My first birth experience, Suzi's hospital birth, did not go the way I wanted. I was thrilled to have my gorgeous, healthy baby (and no c-section) but the process felt scary and unnatural. When we found out we were pregnant the second time, with Ivey, almost every decision we made was different. Homebirth instead of hospital birth, midwife instead of OB. Waterbirth instead of land birth. Natural sports drink instead of IV fluids, natural comfort measures instead of epidural. It was a major leap for us to get comfortable with everything a homebirth entailed, but it turned out to be perfect. We could barely think of a thing we wanted to change until we found out baby #3 was on his way! Although the big things are staying the same, there are a few things that'll be different. Here they are.
1) I'm not going to send Jordan to work. Since Suzi's birth had Jordan home from work for an entire morning needlessly, I figured Ivey's birth would be the same way. At his normal time to leave for work, things were just barely getting started, so I told him to go. Turns out I really could've used him at home to help get things ready, and then when I needed him to cope with pressure waves it took him half an hour longer than I would've liked to arrive. This time I will ask him to stay home as soon as I'm pretty certain things are underway.
2) We have purchased a birth tub instead of counting on our two-person whirlpool. We do have a nice tub, but it's not deep. I was concerned last time that if I tried to kneel or squat I might come up out of the water to the point that the baby's head would touch air when it came out (which would necessitate leaving the tub). Besides, the bottom of my tub is hard and the bottom of the La Bassine inflates to be soft and pillow-like. Better for my knees when I jump in on them and sit for 45 minutes. It also has handles to hold and soft sides if you'd like to lean over them and take powernaps between pushes like I do.
3) Jordan will be in the birth tub--hopefully catching the baby. Last time I guess I thought I'd be in the mood to have a birthing time conversation with Jordan about whether or not he should get in the tub, but by the time I made it there myself, I was already in "transformation" and didn't feel like discussing and changing a bunch of things. This time I've already told him I want him to get in, and to remember that just in case I forget to say anything.
4) Jordan will be more involved in general. Naturally empathetic and with two very different birth experiences (and three childbirth classes) under his belt, Jordan is an amazing birth partner. Last time I think I unintentionally gave him the idea that it'd be better if he stayed out of the way, but this time he knows I want him more involved. I'd especially like him to hold/touch the baby sooner. With both Suzi and Ivey, I held the baby for a really long time and it never occurred to me that Jordan had barely gotten to touch them and was patiently waiting for his turn. This is part of the reason I'd like him to catch, if possible.
This was taken about an hour after Ivey was born, and is the first time he held her.
5) I won't save too many birthing time projects for after things get started. There's nothing we missed doing last time that was really important, but it would be great if I already had a waterproof carpet guard (checkered picnic tablecloth) in place before I was having to concentrate on pressure waves. It would be nice if I had snacks all prepared and ready to set out for my birth attendants, in the event they are here long enough to get hungry. Julie told me she filled her birth tub part of the way with cold water ahead of time and covered it with a shower curtain so she'd be able to just add hot water and have it ready in a hurry if needed. I definitely think that's an idea we'll use!
6) I'll get the bed made up in layers first thing. Last time I thought there'd be plenty of time, but Jordan and Carey ended up rushing to do it right before I got in the tub. I love our bed and I want it made up and ready in case I want to spend some of my birthing time in it. Last time we made the bed in layers. First you put on a fitted sheet and flat sheet, then a waterproof liner, then another fitted sheet and flat sheet. That way if things get a little messy during the birth, or especially if you have your baby in the bed, you can just yank everything off down to the next sheet set and it's all ready for you to hop in and have a family cuddle (or nap) after the birth!
7) There won't be any worrying over what to expect or wondering if a homebirth is really a good idea. Last time I asked Carey what might happen in every rare unfortunate situation I could possibly think of. Thinking about all of that was torturous and unproductive. This time I know there is plenty of time to get to the hospital in the vast majority of emergencies, and there's no reason to think we will need to go anyway.
8) I want to wear something different. I'd like to be wearing something for my waterbirth so the baby's first pictures won't be R-rated. Last time I wore a tank top with a shelf bra that I really wanted off during pushing, but was afraid it would get stuck on my head or something in the middle of a birthing wave if I tried to take it off. This time I'm simply going with a bra, so it'll be easy to get off if I need it off but otherwise I'm minimally covered. I also want to make a birthing gown or two that tie or snap in the back (but better than a hospital gown!) so they're easy to get off if I want them off. That's a sewing project I haven't tried yet. We'll see how it turns out.
9) I'll get in a better position for pushing. I've been practicing squatting--not as much as I should, but more than last time. During Ivey's birth, Carey suggested squatting to push but it was just too much to wrap my head around at the time (plus I was worried about the depth of the water), so I ended up lying in a funny position, between my back and my side.
10) There will be pictures. We asked our friend Jenn to come to the birth and take pictures for us, and she said yes! She is a good friend and a fellow Hypnobabies grad and takes great pictures. So she'll be perfect. Last time we had a few pictures from right after the birth and they are treasures, and this time I want more taken pre-birth. We don't have any of me from before Ivey was born, except the final belly shot my mom took when they picked up Suzi. I was too busy to think to ask anyone to take pictures, and there wasn't much time for it anyway. We had a video camera set up on a tripod to capture the moment of birth, and luckily Jordan noticed the tape run out a few minutes before Ivey made her appearance. He quickly grabbed our Flip camera just in time to video the birth himself. I would've been sad not to have that. This time we are contemplating setting up two tripods and putting the Flip on one and our Sony camcorder on the other, so that we only need to press a button to continue recording if the tape ends at an inopportune time.
Last photo to come off my camera before the birth...
And the first to come off after. Ivey oh sweet Ivey!
11) I'll be using Hypnobabies scripts and techniques. We've done Julie's six-week Hypnobabies class, and even thought we haven't done the scripts every day like we were supposed to, I feel pretty certain it will benefit us during our birth. This is one major change from my first two births. I probably won't spend the whole birth tuned into scripts like some women do. I know approximately what it will feel like without self-hypnosis, and I'm not worried. I will be using it part of the time, though, and taking the class to prepare has already changed things for me. I can tell it's going to be better, and I'm looking forward to this birth like it's a party or something. It's going to be amazing!