Questions I Have About Labor and Delivery

I am a second-time mom, but I’ve never experienced a single contraction.

I had a C-section with my first baby. This time around, I am SO excited that I don’t have complete placenta previa, and that I am getting to plan a VBAC!

Now that I have entered the third trimester, I am guzzling my red raspberry leaf tea (believed to tone the uterus), reading my huge stack of birth books, and working through a birth course with Hubs.

And yet, I still have so many questions. A C-section is painful, and difficult, and having been through one I know unequivocally it is not taking the easy way out. Having a vaginal delivery is just an entirely different beast, and is so mysterious to me!

Labor and delivery has always utterly fascinated me. Even before I was pregnant the first time, I spent a lot of free time listening to birth story podcasts, reading about birth, and becoming versed in all things natural birth.

However, for all that book knowledge I still feel somewhat mystified by the experience that I am about to embark on in a few months.

I look at other moms, who have given birth one-two-six times with awe. What secrets do they know? What tips would they give me? What are their stories?

If it was socially-appropriate to walk up to a mom in a park, and quiz her about her birth tips, here is what I would ask her:

What was the #1 thing you did to prepare your body for the rigors of labor? Was it chiropractic care? 300 squats a day? Eating 6 dates a day? Long walks? Something else?

What was the #1 thing you did to prepare mentally for labor? Hypnobirthing? Meditations? Labor and delivery playlist? A mantra? A certain book you read that helped?

What general advice can you give me? What was something that helped you the most during labor/delivery?

How did you prepare your husband? We are watching videos from Mama Natural’s Birth Course, but I am super curious–how do other mamas prepare their spouse?

What birth supplies did you bring to the hospital? Snacks? A peanut ball? A diffuser? Your own hospital gown?

How did you know it was time to go to the hospital? We live an hour away from the hospital where we are planning on delivering, and it is super important to me that I avoid going in until the last possible moment (due to all the frustrating VBAC restrictions they have at the hospital).

What advice can you give me for easing the transition for Baby #1? I don’t want Gideon to feel sad or displaced with the introduction of a sibling.

What supplies should I stockpile for recovery from a vaginal delivery? 

If you have the time to answer even one of these questions I would be ever so grateful!

-The Newbie (second-time) Mom

Comments

  1. Such an exciting time! You’ve gotten some great advice already 🙂
    With my first baby, my doula would tell me after contractions, that I never had to have THAT contraction again, it was over and gone…it helped me let go of it and relax and prepare for the next contraction. I repeated the mantra: I never have to have THAT contraction again…through my next four births, it seemed to help 🙂
    As for after the birth, TEA PADS!! It’s literally what it sounds like: make a strong black tea, let it cool a bit, and then pour some in the center of a maxi pad and freeze it flat. After the birth, you use them straight out of the freezer. They are SO pain relieving and the black tea is good for the healing. It’s really nice to have 10-15 in the freezer for when you get home. The hospital I gave birth at (st. elizabeth’s) used to (still do??) have them ready to go for their postpartum mums, and one of my L & D nurses told me how to make them at home, I hat a blessing!
    Praying for you and your family, can’t wait for your upcoming birth and baby updates

    • I love that mantra, Kjersten! I will definitely be using that during labor. Thank you so much for sharing!! I love getting advice from mamas who’ve been through it so many times. You are a pro!

      Tea pads! I have seen them mentioned online, but I didn’t know they were so helpful! I will definitely be prepping some before this baby arrives. Thank you so much for sharing your advice!

      Miss seeing you and your sweet little family around. Hope all is well with you!

  2. I’m just copying your questions and filling the answers in. I am by no means an expert but I will gladly answer your questions the best I can.

    What….prepare your body for the rigors of labor?

    REST. When the due date comes close, mama, I vote rest. Your labor may be 7 hours or it may be 36. or who knows, so rest and be strong when labor starts. Go in fully charged.

    What was the #1 thing you did to prepare mentally for labor?

    Remember, and I know you know this, but it’s a privilege. The contractions are purposeful. And when it gets down to the hardest moments, remember “the only way through is through”.

    I also had worship music playing the whole time to keep me reminded I’m not alone, God is with me, and God is my true strength.

    What general advice can you give me? What was something that helped you the most during labor/delivery?
    With Travis, I really loved wearing my own clothes during labor. I wore this nightgown tank top dress thing from Target. I felt so much more confident and comfortable (and supported) than wearing an oversized hospital gown that just was so big and distracting.

    Oh, and what really helped me was a nurse who taught me how to push. I was on hour 32 by then but she kept emphasizing not to lose any of my strength/energy with “noises” but to focus, be quiet, breathe and push.

    How did you prepare your husband?

    Our doula did a small birth class, but also just the warning of… “DO NOT BE ON YOUR CELL PHONE AT ALL” helped a lot.

    What birth supplies did you bring to the hospital?

    My own clothes, a robe, easy flip flops I don’t care about. I didn’t bring much. A good pillow. Dillon or a family member would bring us take-out food and that was so helpful. A good comfort meal after baby is born is heavenly.

    How did you know it was time to go to the hospital?

    My doula told me with Declan. I ended up being 7 cm dilated. Travis was induced, long story.

    What advice can you give me for easing the transition for Baby #1?
    Let him help in any way he can. And remember you are giving him the gift of a sibling. 🙂

    What supplies should I stockpile for recovery from a vaginal delivery?
    Those giant mesh underwear the hospital gives and the giant pads they give. And then it depends on if you tear or not. Grab it all if you tear.

    You’re going to rock your VBAC friend!

    • Oh, Katie, thank you for taking the time to answer my myriad questions! I still remember the post you wrote on your blog about going through labor and delivery, and how much you wanted to make God and your hubby proud of you. That really stuck with me!

      I have been thinking about wearing my own clothes at the hospital, so thanks for that advice!!

      That advice to your husband, ha ha! I will be sure to tell Saia.

      I think we will definitely rely more on take-out food this time around. Hospital food just isn’t that great!

      Thank you for your sweet encouragement, and help, friend!

  3. You’ve got this mama! Don’t worry God’s got you covered. I remember taking my kiddos shopping for something small for baby. They were each about 2 when the next babe was born. But I let them pick out a pacifier, new tub toys, a onesie, something little that they could give baby that was just from them. It made them feel special.
    I am so excited for your beautiful family and your new addition!

  4. To prepare for labor, I ate at least 2 dates a day and drank raspberry leaf tea.
    To kickstart my labor, I saw an acupuncturist and drank cotton root bark; it kicked my contractions into high gear.
    We birthed at Mountain Midwifery in Englewood, CO and they supplied oils and peanut balls, birth stools, swings, tub, etc. I used ALL of those things! If you are into oils, I recommend anything relaxing or energizing- bring a mix because you never know. Labor nose is super sensitive (Clary sage is great for labor).

    I bought coconut water and Gatorade for labor. I brought snacks, too, but I ended up vomiting the whole time, so…

    Visualizing the ocean really helped me, too. Once the contractions got stronger, though, I started to feel like I aaa drowning, so I began visualizing a lion roaring and that helped me push through each contraction and remember that even though it hurt, it was pain with purpose. My baby was coming!

    Lastly, my biggest piece of advice is to listen to whatever your body is saying. Move when you need and how you need. Don’t feel pressured by anyone else to do this or that. Use your partner to walk, hug, hold… tell people what you need! If ever there is a time to be demanding, it is labor.

    My plan was to have my mom, gma, and sister there and instead, all I wanted was to be alone in the tub with my husband and quiet music.

    Sending all my love to you and baby!!! You are going to ROCK IT.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts!

      Drank cotton root bark? Was it in a tea form? That is something I’ve never heard of before!

      I’ve heard of Clary sage, and I know that the midwives I am seeing often use it during labor, yay! I will definitely look into borrowing a friend’s peanut ball, and utilizing water.

      I’m sorry you vomited the whole time. 🙁 Shoot! Thanks for the snack suggestions!

      The ocean! I am making a VBAC vision board, and I’ll add a pic of the ocean and a lion. Thank you for that!

      “If there is a time to be demanding it is labor” I love that.

      Thank you for your encouragement, Brinna, it means A LOT!!

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