Being present at the birth of our first child was at the same time one of the most rewarding and frightening experiences of my life. I had learned a massage technique where I could rub a pressure point on my wife's back to relieve her pain, and it really worked - so much so that she refused any other pain relief, other than paracetamol. It was amazing to be able to make such a concrete contribution, and I don't think we'd ever felt so "one" with each other. However, by the time she actually had to deliver, she was lying on her back, and so I was unable to continue giving her pain relief. Because of the empathetic link we had established during labour, I was shocked at the extent to which I was able to experience her pain on an emotional level. The baby got stuck on its way out, and they had to call the doctor. My wife is a paediatrican, and the doctor who came had formerly worked under her. I looked into the doctor's eyes, and saw that she was clearly terrified by the situation. And that made me panic - all of a sudden, no-one was in control, and I thought I might lose both my wife and unborn baby. The doctor said she thought she needed to use forceps. My wife had witnessed an unsuccessful forceps delivery that had left the baby badly brain damaged a few weeks before she went on maternity leave, and had told me that the only thing she wanted to avoid was forceps. We both begged the doctor to do anything but use the forceps, and so she agreed to try ventouse first. Thank God, that was successful, and we had a beautiful baby daughter. My wife soon forgot about the trauma of the delivery, but I will do anything to avoid revisiting it and get emotional when I have to talk about it.