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I actually think it might even be better that you don't have time to think about it -- completely unprofessional, childless opinion here. But if you had all that time to think about it, you'd have time to worry and think what-if and stress yourself out. This way -- you just can't.

As long as you're being safe, which it sounds like you are ...

I am so excited for you Sarah. Having watched you go through this entire experience is just mind-blowing.

First and foremost I can remember feeling the same way. This might sound pathetic but try not to stress out over how ready you are mentally or physically. I recall saying to myself "If the pregnant teens can do this, surely I can do this too". It's true that your body will take over and know what to do and your "support" people who are with you during labor and delivery will help keep you focussed. The best thing you can do is REST so when the times comes, you will have the energy to let nature take the course to bring your little one into this world.*hugs* and I'm wishing you and your baby all the best!

I didn't do much to prepare for labor, and the small amount that I did counted for nothing once I was there. I think you don't really know how you're going to cope with labor to you're actually there. Case in point - I practiced all sorts of massaging techniques and once I was in labor I didn't want anyone to touch me at all. It broke my concentration. I labored to 6cm without an epidural (so natural labor for all but 5 hours of my 16 hours of active labor, 32 hours of total labor), and I found that just knowing how to breath through the contractions was all I really needed. I only got an epidural because I was beyond exhausted (no sleep for about 48 hours), but I think I could have gone all the way if I had had to with my very minimal preparation. My mother had 7 kids with no epidural and she too just used breathing techniques. In summary, it sounds like you'll be fine :)

I don't think there's anything that really TRULY can prep us -- just things that make us FEEL like we're ready. When it happens, our bodies take over and we go on whatever version of the ride we're given, and it's a miracle. Neither of my births happened the way I thought they would (one was so hard, one was absurdly easy), but each ended the same way: in the delivery of a new, perfect little being.

Looking forward to pictures of your little girl (you'll post at least a couple, right?).

LOL my poor misplaced mid-western girl. You've been in LA too long. Hypnobabies affirmations? an hour of meditation? Squats?

The only squats we do here in Kansas is when we squat in the field to give birth and then go back to planting. TOTALLY KIDDING.

Seriously though. You'll be fine. Your body knows what to do. You'll just need to breathe through it. Your midwife will help you a lot.
Something to remember. If during the course of labor you cannot do it without help(meds, epidural etc) NEVER think of that as failure. We all need help sometimes and there's nothing wrong at all with trying to make it less painful for you.

I'll be praying you and Little Girl have a wonderful birth experience.


Actually, your busy busy days are probably the best prep for labor - when you're tired and overwhelmed and you just push through to meet a deadline or get it done, you're doing exactly what you'll need to do in labor. For me, what helped the most was to not those ridiculous breathing exercises - if you've never regulated your breath for pain or exertion control before, why do you think it will help all of a sudden? - but to remember times when I'd pushed through: hard races, hiking and backpacking trips where I had to keep up with much more experienced hikers, and yes, overnight writing deadlines. Being able to remember those experiences with the tiny part of my brain not focused on the pain and effort helped me realize I'd live through it.

One quick note about planning for natural: the end goal here is a healthy mom and baby. I went three labors with no epidural - two were fine, third resulted in a kid with serious oxygen deprivation. He's fine, healthy and brilliant, but it was a hard, hard way for him to come into the world. (He's the kid with whom I argue the most - I swear that birth experience just got us off on the wrong foot.) My doc before the 4th child said he couldn't imagine why anyone who needed an epidural wouldn't have one - in his many, many years of delivering babies it was second only to penicillin in terms of improving labor for moms and babies. The child he delivered came too fast for an epidural, but his words stayed with me during the long, horrible labor with my fifth (at age almost 40 - age makes a difference, as much as we'd like to pretend otherwise), and the epidural, which didn't kill the pain but at least took the edge off, made it so that I was alert enough to be able to make some tough decisions 12 hours in. That child is no less born than the others were, and had I been too focused on the discomfort to participate in the decision making, I think I would have been extremely unhappy with what the attending docs wanted to do.

Sorry to de-lurk with such a mouthful of advice - but I just wanted to say yes, labor and delivery are worth thinking about, but they're not actually the point. However it works out, you'll do great :)

I have to say that I've been feeling the same way. My baby is due in July and before then I have to sell my house and move and finish remodeling another house. When am I going to prepare for labor? BUT....both you and I have hired doulas and that, I think, will make all the difference. I think it'll be fine if we both trust our bodies....and trust our doulas! Really.

You already sound more prepared than I was! All you need in my opinion, is an idea of the sort of birth you want and a mind open enough to know that you may or may not get this ideal and a willingness to listen to what your midwife/doula/doctor suggests.

All of the above!!

Listen to your body - it is prepping you in ways that Hypnobabies will never be able to!! When you're tired, rest. When you're hungry, eat. When you have the insane urge to clean your kitchen to the point where everything shines like a Tiffany diamond, do it. OK, maybe that last one was just me during my wackadoo nesting period a couple weeks before I had the baby...

I think the best preparation is to have your bag ready to go, and until then, finish getting ready for Little Girl's arrival home, and your new life together. I think if you spend too much time emphasizing on "doing all the right things" to prepare for the birth, then, when things don't go according to plan, you can set yourself up for some disappointment. Just know that once it's "GO TIME," that you'll be in the qualified hands of your doula/midwife/doctor/nursing staff; they will get you where you need to be.

What's helped me tremendously through the first two years of Charlotte's life, including labor/delivery/breastfeeding/introducing solids/potty training/sleeping through the night/etc. is thinking to myself, "How did women do this 100 years ago when didn't exist?" It's been beneficial to go back to basics with child rearing, and although it may be a little harder, the benefits have outweighed the convenience a hundredfold.

Do what feels right for you, and you'll do great!!

Dumb HTML... I meant to say, ""How did women do this 100 years ago when (fill in the modern convenience) didn't exist?"

I don't think anyone's "prepared." What happens, happens. You're on the ride and you have to go where it takes you. You can't control the ride. YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE RIDE. Even if you walk into it feeling ready, you're going to realize you're not ready. You will give birth anyway. :)

well, i caught this late and from where i sit..the last thing you need is more advice...from the looks above you're pretty well covered.

several posts ago i did send along a 'before you go to the hospital' list...i'll stick w/that. i had a c-section so the epidural issue was off the table for me although after being with my sister delivering her last son without an epidural...i was channeling shirley macclaine in 'terms of endearment'...you know the scene...but that's just me. and i'm old.
you'll do great, before & after

I must admit I just went with the flow with my first one. I have just found out my 5th is due! We wanted a big family!

As a long-time lurker on your blog I'm thrilled you're preparing to welcome Champ into the world! I wanted to echo what others' have posted (nothing can really prepare you -- everything I did to prepare went out the window as I tuned into what my body needed as labor pregressed). Two things that really helped me during labor were 1. Trying to stay calm ( telling myself the pain is natural. Each contraction is one step closer to baby) 2. Staying really loose and not clamping up my body during a contraction -- long low moans helped a lot!). You can do it!! All the best to you and your little one.

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