I've given birth three times now, and each time I've learned more about myself. There are also any things I've learned that I wish I'd known before giving birth the first time. Here's my list:
- you don't need to wait for permission to move about or do what comes naturally. I wasn't hooked up to IVs or monitors, so I could've labored standing in the shower like I wanted instead of waiting for someone to say it was ok (I certainly learned this lesson before the other two)
- You won't always get a break between contractions, despite what they tell you in antenatal classes
- you won't necessarily dilate a cm an hour, and that's ok. In fact, you might not dilate until transition, as I've learned is normal for me.
- You can indeed be in active labour without having a regular contraction pattern. This would be why I need to be convinced to phone the midwives, and then give birth shortly after seeing the midwife.
- internal checks are uncomfortable, unnecessary (at least in a normal labour), and disheartening. I was checked at the beginning of transition with Kieran and was dismayed when I was 3cm. Neither the midwife nor I thought I was in transition because of that, and both of us were surprised when my body started pushing an hour later.
- Hands and knees or kneeling are great positions for birth and minimize tearing.
- Birthing balls are wonderful during labour
- Coconut water might not taste great to me, but it's great for balancing electrolytes after birth.
- Pregnancy tea blend (nettle, alfalfa, red raspberry leaf, rose hip, lemongrass, spearmint) drunk during pregnancy and after birth really helps with blood loss, after pains, and milk production.
What would you add to this list?