|Horribly unflattering, but at least I was comfortable. Sort of.|
With just under a month left to go until we meet Baby Sister, as well as a nap time obsession with TLC's A Baby Story (so what if most episodes are over five years old at this point?), it should come as no surprise that I've been thinking a lot about how Labor - Round Deux will go. (Note that Motherhood - Round Deux will entail a whole other blog post.)
And quite honestly, there's really not that much that I'll do different this time around. I had absolutely no idea what to expect the first time, but all things considered, it was a relatively easy labor and I don't regret anything about the way I handled it. Still, there is a bit of room for some tweaks.
Things I'll (try to) do differently this time around:
- REALLY try to sleep when I can. I don't remember how much sleep I got in the hospital after giving birth to Sammy, but I do remember our first night home from the hospital where I slept absolutely no hours. With that in mind, I am going to do my best to sleep, sleep, and sleep some more while I am in the hospital with Baby Sister. With that said, this time I will most definitely....
- Allow the baby to stay in the nursery overnight. And I will not feel guilty about it! I'll have the nurses bring her in when its time to feed, and during the day, but I will have none of this "rooming in" business throughout the entire night. With Sammy, he slept in the nursery for part of the first night, but that was it. The hospital is where people sleep. The home - especially those first few nights - is not. Thus, I will take it where I can get it.
- Demand water and popsicles while in labor. My one big complaint about my labor with Sammy is that I was absolutely parched. (And believe me - I know is really nothing to complain about, all things considering.) However, I recently read some study saying that it is now okay for women in labor to drink water. Of course I brought this up to my doctor at my very next appointment, and he seemed rather surprised that I was limited to only ice chips. James has already been instructed that if any nurses deny me water or popsicles, he is to speak up.
- Let James leave the room once in awhile. While James was not necessarily confined to our room throughout my hospital stay, he was (unofficially - by me) confined to the hospital. At one point, his mom suggested that he go home for the night "so he could rest." My eyes practically bugged out of my head (was he the one that really needed the rest??), but then I remembered that this whole husband-in-the-hospital-room thing is still somewhat of a new phenomenon. But now that we have Sammy, I may ease up a bit and let him actually take a night off from new baby duty. (Especially if it means that he'll bring me decent non-hospital food when he comes back.) We'll see though. This one will be dependent on how things with Baby Sister go, and how Sammy is handling being away from us.
Things I'll try and not do differently this time around:
- Not draft a birth plan. I'm sure I'll offend others with this one, but I just don't believe in birth plans. While this post might contradict that statement a bit, please note that I have labeled these categories as "Things I'll try to do differently," and "Things I'll try and not do differently." Labor, as with most medical procedures, is something that we have very little control over. And I feel like birth plans set women up for disappointment. If one thing doesn't go as planned, then women are left feeling like they failed, or the pregnancy was a disappointment. And who wants to feel like that after everything one goes through to birth a healthy child? Also, it's really not about the women - it's about making sure the best thing is done for the baby. I also kind of feel like, who are we to tell doctors / nurses how to handle our labors? They have much more experience and education in this arena. Again, I know many will disagree with me over this, and that's fine.
- Get an epidural. With that said, I always joke to James that my "birth plan" is comprised of one word - drugs. I received an epidural almost right away when I arrived at the hospital to give birth to Sammy, and I pray I can get one as expeditiously this time around. I'm not good with pain, nor do I feel like I need to prove anything to anyone else nor myself by dealing with agony for hours on end. Most importantly, Sammy came out perfectly healthy and unscathed, even after I was medicated for quite awhile.
- Bring my own gown / change of clothes to the hospital, nice soap, a blow dryer, etc. And on to a less controversial item, let's discuss the first post-birth shower. Or, perhaps we don't, as it was something I often tell my friends can only liken to a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But once it was over, and I had some fresh clothes on, my hair was blow-dried, and I at least attempted to cover up the black circles under my eyes, I felt like a new woman. I ended up purchasing one of these gowns from Amazon prior to giving birth to Sammy, and though it was one pattern short of a muu muu, it still made me feel better. I'm packing it again, as well as a few new pairs of pajamas, and I've also splurged on some of my favorite shower products to take with me this time. After everything we go through, it's the least I can do for myself!
I should restate that this list is incredibly personal and specific to me, and only me. I had a good conversation with another pregnant friend a few months ago about how when in medical situations, some people require doctors, starkness and white walls, while that sort of thing terrifies others. And in this day and age of going as natural as possible, questioning vaccines, and nursing until a kid starts kindergarten (and even my own hospital seems to pride itself on encouraging mothers to "room in" with their newborns - oy), clearly I am not in the majority with many of my preferences. But, like parenthood itself, I go by the mantra, do what works for you and your family, and use common sense. To each her own!