My husband and I are 2/3s done with our Lamaze childbirth class. Although I thought I knew a lot about labor going into it, I’ve learned so much more.
I know some people giggle at the idea of childbirth classes but I think they’re great, helpful, and important. If anything, it’s a fun excuse to get out with your hubby once a week, and practice a new hobby together.
I’ve also been reading The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth With Confidence, and I have to admit, I was hesitant when picking it up, I sometimes feel childbirthed-out and like I can’t stand to think another moment about preparing for this single moment that will be eclipsed by my baby’s smile in a matter of months. However, I brought the book with me while I was getting my hair done and have been interested in quite a bit of content.
Lamaze has been a great opportunity for my husband and I to talk about how we want things to go, and how he’ll support me during labor, and it’s given me the backbone of my Birth Wishes philosophy. Their six healthy birth practices are:
1: Let labor begin on its own
2: Walk, move around and change positions throughout labor
3: Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support
4: Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary
5: Avoid giving birth on your back and follow your body’s urges to push
6: Keep mother and baby together – It’s best for mother, baby and breastfeeding
And all of them you’ll see flowing into my letter of desires.
Along with Lamaze I’ve been listening to labor hypnosis tracks daily as well as pregnancy affirmations, and practicing prenatal yoga. All together I think I’ll be ready for my “pressure waves” (aka contractions) on my birthing day (labor aka D-Day).
I’ve thought a lot about how I’d like my birthing day do go and although I know anything could happen, and that I need to be open and flexible, I visualize it going something like this:
I envision labor starting on its own in the early morning hours. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night from contractions, but forcing myself to go back to sleep. It’s going to be a long day(s) and as exciting as it is, I’ll need some rest.
When I can’t take the pressure anymore I’ll get up and fill up the bathtub with hot water and turn on my relaxation playlist. I may listen to some hypnosis, and just breath through the contractions. I’ll also have my iPhone near by so I can time the contractions, or have my husband time them on my Contraction Tracker.
I know early labor up to 5cm dilated will be a good long portion of the process (about 2/3rds usually) so I’m going to try my best to stay relaxed, and get to dilating.
Relaxation helps with letting my body do it’s job, but the contractions are also working to push the baby down, soften, and dilate my cervix. So it’s also important to move and help with the process. Eventually my adrenaline will kick in as well as endorphins which should naturally help alleviate some of the pain… That could be later as I’m progressing more to active labor though.
To help speed things along I’ll use my husband’s help to keep me moving and help the baby thin out my cervix (efface). I’ll practice a technique my OB suggested, which we also learned in Lamaze class, and wrap my arms around my husband’s neck, stick my hips back and sway in my husband’s arms. I will also sit on my birthing ball, do jumping jacks, yoga, whatever the heck it takes. All the while listening to my “upbeat labor playlist” (which is a work in process, so if you have tips, please add your suggestions!).
When active labor kicks in I’ll be getting contractions every 3-5 minutes and they’ll each last about a minute long. I’m going to try to relax or keep moving on the ball, whatever my body tells me feels right at the time. …This totally goes with the principal of healthy birth practice #2, “walking, moving around, and changing positions during labor.” You can see some good examples of this watching this video:
My OB suggested a lot of movement during natural labor and said women hardly… If ever prefer to be lying down during contractions, so while I’m at home, I plan to use the techniques I’ve learned. I’m also thinking of printing out photos of positions beforehand so they’re readily available and all in front of me during the process.
Another key to me is staying home as long as I can stand it. Staying at home will help with avoiding possible medical interventions. Of course some I think could be necessary, but if I’m doing ok at home and feeling safe I’ll stay at home as long as I can.
My OB asks that I call when my contractions are four minutes apart and one minute long for one hour. My iPhone has an alarm for the same time frame, but I changed it to two hours.
One thing I worry about it getting to the hospital, wreathing in pain only to find I’m about 2cm dilated. It’s going to take us long enough to get there, passing three other hospitals on the way, I’d like to get there and be ready to stay.
I’m going to of course check with my OB during that time and make sure it’s ok that I wait it out a little longer before doing something that could put me and my baby in danger, but I also think my instincts will kick in when it’s time to go to someplace safe.
“Most mammals seeks quiet and privacy when they’re in labor, and if they sensee danger of any kind, labor stops. This frees them to move to safety, or lets them wait until danger passes to deliver their babies.
Humas labor fits this pattern : Early on, it can be shut down by anxiety, fear, or anything that makes you feel unsafe. That’s why it’s important to choose a birth site and caregiver that help you feel confidant and secure.” (The Official Lamaze Guide p. 98)
So, I’m hoping I’ll feel safe at home, but not SO SAFE to where I’ll deliver the baby right then and there.
Once it’s time to go I’m grabbing my Baby Time hospital bag and a coordinating matching bag packed with extra goodies raging from treats for the staff, and my two Hot Mama Gowns, to music, my laptop and a picture of Spawnie… My focal point.
After, I’m predicting about 10 hours of early and early-active labor we’ll make the trek to the hospital which isn’t THAT far away, but with the 24/7 traffic in our area, it’ll feel like planets away.
I’ll practice hypnosis in the car and keep my cool for when we reach the hospital.
Now, besides Spawnie coming out beautiful, healthy, and looking quite un-spawnlike, the ONE thing that would make my Birth Dreams come true is if I get the awesome compliment of “you can’t be in labor you’re too calm.” That will be my big goal. Even if I have to hold it in and fake it just until I hear someone say it, that’s what I’m shooting for.
I’ll hand off the basket of goodies to my first attending nurse with my pre-thank-you letter and Birth Wishes printed on hard paper, with ribbon tied through some punch holes. I’ll bring about 6-8 copies. One for my husband and I and some for the attending staff.
Tomorrow, I’ll share the ever-evolving letter.