As I have told you, I am a planner. So, the idea of the delivery day’s schedule being 100% out of my control is a little daunting to say the least. Therefore, being prepared is the best thing I can do to feel some element of control, no matter what happens. Developing a birth plan is a significant way to achieve this as it provides a written record of your “wishes” and outlines your preferences of care. This plan also provides you and your partner with the ability to get on the same page, and talk through the different options and dynamics of care if things do not happen as planned. I found that the website, The Bump, offered the most comprehensive birth plan guideline to follow.
Running through this worksheet helped us to talk through the “what ifs,” and to determine which route we would want to take if a transfer to the hospital became necessary. Because this transfer would be somewhat unexpected, based on my “plan” to give birth naturally at a birth center, it did help to review what options we still had if an epidural or cesarean was required. Also, having these conversations with my husband made him feel empowered to know what options he had to maintain our care plan, in case I was not physically or emotionally able to participate in the care directive.
Here is the link to the worksheet we used.
Once you complete your birth plan, you will want to review it with your midwife or physician. My midwife also wanted me to provide a call list of people who could be “on call” to help out if for some reason my husband needed support. At first, my thought was, “help for him… I am the one doing all the work!” She explained to me that a lot of partners tend to focus 100% on the laboring mom, and forget to take care of themselves, i.e. – not eating, staying hydrated, or resting. They also do not get the benefits of the hormonal rush of endorphins and adrenaline that laboring moms receive to keep their alertness and stamina up. Subsequently, partners can fatigue themselves to the point of not being helpful, or able to take an active role in decision-making. So, having a call list of support staff or “pinch hitters” can be helpful if labor lasts into the 15-30 hour range.
The next step in preparation is packing your bag. Your necessities will vary based on where you are delivering, but I have found that there are definitely some go to items that should be brought along no matter what. Most importantly, you must have your car seat in the car and ready. If not, baby is not allowed to leave with you. Also, basic toiletries should be a must. For those like me that were born with terrible eyesight, bringing both your eye glasses and contacts along is advised. Also, bringing a tooth brush and toothpaste along, just in case you vomit during labor or transition. Lastly, hair ties or barrettes. Hair in your face during delivery could be the most annoying thing in the world to you, so bring a few! Outside of your other basic toiletries, another must have is icepacks! There are many tips and techniques out there, but the best I have heard is the major absorbent maxi pad, which you can freeze. Then you can use the pad for comfort on your swollen bits, as well as use for blood loss maintenance. I also made sure to include my Sitting Pretty Soothing Spray, as this product provides an easy to use application of herbal extracts and natural remedies to help with quick pain relief and healing of perineal tears, vaginal bruising and swelling, or hemorrhoids. Also, consider a heat pack or tennis balls in case your back is sore from the labor process.
Lastly, remember to bring clothes for yourself, your partner, and new baby. For me, I decided to bring along an outfit that was comfortable to be worn during active labor, but one that I would not be sad to see go – incase it is ruined. I also made sure to bring along a nursing bra, and a set of comfortable (loose fitting) clothes for post delivery. Because I am planning on a water birth, I made sure to include my husband’s swim trunks. Just in case he does get in the tub with me during active labor or delivery. Also, just an extra pair of clothes for him in general, if labor does last awhile. And of course, last but certainly not least, an outfit for our new little one to come home with us in!
Another couple of additions to my bag were some essential oils. Lavender is extremely relaxing for me, so I did want to have that scent present during my labor process. I also packed along some Frankincense, which can be added to a warm washcloth and be used to help with perineum support during active labor. I also have lots of snacks packed, including honey sticks. Honey sticks are particularly good to help to provide you with an easy pick me up, if your blood sugar begins to drop. The last thing I am bringing in my bag is my ipod. I will have preloaded both relaxing tunes as well as some more upbeat ones. Depending on how it goes and how I feel, I may favor a relaxing, darker atmosphere with calmer music or I may want to get my Beyonce on and jive this babe out. We shall see!
One other thing to bring along for the car is a trash bag and towel. I added these items per the recommendation of a friend whose water broke in her car on the way to the hospital. Definitely, not a mess you want to have to worry about cleaning up after you get home with baby! So now, I just need to remember to put these things and the bag into the car!
Only 6 weeks to go 🙂