This post will be a work in progress as I plan to add more as I contemplate my labor and as I search for advice on this subject from other women. Please check back with me if you or someone you love is planning a birth!
First of all, I really wish I had drunk as much water as I could on the day I went into labor! When you are dehydrated it makes labor a bit worse: contractions can be more painful and right on top of each other, which means no resting in between contractions! This is what happened to me, I was sipping water the whole time I labored in the hospital because I would not take the IV. I also learned from a midwife that coconut water is a great hydrator for laboring women.
Second: I wish I had made my husband practice labor and birth techniques, like relaxation and breathing through a contraction, at home. This is easier said than done when you don’t know what to expect from labor, but now I know how important this is to do. We took the labor and birth classes, but if you don’t practice the things you learn, it is very hard to recreate everything when you are in actual labor. In the beginning my husband wasn’t doing anything right for me! Nothing at all! Thank God we had a fabulous nurse to help us and she showed him what to do, because he was my hero after he started imitating her.
Third: I wish I could have watched the film The Business of Being Born and the follow-up film More Business of Being Born. These are amazing films filled with such important information. In the second film I loved hearing the celebrity moms talk about their births, especially drug free and home births. Cindy Crawford summed up the pain of childbirth so well with what she said, and I loved every word that came out of Giselle Bundchen‘s mouth. These films are a serious must for expecting parents, I highly advise you to watch these on Netflix if you have it RIGHT NOW! There are so many other things I learned from these films that I wish I would have known about, like the amazing Ina May Gaskin, the dangerous drug cytotec which has killed countless women and babies yet is still used in hospitals, and much more.
Fourth: I wish so badly that I had known about placenta encapsulation and all of the amazing and incredibly good benefits it has for moms and babies. I had postpartum depression after I gave birth, and every testimonial I read from women who took the encapsulated placenta pills said that they experienced little to no PPD, even women who had PPD before. They also rave about more energy, faster healing, a great milk supply, more even moods and less emotional days, and even noticed that they became more emotional or “weepy” when they skipped a pill. I am definitely doing placenta encapsulation this time, I can’t wait to experience these great benefits, because PPD is and was so so scary for me and is by far my greatest fear about having children.
Fifth: Preparation. I wish I had prepared the people I had with me in the labor and delivery room for what to expect with a natural birth. My mom was freaking out and asked a couple of times about pain medication! This is a big no no when you are trying to have a natural birth and I should have prepared her and told everyone that they are not allowed to mention pain relief drugs. Also, my doula had on such strong perfume that it was making me sick every time she tried to help me, and she should have known about the sensitivity of pregnant women to smells, right? Ugh! Prepare your labor team so they will be best equipped to help, and not hinder, your labor and birth.
Sixth:All the heavy breathing I was doing during labor really dried up and cracked my mouth, it basically split open on both sides and did not heal completely for a few months. For this birth I must make sure I have a good moisturizing lip gloss with me.
Books that I could not live without in my last pregnancy and in my current pregnancy:
Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears – I can not recommend this book enough or have more good things to say about it. This book brought me so much closer to my baby before and after delivery. I learned things about newborns that blew my mind! This book is better than any pregnancy book, I read What to Expect When You are Expecting, and it doesn’t come close to Attachment Parenting.
The Birth Book by Dr. Sears - Another incredible book that blew my mind. The What to Expect book ain’t got nothin’ on the things I learned from this book! I retained so much info from this book that I even labored in the positions they talked about, including squatting on the toilette lol.
Husband Coached Childbirth by Dr. Bradley I am reading this one again right now, it is written for the husband or birth partner but is also so fascinating to read. You definitely wasn’t your hubby or birth partner to read this one! My husband and I will be practicing these Bradley Method birthing techniques because if my first birth is any indication, these husband coached techniques that focus on relaxation will be helping me the most in labor.
I also had What to Expect When you are Expecting, Pregnancy Week by week, and another Bradley Method book which I am also reading again.
Updates and Additions to this Post:
The Fourth Trimester: I never realized somehow that there is something called the fourth trimester. I just came across a post from Talk Birth that had amazing info on this that I definitely with I had known before! I will probably end up pressing her post to my blog, but her is a great excerpt from it:
“…I find it helpful to bring in the concept of the fourth trimester. The first three months are the “fourth trimester” during which baby pretty much wants to live on mom’s chest and replicate the womb (i.e. almost constant feeding–like the umbilical cord–constant holding and lots of motion, like being in the uterus, as well as being able to hear your heartbeat). After the fourth trimester passes, babies “wake up” even more and start really interacting with the world. I explain in a light-hearted way that even if you hold your baby for 12 solid hours a day following birth, that is a 50% reduction in what she is used to. And, I let them know that while the adult’s brain thinks, “how can this baby be hungry, I just fed him 30 minutes ago?!” The baby’s brain thinks, “it is has been 30 minutes since I’ve EATEN ANYTHING!!!!!” I also reinforce the idea that a baby that wants to be held and snuggled and nursed is a smart baby, not a manipulative one. And, of course, I also describe mother’s body as baby’s natural habitat after birth.” -From the Jan. 30th post; Timeless Days: More Postpartum Planning by Molly at her blog Talk Birth, http://talkbirth.me/2013/01/30/timeless-days-more-postpartum-planning/
I must research more about the fourth trimester! Isn’t it great info?