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When I was pregnant with my first son, I knew nothing about labor. So, I did what many expectant parents do and read (or at least skimmed the important chapters) as many books on delivery and labor as I could. I took notes, highlighted important tips, and made a birth plan.
I made sure that it was neat and easy to read. I had three copies ready to take with me to the hospital. It was five pages!
As I look back now, I realized how that screamed “new parent,” as did the half a car-load of overnight and labor “necessities” that we brought with us to the hospital.
What the books did not tell me was that I was writing that birth plan strictly for myself. Preparing to have a traditional birth in a hospital, I had plenty of opportunity to discuss my preferences with my doctor before I even entered the hospital.
Plus, there was really no way that I was going to pull out my birth plan in the middle of labor if I needed to refresh my memory.
I think creating the birth plan is suggested to help the expectant mother feel prepared. But every birth can be different and things may not go according to plans.
I didn’t know that I might not have my own doctor delivering my baby. Apparently, it is quite common that you will not have the luck of going into labor when your doctor is scheduled to be at the hospital or on call.
I didn’t know that during my first pregnancy. Thankfully, I did have my own doctor deliver my first son because even with all the preparation, when the time came, I was pretty nervous.
The thing that was most helpful to me during labor was getting in the mindset of pushing. Once the nurses told me that they were paging the doctor and it would be time to push soon, I became very focused.
With every push, I envisioned my baby making his way to the light and out into the world. Much like how I was always told to picture my abnormal muscles contracting and moving with every crunch and every sit-up. With every push, I pictured my tiny baby moving down and out.
It worked for me. After only about 15 minutes of pushing, there he was, red-faced, crying and perfect. All 8 pounds, 14 ounces of him.