Prepping for labor and delivery round 2
It's true, what they say, about labor and delivery. You can plan and plan and plan, read, and read, and read, but that baby is going to come into the world how he or she wants to. It might take 45 minutes, it might take 32 hours. Based on my first experience, I'm going in a little better equipped and with a few mental tools to help me through this second delivery. I'm also taking measures before hand to help with a smooth delivery.
I have to say, I was overall very happy with my labor and delivery experience last time. It was a lot more relaxed than I had anticipated, the hospital staff was excellent, my doctor was great, and I didn't want anything except ice chips so it'll all worked out. Here are a few lessons learned from the first time around and what I'm taking with me going into round two.
(For the final weeks) Keep moving. With Ella, I was in labor for almost 25 hours from my first contraction 'til the final push. Fifteen of those hours I spent laboring at home and 23 of those hours I had back labor. I have nothing scientific to support this, but I think I had back labor because I wasn't very active during the final weeks of pregnancy, so this time I'm set on staying active and doing light exercise 'til my due date. (Thank God I have a toddler to chase!)
Ride the pain. When I labored at home, I walked around when I could, made use of breathing techniques, and made sure to keep eating to keep up my strength. But by the time I got to the hospital, the contractions were getting closer together and rising in intensity. I remember lying in bed and surrendering to the pain. It sounds a little dramatic, but with feeling the contractions at the small of my back, I couldn't move, I couldn't talk. Every time one hit, I closed my eyes, retreated into my own head and road it like a wave. It helped my mental strength tremendously.
Read the situation. When prepping for my last delivery, I went in being open to an epidural. I had done my research, I had spoken to my doctor, and I had watched all those documentaries. What I had decided was I wasn't going to request one right when I got there, but I wasn't going to reject it. If I needed rest to get some strength back, I'd get it. And since my 24 hour period was 3AM to 3AM, I was pretty tired toward the end. I ended up getting an epidural around 11:30 or midnight, quickly realized epidurals don't take away the pressure of back labor, but was ultimately thankful that it worked wonders for the pushing stage. This time, I'm going in with the same mindset.
Have a conversation with my husband and doctor beforehand. We didn't take birthing classes, and personally, I'm happy with that decision. But something we both weren't prepared for was the back labor. Since Ella was positioned in a way that she was pushing against my spine, every contraction put a great deal of pressure on my lower back. The nurse instructed Tim to push on my back with a tennis ball to put some counter pressure on my lower back. But since I couldn't talk through the contractions and I had an oxygen mask on, we had a hard time communicating which led to frustration. This time, to be prepared for the possibility of back labor, we'll talk about what we need to do and what will best help us to communicate. And we'll talk with my doctor about what best to do in that situation should it happen again.
Pack to pamper. I think it's safe to say giving birth will probably be one of the most uncomfortable times of your lady life, so why not come equipped to feel as good as you can? Buy a new robe or some extra comfy maternity pajamas. Pack makeup. Yes, yes, some people think it's absolutely absurd to wear makeup while giving birth, and I have no idea why. I feel ready to conquer anything when I have some makeup on, so damn straight I'll have my eyebrows on for the grand entrance of my little dude. Bring fun (and healthy) snacks. Last time, I just packed healthy snacks. This time, I'm packin' myself a treat. Include some things in your hospital bag that will bring you peace and make you feel good.
Maybe I'll go into labor before my hospital bag is packed, maybe I'll give birth on the side of the road and be on the news (dear God, I hope not). If I've learned anything it's to go in with ideals and flexibility. But if all goes accordingly, I'll have my trustee mental list with me.