Portland Birth & Family Photographer Blog

Portland Birth Photographer | Birth through a Father's eyes

We all know that giving birth is HARD WORK! Most of the time, we tend to focus on the laboring mom to be, and how hard it is for her. We look at the pain her face reflects, and the clenching of her fists as she works through each contraction. But for this blog post, I would like to focus on the often forgotten hero behind the scenes. THE DAD TO BE. After all, dads are there even before labor begins. They have been putting up with us for 40 weeks (that's a long time). They had to clean our throw up, get us to bathrooms, fetch us random foods at all hours of the night, survive our mood swings, and if you already have kids--become MOM. Ultimately I would like to shed some light on this whole experience from a father's standpoint. For the purpose of this blog post, I interviewed a recently new father and asked a few questions about his experience. (Father's name has been changed to Ryan protect the manliness of this super awesome dad) los-angeles-birth-photographer-7

Masha: Hey Ryan, thanks for agreeing to do this! Ryan: Hey it's no problem at all, I'm glad I can help.

Masha: So I guess the first thing we need to know is, is this your first baby? Ryan: Well actually this is our third.

Masha: Wow! Congratulations! Ryan: Thanks.

Masha: When you first heard the news that you were going to become a father for the first time, what were your thoughts and feelings? Ryan: When my wife sat me down, to tell me that she was pregnant, I kind of already knew it. We had been trying for a few months at that point, and I was secretly hoping that this was the month, and it was! I have to admit, I was a little scared and excited at the same time. My first thought was "This is actually happening, I'm going to be a father, I am now in charge of someone else's life and I better not screw it up!" (chuckles)

Masha: If you can remember, what was the first trimester like for you? Ryan: Going to the doctor to get the pregnancy confirmed had me worried sick. I remember thinking "could the test be wrong?" Thankfully everything went well. Throughout the first trimester, I felt a lot of anxiety. Not knowing the sex, not knowing what to expect, planning, calculating, it was all a lot to take in, but through it all, I was super excited!

Masha: Did your wife have morning sickness? Ryan: Uh yeah she had it pretty bad. It started a few weeks after our first doctor's visit and pretty much lasted all day and night. I felt really bad for her.

Masha: Did she have it for all three pregnancies? Ryan: Yeah pretty much, but not through the whole pregnancy, just the beginning.

Masha?: How did you feel? Ryan: Helpless. Like I couldn't help in any way. But by the third baby, I was pretty used to it. It was just life.

Masha: Did you guys want to know the sex of your baby(ies)? Ryan: Oh yeah, I couldn't wait!

Masha: What are the names of your children? Ryan: Emily, Emma, and Ethan

Masha: Wow they all start with the letter E! Ryan: Yeah, it's my wife's thing. I'm cool with it.

Masha: What was it like to see your baby for the fist time on the sonogram? Ryan: It was amazing! I couldn't believe that tiny little blob, will be a full human. I have to admit, deep down, I was more excited than my wife. Don't tell her!

Masha: Do you feel the pregnancy lasted too long? Ryan: Towards the ends, it's like "come on out already" but that's because my wife was uncomfortable, and therefore I was uncomfortable. But now that I look back, they all seem to have gone by pretty fast!

Masha: Tell me your experience the first time your wife went into labor. Ryan: Uh, well it was a lot of back and forth. We kept thinking labor was starting, but then it would stall. I guess that's normal. When the real labor was actually confirmed, I started to panic a bit. At that point, you just don't know what to expect. I remember trying to drive as smooth as possible. We got to the hospital at 4 am. For some reason, I was expecting it to be like in the movies. Her water breaks, we get to the hospital, she's screaming and squeezing my hand, the baby comes out, and its all over. But she labored for 14 hours after that.

Masha: Did she choose to have an epidural? Ryan: Yes. That was kind of scary. But it did help a lot. Finally after hours and hours of exhausting labor, and almost 2 hours of pushing we welcomed our first little girl!

Masha: Were your other two children born in the hospital? Ryan: No, actually the other two children were born at home. After the first baby, we wanted a more calm setting, and my wife wanted a water birth. So we found a midwife and doula through a birth center, and she had both of our babies here at home.

Masha: Did you like the home birth more vs the hospital birth? Ryan: YES!

Masha: Why? Ryan: It was a totally different approach. With the home birth, we chose not to have an epidural, and try to go all natural. I kind of got into the whole birth process thing because the midwives included me and I felt part of it. I have to say it made me so much less anxious and stressed out. I was still freaking out though. Both of our home water births were much shorter than the hospital birth. She labored for 8 hours with the second baby, and 9 hours with the third. Watching a home birth, vs hospital is so different. Our doula and midwife really supported my wife. When the babies came out, it was calm. I have to honestly say, it was beautiful. I would do it again.

Masha: If you were to give any words of advice to any dad's to be out there, what would it be? Ryan: Hire Masha to be your birth photographer! (laughing)

Masha: Haha, but seriously. Ryan: I would have to say-Don't overthink it. Embrace it. Be there for every part of it. Don't miss anything. Document everything. Your life will totally change, for the best. Support your wife, it's not weak to show feelings, to be kind, to care. Do it. And if possible, I would recommend doing it at home if you can. It makes a huge difference!

Masha: Thank you so much for being willing to do this. I really appreciate it. Ryan: Anytime.

Thanks for reading this interview. Please like and comment below.

DISCLAIMER: The father in the photo above is not the person being interviewed.