A father's perspective on birth. (Part 1)

Updated: Mar 8

This is a series of the birth stories of each of my children. We have experienced new life in our household five different times in five distinct settings. In my life, there have been no moments as powerful as these five. From catching babies alone with my wife in the intimacy of our bedroom to holding her on a hospital bed bracing for the worst, we have gone through much and I want to take the opportunity to share.

In the past, I’ve stopped myself many times from writing about my experience with the births out of the fear of not doing these incredible moments justice. I plan to split each of the birth stories into two parts as to keep the posts short enough for you, the reader, while not skipping any important details.

We followed our collective intuition and instincts according to the circumstances we were presented with during each of our 5 children’s births. Therefore, we landed up doing things very differently with each one.

This is my take on the process of birth and my approach to it within a unique family. I am not a doctor, and this article is not intended to influence the reader towards one way of doing things or another... (this article may also cause side effects such as nausea or even cardiovascularitis, a rare but serious disease that can kill you. Mumble mumble, batteries sold separately.) So, without further adieu, part 1 of 10.

El first-Borno: Simon Owen Dargatz

Date of Birth: 2010-02-15

I always tell Simon around his birthday that it is the anniversary of me becoming a father as much as it is his birthday and that I should be getting some of the swag too. To say that Simon’s entrance to the world was epic would be putting it mildly. He was born breech, came out 'boy parts' first, and peed on the doctor’s face before anyone could even say, “it’s a boy!”

Breech position: For those that do not know, a breech pregnancy is when the fetus is positioned to come out ‘backward’ or legs first. If you like, click here to learn more about breech.

3-4% of pregnancies end in the breech position. In my experience at my job, when I come across something that only happens four out of one hundred times, I have two options: to marvel at the unique wonder or to consider it a pain in the butt that’s going to take me more time than usual. I’d imagine it’s the same for health-care providers that are usually quite short on time and supporting staff so they are left with the latter of the two options as the default. (Hats off to my younger sister and brother-in-law, who both work in this sector, I love them both dearly.)

Let me start at the beginning of the pregnancy...

Conception date: May 23, 2009

Location: Pictou, Nova Scotia.

(The same night we discussed having children after meeting those tree planting camp cooks I mentioned in this post.)

I can still remember the excitement when we bought a pregnancy test. We were on our way back to BC from a road trip across Canada and we were staying at my parent’s in Caronport, Saskatchewan, in central Canada. Christina invited me into the bathroom, dipped the test, and gave it to me to read to be able to have ME be the one to deliver/confirm the news to HER. Intimate moments of whole ranges of emotions that I’m so thankful we got to experience together.

As most young men (and women) under 23, I knew very little about the process of pregnancy. Over the first trimester of the pregnancy, Christina began to dig in and read a lot about it. She truly wanted to offer our future Simon the best start possible in life.

Through her reading, she came across a whole new world of information on natural birth and the potential for the birth experience to be as calm, intimate, and as bonding for the family as conception itself.

I come from a very medically trained family. The idea of a planned birth outside of the hospital was seen as bizarre, scary and unnecessarily risky. My late sister Faye was also a nurse and I can remember her talking about “hard patients” (like Christina was on the path to becoming). There are always at least two sides to a story. When someone challenges another’s method of doing things, or simply asks ‘why?’, friction is created and the procedure being executed becomes just a bit more...hard.

It is Christina’s questioning of things that people either love or hate. I do wish so badly that Faye could’ve met her, they would’ve had a spectacular yet loving bunting of horns.

I was torn between fully supporting my wife’s confidence in her own body and abilities and the fears of something bad happening with home birth. The scary stories always take up the headlines. It is up to us as individuals to always make sure with any decision that Love triumphs over fear.

The months carried on and Christina got more and more prepared for what she envisioned the delivery to be like. She carried so well and inspired me to prepare to be the best father I could be, not so much with words, as by her due diligence. As we approached our due date, revelations of the breech position and a set of unforeseen pressures emerged. It was the first time in our young marriage that we confronted tension. In retrospect, as a young married couple, these were make-or-break moments. We had to learn to navigate through these disagreements and figure out where to concede, compromise, and where to stand firm.

The glue that held us together: our commitment to our vows and our mutually convicted belief in the rule of never letting the sun go down on our anger.

To be continued!

Part 2 of Simon's birth story next week. Please subscribe at the bottom of the page to receive updates when new posts are available for reading.

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