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Mother of one (born 2010s), from Midlands

My son was born 2 weeks before his due date. Labour was induced in the hospital as they thought there was a problem with his growth. His Dad was with me throughout the labour which progressed fairly slowly at the start and sped up a lot at the end. It lasted 18 hours in total. Dad had been extremely squeamish about the possibility of even being in the room during labour and certainly during the birth. We attended some superb ante-natal classes with Birth and Baby Reality and Dad came round to the idea of not only reluctantly sitting in the far corner (he is terrified of all things medical and convinced he would throw up or faint or both if he was there) but also that he was an absolutely essential part of the birth of his child and was a just brilliant birth supporter. The ante-natal support not only taught about what would happen during labour and birth but taught the Dads what support would be positive and negative in the event. Given the rather unexpected early arrival (it was a case of hop on the couch please during a routine appointment) it was great to have him there and without his presence I would have been much more frightened of the experience and much less able to cope with the pain. He also interacted with the midwives brilliantly. In the event my son was born with only water and gas and air for pain relief as I had initially hoped and Dad was right beside me when he arrived. He was also in tears for about the last hour of my labour clearly moved by the experience (although he wouldn't admit that for the world). My son was born a healthy happy 7lbs 8 1/2 and everything went very smoothly. Dad did not cut the cord (someone we knew told him it was more like hacking than cutting - there was no chance after that) but he's now a wonderful hands on caring parent who does most of the work when he's at home :-)