My partner and my best friend were my birth partners, we all attended a weekend of birth preparation which was lead by a pregnancy yoga instructor. My partner and I both attended NCT antenatal classes as well. We had intended to have a waterbirth at home but my waters broke at 35 weeks and I was induced at 36 weeks so I had to have a hospital birth. The midwives knew that we wanted as active a birth as possible to reduce the risk of interventions in particular the use of epidural or C-section. In the end our son was born after a 22 hours labour and was very small and had other problems which meant he was in the special care baby unit for 3 days and he and I had to stay in hospital for a further 4 while he got over his jaundice. Despite the labour being nothing like we had planned things happened when we asked (like an episiotomy) and the midwives were amazing so we felt well cared for. However the hospital had a policy of not allowing Fathers to stay beyond 8p.m at night which was awful for me because I had to go down a flight of stars and get through security doors to change and try to feed our son while he was in special care every 3 hours on my own. After day 5 I had a screaming fit, so to speak, and they eventually let my partner stay on a camp bed in my room. this was far better for me and two days later we went home. My partner was and is an amazing partner and Father and I frequently think about how I would have coped if I had one of those other types of partners (the ones who don't get it and see themselves in a marginal 'helping' role). We are expecting our second son and are hoping for a home birth this time round!