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My Husband Was Bullied Into Cutting the Umbilical Cord

Photograph by Twenty20

If you would have asked either one of us before we were actually in the delivery room if my husband would be cutting the umbilical cord, I’m sure we both would have rolled our eyes and been like, “of course.” I mean, what kind of a wussy dad doesn’t step up and cut his baby’s cord? Whatever the answer is, I can tell you that my husband is not that kind of wuss. He wanted to cut the baby’s cord, he planned on cutting the baby’s cord, until the baby was actually out and he saw the cord... and then not so much.

Thank goodness he was bullied into cutting it.

Here’s what happened:

I went into the hospital on a Saturday night and didn’t give birth until the following Monday morning. Not only was my labor ridiculously long, it was traumatizing for both my husband and me. I had so many things shoved into my hooha—monitors, tubes, interns, you name it—that I wondered why it had never occurred to me to use it as extra storage space before. (Just kidding.)

By the time I was actually pushing the baby out, my husband and I were no longer the same people that had arrived at the hospital. What kind of crazy lady brings 12 magazines to read while she’s in labor? I certainly wasn’t that crazy lady anymore. And my husband, my poor husband, was abused and yelled at while he was worried about both his wife and unborn baby. And he was tired, so tired.

My labor was long, but the pushing out of the baby was pretty short. I nailed that part! So even before my husband had a chance to really get used to me pushing, the baby was out. I should mention that there was a lot of blood. Enough blood for it to be worrisome. I didn’t see any of it, but my husband did and, given that this was his first time seeing anyone give birth, he was worried.

Shortly after,the doctor asks my shell-shocked and worried husband if he would like to cut the cord. I expected an enthusiastic YES, but when I looked at my husband’s face, what I saw was horror. Horror with a side of fear. He looked at me and then he looked at the crowd in the room. (Oh, I didn’t mention that there was a crowd in the room? Yup, standing room only!) I gave birth at a teaching facility, and when I was asked if I was OK with students observing I said yes, but I didn’t realize that there would be busloads of students staring at me while I pushed.

My husband looked at the crowd in the room and then at the scissors being handed to him. He looked like he wanted to say no.

Honestly, I had no modesty left after allowing so many foreign objects into my vagina. I probably wouldn’t have cared if they ate popcorn and took selfies next to my torn up lady bits. But I digress.

My husband looked at the crowd in the room and then at the scissors being handed to him. He could have said no, he looked like he wanted to say no, but instead he took the scissors and cut the cord, which apparently wasn’t all that easy to cut.

I asked him recently if he remembered what it was like and he told me that it “was a gross feeling” and that the cord was thick, rubbery and resistant. Is it weird that I felt kind of proud of the umbilical cord my body made, like, “yeah, you go cord for being stubborn!” I mean, nobody wants a weak and wimpy umbilical cord, right? That sucker has to sustain your baby for nine whole months!

I am pretty sure that even if there weren’t a busload of students in the room and the doctor wasn’t rhetorically asking the question while handing my husband the scissors, that my husband would have probably cut the cord anyway. BUT I’m not at all upset that he was peer-pressured—some might say even bullied—by expectations into doing it. Even if he does remember it as being gross, it certainly isn’t the last gross thing he’s had to deal with as a parent. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with the grossness that comes with parenting.

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