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Mother of two (born 2000s), from Canada, currently in North-West England

Both of my birthing experiences were high risk, as I was diagnosed with pre-eclampisa/HELLP at ca. 31 weeks with child #1 (delivered at 35.5) and and 27 weeks with child #2 (delivered at 32.5). Both labours were induced. Both were vaginal births. Both were very quick, easily in the realm of so-called 'precipitous' births. Together, my labours totalled 3.5 hours, with the second just under 1 hour from first contraction to delivery. But as both were induced there was a lot of waiting time to get contractions going: stripping membranes, gel, and finally oxytocin. Once the drug kicked in, WHAM. it was like hitting a wall. And when child #1 was born, it was as though the whole 2.5 hours was a single contraction. There were no breaks.

So where did my partner fit into all of this? He was there throughout, for both births. He was there in the assessment room, where I peed in cups and was poked and prodded, and he was there as we waited for the OB to determine if the induction was going to be necessary. He was there as we read through hastily printed out lists of baby names, and he was there as more and more machines got added to my already substantial arsenal. He was there to chat with the midwives and with the OB. And he was there through labour. He tried to help rub my back, but missed the 'right' spots that the midwife, trained and very experienced, found in moments. After child #1 was born they asked him if he wanted to cut the cord, which he found vaguely amusing. After all, he hadn't really done anything - he almost felt as if they gave him this opportunity so that he'd feel somehow useful. But he is also the first one to see our little peanuts - they (anonymous medical professionals plus midwife) weighed and measured and then the pediatrician whisked them off to the NICU. And it was my husband that went with them. I was still exiled in the delivery room, attached to my IVs. And so he saw our sons being placed in their incubators. He knew where they were and he was the one to bring me there the next day.

I know he feels as though he played no role in the whole ordeal (and when it's high risk, you can't call it anything other than an ordeal), but his constant presence was a comfort throughout.