On the latest episode of Topical Vacation, Emily and I talked primarily about the experience of our first child Addison’s labor. During the course of our conversation it came out that, due to positioning and placement beyond my control, I saw the whole show “downstairs”. Since the episode aired, I’ve had a few questions and some feedback thrown my way – mostly from petrified men, of course. I get it, but I truly have to say that there’s nothing to be afraid of. As I said in the episode, it didn’t ruin me. In fact, it was a wonderfully beautiful thing that I’m glad I got to see. No, I wouldn’t have chosen to do so for pretty much the same reason as just about any other guy would give, but I’m glad I was blessed enough to experience it.
Now, while I wasn’t grossed out at all, I will say that it was all definitely a little weird. I mean, we were sitting there just watching the baby’s hair pulsate for a good half hour before her head finally came all the way through. And though I was having some freak out moments (in my head) because I thought it was taking too long, at the same time I felt I had some aspect of control over the situation – it wasn’t mysterious… I could see it happening right in front of my eyes. I didn’t have to wonder at how far along we were – I could tell. And like we both said in the episode, when Addie’s head finally came through, I was shocked at how the rest of her slipped out as if she’d just dropped through a water slide – I was expecting there to be some more pushing. I can’t explain the emotional release that I experienced after that – all this pent-up fear and anxiety just disappeared in an instant, and I admit I cried like a baby (which seems apt).
But to answer some of the questions I’ve gotten:
1. No, it’s not super-bloody, slimy or gross. Maybe that’s just me and/or maybe that was just the experience we had, but I didn’t see anything like that.
2. No, I’m no scarred for life. It was weird, like I said, but it doesn’t change anything about the way I feel regarding Mac & Cheese.
3. In a strange way, I actually feel a much closer bond to Emily and, even more, I got to experience a part of the birthing process that she didn’t get to experience. I have a memory of this that will forever be only for me.
4. No, I didn’t pass out. Nor did I feel light-headed or squeamish. Yes, I did have some mild moments of panic, but a lot of that was with the confidence that everything was okay, so I remained quite calm through the whole thing. Watching it happen actually allowed for me to feel like I had a better understanding of the situation than I would have had I not had that particular angle.
So, I will say again what I said in the episode: if you’ve been on the fence about watching this whole thing go down, I recommend going for it. It’s an entirely unique experience that you can never have any other time in your life because it’s your child we’re talking about. It creates a very odd surrealness (is that a word?) to the event that really cannot be explained or quantified. If you’re really squeamish I might suggest not doing it, but I would have thought myself to be the same way, and I was fine.