I just attended my first birth this weekend. It was for an old friend, and she was induced for hypertension. All told, I was with her for about 63 hours, along with her mom and her partner. Exhausting, obviously.
I learned enormous amounts and I have confidence that I did my best for mommy and the birth, despite ending in a section. What I'm having a tremendously difficult time dealing with is daddy's behavior. This was a last-minute decision on the mommy's part - I showed up to sit with her so she wouldn't be alone for the first 5 hours of her induction, and she asked me to stay as her doula. I didn't realize that she hadn't discussed it with her partner until after it was all over. While she and I had had a prenatal visit, I'd never met him before. He waited until about hour 55 to tell me that he basically didn't respect me or believe in my methods. I'd had no idea up until that point that he was having such a hard time with me. I'd thought his continuous disappearances and emotional distance were due to either his traumatic history or his personality and how he dealt with sleep deprivation and the stress of his girlfriend being in pain. Likewise, I thought his constant need to double-check with the nurses after I'd answered his questions was simply a need for more reassurance. I also completely misunderstood him when he finally told me something he wanted to try. Basically, he wanted to treat her like his detox patients, give her the hard facts, and not comfort her through the process. I thought he just wanted to modify her expectations of pain. I did my best to keep him part of the process, to let him choose to be involved or not (except when she really, really needed him).
I didn't, however, sit him down at the beginning to explain things to him, which I realize now I really should have done. Aside from that, is there anything I could have done to improve the situation? I feel absolutely HORRID that he had such a bad experience because of my presence, and things he said are significantly depleting my confidence. I don't want to give up because of one bad experience, especially when both mommy and her mom told me they didn't know what they would have done without me. Obviously I did something right.
But at the same time, I'm having a really hard time getting over his hostility. I keep finding myself obsessing about it, playing it all over and over in my head to figure out if I could have changed the situation, as well as what I'm going to say to him if he's present at the postpartum visit.
Suggestions would be most appreciated!