Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Advice to my future pregnant self

On Sunday we had a reunion with the other two couples from our birth class. One of the little girls is two weeks and a day older than HP, the other little girl is two weeks and a day younger.

We all shared our birth stories and how we were adjusting to life as parents. The experience allowed me an opportunity to reflect on what I loved about HP's birth and what I would change.

There are so many things I loved about HP's birth. I loved being at my own home. I loved how calm everyone in the room was, even when it was taking longer than expected. I loved not having to travel to the hospital or birth center while in labor. I love that when I walk into our bedroom with HP I get to tell him (or think to myself), "You were born here in this room!" I loved how the experience made our house our home in a new way.

Even while acknowledging all of the beautiful aspects of his birth, there are still things I will do differently next time. So future pregnant self (I'm sure we will have a second child, even if Neil is not yet convinced), here's what you should do differently next time:

(1) Wait to push. Yes, I know that you are tired of being in labor and you just want to get it over with, but starting to push before your body has the urge to push may result in three hours of pushing. Not fun.

(2) Don't get checked early in your labor. You may think that you want to know, but when you find out that you're close to complete at midnight, think you're almost done, and then end up being in labor for another ten hours? It's hard to cope. It's better not to know so you don't have false expectations about how much longer it will be.

(3) Take the time to find the right personality fit with a midwife. We chose our midwife in large part because she was so experienced (she's attended more than 2000 births!), she was in our neighborhood, and there was a chance our insurance would be accepted (it was!). There were three midwives who attended our births and all of our appointments, the primary midwife and two assistants. Personality-wise we clicked best with the assistant midwives.  I don't want to make it sound as though we had a bad experience with our midwife, because that is not the case, but I do think that finding the right person to deliver your child is about more than experience, convenience, and finances. There's something intangible about finding the person who fits best with your family and it is worth the extra time it takes to find it.

(4) Most importantly, trust your instincts and your body. This advice will be easier to follow since you've been through the experience once. If you want to push in a certain position?  Don't let anyone tell you not to.  If you want to tense up during a contraction instead of relaxing? Do it. And tell everyone who tells you to relax to back the heck off. (I was cursing so much in my head at every person who told me to relax. All I wanted to do was not relax for one contraction--just one--but as soon as I would start to tense up everyone told me not to. In retrospect I should of just said what I was thinking instead of bottling it up. And yes, I do know it's better to relax then to tense up, but at the time I just didn't care.) Of course you should listen to your midwives and the advice they give, but in the end, it's your body and your labor. Be assertive in what you do and don't want.

(5) You may not think so at the time, but in the end, it's all worth it.

HP at two days old.  Photo by Jennifer Borget Photography

1 comment:

  1. So. Good. Especially the part about clicking with your caretaker. And the part about waiting to push. And the part about not getting checked. And doing what you want during labor.
    all of it.

    Love you Sarah!