Have a baby is a very personal and incredible experience. Each person approaches it differently, which is just one of the beautiful things about giving birth. If you are planning to have a unmedicated birth in a hospital some of these tips may help you prepare as much as possible.
*Remember this is just my opinion and personal experience. All of these things need to be discussed with your midwife or practitioner.
1. Walk Walk Walk
I almost rolled my eyes at 40 week appointment when my doctor told me to keep walking and to do the other “homework” she assigned at our last appointment. (Anyone who has had a baby knows what that means). But with sweet baby boy still inside with no signs of his arrival I thought, “what the heck,” everything is sore at this point anyway. In the days leading up to his arrival and all through my early labor, I took long steady walks. I wouldn’t have won any power walking medals but it actually felt really good to keep moving. I just kept hoping and praying it was doing something. Turns out it was.
2. Wait It Out
After being admitted to the Labor and Delivery at only 1 cm with my first baby, I was determined to be much further along before heading in this time. After walking, and walking, and walking my contractions started to feel more intense so we decided to head to the hospital. Hoping to be at least 4 cm and that all the walking had done it’s job, I was shocked to find out I was 8cm and not far off meeting our boy. If you can wait it as long as possible before heading to the hospital, it’s worth it. It’s much easier to labor in the comfort of your home than a hospital.
3. Create The Right Environment
Once I was admitted I knew I still had a lot of work ahead of me before I was going to hold my baby in my arms. After being checked in, I immediately set about putting on some music to help distract me. I had also brought along some LED candles which I didn’t end up using, but know I would have enjoyed if I had thought to turn them on. I also had the right support system with me which really gave me the confidence and encouragement I needed to keep going.
4. Be Firm But Flexible
As soon as I got to the hospital and got plugged into all the monitors and machines I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed. I was entering transition and every movement was causing a contraction so I was afraid to move and I certainly didn’t want to do anything the nurse wanted me to do. What I learned is, unless its an emergency they will let you go at your own pace. If they are needing to get you up on the bed to be checked, take your time and continue to breath and relax your body through your contractions. My nurse and midwife ended up being an incredible part of my team and helped me birth my baby in less then 3 hours from arriving at the hospital. You can read your body best, so tell them how you are feeling, what you need and you may be shocked how that can use that information to really help.
5. Essential Oils
Now, I’m not professionally trained in oils, so you will need to do your research on what to use. The ones I used during my birth helped me relax and refocus when I felt overwhelmed. I packed a few favorite scents as well as some labor specific oils in my hospital bag and used them all throughout my labor both at home and in the hospital.
Even with careful planning and the best of intentions, your labor and delivery may not go as planned. No matter if you stick to your birth plan or not, keep your eye and heart focused on the true goal: meeting your new baby.