Friday, July 30, 2010

Births in Retrospect

Just for fun - some thoughts in retrospect!


My FIRST birth (2006)

I am glad that I...

- Decided on a homebirth - I started looking into it because we had no insurance, but it is truly my niche. For so many reasons (emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.) - love it!

- Decided on a midwife - I love midwives and the midwifery model of care!!

- Decided on our particular midwife - This was another God-thing. We picked her because she lived close to us and we liked her on a personal level, but she is also a perfect fit for me in terms of birth philosophy.

- Had a doula - I adore doulas and wouldn't birth without one. They are indispensable for so many reasons.

- Labored in water. For those of you who have natural births on land, I take my hat off to you - I really don't know how you do it! Water is wonderful - showers, baths, tubs.

I wish that I would have....

- Done more doula shopping. I loved our doula, but I don't think she was the perfect fit for us (though at the time, I wouldn't have known what to look for).

- Checked that our video camera was working more than 20 minutes before the birth. (Apparently video cameras don't like not being used for 10 years straight.)

- Done placenta medicine. I could have saved myself six weeks of really wicked afterpains.

- Saved my placenta, either for placenta medicine or for burying (or both).

- Taken a more serious childbirth class (Bradley or independent) rather than Hypnobirthing. Hypnobirthing simply did not work for me, and a 4-week class was too short.

- Taken our childbirth class later in pregnancy. We started our 4-week class when I was at 19 weeks, so by the time 40 weeks hit I had forgotten a lot and my DH had forgotten everything. I was a bit overeager, to say the least!

- Started co-sleeping right away. Trying to get up to nurse for an hour at a time, 3-4 times per night was a nightmare.

- Been able to enjoy my first postpartum period instead of spending it stressing about housework and trying to keep up to my pre-baby standards. If I could give one bit of advice to first-time mamas, it would be that. Why? Because you only get to nap when baby naps for the first baby! When #2 arrives, there is always #1 needing care even when baby sleeps. I wish I had realized that! (But being an uptight, scheduling type, I have found that telling myself "Relax! Relax! Relax!" is only marginally effective - it takes time. I'm still working on it.)

- For pregnancy: Done pregnancy photography. I will never have that body again - I wish I had pictures of it at least, LOL!!


My SECOND birth

I am glad that I....

- See all reasons under birth #1

- For pregnancy: Had pregnancy photography done (thank you, dear friend!). A lovely memory.

- Practiced placenta medicine. I felt SO much better! My afterpains were once again atrocious, and (suppress gag reflexes, please!) a placenta smoothie made me start feeling better within 30 minutes as opposed to 6 weeks. The encapsulated placenta pills also really helped with emotional stability and mood control during an extremely difficult and emotional postpartum period. I will never again birth without making immediate use of placenta medicine.

- Kept our placenta. I still have the cord and membranes frozen, and we're going to bury them whenever we buy our first tree. It makes me feel a special connection - i.e. this tree will be baby's tree, and a special memory for all of us. I can't wait till my mom says "Where's the rest of the placenta?" Tee hee hee. :)

- Hired really experienced doulas. I don't do so well during labor with using coping techniques - I really need the serious help of a highly trained doula. Student doulas do a great job, but for someone like me, a highly professional doula team made a huge difference.

- Made sure my birth team took a ton of photos and video footage. I didn't want to make that mistake again.

- Had a bead ceremony. That was really sweet and meaningful to me.

I wish that I would have...

- Gosh, I can't think of anything! Guess we did a pretty good job of planning this birth! :)


If we ever birth again, I will...

- Make sure we once again have really good doulas.

- Buy a bikini top that actually looks good on me, rather than the first thing I find at Goodwill that fits (hey, I was in a hurry). But birth pics last forever, and I'll have to remember how bad that thing looked for the rest of my life!

- Try to get in another waterbirth. Loved it.

- Not bother trying to learn hypnosis methods for birth. I've tried it twice, and while I know that it is SUPER-helpful for a LOT of mothers (don't let my negativity keep you from trying it), it didn't work for me - but it did take 30 minutes out of my day every day practicing with the tapes. Next time I'll just work my way through it and go with that (what I did anyway).

- Use placenta medicine pronto, like about 30 seconds post-third-stage. This time we waited an hour or so, by which time I was in massive amounts of pain from afterpains (mine have hit like a truck both times, and both times have prevented immediate bonding and breastfeeding because I was in so much pain). This time I had written it into my birth plan that I wanted to take ibuprofen as soon as the birth was over, which we did (while I was still in the birth tub), and it didn't make a bit of difference (that I could notice). Placenta medicine, on the other hand, made an immediate difference.

- For the pregnancy: Try not to gain quite so much pregnancy weight, because I have a really hard time losing it! At 9 mos. postpartum, I still have 20 pounds to lose.

- For the pregnancy: Not have an ultrasound. For some reason I felt that we should have one last time, so we did, but I did not like it and would not do it again.


And there you have it! What about your birth(s) are you glad for or wish you'd done differently?

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