I am a certified postpartum doula. This means I am trained to serve clients post-birth, after their baby is born. I have worked with hundreds of families learning the details of their birth experiences and helping them acclimate to parenthood. I delivered six of my own babies, five vaginally and one Caesarean section. I worked in numerous postpartum wings at local hospitals. My personal experience working with those who have recently delivered is extensive. My title is postpartum doula and I am not professionally trained in deliveries, yet, I can offer much helpful information to you as you prepare to go through labor.
I. Especially if it is your first delivery go, to a hospital.
There the facility prepared for any complications that may arise. My hope for you is a fast and simple vaginal birth. I delivered six babies, my sixth was an induction. He was late, in hindsight I should have waited for labor to start on it’s own. After twenty hours of induced labor it was discovered he was in butt-breach position, he would never have come out. I did not have an advocate with me to ask the doctor why, if my last induced delivery was two hours, this one was taking so much longer? When you are in labor you are not yourself. I wasn’t thinking clearly. That was the question that should have been asked at five hours in. They could have stopped my labor and turned my baby. I felt so betrayed. There is a term in birth circles called “a proven cervix”. What it means is this women has delivered a baby vaginally. My personal recommendation is do not try to deliver a baby at home until you have delivered one vaginally and safely at a hospital. This is simply a wise safe move for you and your baby.
II. Take someone with you who has had their own babies or is professionally trained in birth, and is level headed.
An experienced birth doula or a mid-wife is someone who can walk this path with you and be a massive help. Our first four babies were born at Kaiser hospitals. Kaiser makes it a policy to have professional mid-wives in charge of deliveries. They are trained to watch for issues, offer suggestions, remain with you during you labor. They listen to you and ask pertinent questions. Be sure you have someone with you swo knows you well and knows your thoughts and hopes for your delivery.
III. Take a birth class with your spouse or birth coach.
This is essential to understanding what you and your body will go through during the birth process. It is a great place to ask the questions you will definitely have about a different million things. It also helps you to see you are not alone in the process. The comradery of going through such a class with a well trained teacher and others preparing for birth brings you peace. It is so much fun and it lets you ask the may questions we all share. Statistically those who do not take birthing classes have more difficult labors. They do not know what to expect. They also have a higher rate of C-Sections.
VI. Write up your birth plan.
After attending a birth class you will have a clearer perspective of what to expect and how you want your birth to progress. No one knows exactly what will happen during your particulate birth. Everyone is special and specific to those participating. The goal is a healthy baby and mommy. My recommendation is to avoid medical intervention, let nature take it’s course. Avoid unnecessary treatments. Unless you are overdue or there is a medical complication do not be induced. Again, the incidences of surgery are greatly increased with intervention. Your body knows what it is doing and in 90% of deliveries there is no reason to intervene. It may take a while and be uncomfortable, but recovering from surgery while caring for a newborn is difficult.
V. Take time off work to emotionally and physically prepare for labor.
If you have the privilege of being home with your baby early on enjoy it!! Many women work up to the day they go into labor. The stress of work and responsibilities follow them into the delivery room and beyond. This is a precious time in your life. You and your baby will never have this opportunity again. Being at peace when you go into labor is so much more important than the dollars you will make working a little longer. Take the month before your due date off. Finish your shopping, walk in the park, find your center. Go out to lunch with you friends, it will be a while before you are able to do that again. If you deliver early you are already prepared. Peace is a rare commodity these days. You want to be in the best state of mind possible as you prepare to become a mommy. Give yourself some time!! You won’t regret it!