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Father of one (born in 2010s), from South-West England

I had a very mixed experience at my son's birth, although overall I look back with fondness and amazement. My partner decided she wanted her best friend to also be there and therefore had two "birth partners" present. This was fantastic for me in that there was another pair of hands, another voice and another head for what turned out to be a fairly long process (I think it was 24 hours of labour).

My partner was induced following premature rupturing of her waters (4/5 weeks early) which was the end of a very stressful 10 days where we had to resist the doctors' urges to induce earlier. I'm really glad we resisted as my son was very small and had to be in special care for a day or so as it was - he could have been even more fragile.

The labour itself is a bit of blur. One of my outstanding memories was having a 20 minute sleep in an empty bath in the labour room about 18 hours in (the benefits of having 2 birthing partners!!). I was/am in awe of my partner who did an amazing job of keeping going for such a long time with relatively little pain relief (they don't call it labour for nothing!). Meeting my son for the first time was amazing but frightening at the same time. I cut the cord but don't remember a great deal about it. We didn't really realise how small he was and so were a bit surprised when he was taken away to special care. Prior to that I got to hold him and help dress him on the heat pad - he seemed so delicate. That was the beginning of a worrying time which went on for about a week before we were finally able to take him home and have him all to ourselves. That was when I started to realise we had a little person to be responsible for.