When the moment finally comes, emotions are high. Labor and delivery is one of the most intense and monumental moments of any persons life, and the preparation you put into that day can truly make or break your experience. I will share with you that I have major regrets regarding the birth of my first born. I did not advocate for myself the way that I should have. I did not have the conversations with my partner ahead of time that I should have. I did not think through my own fears and concerns and attempt to alleviate them ahead of time as I should have.
When the time came, there were too many people in the room. Outside of my husband, the people in the room were of no helpful addition to our process. In fact, they were distracting, and at times- even disrespectful. My husband did not have the one on one prep with my labor nurse ahead of time and that made him feel very ill-equipped to help me. In this article, I want to list out some very key questions which- had I answered them before that day- would have made my son’s entry into this world a whole lot more pleasant.
How long would you like to labor before the use of drugs?
Are you attempting a natural birth?
Who would you like in the room as your support person when your partner needs a break?
Your expectations for the labor process need to be set before hand. Setting clear expectations of your partner, appointing a supplemental support person and deciding what your methods of pain management will be are key factors of a peaceful experience.
Will you be allowing visitors once you are medicated?
Who is invited into the room for pushing?
How long would you like extended family members to wait before being allowed to come into the room?
If you can believe it, once I had my epidural, the parade of nieces and nephews (all under the age of 5) began. I know it seems crazy that I didn’t say anything then, but if you knew my family dynamic or have one that’s similar, you would understand. After them came my in-laws- completely uninvited. They sat in the waiting room where my husband felt he needed to “go visit” them once an hour until the baby came. He almost missed the beginning of pushing, which meant he did not get any time to process what was about the happen or his role in it before we were actively doing it. His counting would make Richard Simons proud, but was not so helpful to me. My mother and sister made themselves at home on the cot under the window and did things like laugh at my husband and take pictures of my face while pushing and sent it to other siblings. I really wish I was joking. I had barely delivered my placenta and was not clothed or clean and in walks my in-laws. My father in law made himself comfortable in the rocking chair that was right on the business end of my bed. Talk about uncomfortable.
I don’t tell you this story to petrify you- but to prepare you. I am sure you don’t belong to a pack of rabid wolves like I do, so you probably have simple answers to all of these questions. But, if you belong to a band of chimpanzees, then you will understand exactly where I am coming from and having answers to these questions ahead of time will help you to be an effective ring master to your own little circus.