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Preparing for Birth

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 

With only 3.5 months to go (thanks earthwalker winky.gif), I thought we can use a space to talk about and prepare for birth, and the period directly after.


I'm hoping this will be a place for everyone (from planned C-sections to home-births) to talk about their hopes/fears and share ideas how they're preparing physically and emotionally for the event.


I'll start first, I had a long long birth with DD with a lot of back pain, she came out vaginally but at the very end I received Picotin because I was beyond exhausted and my contractions started becoming weak while her heart-rate started decreasing. With her (my first pregnancy) I was naive enough to think that with my determination and will, (and doing everything right), birth will go exactly as planned. So I only prepared for natural birth and skimmed on the rest (big mistake in retrospect). It also took me a long time to accept that I'm not weaker or somehow less. It's so hard not to compare!


So right now I'm collecting some tips on how best to prepare. So far, on my current to-do list:


Physical preperation

- Right up a birth-plan (this is not a usual thing here in Germany but I think it'll be useful just for me).

- Work on a calming music playlist. I'm not sure here if calming or motivating should be the focus, or both?

- I'd like to start doing daily squats.

- Cheat-sheet for positions and tips to use during labor. Make DP study it!

- Food! In case I have another long labor. My mistake last time is I didn't eat while laboring and ended up too exhausted. Probably very simple and easy to digest things - I'd like to look more into what's recommended.

- Eat dates starting at 34 weeks upsidedown.gif http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989


Emotional preperation

- Working on letting go and realizing I'm not in control of everything. This is very hard to accept. But really sh*t happens and sometimes we can't do anything about it!

- I'm on the lookout for a natural birth book that does not attack the medical community. The thing is, reading those I end up feeling a mixture of angry and guilty for not doing it "right". I really need a neutral non-emotionally-charge book. I'm going to give birth in a hospital and I don't want to go in feeling like I have to fight against someone. I want to go in feeling safe and prepared.

- Meditating.


Anyone else thinking about or preparing for birth?

post #2 of 47

Yay, Lilykay, thanks for starting this list!  In many ways my only focus during this pregnancy is preparing for the birth. Fortunately, sine DH is a SAHD, he is in charge of preparing the house and the stuff for baby. (I am soooooooo fortunate to have a partner that is so good and so dedicated/committed/responsible to our home and family.luxlove.gif)


As I have mentioned before I had a c/s with my first, and I really had not prepared for some of the interventions and restrictive policies that would be thrown my way during labor. This time will be different, though. I have spent the past 3 years reading about VBACs and medical interventions. smile.gif


I will be traveling two hours to deliver with a midwifery group at a hospital that allows waterbirth VBACs! I Most importantly the hospital has telemetry monitors, so I even though I will have to have CEFM, I can move around, walk the halls and get in the water.  They do not even blink if labor takes up to 48 hrs after the water breaks. And if I do end up with c/s, I already know that the supporting OB automatically performs family-centered cesareans. All of this is a great relief! It means that there are several aspects of this labor and delivery that will not require me or DH to fight for what we want. 


But I have to do my part and my preparation now! So here's my list:


Physical Prep:

1) I am already exercising/stretching almost daily. Now I need to increase my use of spinningbaby.com recommended exercises and squats.

2) Finish reading birth books (now on Husband-Coached Childbirth, then on to HypnoBirthing and The Birth Partner, and then finally re-read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth). At this point, just focusing on tips for a smooth labor and delivery. Make notes for myself during labor...make photocopies of relevant section for DH, who will be my birth support.

3) Read tips for laboring in a car.

4) Think about what food and drink to have during labor.

5) Prepare iPad with games, videos, & books for DS to use during my labor (A special treat for him!) -- What other fun stuff for him?

6) Prepare labor playlist...mostly meditative music that I will also use as I practice self-hypnosis, but some fun, dancing music, too...I have been exercising to the same playlist so I will include that music, too.


Emotional/Mental Prep:

1) Pray, give thanks, ask for guidance and support.

2) Wrap my mind around pushing. (I feel good about labor and my ability to handle contractions...thanks to hypnobirthing...I just need to keep in mind positions that are helpful if labor slows or baby is posterior, etc.....but I have no experience with pushing...so I am a bit scared of that part.)

3) Read Birthing from Within and do some of the exercises.

4) Journal at least weekly about pregnancy, birth, babies....what else would I write about now, anyways?!?

5) Talk to DH about birth fears, wishes, strategies, contingencies, etc.

6) Practice self-hypnosis regularly.

7) Practice deep relaxation nightly.

post #3 of 47
Originally Posted by earthwalker View Post


3) Read tips for laboring in a car.



Um, it sucks...big time!! With my second, I traveled two hours in while labor to give birth to my surrogate son at his parent's home. That labor was way, way faster then I anticipated (DD was 17 hours from noticeable contractions to baby; surro-son was 5 hrs from first contraction to baby!) I ended up going through transition and started pushing while still in the car. One thing that would have helped is if I had been able to put the seatback all the way back but my ex had packed everything right behind my seat and I couldn't adjust it. I spent the last 45 minutes of the ride kneeling on the floor with my head and arms resting on the seat (and we got pulled over like this...the look on the cop's face was priceless when my ex told him I was in labor!) So my advice: leave very early and make sure you have the ability to move as much it's possible to move around while in a car. Oh, and make sure your DP doesn't think it's funny to play "Push It" by Salt n' Pepa while you're in transition...if I could have reached his ipod I would have thrown it out the window! 

post #4 of 47
Originally Posted by LilyKay View Post

- I'm on the lookout for a natural birth book that does not attack the medical community. The thing is, reading those I end up feeling a mixture of angry and guilty for not doing it "right". I really need a neutral non-emotionally-charge book. I'm going to give birth in a hospital and I don't want to go in feeling like I have to fight against someone. I want to go in feeling safe and prepared.




post #5 of 47

Physical Prep:

-Get back into exercising 3x week. I have fallen out of it the past month.

-Squats daily

-Learn to use my TENS unit

-Make a list of freezable meals to make and a Birth Food List (have food ready this time for midwives too)

-Start going to the chiropractor around 32 weeks.

-36 weeks start Dr Christopher's Birth Prep

-37 weeks start EPO



Emotional Prep:

-I feel excited about birth and confident; this is my 4th homebirth and I look forward to it. But every time I go through Birthing From Within just to let go of control, especially since my labors are short and intense- I get NO start up- they jump straight to 2-3 min apart contractions. 

post #6 of 47
Earthwalker, I found Ina May Gaskin's theory about relaxing the face to relax the vaginal muscles really helpful. I practised relaxing different parts of my body at will, especially my face, and when I started feeling the urge to push, I just kept relaxing into the contractions. It was awesome! I only actually pushed when she was crowning, because it was uncomfortable, and I was like, ok, let's get this out, but I didn't need to. My body would have done it with me just letting go. It was scary going in to be induced and knowing I *had* to have a natural birth, but I kept focusing on relaxing the face and it went well. I also had some relaxation apps on my iPod, and they we great earlier in labour. Later, I just needed absolute silence smile.gif

I don't have a whole lot of birth prep to do, especially since we don't know how early this baby will have to come. I have only ever been induced, so that's probably what will happen again. I will start some Spinning babies exercises staring around 25 weeks, I do chiro every 3-4 weeks, and start practising conscious relaxation again sometime around 30 weeks. Honestly, I worked so hard last time preparing for my natural birth, this time I'm like "meh, whatever happens is fine. I know I can give birth naturally." Weird, huh? Also, I'm with a midwife again, so I don't feel like I have tone on my guard. I know (hope!) everything will go fine.
post #7 of 47

I've had some dreams about bleeding/miscarrying...I don't know what that's about and so it worries me a little- am I going to bleed a ton after the birth or something?  What is the meaning of those dreams?  or are they just random and meaningless?


I just found out my insurance through the state gives me an "open card" which means they'll pay for any care, including midwives.  So now I have the option, financially, to hire a midwife for the birth after having the last two unassisted.  So I have to think about that one and am glad for the option.

Earthwalker, after giving birth five times, pushing is the part I don't worry about at all.  It's very active, the energy is moving and baby is moving and my head sort of clears out of the cloudy laborland of contractions and gives way to a powerful overtaking of movement...it's intense for sure and you really have to just let go and trust what's going on is safe, but it's not challenging to cope (for me) like when you're just handling labor contractions.


For me, it's hard for me to picture/envision anything but my last labor because it was so perfect!  But it'll be a different season...so I can start formulating a vision for the birth that's not in August with Reggae!...probably listening to holiday music or Irish music or something uplifting while I bake baby's birthday cake.  That was plenty of a labor project last time, I barely had time to finish the cake without burning it before he was born!

post #8 of 47
Thread Starter 



It's interesting what you all are saying about the pushing phase. That's what my midwife told me too. Still, last time when I reached the pushing stage, I remember everything going downhill. I was doing so well, relaxing into my contractions, and even though they were incredibly painful I felt I was handling it really well. Not once until that point I felt I needed/wanted an epidural. Then the pushing phase started after almost 12 hours of active labor. All I remember is unbelievable back pain and not wanting to do this anymore. My midwife tried to get me to change positions but I couldn't take it anymore and resisted all her suggestions. I wanted to just lie down and for it all to stop. I really don't know what ticked off in my head in the pushing stage and whether the reasons were psychological or physiological. I'm adding meditating about the pushing stage to my list.


Kali - thanks so much for the book suggestion! I'm reading reviews right now and will be getting a sample over the kindle. At least here in the city where I live, natural birth at hospitals is quite common and it is actually the midwives who support the woman (the OB shows up only at the end). Now if only I lived a few minutes from here across the border in the Netherlands, 30% of all births are home-births (actually the Dutch government sends you a kit once to prepare for home-birth you're pregnant).

post #9 of 47
Lily, every birth is different and you may or may not have the same issues this time as last time. I would definitely encourage you to eat during early labour, though. I ate like a horse the whole 12 hours of my cervidil induction...it kept coming out the other end (tmi, I know), but it definitely helped me stay focused. Also, I drink Gatorade (red! Mmmm...) during the active labour to stay hydrated. Something about it is awesome!! Thats dH's only job during labour, to make sure the Gatorade cup is at my lips between pushes, hahaha! But, my first birth was also an induction, but I had a bad reaction to the cervidil; within an hour or two of having it, I had nonstop back contractions. The nurses didn't tell me that shouldn't happen, they just gave me a shot of Demerol, but I still made it through about 6 hours but NOTHING provided any relief and since it was my first, I only thought it was going to get more intense from there. With my second I didn't have the same reaction to the cervidil, and my labour never got as intense as those first few hours with my first, except maybe at the end. This time I have no idea what to expect!!!
post #10 of 47

Thanks ,Trish, for the car laboring tips. I will definitely ask DH to keep the back of my seat clear so I can lean it back.  I plan to hit the road as soon as labor starts. I want to be in the early part of labor so the contractions aren't so close together, but then I am afraid of leaving way too early and realizing it is prodromal labor. I really rather not make the 2 hr trip back and forth multiple times.  I did not experience any prodromal labor with #1  (my water broke and within an hour labor started), but I have read enough about it to have me concerned.  I am including this notion of knowing just the right time to leave the house in my self-hypnosis script. smile.gif


As for pushing...well, I might have read too much...when I was getting ready for DS, I planned to just breath the baby down. I didn't want anyone coaching me (and certainly not yelling at me) to do it a certain way. The crazy thing is that I brought this up with my OB, and he said that it was between me and the nurses!?! Well, I never got as far as pushing.  And  I was fine with all this until I recently started reading Bradley's Husband-Coached Childbirth...there are many parts of the book that I find helpful and esp. good for DH, but Bradley suggests a specific method for pushing out the baby.  And after reading that, I had this lost, confused feeling that I really knew nothing about pushing!  I imagine I just need to read more so I know and consider the different options. 

post #11 of 47
Sponteneous pushing is always best. Whether that is breathing baby down (I cannot figure out how to do that unless you had an epi) or pushing like you're throwing up in reverse (feels like it to me), you should always wait for the urge. Just because you are 10 cm doesn't mean baby is ready for forceful pushing. That's the number one thing I see that leads to bad pushing stages.

I think pushing is very intense but the more control you have over position. The better. On your back is the worst way to push. I personally love hands a d knees soar something like it. Both my experience and my clients experiences those tend to lend themselves to less tearing, and easier and shorter pushing.
post #12 of 47

I get back pain right before I start pushing and it's awful.  Last time I pushed and birthed in the water, and I COULD NOT BELIEVE how much relief the water offered!!  I will try that again this time.  I definitely had the urge to push, usually after a period of no contractions (10-30 minutes), so I had a minute to rest first- a few minutes of resting feels like hours!  With my second baby I didn't push her out, she just literally came out on her own while I was trying to get into the tub, and there she was.  She was quite a lot smaller than my boys (8 lbs 10 oz and a week early compared to over 10 lbs).  With my boys I had a huge urge to push and it felt like I needed to push to get them out as opposed to letting them come on their own, as I'm not sure that would've worked out very well.

post #13 of 47
Originally Posted by KaliShanti View Post

Sponteneous pushing is always best. Whether that is breathing baby down (I cannot figure out how to do that unless you had an epi) or pushing like you're throwing up in reverse (feels like it to me), you should always wait for the urge. Just because you are 10 cm doesn't mean baby is ready for forceful pushing. That's the number one thing I see that leads to bad pushing stages.

I think pushing is very intense but the more control you have over position. The better. On your back is the worst way to push. I personally love hands a d knees soar something like it. Both my experience and my clients experiences those tend to lend themselves to less tearing, and easier and shorter pushing.

This is me also...I would love to experience (or witness) the whole "breathing the baby down" thing, but all 3 of my pushing phases have been completely involuntary. They have all definitely been the "throwing up in reverse" feeling...just like vomiting or dry heaving there's nothing I could do to control it or stop it so I just had to ride it out. There is no urge for me-it just happens! I always end up in a hands and knees position as well. I envisioned squatting/partner assisted squatting with my first but instead I ended up on my hands and knees and could not move from that position.

post #14 of 47

I liked birthing on knees leaning forward on something or someone with one foot planted on the ground with my knee out at an angle; I found I could catch my baby easiest that way and it gave the baby enough room in my pelvis.

post #15 of 47

Great thread/Great idea.  I feel like I have been a little in denial about the whole, a baby is coming and I am going to have to give birth again thing.  I had two fairly "easy" births, in that nothing particularly terrible happened and they were relatively short.  Some bleeding afterward, and some scary moments with heart decelerations right before my first was born (I wonder sometimes if they don't overplay that, it seems like everyone I know has that experience at some point in their labor).  My big concern this time is that the baby will come before we can get to the hospital (we got there with 45 minutes to spare last time, it's about a 45 minute drive), and I had not insignificant bleeding both times, so I don't really like the idea of birthing without a skilled attendant to deal with and assess blood loss.  But I don't know what I can really do about that.  I have been assuming this labor will be super intense and fast, with my job being mostly holding on for the ride (like last time) but I probably shouldn't, since every labor is different (or so I am told).  


Lily- For what it is worth, I found the pushing phase of my first labor really overwhelmingly intense and awful, and that was what I was most anxious about the second time around.  The second baby flew out in two pushes (posterior, even!).  I think it is fairly common to have a significantly shorter pushing phase with subsequent pregnancies, if you have had a previous vaginal birth.

post #16 of 47
I've been kind of avoiding this thread, didn't know what to say or how to say it. I've been trying to prepare myself emotionally for this birth ever since I got pregnant, and it's been really, really hard. I honestly wish I could just give birth tomorrow, to get it over with. The anxiety of waiting all these months with the birth looming over me is just too much.

The thing is, I actually like giving birth. I'm not one of those lucky women who has orgasmic births or anything, but the pain just hasn't been too bad for me, and it feels like this awesome culmination that makes everything in pregnancy worth it. This is gross, but it's kind of like popping a zit. It hurts at first, but then it feels so much better. wink1.gif

What scares me, though, is worrying about how I'm going to be treated while giving birth. I was treated so horribly during my first two births; they were absolute nightmares, and I've never been able to get over it. I don't even know which is worse, my first, when I didn't know anything and they completely took advantage of me and robbed me of all power and control -- seriously, it might as well have been a twilight birth -- or my second, when I knew what I wanted and was mocked, threatened, and literally physically forced into submission. They even tried to take my baby away by force.

My next three were a lot better, and really my third birth went a long way in helping me deal, but I still wasn't able to get past the anger and fear from the first two. I think it's because I still never trusted anyone but myself and my husband during those births. We did UP for all three, had a sort of UC for my third birth, and then decided to go to the hospital at the last minute for the other two. I felt like I was sneaking around, hiding from and skirting the medical system, trying to get what I needed from them without letting them "get" me. (Maybe that's why I never did a midwife. You can completely avoid everyone for nine months and still get a doctor at the last minute, only get what you want from them, but you can't do that with a midwife.)

This time, I've "trusted" a doctor enough to go to appointments, let him run tests, give me advice. I even tell him what I want, which I see as a risk of him mocking me and using it against me, but so far he's been great. He's encouraging and supportive. But I still don't really trust him. It's very hard to really believe that he won't suddenly change when I'm in labor, or that I won't end up spending my whole labor dealing with nurses who don't give a damn what my doctor said, or that I won't end up with some other doctor who doesn't treat me with respect. I will have my husband, and he's promised to be my protector, and he's done that before, but I'm still scared.

Everything I read to try to make me feel better just makes me more scared, because I can't help but realize how much I have absolutely no control over how others treat me. I don't want to have to fight, and yet I'm most terrified of things being done so quickly that I don't have a chance to fight. I wrote a post in the birth trauma forum here, that was ostensibly about how much better my third birth was, but was also about how awful the first two were, but I only got one response. One sentence. Most people have no understanding of why events that happened nearly (and more than) a decade ago should have such an impact on me today, especially since I got the much lauded "healthy babies." My husband does get it, but his way of dealing with things is to focus on how much better the future is going to be. And I just can't get myself to trust that it will be.
post #17 of 47

Oh Michelle! stillheart.gif Have you thought about having a doula? Doula's in training often charge a lower price. I'm considering having one this time if I cant have a homebirth.

post #18 of 47

Yikes, Michelle, I'm so sorry that was your experience. I had only one or two minutes during labor when I was really furious that my family were all talking and chatting while I was starting to get strong contractions. My cousin, though, had a birth center birth with midwives who chatted to her mother and drank tea and ate snacks the whole time, completely ignoring her while she went through contractions- I think she has some birth trauma from that. Its just WAY too painful and intimate for anyone in the room not to be anything but completely respectful and focused on support. 


I'm also not sure I'm ready to think about birth yet. All of your experiences are inspiring- they are what I was preparing for the last time. But it was just horrible. It was induced, and I went from virtually nothing to dealing with insanely strong, back-to-back contractions for 10 hours. It was so painful and endless that I seriously didn't care if I lived or died, and the word "baby" meant NOTHING to me...it took every once of energy to keep breathing through contractions. When they were certain that I was through transition, I was still 4 cm, so I got the epidural, took two hours to push the baby out, and then had a bad hemorrage  (but I didn't care, I couldn't feel anything and the baby was beautiful!). Now, I would just rather not think about it and just get it over with when it happens. I'm more focused on the new baby phase, and what I need to do to prepare for an easier postpartum transition and life with two kids who are still nursing and in diapers. Birth I just want to forget about. But it would be better to prepare.

post #19 of 47
Originally Posted by Stephaniqua View Post

Oh Michelle! stillheart.gif
 Have you thought about having a doula? Doula's in training often charge a lower price. I'm considering having one this time if I cant have a homebirth.

I have put a lot of thought into whether I should get a doula, but because of my Social Anxiety Disorder, I feel like that would be one more person in the room that I hardly know, making me uncomfortable. (It takes me *years* to feel like I actually know someone.) Plus, a doula has to be careful about what she says, because she could lose her privileges if it's perceived that she's contradicting the doctor or interfering with medical care. After my second birth, the only reason we got to keep my son with us is because my husband threatened to call the police and level kidnapping charges. (This was after the nurse threatened to call security to take my son away from me, because they were "too busy" to let me keep him, even though he and I were both totally healthy.) And part of the reason that my last birth was better was because (I found out later) my husband wouldn't even let certain nurses talk to me. I didn't even know that they were harassing him to consent to a c-section, so when we decided together that it was the best idea, I didn't have to make that decision under duress. A doula couldn't do any of that. There are a lot of things a doula couldn't stop that happened to me, but I don't want to go into too many details and scare everyone. greensad.gif
post #20 of 47

Birth is such a unique experience for each woman each time.  We all are comforted by different things and comfortable in different places/with different attendants.  I was comforted by the happy chatting of my midwives, though quiet, because I felt like then they weren't worried about anything so made me more relaxed.  


I am curious, Michelle, why you haven't seeked out a midwife before?  Seems like building a relationship with midwives would be great for you.  I guess we're blessed here with a community of awesome supportive attentive midwives, so that's my bias.  I have seen and heard so many times of doctors "changing" their attitude or position on things once you are in labor, so I understand how you'd have a hard time trusting your doctor.  I'm so sorry you are dealing with past trauma...have you thought of rebirthing or birth counseling?  There are people here who do that, not sure how common a practice that is.


Sorry, Roisin, that your induction/birth experience wasn't positive.  Inductions are often not positive experiences.  I hope for both of you that your coming birth experiences are really satisfying and positive!  


I do think that a doula is a great idea for anyone planning a hospital birth.  Often midwives will also offer their services as labor support in hospital, or even do side-by-side care with a doctor so you get the "best of both worlds."  


Yeah, Court, I was prepared with my 4th birth for a precipitous birth since my 3rd labor was just 1 1/2 hours start to baby!  But it was 40 hours.  We really can't predict anything, but we can hope and envision!

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