Have you ever wondered what it must be like for those who witness the adrenaline-fueled, nerve-wracking moments leading up to their child's birth?
Editor's note: This article was originally published on December 27, 2021. It has since been updated.
A zillion things have been said and written about the "miracle of birth." However, most of these accounts have been from the ones who actually gave birth or medical professionals who help deliver babies. Have you ever wondered what it must be like for the men who join their partners in the delivery room and witness the adrenaline-fueled, nerve-wracking moments leading up to their child's birth? Is it truly a miraculous and beautiful experience as it's made out to be or does one need a strong stomach to experience the whole thing without throwing up or losing consciousness—or both?
Some members of the r/AskMen community gave some valuable insights into the experience when Reddit user u/Sakuramochi_Chan turned to the subreddit with this question: "Men who were there with their partners in the delivery room, what was the experience like?" Here are 20 responses that left us amazed and somewhat speechless:
"During the actual birth, especially with your first child, you experience almost every emotion simultaneously. Joy for the new addition, fear and worry that something will go wrong, pride for how amazing my wife is, helplessness for not being able to really help my wife more than say encouraging words or holding a leg. It's emotionally exhausting, all while on very little sleep. 10/10 cool experience, though." — pikeben08
"It was incredible, breathtaking, amazing, and terrifying. Being the first person my daughter saw and making eye contact with her when she came out was an out of body experience. I have a great picture from about three minutes after she was born where I’m holding her and we’re staring at each other and it looks like she’s sticking her tongue out at me. I wasn’t anxious about the moment going in, but when it happened, it was like my entire life would now be summed up as before and after that exact moment." — SL_1183
"After hours of waiting, my wife said I should sleep. So I fell asleep and then woke up from a dead sleep to the birth starting. I stood on the side and I guess looked like I was going to pass out because the doctor immediately said I needed to sit. So I sat a minute and then got back into the fray. I held a leg while the baby came out. Then I held my baby for a moment and she got passed to my wife. After that, it's mostly a blur since the baby stage is a nightmare." — urchisilver
"My wife and daughter almost died. Major shoulder dystocia. Code pink. Violent emergency c-section. Witnessed successful resus on my daughter. Mom needed 4 unit transfusions. I’m a paramedic and this still majorly fu**ed me up." — RocksteadyBetty
"I was right there when my daughter was born. I was the first person she saw. It was the best experience of my life." — idiotdetector70
"Beautiful, when my wife was pushing for some reason the nurses left. She started contracting again so I told her friend to grab her leg and I grabbed the other and told her to push like the nurses did, the nurses came back and didn't interfere and I ended up helping her deliver our daughter." — aoiv_tabs
"26 hours in labor. 2 hours of my wife just pushing (while in agonizing pain) to get the baby out. I was a whole mess from hour 12 and on. So, I was basically miserable for the last 14 hours. I wasn't mentally prepared. I thought the whole thing could take 24 hours but I was never ready to go there mentally. Anyways, as soon as I see him come out and he starts crying... I erupted into tears like a baby myself. Most emotional moment of my entire existence.
It was magical and I'm just glad I didn't pass out before I could witness his birth." — userojthejuice
"It was simultaneously horrifying and miraculous. The pain she went through and the amount of blood and amniotic fluid that was pushed out of her... it was astounding. That this tiny little human came out whole and was ours. Was someone we created. And now we are responsible for trying to help him become a decent human." — AngryWombat78
"It was fine, but hectic. You are there to provide support for your partner. Be calm and collected. Videotaping and taking pictures is only a secondary role and only if you have time. I had to catch a baby as it came out since the nurse and doctor were not in the room at the time. You need to run interfence and get things that are needed for partner. If the nurse or doctor tells you to get something that is not in the room. It is there way of saying you are in the way and are not being helpful." — qqqqtrdr
"We were waiting in the delivery room, the baby was taking its time. Both her and I would dose off between contractions. Once I woke up with the doctor coming into the room. She went and measured various things, my wife still asleep. I asked, 'Everything all right?' And the doctor replied 'Yeah. Just checking. If you see a bunch of people coming in and barking orders at each other, pushing carts, then you can worry.'
Of course an hour or so later the doors bang open, a bunch of people coming pushing carts and barking orders at each other. I tried to ask what was the problem and was told, in barking, to stay the fu** out of the way.
Turns out the baby was in distress. The doctor looked at some machines and decided to do a C-section. Wife's bed was wheeled into the OR, I was given a crash-course in scrubbing, told to go in and sit in a chair by her head. There was a curtain at about her neck line, so neither of us could see what was going on. We struck a conversation with the anesthesiologist, who was sitting near her head as well. She said she was feeling good. I knew the blood had totally drained from my head. I felt excited, worried, afraid, all at the same time. I tried to put on a brave façade, but I knew she could read right through me so she kept making conversation to calm me down. At some point she said she felt something really strange, and right after we heard the baby crying. Tears welled up in both our eyes, just like they are doing now in mine 15 years later. She told me to keep the baby under my eyes at all times, for some reason she was terrified of the baby being switched.
So I wheeled my chair back and watched as they brought the screaming baby to a sink, cleaned him up, swaddled him and put a little cap on his head, at which point he fell asleep. Then they brought him to us and we got to say hello to our kid for the first time. The baby was weak from the struggle, so they put him in a wheeled incubator, put some monitors on his chest, and told me to push the incubator out of the OR and into the neonatal ICU nearby. On the way through the door, I met my mother in law. She looked at the baby, looked at me, and started to cry. I started to cry as well. Just like I'm crying now, 15 years later. This is all very vivid in my head, but what happened immediately after is a blur. At some point we were in a recovery room, the baby was fine, the mother was fine, and some kind soul, I think a nurse, told me to change the baby's first diaper. She told me that nothing would be as gross as that first one, so if I could do that I would be fine. She also winked and told me that every diaper I changed I would be scoring points with my wife. And so I changed most of his diapers for as long as he needed diapers." — wordserious
"My wife was at one side of the dividing sheet chatting to the anesthesiologist like they're at a freakin' tea party. And the doctor doing the C-section is calling out to her, 'You might feel some pressure and movement here now' as they pull open the incision and pop the baby out like two football players pushing a basketball through a two-inch hole in a rubber sheet.
Then they held the gore-covered baby, with umbilical dangling, up towards me, — like Rafiki presenting Simba to the crowd in the 'Lion King' — and they ask proudly, 'What is it?' I'd strongly agree that you don't need to go down where the action is." — The_Cutest_Kittykat
"My daughter was born in July of this year. First child and she came seven weeks early. Wife woke me at 2 a.m. Saturday with what she thought were contractions. We went into hospital, they checked her, and told us they should pass — and we should go home. Got home by 7 a.m. but by a.m. she was definitely getting contractions and throwing up. At this point over 24 hours with no sleep or food for either of us as I didn't leave her side. Delivery took an hour. My daughter came out deathly grey and not breathing — and was placed on my wife for about 5 seconds while the midwife rubbed her trying to get her to breathe. She made me quickly cut her cord and then was handed over to doctors. At this point I was in complete shock just trying to focus on my wife and put a brave face on for her.
After a few minutes under heat lamps and being ventilated she was taken straight to NICU. They wanted my wife to rest so I kissed her goodbye told her how proud I was and went to NICU. Seeing my daughter hooked up to all the machines broke me. Everything caught up to me and I had a panic attack, couldn't really understand what was happening, and was told to go sleep and come back after resting.
Got a few hours of sleep and went back to meet her properly. Turns out, there was no reason as to why she came early. The same day, she started breathing by herself, was in NICU for just under two weeks, and ha been home since. We did every test available not a thing they can find wrong with her. She's nearly 12 weeks old now, piling the weight on, and is a happy little baby. We named her Lyra." — Grandfs
"My wife had nine months building a gradually-increasing connection to the baby — carrying, little kicks, hiccups, and burps. But for me, all that happened in one exact moment when I heard my daughter cry for the first time. All emotions wrapped into one exact moment in time. For the mother, it's a nurturing build of love and connection. For the father, it's a bomb. I froze, I didn't respond when spoken to — and I cried. It was a big moment for me and all I have to do is close my eyes and I can recreate the sound of the first time I heard her voice, etched in my memory like a laser-engraved vinyl record." — chickenfatnono
"I watched both my kids be born. It's a weird experience let me tell you. It's bloody and gross and intensely biological, but it's also one of the coolest things I've ever seen. There's surprisingly little blood but quite a lot of other bodily fluids. The human body is pretty amazing sometimes." — molten_dragon