'Having Wayne by my side for the whole thing helped keep me calm'
Mum-of-two Natasha Lynch (39), who runs Essential French language college in Cork, had husband Wayne by her side as she delivered Matthew (4) and Benjamin (10 months) -- and says she couldn't have done it without him.
"When I heard that Nicolas Sarkozy wasn't present for the birth of his daughter, I was shocked -- in this day and age, there's no excuse for dads to dodge the delivery room. As a first-time mum at 35, I did everything by the book -- going private, pregnancy yoga and massage.
"From the beginning, my husband Wayne was very involved in the pregnancy -- and it was a given that he would be there when we welcomed our child into the world.
"As a fireman, he's got a pretty strong stomach -- which is just as well, as it wasn't exactly the perfect scenario where an 8lb baby just pops out.
"Matthew was 10 days overdue and weighed 13lbs and Benjamin was 11lbs with his head stuck under my rib cage, so I had to get a Caesarean section for both. And while there was no pain, it was very scary -- it was like a tug of war with the medics at one end and me and my husband at the other.
"Having Wayne by my bedside for the whole thing helped me to focus and stay calm. Before Matthew was born, we spent a lovely weekend at Parknasilla Hotel in Kenmare. And though it sounds corny, Wayne just kept talking to me about my 'happy place' as the doctor and nurses focused on getting the baby out safely.
"When the midwife placed Matthew -- and more recently Benjamin -- on my chest, we both just burst out crying. It's not about: 'Well, I'm delivering the baby, so you have to be there as a punishment'.
"As a mum, you experience all the little kicks as your baby grows inside you. And when you finally see the baby you've both created for the first time, it feels like the whole world stands still -- I don't understand why any father would choose to miss that.
"Wayne is a very proud Daddy -- and after being there for the birth of our children, I know he's proud of me too."