My birth story: I am a dad and I delivered my baby by accident

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It's not every day you read the story of a dad delivering his own baby.

When I replay the experience in my head, I often think, "Did that really happen? Did I really do that?"

My wife and I had previously discussed the possibility of having a home birth. We actually liked the idea of home birth, but ultimately decided that the right option for us was at the hospital. We felt more comfortable with the idea of having a doctor and medical equipment around, just in case.

Only two years before, we had our first child, so we had an idea of what to expect—or so we thought.

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What happened next would rock my entire world and put us both on an emotional rollercoaster that we'll never forget.

Labor started

Our story started on a chilly Thursday morning. My wife had prepared our bags weeks in advance, and I had the route to the hospital figured out. I knew labor was coming any day now, and I expected to be woken up, so I had purposely kept a night-light on to keep my senses alert.

It was 4:15 am when my wife started contracting.

My wife had been waking up sporadically from unconformable pains, but then she'd normally go back to sleep. This night, however, was a bit different. She woke up and stayed up.

Still half asleep, I could hear her rotating on her exercise ball. I could sense something was different, so I hopped out of bed to lend a hand.

She told me she had been up for about two hours now and was just too uncomfortable to go back to sleep. I was shocked. She had been experiencing contraction pains for over two hours but hadn't woken me up!

I started to time the contractions now. Ten minutes apart, then 8 minutes apart then, 6 minutes apart. Everything was moving in the right direction, so I started to get things ready.

With our previous child, we had phoned the hospital as soon as she started feeling contractions.

They urged us not to leave until the contractions were at least 4 minutes apart, lasting for around 1 minute each, and had been going on for at least one hour. With our previous child, we were told to wait until the last possible minute before we left.

So this time, knowing that advice, we just waited. My wife endured the pain, grit her teeth, and let out a few moans, while I started to get everything ready.

The situation got serious, quickly.

Once the contractions got closer, I called the hospital. Unfortunately, the number just rang out.

While this was happening, my wife's contractions went from several minutes apart to less than 2 minutes apart. Things started to get very serious, very fast.

She fell to her knees as all her water broke within seconds, and I realized that we had missed our slot to leave in the car. We would have to call an ambulance.

I called the emergency services to let them know what was happening and they assured me that an ambulance was on its way. I was relieved to hear that they had been dispatched but angry at myself for not leaving for the hospital sooner.

With the advice of the operator, I helped my wife on her back and rooted around the house for seemingly odd things. She told me to get some towels and some pillows— those made sense.

But then she asked me to get a clothespin and a piece of string*… huh?

What was this for? I reluctantly obliged but started to get a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach that she wasn't letting me know the full story.

Why was she asking me to get emergency birthing items ready?

Wasn't the ambulance on the way?

How long would it take for them to get here?

I kept asking, and she kept politely stating that they were close.

As my wife lay there in the middle of the living room, I started to accept what was about to happen. I dimmed the lights and shouted at my Google home music device to "play waterfall sounds!"

Our baby's birth

The operator on the phone asked me to check if the baby was crowning. Luckily, I'm the type of partner that reads the baby books (score), so I knew what that meant.

As she separated her legs, it was clear as day that baby was, in fact, crowning.

I remember reading that active labor takes about 8 hours and that once you are dilated, it can take hours of pushing before a baby is born.

But, my wife went through dilatation in less than 30 minutes—and I was crouched there in disbelief.

This was happening now.

As the operator called out instructions to me, all I could do was think, "Where is the ambulance?!"

Then, out of nowhere, the living room door burst open, and my 2-year-old son came running in. He heard all the commotion and shouting and was, of course, worried.

He took one look at his mother and another at me and cried out "Juice juice" (that's his way of asking for a drink). It couldn't have been the worst timing! I scrambled to the kitchen, grabbed his sippy cup, and then directed him onto the table to sit.

Before I got a chance to finish my thought, my wife said, "She's coming out. I'm pushing!!"

The rest was a blur and an intense emotional rollercoaster ride. As my wife squeezed my hand, and the operator directed instructions at me, it was all I could do to catch my breath.

Within a few moments, I could see my baby girl's head. I burst into tears of joy and ecstasy, but seconds later feel paralyzed with fear and anguish. It was the wildest, unexplainable combination of feelings I've ever experienced: Such joy and such fear at the exact same time. Joy that my baby girl was being born, but terror that something could go wrong.

As I supported the baby's neck, my wife pushed again and out popped her shoulders, body and then the legs.

I quickly cleaned the baby up and wrapped her in a warm towel.

I told my wife everything was okay and that she looked healthy. I witnessed a miracle before my eyes, and I was so proud of my wife.

She had given birth to our baby at home, naturally and incredible, with no pain relief whatsoever!

I could only imagine what she had just gone through. I remember smiling at her and saying, "You are the strongest woman I know!"

The paramedics finally arrived

Seconds later, I heard a sharp knock on the door. Finally, the paramedics arrived. As they came in, I felt an immediate sense of relief but also frustration. Why did they take so long?

As they came in, they took one look at my wife and baby and then turned to me and said. "Ah wonderful, you've done all the hard work for us"

Witty, but not really appropriate, I thought.

I was upset they had taken so long, but truthfully there was nothing they could have done. My wife went through active labor so fast that they wouldn't have made it in time.

After they quickly checked the baby, we wrapped her up and headed towards the hospital.

I remember rushing around the house, picking up last-minute items and thinking, "Wow, did that just happen?"

I was on cloud nine. I had just delivered a baby—my baby. I was in shock but also pleased with myself for not panicking in the moment.

Our baby weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and was perfectly healthy.

My advice to partners

Fast labors like these are rare, but they do happen. If I could share anything about my experience, it would be to try and be prepared for anything. By staying calm under intense pressure, I was able to listen to important instructions and provide the correct assistance to my wife. Truthfully she did all the hard work, and I remind her of that all the time.

Lastly, it's essential to read the baby books! Not just for birth, but childcare and parenting as well. They really were invaluable for me and helped out more than I could have ever expected. All those things made a high-risk situation feel a lot more manageable.

*Note from our Digital Education Editor and midwife, Diana Spalding. This was likely recommended to use for clamping and cutting the cord. Current guidelines for emergency home birth recommend not clamping and cutting the cord, but rather leaving baby attached to the umbilical cord and placenta until help arrives.



Mo and his daughterMo Mulla

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When we buy baby gear we expect it to be safe, and while no parent wants to hear that their gear is being recalled we appreciate when those recalls happen as a preventative measure—before a baby gets hurt.

That's the case with the recent recall of Baby Trend's Tango Mini Stroller. No injuries have been reported but the recall was issued because a problem with the hinge joints mean the stroller can collapse with a child in it, which poses a fall risk.

"As part of our rigorous process, we recently identified a potential safety issue. Since we strongly stand by our safety priority, we have decided to voluntarily recall certain models of the Tango Mini Strollers. The recalled models, under excessive pressure, both hinge joints could release, allowing the stroller to collapse and pose a fall hazard to children. Most importantly, Baby Trend has received NO reports of injuries," the company states on its website.

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The strollers were sold through Amazon and Target in October and November 2019 and cost between $100 and $120. If you've got one you should stop using it and contact Baby Trend for a refund or replacement.

Four models are impacted by this recall:

  • Quartz Pink (Model Number ST31D09A)
  • Sedona Gray (Model Number ST31D10A)
  • Jet Black (Model Number ST31D11A)
  • Purest Blue (Model Number ST31D03A

"If you determine that you own one of these specific model numbers please stop using the product and contact Baby Trend's customer service at 1-800-328-7363 or via email at info@babytrend.com," Baby Trend states.

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[Editor's note: While Motherly loves seeing and sharing photos of baby Archie and other adorable babies when the images are shared with their parents' consent, we do not publish pictures taken without a parent's consent. Since these pictures were taken without Markle's permission while she was walking her dogs, we're not reposting them.]

Meghan Markle is a trendsetter for sure. When she wears something the world notices, and this week she was photographed wearing her son Archie in a baby carrier. The important thing to know about the photos is that they show the Duchess out for a walk with her two dogs while wearing Archie in a blue Ergo. She's not hands-free baby wearing, but rather wearing an Ergo while also supporting Archie with her arm, as the carrier isn't completely tight.

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When British tabloids published the pictures many babywearing devotees and internet commenters offered opinions on how Markle is holding her son in the photo, but as baby gear guru Jamie Grayson notes, "it is none of our business."

In a post to his Facebook page, Grayson (noted NYC baby gear expert) explained that in the last day or so he has been inundated with hundreds of messages about how Markle is wearing the carrier, and that while he's sure many who messaged with concerns had good intentions he hopes to inject some empathy into the conversation.

As Grayson points out, these are paparazzi photos, so it was a private moment not meant for world-wide consumption. "This woman has the entire world watching her every move and action, especially now that she and Harry are leaving the umbrella of the royal family, and I honestly hope they are able to find some privacy and peace. So let's give her space," he explains, adding that "while those pictures show something that is less than ideal, it's going to be okay. I promise. It's not like she's wearing the baby upside down."

He's right, Archie was safe and not in danger and who knows why the straps on Markle's carrier were loose (maybe she realized people were about to take pictures and so she switched Archie from forward-facing, or maybe the strap just slipped.)

Grayson continues: "When you are bringing up how a parent is misusing a product (either in-person or online) please consider your words. Because tone of voice is missing in text, it is important to choose your words carefully because ANYTHING can be misconstrued. Your good intentions can easily be considered as shaming someone."

Grayson's suggestions injected some much-needed empathy into this discourse and reminded many that new parents are human beings who are just trying to do their best with responsibilities (and baby gear) that isn't familiar to them.

Babywearing has a ton of benefits for parents and the baby, but it can take some getting used to. New parents can research safety recommendations so they feel confident. In Canada, where the pictures in question were snapped, the government recommends parents follow these safety guidelines when wearing infants in carriers:

  • Choose a product that fits you and your baby properly.
  • Be very careful putting a baby into—or pulling them out of—a carrier or sling. Ask for help if you need it.
  • When wearing a carrier or sling, do not zip up your coat around the baby because it increases the risk of overheating and suffocation.
  • Be particularly careful when using a sling or carrier with babies under 4 months because their airways are still developing.
  • Do not use a carrier or sling during activities that could lead to injury such as cooking, running, cycling, or drinking hot beverages.

Health Canada also recommends parents "remember to keep your baby visible and kissable at all times" and offers the following tips to ensure kissability.

"Keep the baby's face in view. Keep the baby in an upright position. Make sure the baby's face is not pressed into the fabric of the carrier or sling, your body, or clothing. Make sure the baby's chin is not pressed into their chest. Make sure the baby's legs are not bunched up against their stomach, as this can also restrict breathing. Wear the baby snug enough to support their back and hold onto the baby when bending over so they don't fall out of the carrier or sling. Check your baby often."

Meghan Markle is a new mom who was caught off guard during a moment she didn't expect her baby to be photographed. Every parent (no matter how famous) has a right to privacy for their child and the right to compassion from other parents. If we want people to learn how to safely babywear we can't shame them for trying.

Mama, if you've been shamed for wearing your baby "wrong" don't feel like you need to stop. Follow the tips above or check in with local baby-wearing groups to get advice and help. You've got this.

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At one of the most important nights of their career, celebrities made sure their hairstyles stayed put at the 26th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. As a collective, the hairstyles were beautiful—french twists, bobs, pin curls and killer cuts filled the red carpet on the night to remember.

And surprisingly, the secret wasn't just the stylist team, mama. For many of the celebs, much of the look can be attributed to a $5 hairspray—yes, you read that correctly.

Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray was one of the top stylist picks for celebs for a lightweight, flexible finishing spray, leaving tons of body and bounce. Unlike most hairsprays that can take several minutes (even a half hour) to set the look, this extra-hold one contains a fast-drying, water-free formula that helps protect your hair from frizz in minutes. As a result, celebrities were able to hold the shape of their styles with mega volume.

"Dove hairspray works well by holding curls in place with maximum hold and ultra shine, while still maintaining soft, touchable texture that is easy to brush out," says Dennis Gots for Dove Hair, who styled Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the SAG Awards. Translation: It's great for on-the-go mamas who want a shiny hold that lasts, but doesn't feel sticky.

Here are a few awesome hairstyles that were finished with the drugstore Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray at the SAG awards:

Lili Reinhart's French twist

"I sprayed Dove style+care micro mist extra hold hairspray all over Lili's hair to lock in the shape and boost the shine factor, making the whole look really sleek," says stylist Renato Campora who was inspired to create the look by Reinhart's romantic gown. "Lili's look is sleek and sharp with a romantic twist."

Cynthia Erivo's finger waves

"This look is classic Cynthia! I knew I wanted to keep it simple, but it's actually quite detailed and intricate up close," says stylist Coree Moreno. "While the hair was still wet (yes—I needed to work fast!) I generously spritzed on the hairspray for all night hold without flaking. The hair continued to air dry perfectly while she finished up makeup."

Nathalie Emmanuel's curly high pony

"Nathalie wanted a retro Hollywood glam for the SAG Awards, so I used her natural texture and created a high pony with loose tendrils framing her face and neckline," says stylist, Neeko. "I finessed the look with the hairspray to lock in the style while keeping her hair looking and feeling touchable."

Phoebe Waller-Bridge's slicked back bob

"I used duckbill clips on different areas of her hair to keep the shape and curl while the hair air dried. Air drying the hair allowed for maximum shine and then I sprayed lots of hairspray all over to truly lock in the sleek shape and enhance the shine," says stylist Dennis Gots, who was inspired by a 90s vibe for Waller-Bridge's look.

Dove Style+Care Micro Mist Extra Hold Hairspray

Dove Style+Care Micro Mist Extra Hold Hairspray

Who doesn't want a hairspray that makes your hair feel as good as it looks? Dove Style+Care Extra Hold Hairspray holds body, volume and enhances shine. It gives your hair touchable hold while fighting frizz, even in damp or humid conditions.

$4.89

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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We often think of the unequal gender division of unpaid labor as a personal issue, but a new report by Oxfam proves that it is a global issue—and that a handful of men are becoming incredibly wealthy while women and girls bear the burden of unpaid work and poverty.

According to Oxfam, the unpaid care work done by women and girls has an economic value of $10.8 trillion per year and benefits the global economy three times more than the entire technology industry.

"Women are supporting the market economy with cheap and free labor and they are also supporting the state by providing care that should be provided by the public sector," the report notes.

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The unpaid work of hundreds of millions of women is generating massive wealth for a couple of thousand (predominantly male) billionaires. "What is clear is that this unpaid work is fueling a sexist economic system that takes from the many and puts money in the pockets of the few," the report states.

Max Lawson is Oxfam International's Head of Inequality Policy. In an interview with Vatican News, he explained that "the foundation of unpaid work done by the poorest women generates enormous wealth for the economy," and that women do billions of hours of unpaid care work (caring for children, the sick, the elderly and cooking, cleaning) for which they see no financial reward but which creates financial rewards for billionaires.

Indeed, the report finds that globally 42% of women can't work for money because of their unpaid care responsibilities.

In the United States, women spend 37% more time doing unpaid care work than men, Oxfam America notes in a second report released in cooperation with the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

"It's an economy that is built on the backs of women and of poor women and their labour, whether it's poorly paid labour or even unpaid labour, it is a sexist economy and it's a broken economy, and you can only fix the gap between the rich and the poor if at the same time you fix the gap between women and men," Lawson explains.

According to Lawson, you can't fight economic inequality without fighting gender equality, and he says 2020 is the year to do both. Now is a great time to start, because as Motherly has previously reported, no country in the world is on track to eliminate gender inequality by 2030 (one of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by 193 United Nations member countries back in 2015) and no country will until the unpaid labor of women and girls is addressed.

"Governments around the world can, and must, build a human economy that is feminist and benefits the 99%, not only the 1%," the Oxfam report concludes.

The research suggests that paid leave, investments in childcare and the care of older adults and people with disabilities as well as utilizing technology to make working more flexible would help America close the gap.

(For more information on how you can fight for paid leave, affordable childcare and more this year check out yearofthemother.org.)

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