Make a birth plan, but keep open minded and flexible:

Have you heard about writing a birth plan? This doesn’t have to mean a step-by-step plan about how you want the day to pan out because this could be setting yourself up for possible disappointment. Nobody can tell you when, how, or why anything will happen when it comes to giving birth before you reach the day. My best advice is to educate yourself so you are aware of different OPTIONS. Write down or have in your mind different things you’d like to try on the day you give birth (eg: water birth, standing, shower, on the bed, drugs, no drugs etc).

My partner and I went to the antenatal hospital classes during the pregnancy. These were great for teaching us about different options for pain relief, positions to use when having the baby, and where we could give birth (the bed, water birth, shower, standing etc.). Also a great place to meet other mums and dads who were due around the same time as us.

At the end of the day as long as baby and mum are ok and healthy that’s all the matters. How the baby comes out, or what you need to take for pain relief doesn’t matter. Do what you have to do to get the baby out safely.

In the weeks leading into the day that I gave birth I worked hard on taking control of my thoughts. Only positive useful thoughts were allowed. I was fortunate enough to have two different midwives in the appointments leading up to birth tell me that it would be a pain I have never felt before, and a pain I will never feel again unless I have more children. So mentally I was prepared for a pain I hadn’t had before. They said it is something you can’t prepare for as you don’t know how the day will pan out or how you will handle the pain/experience. This helped me go in feeling even more open minded.

I couldn’t control the pain I would feel, but I could control how I responded to it. I had my list of things I’d like to try to help me get through labour and birth, but told myself to keep open minded and flexible. I didn’t have my heart set on anything. That way I wasn’t going to be disappointed if I couldn’t have it or if it didn’t work. Being a massage therapist and knowing how muscles work, I knew that the more relaxed I was going into it the more effective my body would be.

When you arrive at hospital, stay calm and trust your midwife. My plan all along was to go with the flow. See what happens, see how I felt. I had no expectations.

I went into hospital after my waters had broken at home, and my partner had called the birth unit and they said to come into the day assessment clinic. Once I arrived at the hospital all intentions I had in mind of what I’d wear, being uncomfortable about what others might think if they saw me while in labour as I went to the birth unit etc,  all went out the door. My waters continued to leak/break as we drove to the hospital leaving my pants soaked. I  ended up walking into the hospital into the day assessment clinic with a towel wrapped around me. I was more worried for the other pregnant women who saw me walk in with a towel around me and in labour, who were waiting in the Women’s Health Clinic for their appointments, than what I actually looked like. When being assessed by the midwife in the clinic to see how close contractions were together, and up in the birth unit to see how dilated I was, prior to going into labour I felt uncomfortable about the intrusiveness of this. When the time came I didn’t care less. I said, yep do what ever you have to do to get this baby out safely. I had full trust in them and became very comfortable due to their pure professionalism.

I planned to go in having full trust in my midwife, after all they have studied and experienced many deliveries, way more than I have. Knowing this gave me a lot of confidence. Birth is not easy and is not pain free, but if you stay calm and open minded about it you’re already ahead.

Listen to what your midwife is telling you. Tell them how you’re feeling so they can help you best. There are stages of labour when you feel like giving up, when you hit this stage remind yourself, every contraction and every push is one closer to seeing your baby. Concentrate on the contraction as a motion towards your baby arriving. Each contraction, although it may not feel like it, is one step closer to meeting your baby.

When I hit the stage of wanting to give up as the pain was intense, I made the decision to concentrate on the contractions and do everything I could to get the baby out. YES, I was in a lot of pain, but worrying about the pain wasn’t going to be constructive way to get the baby out anytime soon. I thought about how the shower was improving the pain I felt in my back, gritted my teeth and did exactly as the midwife advised.

I had hoped to try a water birth, but I wasn’t allowed to as my swabs had not returned yet. I was a little disappointed by this, but because I didn’t have my heart set on it, I was able to move on and try a few other options I had in mind.

My midwife was fantastic, keeping me relaxed and telling me exactly what to do. She was a very supportive midwife.

The calmer you can make things for yourself the better.

Birth and labour is painful and hard work, but breathe through each contraction. Tell yourself you can do it.


By Clare at Relaxed Parenting Blog

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