Mike Wilson, a 35 year old marketing manager from Islington believes that he is able to look his wife in the eye now after recreating the childbirth experience
"It first came about", he explains, "after the birth of our third child. My wife was telling me that a man could never understand what a woman goes through, but having just witnessed it I believed I could recreate it."
"I immediately went home and consumed 4 packs of supermarket own brand sausages and a couple of scotch eggs. Over the next few days I experienced a gestation like sensation as my stomach began to swell. I wanted my wife to be able to understand the birthing process from a man's point of view, so I tried to involve her, getting her to feel my stomach and rest her head on it to hear and feel the gurgles or 'kicks'. We used this 'pre-natal' time to construct a birth plan and I packed a bag containing magazines, soft wipes and an mp3 player, essential items to see me through the birth process."
It was then just a case of waiting. I was feeling fat and bloated, and moving around was proving difficult so I spent my time at home watching the telly. I was really fed up in the end and just wanted it out. I had in my mind that if I hadn't had it by the weekend then I was going to be induced using a big bar of Exlax."
It is here that Mike's wife, and birthing partner Julia takes up the story. "I was at work. And was in a meeting when Mike rang but once I explained to everyone they told me to go immediately and wished us luck. I drove home as quickly as possible and found Mike pacing round the lounge breathing hard as the waves of pain swept across his stomach. I tried to rub his back for him but to be honest I felt pretty useless."
"We had opted for a home birth" continues Mike. "We had looked at a number of council run facilities, but they all seemed so impersonal, and I thought I would be more relaxed at home. Once I realised that I was in the final stages of labour Julia and I made our way up to the birthing room. By this stage the stomach pains or 'contractions' were pretty close together."
"As soon as I felt the urge to push I knew I had to go with it. Julia was great throughout, she was mopping my brow while I squeezed her hand. She was constantly encouraging and reassuring, telling me she loved me while I screamed with every push. She was so excited, she kept looking down below telling me that she could see the head and that I was doing really well."
"It seemed to take forever said Julia but when it was eventually born it was such a relief. Mike was exhausted. Fortunately he didn't need stitches and we didn't need to use the kitchen tongs that I had improvised as forceps. We were both taken by surprise at how much hair it had" at this point she produces a photo of something wrapped in a tea towel.
As to whether he would consider going through it all again… "lets just say that next time I am planning on having a water birth" says Mike whilst looking at a leaflet with the opening times of the local swimming pool.