I've been spending a lot of down time around the house picking up the various books we have on tables and bookshelves and nightstands about pregnancy and birth and early childhood development. I often dip into them haphazardly, pulling out tidbits about what causes stretch marks, about how big our baby should be by now, about postures and ways to breath during labor. Every so often, I'll come across something that involves the birthing woman's "partner" and the role they play during the birth.
As I peer up over the edge of a book at my husband, I'll often ask "Do you think you can do this during labor?" Sometimes I'll show him an awkward-looking posture that involves him holding up most of my weight while the baby is born. Sometimes it's something simpler, like wiping my brow. Other times we'll be lying in bed together or hugging each other in the dining room and he'll be rubbing my back or my arm or my belly. "Do you think you can do this during labor?" I'll ask. Or he'll rub my shoulders while I'm seated at the computer. "Do you think you can do this during labor?" It has become something of a mantra. Fortunately, most of the time, the answer is yes -- other than the one time I asked if he'd be able to pick up my entire (large) pregnant body off the floor and heft me into a supported squat should this be required. He wasn't so sure his back would take such a maneuver and I'm still hoping that I don't require such assistance.
My husband has a big final due on Tuesday and he's been spending a lot of time in front of the computer, typing away with shoulders hunched over the keyboard. This evening, I stood behind him and rubbed his shoulders, working out some of the tension in his upper back. "Ahh....." he sighed. "That feels really good."
His sighs stopped for a moment before he asked, "Do you think you can do this in labor?"
He says that when the doula comes over after labor starts, he wants her to find me rubbing his back, giving him water and snacks while he rotates his hips on the birth ball just so he can tell her: "The information that you gave us is SO helpful. I feel great!"
I am left wondering: at what stage of labor is my husband's sense of humor going to make me want to hit him?