My husband was present at the birth of our first child, it was touch and go as he'd nearly passed out at ante-natal classes twice but I didn't have anybody else I felt bonded enough to, to be there at the birth, after having moved away over 2 and a half hours from close family and friends. My midwife also said that a doula would be expensive so that blew that option out of the water. After a one and a half hours discussion with the midwife there was more on the birth plan about my husband than there was about the baby or me, things like don't offer him to cut the cord etc. When I went into labour at 4:30 in the morning I didn't wake him up and laboured alone, when he woke his anxiety made me anxious and stopped my labour, after I ushered him to work my labour restarted. We swapped texts all day on my progress, he came home and I was knocking contractions out every 5 mins and was desperate to be with my midwives. A quick shower and sandwich for him and a quick drive we were at the birth centre.
He was amazing during the birth, but I was always worried about him and I think this slowed my labour as I couldn't just be in labour he was kept busy rubbing my back. Another support like a doula would have meant she could have worried about him and not me.
For our second labour I really wanted the support of a friend aswell, as my husband hadn't really hadn't been supportive about birth at all this time but he didn't let me do that, he wanted to be there to the detriment of everything else he nearly passed out when we got there and when I started pushing out our baby. I felt great anger with him about this but had a quick labour because I took the attitude sod him! If he doesn't care about me when I have to do something like this then I'm not going to care about him.
In hindsight he was very pleased to be there to welcome his babies, but having a doula to help him and reassure me (that my only support wan't going to pass out) would have been far better and I have since found out that some doulas reduce their fees if a birthing couple are on a low income. However not relevant to us as we're not planning any more.
I've also read an interesting book by Michel Odent, called 'Childbirth in the Age of Plastics' which discusses adrenaline being contagious in the birth room from man to woman. So therefore I feel really keen men should be supported a lot more in a very different way if they are going to be present in labour and birth, having one-to-one midwife support would be a helpful start. After all isn't it interesting that the time it became more popular for men to be in the birth room is the time emergency caesarean birth rate rose, also pointed out in the afore mentioned book.