Are you a North dad or a South dad?
The delivery room can be a confusing place. There are decisions to be made and the answers may not always be consistent between mum and dad.
First time parents might be under the impression that all you do is show up and have a baby. Experienced mums and dads know that friends and family may ask to be allowed in the delivery room. The couple will need to decide whether or not they want to take pictures of the delivery. And dads will have to decide if they want to be a North dad or a South dad.
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North dads vs. South dads
North dads are those who stay away from action, help mum with breathing and pushing, and hang out North of the equator. A North dad’s job is to provide reassurance, keep mum comfortable and coach her through the process.
South dads are those who hang out South of the equator where he has a front row seat to watch the baby come into the world. His jobs may vary. He could be a photographer, provide play-by-play commentary to mum or merely witness the miracle of life.
Hugh Weber, author of Dude to Dad, and I sat down for a one-on-one conversation to compare our delivery room experiences.
Weber characterizes himself as an “equator” dad, hanging out in both hemispheres. He says that he spent most if the time during labour helping mum.
“I think the choice was a function of where I could be most helpful,” Weber says.
“I believe that my only role was to ‘pamper my partner’ as much as I could. The Northern posture helped ensure easy access for this.”
Weber went on to say that being near mum’s head enabled him to be her advocate and translator.
“I was there to ensure that doctors knew when she was ready for pain treatment. I was also there to reassure her that care was, in fact, on the way.”
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I thought I wouldn’t be able to watch a live birth
My experience was much like being an accidental tourist. I went into the delivery room thinking there was no way I’d ever be able to watch a live birth and that I’d hang out in the Northern territory. Mum and I sat around watching TV for eight hours before the nurse informed us that mum was fully dilated.
“Well guys, it’s time to have a baby,” she said nonchalantly.
Honestly, I had no idea what to do when “showtime” arrived. Mum and I didn’t take the Lamaze classes so we knew I’d be worthless trying to help her breathe and her epidural made her numb. I was a dad without a job.
Thankfully, she encouraged me to watch the birth of the baby.
As I headed South the doctor explained what was going on with each push. The crown of my daughter’s head would poke out and then retract. When her head came out of the vaginal canal the doctor would tickle it to stimulate the brain waves. The process was fascinating.
“We” had a very easy delivery. I say “we” but I don’t really mean it. Mum did the work. She pushed three times and the total time between full dilation and delivery was twenty-three minutes. And when it was all over she said, “Wow, that was easy. Let’s do it again.”
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