March 16, 2014

It was a Monday and I slept at 2am that morning. I don’t usually do this on a working day but Manchester City had a game on TV so you gotta do what you gotta do.

Typically, they lost to Wigan, got knocked out of the FA Cup, and I went to bed grumbling about the two hours I could’ve spent sleeping. At 4am, my wife woke me up and went, “My water has broken.”

By 430am, we were in the labor room.

Admittedly, I have done little to prepare myself for labor. I did realize that physically, there wasn’t much I could do to alleviate the pain. But I wanted to be as accommodating as I possibly could in ensuring that everything else that surrounds the process transpires seamlessly. And the only sure-fire way for me to do this is by not touching anything in the labor room.

By 2pm, my wife’s dilation was not showing any significant progress or in other words, her cervix wasn’t thinning fast enough. So upon the doctor’s advice, we agreed to have her induced to expedite the delivery. Once the drip kicks in, her contractions intensified exponentially and as a husband, this is when your gonads are put to the test.

As the word itself suggests, contractions hurt. My wife describes it as “severe period pain”. But as a man who has never experienced menstrual cramps, I can only imagine this to be very, very unpleasant.

Seeing my wife trying to control the pain as the contractions get more frequent and stronger was in itself painful. I tried to show moral support by breathing together whenever she did that blow-breathing thing we learned in pre-natal class. As any form of sideline support goes however, I could only experience a tiny negligible speck of the agony she was going through.

By 530pm her dilation reached 10cm and it was time to push. This was when the labor bed was put into delivery position and the midwives came in with the trays of unfriendly looking instruments.

My wife was twisting and turning uncontrollably and in witnessing this I couldn’t do much more but hold her hand, brush her hair, and whisper that God is with us in this. I tried to be with her by grunting along and cheering with the midwives with every push.

Amidst the pandemonium, images of the day we met, our first date, our wedding, and the day we moved into our house flashed by me. I started tearing up as I began to imagine the day my mom gave birth to me and the similar pain that she must have went through.

At 612pm, our daughter was safely delivered and my wife who was in indescribable pain just seconds ago smiled gleefully, seemingly devoid of any discomfort at the sight of the little child. I hugged them both and breathed a sigh of relief like never before.

After 14 hours of labor, little Orked was brought into the world on 10th March 2014 to complete our little family.

There’s no way of clearly describing the experience of being the only guy in the labor room for the first time. It’s one of those things that you will never be ready for and just have to wing it when the day comes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to catch up on some slee..diapers.


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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