Our baby girl wasn't going to come out easily. We spent a good 30 hours in labor, naturally with minimal sleep or food. Even though the first 29 hours were as stressful as just about anything, I 'd still recommend the moment of the actual birth to all dads-to-be out there. I can't really consider myself an authority on pretty much anything, but the moment your child is out and takes his or her first breath is... well... breathtaking. At least I broke down that moment. I think I actually managed to outcry the baby. It was surprising, really, that she only took a couple of swings at her newfound ability to make significant noise and then quieted down as she was placed on her mother's breast. Then she just watched us from under her mother's gown and tried hard to converse with us by making small, incomprehensible sounds and looking slightly feline for some reason. I thought newborn babies just scream and scream until the cows come home.
Later on I've begun to wonder how much the prolonged stress preceding the actual birth contributes to the overwhelming sense of joy and relief one experiences. Is the moment of birth really fantastic enough to make a grown man weep like a little girl or does he have to be softened first by hours and hours of starving and sleep deprivation? It's hard to say. I'd like to hope that birth does that alone. It would be interesting to hear about the experience of a father who arrived at the last possible moment to see his child being born. I'm glad I reacted the way I did, though. I was afraid the whole thing wouldn't give rise to big feelings.
An interesting, albeit a few years old, debate about whether fathers should even attend childbirth at all from BBC News can be found here.