My Biased Tips for the Delivery Room
Labour. In retrospect it is a pretty awesome thing. But it takes a long time to get there; very often the memories of your labour and delivery carry some emotional weight that only time and distance can take care of.
For many women pregnancy is the first lesson in giving up control, and labour, labour is like the next 50, (parenting is when you realize control is a myth).
There are lots of great articles with tips out there. And you can you spend hours planning the minutia of your birth plan. But it won't help. Because no birth goes according to a birth plan. Here are my biased, but realistic tips that will get you through it.
Get a Doula: Do you really want to be in the delivery room with your nervous husband who has even less of an idea of what is going on than you? No, you don't. Get a doula, they will be your advocate and get your husband coffee so he doesn't fall asleep when you need him to change the first few diapers.
Bring a pillow from home: Hospital pillows suck. You need your own from home.
Eat before you go to the hospital: Labour is hard work and can go on forever. Labour nurses will not let you eat anything once you hit a certain point, they hate barf.
Don't worry about what ends up on the delivery table: Labour nurses hate barf (see above) but they don't care about anything else.
Choose a comforting thought or happy place that you can concentrate on when things get bad: I do not have the attention span to meditate or do any kind of mental focusing, but when I was in labour focusing on being at the cottage on the lake helped calm me down. Make a mental picture and work out the details - before labour starts.
Bring photos to focus on: A couple key photos of your happy place or the people who make you happy can warm up any room and may give you some motivation that you need.
Educate yourself: Know what transition is and some of the stages of labour, know what choices are available and advocate for yourself. If you have any risk factors, know them and what needs to be done. I will never forget the family resident who recommended that I had Pitocin (see, you need to know what that it is) even though I was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) which is a big no-no. My husband, doula and I had to refuse it adamantly. It was good thing we knew the right way to do things otherwise I could have been in trouble.
Don't aim for perfection: there is no perfect labour. Do what you have to do, and don't let some idea of what labour "should" be overrule what you want.
Which leads me to get an epidural: If you want one, get one; if you don't, leave the door open. It does not make you weak or a bad mother or mean you hurt your baby or that you have given up control. (I'm a bit of a ranter on this topic, as I've seen many women torn apart by this issue).
What are your top tips for the delivery room?
Want more chaos? Last year, I was struggling with how to handle my son's refusal to go to a family event, so I gave him a choice.