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I had a terrible hospital birth with my daughter 10 years ago. While we had taken a childbirth class, it just covered the basic stages of labor and pain meds for coping. It offered no information for partners to support a woman in labor. My husband blames himself for how our birth turned out (I don't. The doctor and hospital staff were jerks.) because he didn't know how to support and advocate for me while I was in labor.

After nearly 9 years of TTC, we are finally expecting our second child. We are planning a homebirth. We can't afford to take a childbirth class so my husband has asked me to put together a cheat sheet for him so he knows what to do to support me. Our daughter, now 10, has also asked for one so she can help me, especially since there's a good chance my husband will be at work when labor begins and she'll be alone with me until he or the midwife gets here.

So I thought I'd reach out here for some suggestions. What did your labor partner do to help you while in labor? What do you wish they had done?
 

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I'm so glad you are taking steps to make this birth a positive experience. It really can be positive. I highly recommend getting the book "The Birth Partner" by Penny Simkin. Everything by Penny Simkin is amazing, but that book specifically addresses what the support team needs to do. It's so helpful!

I also recommend sitting down with your husband and watching positive home birth videos on youtube. There are tons. The sights and sounds are different with a home birth, and it's a great way to prep him. When women are allowed to birth instinctually, the positions they get into and the sounds they make might make someone who isn't prepared for it uncomfortable.

For my home birth, I had my husband and midwife there and my husband did 90% of the work. He was my doula. I had a back labor so he pushed on my hips, he held the bucket while I threw up, helped me on the toilet, gave me eye contact and helped me establish a breathing pattern, and he held me up while I squatted to push out our baby. He was so hands on, I really don't have anything I wish he would have done. Wherever I needed him, he jumped in. He even held the flashlight for the postpartum exam in our bed. No 1950's, smoking cigars in the waiting room kind of guy here.

Communication is key, and you need to know ahead of time what his limitations are. If he thinks he isn't up for everything, see about hiring a doula. It might give you and your husband some peace of mind to know that you have a trained birth partner to help both of you. Good luck and congratulations!!
 

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The Birth Partner book is great! Check your library if you don't want to buy it. My mom read it before I gave birth to my first child and used many of the tools suggested to support me in labor. I really liked having a shower head aimed at my back, being in the tub (later on), light touch massage, and having a heated rice sack pressed against my back. Also being offered water by flexible bendy straw throughout labor. My husband kind of watched her and followed what she did during my labor & responded to any of my requests.

There are lots of different comfort measure to try and you'll probably just have to try different things and see what helps the most. I think I've seen some charts on Pintrest with ideas too. Your midwife might be able to talk with both of you about what to expect and ideas for comfort measures/support during your last few check-ups too. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I'd love suggestions for positive birth videos on you tube too, if anyone can recommend specific videos. I'm hesitant to randomly search through birth videos there.
 
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