Labor and delivery is so different for everyone.
And mine were so similar to each other….
But here are a few tips.
1. Prepare for it all.
2. Be ready for the unexpected.
3. Write a birth plan, if that will help you. Be ready for your doctor to chuckle at you though – mine did. Well at least the doctor who was on call for her at my last visit did.
4. Communicate with your partner about what you hope, expect, and don’t want.
5. Keep an open mind.
6. Try it all.
7. Take a birthing class. My husband was not too thrilled about this but after we had taken the class and again after we had Cashel he said he was glad we had taken it. For him it took some of the “unknown” out of it.
8. BUT know yourself – if more information will cause anxiety or stress then don’t take a class.
9. For me laboring as much as I can at home is important – know what’s important to you.
These are from Cashel’s delivery – realize as much as births are natural they are also always unpredictable in some way.
10. Express your desires. Or ask your spouse to be your voice when you can’t.
11. I didn’t know this but laying horizontal (like completely flat) is actually detrimental. I mean I did know that but during the throws of labor I didn’t realize to ask for my head to be more elevated. With Cashel I had a hard time even seeing him and I tore a lot more then I might have if I had been sitting more upright.
12. Go easy on yourself. I ended up laboring in a traditional hospital position (on my bag with legs spread) despite the fact that I originally hadn’t wanted to. I had an epidural with boht – although I got them at 8cm with Cashel and “complete” with Camper – and that was not in my original plan. It will go differently in some way then you had planned I guarantee it.
13. Have a photographer or videographer (or both) at the birth. Either during labor or for right after. Those moments are SO fleeting and you will forget so much. You want them captured.
14. Have who you want and who will be helpful for you in the room during delivery. DO NOT be pressured to have, or not have, particular people in the room. I had my husband, mother, and father during my first birth and added my sister and brother-in-law with my second. I would have had a videographer there too but she was out of town.
15. Communicate – with your spouse, doctor, nurses, hospitalists and anyone who is around you during labor and delivery.
16. For me watching birth videos was very helpful
17. Low noises are the most helpful in getting your body through the process. (think low moans)
18. Try to identify things that might help you relax like music, lights off, silence…. and again communicate. That might change as you go through labor. You are the one doing the work so people are willing to tailor the environment to you.
19. Your body is made to do this and it isn’t broken afterwards. With my first I treated my body like it was a china teacup. In all reality that may have made recovery harder or take longer. Do whatever you can. You don’t want to OVER exert but a little exertion can be good for you mind and body.
20. After delivery I changed into my own clothes as soon as I could and walked to visit Camper in the nursery and then to my recovery room. (This photo was taken within an hour of his birth) It seemed crazy to those around me, BUT the clothing helped me feel normal and in control; and the walking is really good for circulation and healing.
Our sweet Camper!
That’s it for now. I’d love to add your tips as you share them in the comments below!