18 Dads Confess How They Really Felt in the Delivery Room

Wendy Robinson | Jan 23, 2020 Pregnancy
18 Dads Confess How They Really Felt in the Delivery Room
Image: RapidEye/iStock

parents newborn baby csection

When I got pregnant with our first child, one of the things I wondered about was how my husband, a man with a strong fear of needles and a dislike of blood, would deal with seeing childbirth in all its glory. I knew he would want to be supportive, but could he handle it? So, imagine my amusement when, as my son was crowning, my husband looked at me and said in an awed voice, "Man, this is incredible, you should REALLY see this!"

Of course, I politely informed my husband that I was rather busy at the moment. After our son was finally born, I realized that I totally didn't have to be worried about how my husband would do in the delivery room. He still describes it as one of the most amazing experiences in his life. 

We reached out to several other dads to find out what exactly they remember about being in the delivery room and how they really felt watching their partners labor, give birth, or literally go "under the knife" for a C-section. We wondered what it was like for them to see their child finally emerge into the world after being that obscure being kicking in Mom's belly for many months. In all the ways that childbirth is a beautiful thing, it's also very bloody -- and it can certainly be breathtaking, shocking, raw, and even scary for some fathers to watch. 

Read on as 18 dads share their sweet and oh-so-real reactions from the unforgettable day their baby arrived in this world. 

  • Strong and Beautiful

    Image via iStock.com

    "My wife is super healthy and strong -- she does Crossfit and is a beast. But I've never seen her look stronger or more beautiful than when she gave birth to our daughter. She was in labor for two days and she was so tough. Does this sound super cliché? She was just so amazing to me." -- Derek W., San Diego, California

  • Women Are Magic

    Image via iStock.com/myrrha

    "Real talk: I could never do what my wife did. She did a natural water birth. I kept waiting for her to change her mind or to back out of the natural plan. But she never did. I would have asked for the drugs like FIRST CONTRACTION. Women, man. Women are magic." -- Alex D., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Lesson Learned

    Image via iStock.com/Metin Kiyak

    "I think seeing your child be born is cool, obviously. But I do remember, very clearly, the moment I realized that you shouldn't tell your wife that your newborn baby is 'kind of weirdly hairy, like a blond monkey.' That, um, didn't go over well." -- Name withheld by request

    More from CafeMom: 27 Dumbest Things Dads Have Said in the Delivery Room

  • Real Human Beings


    "For both of my kids, I remember most vividly the moments when they came out ... When they went from being inside my wife to suddenly being out in the world. And the immediate moments after that, just seeing them as these real human beings. I remember how small they were. Their hair. Just the physicality of them. The moment between them being inside her and being outside her is still kind of mind-blowing to me." -- Anthony M., Des Moines, Iowa

  • Kicked Out of the Room

    Image via iStock.com/jfairone

    "Well, this was a long time ago. But when my first two kids were born, I waited in the maternity ward lobby area, with all the other dads. When my wife was pregnant the last time -- this was 39 years ago -- I was finally going to be in the delivery room. 

    But after 12 hours in there, they kicked me out of the room! It turned out she was having twins -- surprise! And so she had to have a C-section, so I never got to see any of my kids actually come out. 

    But maybe that is for the best. I don't know if I would have liked it." -- Bob D., Toledo, Ohio

  • A Doctor's View


    "As a doctor, I saw childbirth way before it was happening with my own wife. Even after seeing it dozens of time, it never got old. And when it was my wife, it was still a life-changing event. Seeing my son take his first breath made me cry. No shame." --John R., Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Never Been More Scared

    Image via iStock.com/sampsyseeds

    "My wife almost died after having our son. I've never been more scared in my life. The delivery went OK, but then she had a massive hemorrhage. The blood -- it was just everywhere. I watched them working on getting the bleeding to stop and then watched as they took her to do a D&C and I realized like, shit, women can still die having babies. 

    It all ended up okay and she and the baby were fine. But I'll never forget that sick feeling of fear." -- Clark W., Tucson, Arizona

  • I Felt Useless

    Image via iStock.com/RyanJLane

    "There were times during the whole labor and delivery thing when I felt really useless. Sometimes I felt like she really needed me as a support person. But sometimes she just seemed to go inside herself. She didn't talk, she had the 1,000-yard stare going. She just mentally was in a zone, I think.

    It was primal." -- Jake F., White Bear Lake, Minnesota

  • What I Didn't Expect


    "I didn't expect labor to involve so much stuff. All the monitors and stuff. It looked like she was a tethered balloon! Also didn't expect to see my wife poop so much. That was kind of gross." -- Jeff T., Phoenix, Arizona

    More from CafeMom: 6 of the Most Hilarious Delivery Stories You'll Ever Hear

  • That's My Kid

    Image via iStock.com/shaunl

    "I think I expected my partner to be more vocal. But watching the work of it, I was in the moment and am still amazed at how strong she was. It was calm and kind of peaceful and then there he was! And I just stared, thinking 'man, that is my kid.'" -- Jorge G., Dallas, Texas

  • The Freak Out

    Image via iStock.com/jsmith

    "I -- I couldn't handle the epidural part. I could handle the blood, and her pooping on the table and the kid looking all slimey. But I had to leave the room for the epidural part. It just freaked me right out. It is a NEEDLE in her SPINE. That is crazy." -- Parker D., Boulder, Colorado

  • Two Kinds of Love


    "I really remember feeling so torn after the baby came out. I wanted to stay by my wife and make sure she was okay. But I also wanted to go be near where the baby was getting cleaned up and tended to. I think I sort of hopped back and forth for a bit and then my wife told me to go be with the baby.

    It was then that I realized that I had two kinds of love. I loved my wife so much and had this rush of love and protectiveness for this kid." -- Kevin S., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • What Has Been Seen ...


    "My wife had a c-section. I managed to peek around the curtain. Big mistake. I can never unsee that. Never." -- Andy D., Duluth, Minnesota 

  • Terror

    premature baby

    "The thing I most remember is being terrified. My wife went into labor at 28 weeks and we didn't know if our girl would live or die. She was so small. And it just wasn't what we pictured when we dreamed of having a baby. I was ready to feel nervous. But that wasn't nervous; it was so much worse." -- Hal K., Novi, Michigan

  • A Gift

    two dads

    "My wife just had a baby four months ago and it was a really interesting experience because she didn't have MY baby. She was actually a surrogate mom for two of our friends from college. I was there for the birth and so were the dads. I was so proud of my wife for being so strong and giving. When the dads started to cry when the baby was born -- I lost it. It was pretty amazing." -- Name withheld by request

  • The Third Wheel

    birth doula

    "My wife really wanted to have a doula. I was pretty ambivalent about it but since she was going to be doing the work, I felt like I couldn't say no. During the delivery, I felt like a third wheel, to be honest." -- Rick D., Rochester, Minnesota

  • 'I Should Have Brought Extra Shirts'

    sweaty guy

    "I just remember being really, really sweaty. It was a bad combination of anxiety and a really warm hospital room. I hate the pictures of me holding the baby for the first time because I have giant pit stains. I should have brought extra shirts." -- Luke C., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Brother Love

    newborn baby big brother

    "Watching your child be born is amazing, but I think my biggest memory was watching my son meet his brother. He was so gentle and I felt like 'Yes, I'm really the daddy now,' which probably sounds hella cheesy, but I still get choked up." -- Louis B., Gilbert, Arizona

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