and generally unhappy with my first childbirth experience, I was extremely grateful that my husband stood up for me when I was unable to stand up for myself. I’ve witnessed his assertiveness firsthand and I’m sure I’ll see it again, most likely the first time my daughter brings a boy over for dinner.