Labor Pains: My Husband Left The Delivery Room Out Of Concern For Our Sex Life

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There are things that you prepare yourself for when you are about to deliver a baby. You make a plan. You figure out if you want to have an epidural, if you want to have your son circumcised in the hospital, if you want to be attended by an OB/GYN or a mid-wife. You make as many choices as you can so that, even if your original plan goes awry in some way, at least you feel like you had as much agency as possible over your experience.

But then sometimes, things take a bizarre turn that you never would have predicted.

At least, that’s what happened to me during the birth of my second child. My first son was born via emergency C-section when the doctors discovered he was in distress. As it turned out, I would not be having the birth experience that I had vaguely planned for—and I do mean vaguely. I was not one for birthing classes and only had a pretty rough idea of how I was supposed to breathe noisily or something. Instead, I had a completely different delivery that involved an operation room and all my abdominal muscles being cut through and a terrifying few seconds before my baby screamed and I cried and laughed with relief that everything was going to be just fine, better than fine, really. Everything was about to be better that it ever had been.

I know that many women who wind up with emergency C-sections often feel cheated of a certain kind of birth experience. I was not one of those women. I was incredibly grateful that my doctor had figured out that something was really wrong with my son. He had the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck and was in extreme distress with every one of my contractions. But I also knew, when I was pregnant again, that I wanted to try for a VBAC, because I didn’t want to go through the C-section recovery process again. I mean, I didn’t want to go through that recovery process again so badly that I was willing to push a tiny human being out of my vagina instead and risk getting stitches in a whole new place. So, yeah, I really hated the C-section recovery process.

I was lucky enough to have an amazingly supportive doctor who was confidant that I was the perfect candidate for a VBAC and so I moved blithely through the months of my second pregnancy, not making too much of a birth plan, sure that I could still rely on that heavy breathing that I’d never really needed to use. Well, I wasn’t so much moving blithely as I was waddling blithely, but you get the picture! When the day came and the contractions started arriving hard, I went with my husband to the hospital.

Here are some things we talked about on the way:

  • What music we should have playing on the iPod
  • Who to call first after the baby was born
  • What were the best places to get take-out food in a five-block radius so that I wouldn’t have to eat hospital food after the baby was born


You know, normal things.

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