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Mother of three (born 1980s/1990s), from North-West England

When I was pregnant with our first child I felt that my partner was mainly in denial! He adopted a fairly hands-off approach and certainly wasn't at all interested in ante natal classes etc. I think we both assumed he'd be there for the birth, however - it was very much the norm at that time. The actual birth was very quick (we arrived at the hospital 35 minutes before my son was born) and I think we were both swept along with the speed of events. My partner seemed completely transformed by the whole experience - sort of mesmerised and becalmed. He's been totally involved in the kids ever since. Our second baby was born at a friend's house (by mistake - my waters had gone earlier so we'd gone for tea and to put our son to bed there, expecting me to go into labour some time that evening. My contractions started but by the time the midwife arrived it was too late to go to hopsital). That was a lovely experience. I would never have had a home birth by choice (wouldn't have wanted to take the risk of something going wrong) but really enjoyed it. My partner was there for the birth, and my friend. Her husband was downstairs looking after the kids and entertaining the ambulance men who arrived as a standby. It was lovely to spend the first night all together, unlike with a hospital birth Our third was born in hospital, again quickly and easily. Because I'd promised to go in on my first contraction we had longer in the delivery suite (a couple of hours). We were left on our own for a fair bit of the time, which was nice - and different from the previous two births. I only stayed in for 12 hours but that felt like a lifetime - probably particularly so after the previous experience. I was so pleased my partner was there for the births - can't imagine doing it on my own and it felt really important to share it with their dad.