As we celebrate mother’s day, Muritala Bakare relives the experience of witnessing for the first time, the pain mothers go through during childbirth. The experience, he says, will make him a better father and husband

I was on my way back to Manchester when my phone rang. “Honey, it looks like the baby is showing sign of coming,” my wife said.

“What are you talking about!” I exclaimed.  My wife was not due for the delivery of our first child until the next two weeks, and I’d had plans in place to sort a few things out before the baby came. The flat needed painting, the carpet needed to be changed, and some decorations were to be made to make it look welcome and comfortable for the new arrival.   

However, that was not as daunting as witnessing the birth of our child. The worry about sorting the flat out had gone out of the window when I saw the excruciating pain in my wife’s eyes. She was groaning as she put her hands on her stomach. At first, I didn’t know what to do but quickly phoned a family friend to bring her car to take her to the hospital.   

Before she got to this stage, my wife had been going through periods of contraction. The more frequent the contractions became, the more the pain was intense, and all I could do was to assure her everything would be fine.  

The grinding noise was becoming unbearable as she held onto her back and stomach at the same time. It wasn’t a nice thing to watch or see my loved one in so much pain.  

By the time we got her to the Saint Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, the contractions had got stronger. The midwives rushed her to the labour room. She was banging, shouting and groaning loudly. I wasn’t still sure of what to do at that time. I was stunned by the amount of pain a woman can go through to have a baby.  

She couldn’t even say anything, but by the time she said something, she said: “Give me the epidural.” 

An epidural is a pain-relief medicine that helps reduce the sharp pain during labour.  But the midwives told her she needed to be assessed first before deciding whether to give her one. 

Meanwhile, they asked her to do a slow breathing technique to reduce the pain. I was sweating, and the hair on my head lifted into bristles as I started to panic. 

One of the senior midwives put her fingers into her vagina to check if the baby was nearly there. “It is about 10cm,” she said. “It is too late to have an epidural,” they told her. The baby is here. You will have to push.”  

My wife’s groaning went louder just as my sweaty shirt got wetter.  

“Push, push,” that was all I could hear as I patted her on the shoulder. “You are doing well,” I assured her.  

After nearly 20 minutes of pushing, then the little one’s head started protruding from a tiny hole between her legs. The midwives kept telling her to push, but she was exhausted. “I can’t,” she retorted. I told her she was nearly there even though I didn’t know how long this would take.  

But not long came the mighty push that made the difference, and the baby came out like a beautiful spring flower that came into bloom.

Everyone was smiling, and suddenly she’d forgotten about the pain. “It’s a girl,” said one of the midwives. But the job wasn’t finished yet. There is something else that had to come out of my wife’s stomach. “What was that?” I asked anxiously.  

It was the placenta. They had to cut the umbilical cord first before getting it out. “Would you like to cut it?” asked the senior midwife. “Yes,” I said in a trembling voice. 

Not long the midwife got the placenta out as I stared in awe of my wife.   

After the whole episode and the midwives went into their station, I cradled my daughter gently and promised to do everything to help and support my wife to recover well.  

The experience has truly opened my eyes to the pain women go through during labour and would definitely shape my relationship with my wife and daughter. Mothers are the real heroes, and they deserve much respect from men and should be pampered just like the newborns. 

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