5 Steps for a Happier Delivery
“I don’t want what we had before,” Anna said to her husband as they began to fill in their birthing plan for their upcoming baby’s delivery. “Everything was so confused and chaotic when we had the twins. I want this experience to be different. That’s why we need this plan.”
Many women don’t associate the words ‘delivery’ and ‘happy’ together. Why is that? Is it the fears many women hold about this until-you-go-through-it-you-have-no-idea-what-will-happen experience? Or is it because something unexpected happened? Or maybe they simply aren’t aware of the many birthing methods and choices available to them.
Whatever the reason, there are ways to make your childbirth and delivery experience a more happy and positive time for you and for your baby. With a few simple strategies, you can plan and hopefully have what you want your labor and delivery to be. Below are five ways to plan for the happiest delivery you can have.
1. Have a Birthing Plan: As Anna stated, she didn’t want the same experience she had before when she gave birth. She wanted something completely different. Composing a birthing plan is critical to having the birthing experience you want when possible.
A Birth Plan is just what it sounds like. It’s a written plan for how you wish to give birth. It details in clear language your ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ so your wishes are best known to your birthing partner, doctor and medical labor and delivery team.
In your Birth Plan, you spell out the type of birth you want. Research all you can about the birthing method and type of childbirth you want. Discuss things with your birthing partner and doctor. Do you want an all natural childbirth? Exactly what does that mean to you? Does this mean absolutely no medical intervention unless medically necessary to help you or your baby have a safe delivery? Or do you want to have a mix of natural and medical intervention? Perhaps you don’t want to have any medications and prefer to use self hypnosis, yet you don’t mind if the doctor needs to perform an episiotomy to keep you from tearing or to assist your baby in being delivered.
Make your choices well known in your written plan by being as plain, concise, and clear as you can. Instead of writing, “I want people in the room with me”, write exactly who you want in your room. You might not mind your best friend, but you may not want her boyfriend in there with you. You may want your sister but not your eight year old niece. State exactly who is welcome and who is not.
2. Tailor Your Birth Experience to You: Forget what books, magazines, online articles, television shows, your mom, your aunt, your sister, your coworkers, and or your best friend says about the way you should give birth. While they mean well, they are not you. Your birthing plan and experience should be what you want, not what others say or think is ‘best’.
If you planned your wedding or anytime you planned a party, you already know lots of people are more than ready to give you dozens of suggestions. Yet their ideas may not mesh with what you see or want so you end up with something that makes them happy but doesn’t make you happy. There’s nothing wrong with giving a polite smile and “thank you” to those who give you suggestions for how to give birth.
But ultimately, this is your choice for what’s best for you and your baby. Unless there is a medical reason or it is against the hospital or clinic rules where you give birth, there’s no reason you can’t have the method and style you want. Research ahead of time what the hospital or clinic regulations are. This can take away much of your stress and disappointment.
Then go for what you want. Empower yourself to stand up for you, your body, your needs, your wishes, and most of all your baby. Those who love you will understand if you don’t want the whole family in the birthing room. Your birthing partner will understand if you don’t want football blasting in the background as you are trying to perform self hypnosis to manage your pain. You are the one having the baby so you get the most say.
3. Plan for the Best, but Also the Worst: While no expectant mother wants to think about the worst things, it’s best to have a plan in place in case something unexpected happens. This is to protect and also to help you and your baby come through the labor and delivery process in the best way and health possible. It’s not ‘bad luck’ to plan for an emergency. It’s simple common sense.
You might plan a vaginal birth yet need an emergency C section at the last minute. Plan for who will care for your other children if you must stay in the hospital a few extra days. Also consider asking someone to come and help out for a few days after you give birth. It’s not ‘weak’; it’s to aid you in healing so you can be the best mom you can be for your baby.
Planning is the best way to help deal with emergencies as well. In the stress and chaos of an emergency, sometimes you can feel helpless and lost. While nothing may alleviate all your hurt and confusion, being prepared can help you more effectively deal with situations as they arise.
In addition to planning, know that you did the best you could. It’s not a ‘failure’ to have a C section if you need one. It’s not ‘wrong’ to have some pain medication while you meditate. There is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way to give birth. There’s only your way, whatever and however that is.
4. Laugh When You Can: There’s a reason laughter is called the best medicine. It makes you feel better. A line from a movie states, “Smile, it increases your face value” and this is true. Have you ever noticed even at the worst times in your life if you smile or hear a laugh it often makes you feel better?
Things will go wrong. Maybe your birthing partner stumbles and spills ice cold water all over you. After the initial scream and shock of cold water flooding you, try to laugh it off. The nurse will bring you clean bedding and warm towels. It’s not the end of the world. Laugh and let your birthing partner know you aren’t going to wring his neck for the simple accident. You can even laugh about together weeks, months, and even years later.
Being in a positive mood goes a long way toward making you have a happy delivery. Yes, childbirth is messy and may not seem like anything to smile or laugh about. Yet you have a beautiful baby at the end. That’s worth being positive, isn’t it?
5. Go with the Flow: Even the best laid plans can suddenly shift to something entirely different. Plans are just that: plans. They aren’t, shouldn’t, and can’t be set in stone. You need to be flexible and expect change to happen at any time. After all, isn’t that how life is anyway? It changes when we least expect.
Also be gentle with and on yourself. If everything does go exactly to your plan, it’s okay. You didn’t ‘fail’. You simply adjusted. You did the absolute best you could do. That’s all anyone can ask of herself.
You will have a much happier delivery if you roll with it, baby, as the famous song says. Be aware there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to have a baby. Whatever you need to do to best bring your child in the world IS the ‘right’ way.
Hopefully, these tips and suggestions can led you to have a much happier labor and delivery. However you give birth, best wishes to you and your beautiful new baby. You did it!