BEAUTIFUL BELLY, BEAUTIFUL BIRTH, BEAUTIFUL BABY
Do you fret when you begin to think about the actual birth experience? Believe me, I have been there! I wanted to write about some things that helped me when preparing for my birth and helped me to enjoy the process. I hope something here might help you. I am all for natural birth but I know this is not for everyone, so these are suggestions that hopefully can be of use regardless of what your birth philosophy is.
ONE: Be Informed! Know the process and what your options are; know what is going on behind the scenes. Do you want a hospital birth, a home birth, a home-like birth at a birthing center? Do you want to labor in water or have the option to walk around your room, do you want routine interventions? You should be having the experience you desire along with birthing your healthy baby. So many women go into the birth thinking "I don't have a choice, this is how it is, so this is how it's gonna go" That is not true, especially with a hospital birth. Hospitals are an institution and though they provide needed care for so many things, they are not there to promise your specific experience goes the way you want it: this is your responsibility. They have a routine to follow with every woman's birth. I am not bashing hospital births, I had my baby in a hospital; but they have a schedule to keep, only a certain amount of space, all Dr's don't desire to be working on the holidays or weekends etc.... so you see where I'm going. All I'm saying is be informed, do your research, and know what your options are.
TWO: Choose Wisely! If you are the woman that has specific desires for her birth, a certain philosophy you believe in when it comes to having a baby-- then choose your Dr or birth place accordingly. I interviewed 3 Dr's and various doulas when I became pregnant. I had specific desires and I knew when I met the one that was right for me. Yes, it was a pain to go to those appointments, do the intake, pay the copay, and get the chance to actually talk personally with the people but in the end it was the best thing I ever did in my pregnancy! You want a Dr that is in tune with your desires for your birth, and though no Dr can guarantee 100% things will go as planned, there are Drs that are more inclined to help you achieve the birth experience you want. Do not think that a Dr will change their routine process for your birth when you are 3 cm dilated and your are trying to convince them not to give you an IV; you have to state your desires and concerns early on and if they are not 'with you', move on!
THREE: Learn to Relax! Yes, this can be learned and makes a HUGE difference in your birth experience! It does not come naturally to many women, I know you are thinking "9 months of anticipation all building up to this life changing event and you say RELAX??" There are techniques you can do to learn how to relax during this unique time one being joining a Hypnobirthing Class. While this may be "new-agey", hypnosis is medically based and has numerous health benefits. I chose to use Hypnobirthing and can say this is not just a 'birthing class' either. These classes help you to enjoy and cherish your pregnancy and your days coming into motherhood. I recommend joining in the beginning of your 3rd trimester. You never know when your baby is going to show up, mine surprised us at 32 weeks, so I was thankful I'd decided to go to the classes early!! Hypnobirthing resources are cited at the bottom.
ULTIMATELY: Know that you can have a plan, you can have a vision for what your birth experience will be like and most of the time this can happen. But, there is a but, you will do yourself a favor to accept that it might not go that way. Decide before hand to be at peace with whatever route your birth takes; it will help alleviate disappointment and frustration if things do not go as planned.
2 short stories of personal friends:
Mother A planned to have an epidural, she wasn't worried with relaxing or dealing with the labor because she was getting an epidural. There would be no worries right, no pain...well the epidural didn't 'take', labor was progressing swiftly and they didn't have time to receive another; she ended up having an unplanned natural labor. Not in the plan but it happened!
Mother B planned for a natural childbirth, no medication please she said and no epidural! Then, her birth doesn't progress and there is a chance the baby is in distress. Her anxiety is heightened and the birth slows even more, the pitocin is administered and then comes the cesarean. Not in the plan but it happened!
I can not stress the importance of being informed, choosing a Dr or Midwife you are comfortable with, and being able to relax & have peace with your birth in the end, whatever route it may take!
I know there is a ton of more details and things to consider when pregnant and having a baby, I'll continue to post informational posts to help inform you during this season of your life so check back often!
Here are a few resources to check out:
http://specialbeginnings.com/ excellent local birthing center I am personally affiliated with
http://www.annapolishypnobirthing.com/ true miracle 'drug' for birthing
http://enjoybirth.wordpress.com/ lots of resources on this site
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_childbirth general information, includes hospital birth information too
This is Marina and I on our 1st day together after birth, she was all of 4.5 pounds, my sweet bitsy baby =)
*edited to correct a link