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How are you preparing for labor and birth?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

So, after realizing that, holy crap I could have this baby in ten weeks or less, I started preparing mentally for labor and birth.  Up until this point I have not really thought much about how I was going to approach putting my "game face" on for this labor and birth.  Last time what really worked well for me was listening to my hypnobabies tracks and reading Ina May.  Although it was NOT a pain free birth, it was manageable for the 3.5 hours I was in labor.

 

This time I am researching the hell out of how not to tear and worsen hemorroids gifted to me from the last birth.  I want to be prepared as best as I can be for this not to happen again.  So, if you ladies have any tips or BTDT stories I am listening.  Also, I am just curious how others are preparing or not for the big day.

post #2 of 24

I belong in the 'or not' category. Just today I had an appointment with my midwife and basically that was her message: it's not in our hands!

 

I have had two previous births and I did all this stuff... drinking loads of red raspberry leaf tea, researching and reading loads about birth, and both times I had the most positive attitude! I wasn't scared at all, I was just really looking forward to the birthing experience and everything that came with it. And both births were really tough - the first was a HB transfer emergency c/s and the second was a 20 hour labour at home with two hours of pushing without ever feeling the urge to push. very violent and traumatic.

 

So this time I surrender. There is nothing preparation wise I could do to make sure this time will be different and I have come to accept that. I still have a rather positive attitude, I just have given up on the illusion that it is in my power to influence the outcome. This baby will come in whatever way he wants/needs/is destined to. period. no sitting on a birthing ball will change that shrug.gif

post #3 of 24

I'm with franjapany.  My first and second births were not at all what I wanted - one was an emergency HB transfer to the hospital for a section and the second was a last minute section when I had next to no amniotic fluid to possibly have a successful labour, 5 days post dates. 

 

So, the only preparation I'm doing this time around is being OK with whatever happens - whether it's a successful natural birth or if it's a unwanted section.  

 

I had major guilt and frustration following the last two births.  Why can't I just give birth naturally?  Why can all my friends do it but not me?  Am I just not meant to have a baby naturally?  And then after a long heart to heart with my husband, we worked through a lot of those mental blocks I was having.  I realized that at the end of the day, whether this baby arrives via section or naturally, if she and I are healthy then I'm OK with it.  

 

For me, that was the bigger preparation I had to do - be totally OK and at peace with however this baby comes into the world.

post #4 of 24
I'm with Franjapany on this one. Last time, I studied, read books, visualized, planned a perfect peaceful home birth, took Bradley courses. Ended up with pre-e, every intervention in the book, (plus several that were not in any book i ever read!), and a c-sec at 33 weeks.

This time around, I seem to be either freaking out that the same thing will happen again, freaking out that I am not prepared for a vaginal birth, or just completely surrendering to whatever my body and this baby throw at me. I have supportive midwives and a loving husband and family, and I'm just going to try to trust my gut and lean on my support network.

Today we took DS to his first day of preschool. There are lessons in letting go all around me! smile.gif
post #5 of 24

My previous 2 births were not traumatic, but they were hard work.  Especially my first one- I had a week of non-stop prodromal labor and 12 hours of active labor and 3 hours of pushing.  My second labor was much more manageable and was 15 hours from start to finish.  Last time I read the hypnobirthing book and practiced relaxation daily.  For me, this really helped.  The labor was very manageable until I hit 9.5 cm and they insisted on breaking my water- that's when I was in agony.  I have a different team of mw this time and we've talked about how there will be no pressure to speed things along or breaking my water.  I am again reading the book and practicing relaxation techniques.  But still I feel some anxiety about giving birth- it's just not fun.  I don't love the process, although I love the moment I get to meet my baby.  So I'm trying to do some praying about letting go and surrendering.  Hopefully, I'll just get to the point of feeling so done with pregnancy that I'll look forward to going into labor.

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

I have had two completely different births. The first I prepared for by researching and reading but I had no idea really what to expect so I put a lot of trust into my OB, who was a no show on vacation when the time came.  As a result that birth was full of interventions that were really frightening to me.  I did not react well to them and my DS did not react well to them. I ended up with a c-section.  It was a horrible experience full of fear. I blame some of that on myself for not being prepared and fully understanding the whole process.

 

The second go around I wanted a VBAC and the fear of all the interventions made me decide on a natural birth.  I did a lot of mental preparation.  Since I did go into labor on my own with the first I knew what labor felt like so my main concern was dealing with the pain.  I, like kateaton, found that learning to relax really helped me manage the pain although if I had been in labor for 15 hours I might have a different story. My labor was so fast and so intense from start to finish that it took an incredible amount of focus.  I barely opened my eyes or spoke (a lot of moaning though which helped me) through the entire experience I had turned so inward.  I don't think that would have been possible if I had not practiced doing just that.  Also, I was determined to have a VBAC if I could, and reading others stories really helped me find my voice, something I did not have with my first.  When I arrived at the hospital I was not told what to do so much as I told them what I wanted them to do and wouldn't you know if worked.  Granted the hospital was completely different and very supportive this go around.

 

Kateaton- I am feeling some anxiety as well.  I guess that is why I am in to preparing, it helps me deal with some of that anxiety.  I am not looking forward to all that work but I am looking forward to meeting my little boy as well.

post #7 of 24

I've had three natural births, one very difficult one in the hospital, perched on that high narrow bed, ugh!  One totally relaxed and natural, close to pain-free birth at a birth center that I treasure the memory of (with a very large baby, too), and one very difficult nuchal arm presentation homebirth.  I keep putting off preparing this time because I don't want to be sick and tired of it by the time labor comes, but I appreciate the reminder that November is coming up!  Maybe I can open up some Ina May and Active Birth pretty soon.

 

I found that what helps me most is to have a clear idea of exactly what the contractions are doing.  Being able to visualize the long fibers pulling and the cross fibers relaxing, plus the baby's head pressing down, really kept me focused and thankful for each contraction with baby #2.  The only moment of actual pain I had was when I lost the visualization of his head and had discomfort I couldn't understand.  With the next contraction I got back on track and we were fine from there.  None of that helped with #3, and when we found out her arm was up by her head, it made sense that the visualization didn't work, since it didn't match the pain.

 

Looking forward to another homebirth, hoping for a waterbirth if it feels right, though sometimes I find myself convinced that it's my turn for an emergency c-sec this time around... I don't have anything helpful to say about how to prevent hemorrhoids from worsening, but I'd sure be happy to read some advice on that as well!  

post #8 of 24

I don't know how to prevent tearing or hemorrhoids.  I do hope to be a bit more mindful for this birth, though.  The way I dealt with labor last time was to go completely inward, and that did work as far as handling the pain.  But when it came time to push, I think I was so disconnected from my body that I was pushing with all my might while holding back at the same time, if that makes sense. I ended up having quite a bit of trauma to my urethra which lead to a catheter and an even less comfortable recovery and me feeling like I couldn't move freely for 48 hours afterward.  I'm hoping to strike a balance between tuning out for the pain but tuning in for what the actual birth feels like.  I couldn't feel anything but pressure and overwhelming exhaustion while pushing.  It would be nice to feel this baby descending like some birth stories recount.  Maybe that would help me focus my energy and be more effective and less destructive.  Anyway that's what I've been thinking about going in to this birth.  That said, I also have a healthy sense of letting go.  

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by franjapany View Post

I belong in the 'or not' category. Just today I had an appointment with my midwife and basically that was her message: it's not in our hands!

 

I have had two previous births and I did all this stuff... drinking loads of red raspberry leaf tea, researching and reading loads about birth, and both times I had the most positive attitude! I wasn't scared at all, I was just really looking forward to the birthing experience and everything that came with it. And both births were really tough - the first was a HB transfer emergency c/s and the second was a 20 hour labour at home with two hours of pushing without ever feeling the urge to push. very violent and traumatic.

 

So this time I surrender. There is nothing preparation wise I could do to make sure this time will be different and I have come to accept that. I still have a rather positive attitude, I just have given up on the illusion that it is in my power to influence the outcome. This baby will come in whatever way he wants/needs/is destined to. period. no sitting on a birthing ball will change that shrug.gif

 

I'm with you. I'm doing everything I can to make this birth go differently than DD's (27 hours of back labor that ended with her heat rate de-cellerating, alarms ringing, and a crash c-section under general anesthesia). I desperately want it to be a little less dramatic this time. I'm with a different MW group, seeing a chiro, chugging my RRL tea, hired a great VBAC doula... but I'm trying to remind myself that in the end, it's not up to me. I'm trying to prepare myself for any possibility. 


Edited by TheDivineMrsM - 9/7/12 at 3:39pm
post #10 of 24

I'm doing some things, and not doing a lot of other things.

 

Since it's my first birth, and I don't really know what to expect, I'm going into it with few expectations. I realize it could happen at anytime (literally anytime...I really hope I have at least another 8-10 weeks to go, but I realize premature birth happens and could happen to me!), I realize it could take 4 hours or 40 hours, I realize that no matter what I plan on, that might not happen.

 

I have no specific style of birthing (as far as Bradley, Lamaze, hypno, etc...) planned. I chose a birthing center with a very low cesarean rate (one of the third lowest in all of California), that is very supportive of natural birth and breastfeeding (not just supportive, they completely encourage it). I am going to have a doula (meeting with one tonight, actually), and my partner is completely on board with a natural birth and I know he'll be my advocate. I went to a pretty eclectic birthing class where we discussed positions to use during labor a lot. I try to do exercises every couple of days to encourage good fetal positioning, and I see a chiropractor weekly. 

 

I'm reading books here and there, but not really to come up with a "plan", just because I believe knowledge is a powerful thing. I'm not taking any specific herbs or drinking tea, or anything like that.

post #11 of 24

Ahh...sounds like I'm in similar company of folks who have had previous c-sections.  I've had one and have the intention of a vaginal delivery, but we'll see what happens and I'll deal with it if its not the vaginal delivery I hope for.  I am taking a prenatal yoga class, drinking RRL tea and reading our birth partner book by Penny Simkin.    If our baby A is breech I'll probably see an accupuncturist and/or chiro.  I just need to feel like I've done all I can. 

post #12 of 24

This is my last baby and I am attempting an HBA2C. I've never had a vaginal delivery before. I may have posted somewhere else on here about this so forgive me if I am being redundant. Clifnotes version is that I never went into labor with my first, I had a cesarean at 40weeks for pretty silly reasons in retrospect, despite having gone to a freestanding birth center for all of my prenatal care. My daughter was born 7 years later and I had learned a lot during the time in between; I had even become a doula and had (and eventually still do) planned on attending midwifery school. I planned a VBAC at home with awesome midwives. I didn't go into labor until 43 weeks (I was so convinced I would never ever go into labor lol) and after 33 hours, I requested a transfer to the hospital in hopes of getting pain relief and sleep. I was ok for most of the labor but I had a hard time not over-thinking everything and in the end I just got scared I guess. I definitely did not trust in my abilities. Once at the hospital things really went downhill and despite my initial refusal to have a cesarean for NO good reason (FTP just wasn't going to cut it so to speak) and really having to fight with the doc on call; baby's heart rate dropped rather dramatically and stayed down for longer than I was comfortable with. In the end I asked for the cesarean. 

 

So for this birth I have decided to try again for a homebirth. I'm working on positioning, drinking pregnancy tea, and taking some herbs as well as seeing a chiro and acupuncturist. I'm also working on eating better and am TRYING to exercise although so far that's been going...uh...like not at all. I don't really think that stuff is necessary but at the same time; I just want to try what I can. In the end, I'm ok with another cesarean if that's what needs to happen but I don't really believe there is any reason why it SHOULD happen, and I at least want to know I gave it a good go. This is my last baby so a vaginal birth would be really nice.

 

I do plan on being much more active in early labor as well as trying to eat/drink more while I can and getting a lot more rest in the weeks before hand. I will probably not get in the water until very very active labor.

 

I definitely want to do some processing on my last birth and emotionally, I want to get to the point where I am out of my head and not thinking/being scared while in labor. I want to be able to surrender to the process and be led by it. After that....whatever happens, happens.

post #13 of 24
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marilyn82 View Post

I

I'm ok with another cesarean if that's what needs to happen but I don't really believe there is any reason why it SHOULD happen, and I at least want to know I gave it a good go. 

 THIS

 

I'm preparing alot for this one, knowing it could be so different from my first.  Aside from being rushed into CS the second I got into the hospital (breech), my first labor was awesome.  If the nurses were right (and they were wrong about pretty much EVERYTHING else), I got to 8cm in two hours of intense labor.  I even pushed, so as far as repeating birth stories, I really would like mine to be a pattern.  Minus the CS at the end.  But in the high likelihood that a) this labor is different, especially since LO is prayerfully going to be head down and b) the nurses were wrong about the cm too, I'm doing alot of stuff.  Bradley classes every week for the next two months, reading, writing a birth plan for my HBAC, eating protein, and walking at least 20 minutes a day.  

 

 The whole positioning, teas, exercise, massage, etc are waiting until Nov 2. I'm pretty sure I'm really due Nov 24, but my official due date from the hospital is 12/2 and I want to be careful not to go into labor too soon. I have family histories of wacked out birth dates (2 weeks 3 days early for every single sister in my family, and the record 40 days late for my gramma), so I'm being careful.  I am voting with the early gene, obviously, as is DH. 

post #14 of 24

Some random thoughts:

 

I always have assumed everything will go well with my births. I am not a "meditative" sort of person, nor do I purposefully sit down to "envision" what a birth will be like. I get images and feelings all throughout my pregnancies, and they have never been wrong. Sometimes the feelings are vague or the image is simply a picture, instead of a series of actions, but they have always played themselves out during my births. The only negative things that happened during one of my births were directly because I had attendants there. They were an uncontrollable factor that I could not account for.

 

THE best book I have ever read and highly recommend to prepare for and learn about birth is called Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. It blows every other book out of the water (yes, it's even better than Ina May's Guide To Childbirth, though that's a close second). I read it a million times with my first because it was so fascinating. I credit my labor coping skills and techniques with that book. (I have successfully birthed all my children at home, had 2 planned UC's, with the last being a posterior forehead presentation.) It gets down to the *physiological* aspects of labor, which I deeply believe that when a mama understands what her body is *doing* during labor at each point, fear of the unknown is eliminated, therefore perception of pain is lessened. Labor is not something weird and scary *happening* to you, your body is working to get your baby out. Understanding exactly HOW that happens takes the fear away, thereby taking Panic Mode out of the equation. I believe that understanding gives mamas the confidence to say no to interventions, and to stay strong and listen to their superior mama-intuition when even a husband is temporarily on the wrong side of "helping". smile.gif

 

This time I am having trouble wrapping my head around *where* in my home I will labor. I usually spend much of my labor in the shower/tub, but in our new house our only functional bathroom is the kids'/guests' teeny-tiny bathroom and I don't think we'll be upgrading our 20+ year old, 40 gallon water heater before the baby comes. irked.gif greensad.gif Yes, I know, first world problems. bag.gif

post #15 of 24

I'm just trying to get things in order and reading all I can since this is my first. I've read a lot of different natural birth books. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, Having a Baby Naturally (working on the 2nd time), The Bradly Method, Husband Coached Childbirth, The Lamaze Method (just finished the 2nd time) about to start the second time of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by the LLL and when it comes in the mail, Kangaroo Care.

Buying a birth pool tomorrow if I get time. Collecting supplies. Making sure to keep a positive attitude and remind myself I can't schedule things out how they'll happen. I would schedule my life if I could. This is a time I'll have to let go.

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsKoehn View Post
Making sure to keep a positive attitude and remind myself I can't schedule things out how they'll happen. I would schedule my life if I could. This is a time I'll have to let go.

Yep, I'm the same way. Letting go is really hard for me, but so important in labor...so I have learned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thyme Mama View Post

THE best book I have ever read and highly recommend to prepare for and learn about birth is called Active Birth by Janet Balaskas. It blows every other book out of the water 

I've been planning on re reading that one. I read it long ago when becoming a doula, and read bits and pieces of it again when I was actively attending births but it's been years since I've looked at it. I was thinking I really want to read that one again before this labor.

 

I had my MW appt. last night and was kind of going over my feelings about the upcoming birth with her. I was telling her about how I just wanted to be able to get out of my head for this birth and stop over thinking/analyzing etc. She suggested I try hypnobirthing just in case it might help. I'm not really a meditative person either, but thinking I might give it a go. Can't hurt!

post #17 of 24

The main thing I'm doing to prepare for labor and the birth is taking a 9-session natural childbirth class with my husband - tomorrow will be the 7th class. Between that and reading Ina May's book, I already feel very well-prepared and empowered with valuable information about how my body is meant to work, ways that I can manage the pain naturally, and what common yet unhelpful birth practices to avoid. I had a conversation recently with a co-worker who had a baby last year and just took the childbirth course that the hospital offers, and it became so apparent to me how much better prepared I am than a lot of people are. I want to attempt a natural birth but also realize that things may not turn out the way I hope/plan they will. I'm giving birth in a hospital that is very supportive of natural birth, bonding with the baby after birth, breastfeeding, etc. so I feel like I will be in good hands, however I also really, really hate hospitals and am afraid that I am going to freak out and that everything I learned will just go out the window. :(

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilyn82 View Post

 

I had my MW appt. last night and was kind of going over my feelings about the upcoming birth with her. I was telling her about how I just wanted to be able to get out of my head for this birth and stop over thinking/analyzing etc. She suggested I try hypnobirthing just in case it might help. I'm not really a meditative person either, but thinking I might give it a go. Can't hurt!

I get the wanting to get out of your own head, it helps me to focus on projects around the house and making Christmas gifts (its impossible to be stressed while making something fun for other people!)  You can do what you want to, but I would never do hypnobirthing during an actual birth.  I tried it, ugh.  gah!  It sent creeps up my spine and made me very uncomfortable.  Especially the script parts about inviting the spirits or whoever into the room, that is just asking for trouble.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by babychak View Post

I also really, really hate hospitals and am afraid that I am going to freak out and that everything I learned will just go out the window. :(

:) I have the same fear, only that I'll be too uncomfortable giving birth in my house and everything I learned will go poof!  Must stop writing on MC and go organize something....

post #19 of 24

This is my first pregnancy, so I really don't know what to expect. I can't help but thinking, though, that every little thing I manage to do will help in some way. I started reading every book I could find even before I got pregnant because that's just how I am. My last MW appt was on Thurs and she said that his head is down, which she likes to see this early in a first-timer. That was a relief. I met with a chiropractor this morning and will be seeing her to help with lower back pain and get my body really aligned and ready for birth. And, my first childbirth class is tonight! DH is very excited. 

I think I am at a distinct advantage also in that we are currently living with my parents and my mom is a former childbirth instructor and nursery nurse. I am in good hands! I think I am like a lot of you in that knowing exactly what is going on in my body will really help me identify the feelings I'm having and deal with them better. Mostly I'm just trying to exude confidence until I truly feel it :)

post #20 of 24

Since we were children, on our birthdays, my mother told my brother and I our birth stories, which I believe has been a terrific preparation for birth (and, in my brother's case, being a supportive birth partner). She had a positive experience with both of us and conveyed the effort, but also the wonder and the power, of bringing forth life. I'm sure her inspiring attitude will be of great help, regardless of what unexpected occurrences arise. 

 

While in medical school, I did a lot of reading about birth because I'd hoped to become a naturopathic obstetrician (alas, I discovered that I don't function well enough mentally at 2 a.m.!) My favorite books include Holistic Midwifery, Active Birth, Gentle Birth Choices, Birthing From Within, and Spiritual Midwifery. I haven't read anything about birth in a few years (we've been concentrating on baby care books, as we adopted our daughter when she was well past infancy), but I'm sure those books are still swirling around in there somewhere. 

 

I've remained active throughout my pregnancy, but I confess I've slacked off on practicing squatting. I feel drawn to upright birth positions, but my bulky belly makes it hard to get down onto the floor and get up again without sounding like an elephant seal bellowing at her companions. 

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