With both births I called my husband as contractions began and he returned from work and drove me to the hospital (first child)/met me at the hospital (second child). He was present throughout both births - and I remember a midwife offering to put the radio on so he could listen to the football when my eldest was born! Before having children I hadn't wanted my husband to be there as I didn't want him to see me give birth (I guess I was a little bit vain and also worried that he may not view me sexually in the same way again afterwards), but he told me not to be silly and wanted to be there. He wasn't the 'touchy feely' kind of new father that gets involved in breathing exercises and gets massively involved in the pregnancy or birth, but he wanted to be there to support me and to see our children come into the world. As soon as the contractions began I was glad he was there as I was terrified and surrounded by medical staff due to a complicated birth, and having him there was enormously reassuring as I knew I could trust him to make any decisions on my behalf as I would want them. The birth of our first child was very traumatic and I think scarred us both for some time afterwards! I lost a lot of blood and it must have been very alarming to see. Because I was in a bad state afetr the birth, the nurses handed our son to my husband first and he still remembers (with glassy eyes!) the moment he spoke to our baby and he opened his eyes for the first time and stared at his dad. I think this was an incredible bonding moment for them both and - after having felt to unable to help during the birth itself - provided my husband with the opportunity to really feel important and needed. After the birth (which was late evening) he left the hospital and went to his parents for a meal and a few drinks and then home where he tells me he slept like the dead! With our second child the birth was far quicker and my husband got more involved in talking to me and supporting me. I could tell he was far less worried and panicked than with our first child, and his calm transferred onto me. After the birth of our youngest son, he went and collected our eldest from his grandparents and bought him into hospital to visit his baby brother, before spending his first night ever without mummy. My husband and eldest son slept together to keep each other company and had a boys bonding evening!
My mother had her three children in hospital - I don't think my father was present for any of them. My mother in law had both of her children at home. My father in law was at a gig for the first child and sat downstairs 'getting slowly drunk' during my husband's birth! The midwife called him up after the baby was born.