The Cord: To Cut or Not To Cut?

A few weeks ago was the first time I ever started thinking about that question, “should I cut the umbilical cord?”  Frankly, for most of my life, I didn’t know if I’d need to worry about it, but now with Baby Bouton actually on the way, the fateful time will soon be upon me (approximately 4 days and counting, assuming the little guy is punctual).

When the question first popped into my head, I didn’t even hesitate.  I immediately knew that I did NOT need, or want, to cut the umbilical cord of my new little bundle if joy…for a variety of reasons.   First, it seems kind of gross to me and I don’t want to be “that guy” who faints in the delivery room.  Now I’ve never fainted before, as far as I can remember, and I’ve witnessed some serious wounds in my day first hand, including compound fractures of my shortstop’s tibia and fibula during a game when he didn’t get up in the air quick enough on a double play attempt (I was close enough to hear the snap and see the damage, actually it was loud enough that I think the fans heard it in the stands).  And of course there was my own “accident” when my hand somehow made its way through a plate glass window which created a huge open wound on my forearm, lots of blood and severed flexor tendons which required hours of surgery (hey, I was 19, in Paris, and drunk as a skunk on really cheap French wine, but that is another story…).

Second, I’ve never been very competent with scissors.  For you lefties out there, you can appreciate this one.  Those “special” scissors, made for lefties, are a total sham.   I’m still scarred from my days as a kid, fumbling with those damn scissors, the embarrassment of not being able to cut a straight line….

Finally, I don’t consider myself a “handyman.”  Don’t get me wrong, even though my dad didn’t think I was “worthy” of a real Leatherman one Christmas after reaching adulthood (I got some knockoff from Costco and it still makes me bitter), I can usually do the work.  I just don’t enjoy the work so I tend to leave things up to the professionals, especially when blood is involved.

After reading about cutting the cord and hearing many a man recount their personal experiences, it sounds as if it’s not that big of a deal.  Even the “how to” books suggest not to worry.  The cord doesn’t have any nerves in it, so you can’t hurt your partner or your baby.  Phew, that’s a relief.  Why would someone willingly inflict even more pain on the mother of their child AND their child after the traumatic event they just experienced?  That said, those same resources do warn you that though the cord is sans nerves, it does have blood in it so you may see the blood spurt when you cut the cord.  Nice, all I need after the trauma I will have just experienced.  Finally, those same resources also warn that it is harder to cut than you think.  Fantastic, here comes my fear of scissor failure again.

So now, I’m just not sure what I’ll do on game day.  Will I cut or not?  I still do not feel the urge or necessity to cut the cord.  However, who knows?  I might get caught up in the moment, the professionals might just hand me the scissors, and in that moment of truth I will forget my fear of scissor failure and snip away.

“To cut or not to cut, that is the question.”  What do you all think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until soon…thanks for listening.


  1. Papa Marcial says:

    Definitely cut it. The doctor can, of course, do it and your son may or may not care years in the future. I’ll be honest…I just did it for the experience. Tracy didn’t care one way or the other. In another sense, I was part of the beginning of the pregnancy process and cutting the cord seemed to represent the end of the process. So that’s kinda cool. And if you haven’t fainted by this point in the whole birth process, you’re golden!

  2. Cut! If for the only reason you’ll never get the opportunity to cut the cord for your first born again.

  3. If the only thing you were going to do on the day of your son’s birth was to cut the umbilical cord, then I’d say do it. Your day instead will be filled with so many joys and adrenalin-filled moments. Let the professionals cut the cord. It’s not like you’re undoing a knot you tied. It’s over-rated.

    Most importantly, be there for Sara, and let her know you’re there every single step of the way during birth – no matter what she blames you for or names she calls you. Afterwards, when the medical staff assure Sara is safe and go her post-birth procedures, you will have the paternal responsibility of staying with your son as he goes through all his checks, tests, diagnostics, pokes, jabs, etc. After the birth, that first hour as you stare at your little miracle clearing all the hurdles of being new to the world are more precious than anything, and will fill you with heart-pounding pride.

    Too much is made of cutting the umbilical cord. Better yet, be there for the metaphorical first steps in his life. This will overwhelm you with joy, and you can then share it with Sara, and the little tyke when he’s older. Best of luck to the three of you.

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