Pilot Becomes Dad: My Side of the Birth

tom and livi (2)

Hi everybody. I hope you guys are doing well. As you probably know, Gina’s pretty busy these days, so when I offered to write a post about my perspective on the great day o’birthing, she didn’t argue too much. Well, it was a hell of ride from where I was sitting and I wasn’t even the one on the bed. However, I can’t imagine attempting this journey without being armed with the knowledge and the team that was with us that day.

Going into this whole pregnancy thing, I had no idea what Bradley Method was or…wait. You know what? I didn’t have a clue about childbirth in general. I assumed it would be  “9” months (as opposed to the actual “10”) of people rubbing her belly; we would go to a nice restaurant, her water would break, and it’d be a mad-dash to the ER with a head and a foot popping out of her lady parts all the while she would be screaming about how much she hated me for doing this to her. I was thankful for the subtle differences of the actual event.

After 12 weeks of Bradley, I came to understand my coaching role as one that would encourage Gina to safely deliver our baby while advocating for our plan as effectively as possible. I knew I’d have the help of our awesome doula, midwives, and nurses.  My confidence was pretty high by the time Gina’s contractions were 5 minutes apart at breakfast (by the way, it felt like she’d been pregnant for so long that contractions would never come at a regular interval to start this thing). I began relying upon what we learned during our classes which allowed me to track her stages of labor and pass that to news of progress to Gina. While she labored at home, I packed our things into the car. I had to stop every few minutes to push down on her lower back during the contractions. We passed the dog off to the madre and made the cautious drive to the hospital.

A couple things surprised me when we got to TMC. First, I was surprised that her contractions didn’t slow down to much (now about 4.5 to 5 minutes apart). Secondly, I anticipated that I would have to immediately be politely aggressive about ensuring our birth plan was met. However, our nurses were completely on board. They were always looking out for our safety; but otherwise, we were allowed the liberty to do what we felt would work best (i.e. wearing pajamas instead of the hospital gown, walking around the hospital to speed up labor, intermittent fetal monitoring, etc.). With that concern all but nullified, I was free to focus on Gina.

I’ll talk about how wonderful I thought the midwives were in just a minute, but let me take this opportunity to talk about the other person that was with Gina the entire time. I couldn’t have done this without the skill and tender actions of our absolutely amazing doula, Tricia. She and I worked as a perfect team. Every time we recognized that Gina progressed to the next change, Tricia and I looked up, smiled, and shared a mental high-five before going back to motivating Gina. During each contraction, Tricia pushed down on Gina’s lower back with a warm compress, and I breathed with Gina to help her cadence while reminding her to exhale in a low moan when the pain was getting to her. I also had a small role in updating the fam via texting my Bro-in-law and occasional visits to the lobby where the Mexican nina fiesta was in full swing.

Laboring went on like that for some time as Gina moved closer and closer to transition. I knew this would be our greatest test. Gina always ensured me that, although she has a low pain tolerance regarding most things, when it came to giving birth she would dial it up and make it happen  – well, she made it happen and then some. While she was asking if she as dying or telling us that she’s quitting or leaving, Tricia and I kept telling her she was doing great and she’s going to be through it soon. Gina called up some sort of superhuman pain tolerance and fought through it. We were so happy and congratulatory when transition passed as we neared second stage labor. Of course, we had no idea that the cord was wrapped and that she had 3 more hours of hard work before the pushing began, but we toughed through that, too. It involved a lot of breath control, different laboring positions and me being a human squat bar or partner for those times she didn’t make to the bed or bathroom before another contraction hit.

The only time I felt unsure and a tad worried (except when we realized the cord was wrapped, of course) was when we were 2 1/2 hours into that last portion of labor and the baby’s heart rate wouldn’t accelerate. I chose my words very carefully when talked Gina through each painful 60 second period (often 80 seconds but I didn’t tell her that). I didn’t want to sound repetitive but I did want to make her feel like she was making progress despite feeling like she was stuck in this stage of labor. With some crucial suggestions of the midwives and nurses, we got things moving again, and before we knew it, it was time to push. 

Sharon was the midwife on shift, and she went to work. Everyone there had their own unique role interacting with Gina while she pushed. From encouragement to direction – the synchronized efforts kept Gina focused. I was next to Sharon ready to “catch” Olivia on her way out. It was a surreal event to say the least. When her head was fully out and Sharon told Gina that should couldn’t stop pushing so Olivia wouldn’t be in too much distress, I elected to let the professionals work and told Sharon that she’s got the catch. I continued to tell Gina she’s doing great and to breathe deeply when she could (not that she needed it – Gina was on autopilot for the 30 seconds it took to get the rest of the baby out). I cut the cord which had to be done because Livi needed immediate attention. All that was left for me to do as a coach was to keep Gina updated while the nurses were getting Olivia’s heart rate regulated.

I’ve always been proud of my hard-working wife, but after witnessing what she did to bring little Olivia into the world, I have a new hero. She showed so much strength – I’m inspired beyond words and often bring up the fact that I can’t believe she did so well. We would be just as happy to be parents if she was delivered any other way, but it was nice to see something worked out to plan. Now the adventure’s really getting started, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our family. Hope you enjoyed reading this. We’ll see you soon.



Gina and Olivia

Birth story part 1 and part 2 <3

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  1. Pam on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing the Pilot’s perspective! Sounds like the Bradley Method classes really helped prepare the both of you, but he seems to be a natural at coaching, very awesome!!
    It’s wonderful that you experienced the birth of your daughter together, I bet it strengthened your bond even more, although it seems like you already have a rock solid bond together!
    So happy for you 🙂

  2. Mary on January 16, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Great to hear Daddy’s perspective…great post!

  3. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    What a touching and tender post and I am crying Hallmark tears for your family…you guys deserve nothing but happiness and I wish you the best on this crazy, big, wild, wonderful, roller coaster of an adventure called parenthood.

    It’s wonderful when I read about men and father’s who are involved, aware, on-board, proactive, and dialed in to pregnancy, birth, nursing, parenthood, and everything else. The consciousness and awareness is awesome and hopefully inspiring to other men, too.

  4. Amber L on January 16, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    love it!! totally teared up at the end. you guys are so cute <3

  5. Kilee on January 16, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    So sweet to hear Tom’s side of the birth experience. You two are lucky to have each other and such a sweet, healthy baby girl.

  6. Heather on January 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Well if that picture of daddy holding his precious little girl doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will! Thanks for sharing both perspectives on the birth and for sharing little Olivia with all of us! Y’all are amazing 🙂

  7. Kristin on January 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks for sharing,Tom! It’s great to have your perspective. It’s fun to hear from you after reading about you in Gina’s posts. 🙂

  8. Lindsay @ Fuel My Family on January 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    this is too sweet! I wrote a birth story as well to be printed and put in my kids’ baby books and i should have had my husband do one from his point of view too!

  9. Sarah on January 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Congrats on Olivia, she’s adorable! Gina – you are so lucky to have a hubby like Tom. He’s clearly going to be a great dad. Olivia’s future partner will have a hell of an example to compare to. Olivia will have such a strong sense of how she should be treated and how her mother has been treated. What a lucky girl! Tom- thanks for writing and demonstrating such respect, awe, and love for your wife. It’s wonderful! Thanks for letting us into your lives and being such an example in your marriage. I’ve been married for a year and a half and I’m always looking for strong examples to model my own after. Love the blog!!

  10. Maria on January 16, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Loved hearing about Bradley method from a guys perspective!! Great post 🙂

  11. Rita @ Healthy Mom, Sexy Wife on January 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I read this earlier and shed a few tears. How sweet to have a loving male perspective!! My husband recalls our sons births differently but it usually starts with him saying how he go to see my guts. LOVELY! I had two c-sections though.

  12. chelsea on January 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

    Awh I love hearing it from Toms perspective! Way to go dadd!

  13. Emily on January 17, 2012 at 4:13 am

    So lovely to hear the tale from both parents! I’m obviously going to have to look into the bradley method 🙂 Thanks so much for all you guys share.

  14. Kristin on January 17, 2012 at 5:55 am

    That is the sweetest thing I have ever read….way to go Pilot!!!!!!

  15. Ky G on January 17, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Awesome post and great to read dad’s perspective for a change. You and Gina are so supportive of each other! Olivia is truly blessed to have such a great “team” for parents.

  16. Amy on January 17, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Tom, how good to hear your perspective…………………….it’s great to hear what the husband-new dad goes through! Congrats to you guys…………………………:)

  17. Laura L. on January 17, 2012 at 8:42 am

    This was great to read! Like many others, I teared up at the end. 🙂 I’m eight weeks pregnant and I sent this to my husband so he could read about the birthing process from the male perspective. Thanks, Tom!

  18. KariLynne10 on January 17, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Awww so cute!! The last paragraph brought tears to my eyes!

  19. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on January 17, 2012 at 9:20 am

    What a great post, thanks for sharing 😀

  20. Nicole on January 17, 2012 at 9:52 am

    This perspective really completes the birth story you shared with us last week. Such amazing, wonderful stuff! Congratulations again to both of you; you make a great team!

  21. Nellie on January 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I love reading Birth Stories, but have never heard one from the mans perspective. LOVED THIS. Thank you so much for sharing and hope to hear more from you about parenting!

  22. Carlee on January 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Loved this idea, and I am totally sharing it with the hubs! This was great to read. Thanks!

  23. Rachel Hale on January 17, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Awesome!!! You guys make such a great team! Congrats on your new family! 🙂

  24. Tina @ mylifeasamrs on January 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

    So sweet hearing your perspective! Congratulations you two… Olivia is beautiful & absolutely perfect!

  25. Anna @ The Guiltless Life on January 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

    It’s great to see you were such a support! I can imagine not everyone is like that in the birthing room as it must be so scary to watch someone you love go through so much pain. Whether it’s mothers, sisters, friends, husbands – whoever the birthing partner is it’s a big job! Well done Tom!

  26. Laura @ My Pink Thumb on January 17, 2012 at 11:39 am

    What a fantastic post! I just loved hearing your side of the story Tom! 🙂

  27. Laurie on January 17, 2012 at 11:42 am

    You’re such an awesome Dad!!!! It’s good to hear what the guy’s go through! Thanks for sharing! Love the pictures of you and Gina with the baby!

  28. Emily on January 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing your side too!

  29. theorist on January 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    So nice to hear his perspective. Well, written too!!! Congrats again.

  30. Laury on January 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I loved this!!!! Thank you so much for sharing a Daddy’s perspective! You’re such an amazing husband….you both are lucky to have each other and Olivia is lucky to have you as parents!

  31. La. on January 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Love this look from the husbands er, birth partners side of things!

  32. Samantha on January 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    What a great idea to have a post from Tom’s perspective. You guys are such an amazing couple, and reading about the genuine love you have for each other is inspiring. It reminds the rest of us to hold out for the real thing because it’s so worth it <3

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2012 at 6:39 pm

      from someone who had a horrible relationship before meeting him, i can definitely say its worth waiting for the real thing

  33. Tricia on January 17, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Tom I am not mincing my words when I say you were the best labor coach I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of births. All men love their women when they’re in labor, but the way you supported her and were completely, 100% ON for the entire labor was just something I’ve never seen. Gina is so luck to have you as a partner! It was such a privilege to be at your little lady’s birth 🙂

  34. Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run on January 18, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Tom, Dad, Pilot…haha…what a great post! I have two girls myself, and let me tell you…having my husband around every step of the way meant everything to me. And the look of pride on his face in the end (for me AND baby) says it all. I can “hear” the pride in your post. You have a beautiful wife and little girl, and I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!!

  35. Faith on January 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Is it inappropriate that I’m kind of in love with your husband right now? 😉
    SO sweet!

    • Fitnessista on January 18, 2012 at 3:28 pm


  36. Renee on January 25, 2012 at 11:19 am

    My goodness, love just oozes out of this blog. I love it! What a great representation of family. Sigh =)

  37. Carrie R. on March 26, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Awesome job Dad!!! You guys did great…it is so generous of you guys to share this with the readers!!! It is absolutely wonderful that the family is happy and healthy.

    God bless you guys…so happy for you!!!!!!

  38. Lauren on June 20, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Umm, I’m so late reading this, but this brought tears to my eyes. I read your blog everyday, but I am 22 and was always kind of scared to read a birth story, haha. After reading HTP Caitlin’s, I thought I could do it 😉 You are so blessed <3

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