Things that helped me:
- all the regular pregnancy stuff....good doula, good care provider, good relationship with husband/partner, yoga, nutrition, etc.
- I also did a lot of therapy work on my c-section and that helped immensely. I really worked with my mind/emotions so I could let go of that previous experience once labor began. It really helped. One thing, in particular, that I did was create a visual representation of what the first birth felt like and what I wanted the second birth to feel like. I experienced this in colors...and I came back to that during my VBAC birth.
- I did quite a bit of work with a chiropractor and craniosacral therapist this time around and it really made a difference to me (you can see my full VBAC story that I posted earlier today for more info). If you can find someone who does good bodywork, I highly recommend it.
- Clarifying (and discussing with your partner and doula) where you want things to be DIFFERENT in this labor. Are there things you would have done differently before? At the end of the day, what's REALLY the most important to you? For me, I knew that, bottom line, no matter what else happened, I did NOT want to have another surgical birth....primarily because I wanted to be able to go home and hold my toddler and care for him. I was willing to deal with the gamble of a long and difficult labor that might end in a c-section, but some people decide they dont' want that. Some people give themselves limits - I will labor for this long or until it feels this exhausting and then, if it doesn't work, I will do the c-section because I don't want to have one after really putting myself on the line emotionally and being physically spent. This bottom line clarification also helped me feel good about having an epidural when I wanted one.
I'd say I did most of the difficult emotional work in the 1st and 3rd trimesters. In the 2nd trimester, I just kind of relaxed and wasn't as stressed. I'd say everyone is different, though, of course!