This April I will be giving birth to our fourth child. I’ve learned a lot from my last 3 births, which I never prepared for much beyond the hospital tour and (for my first child) the birth and baby care class. Here’s how I am preparing for L&D this time around:
- Set up childcare. If you have any older children, plan ahead so you know who will be caring for them while you’re in the hospital. We have always had to be induced (thanks to high risk pregnancies) which has actually been super helpful in this regard! This time around my mom is taking off work to stay with my older kids, and I’m also going to set up a babysitter to help her for part of the day.
- Set up your support system. This time around my husband will have to work while I am in labor (though he will be there in time for the birth). Thankfully, a dear friend of mine will keep me company until he gets there. I know from experience that the L&D nurses at our hospital are also amazing–L&D nurses are some of the best nurses out there at any hospital, IMO–so while I’m disappointed my husband can’t be there the whole time, I know I’ll have lots of ladies around to offer support!
- Figure out your “birth plan”. I’ve never really had a birth plan before, beyond going in with the idea that I’d hold off on the epidural for as long as possible (I’ve ended up getting an epidural the past 3 times). But this time around, I am going to try to avoid the epidural for 2 reasons:
- First, each time I’ve gotten one it’s been less and less effective. Last time around, it didn’t work AT ALL on one side (the same side that is always a problem…we think I have weird physical abnormality that prevents the pain medication from reaching that side).
- Second, I HATE epidurals with a passion…truly, my only phobia in life is of epidurals. I’m planning to read Mary Haseltine’s Made for This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth in order to not only physically and mentally prepare, but most importantly to SPIRITUALLY prepare (something I’ve never really done before). If Haseltine’s book doesn’t go into the topic of delivering without pain medicine/epidurals, I may also look for some books with practical tips for managing pain.
- Pack your hospital bag. Here’s an extensive list of essentials if you’ve never gone through this before. My list below are the things that make me feel comfortable and (somewhat) put together in the hospital:
- A GIANT water bottle with a straw (like this one). HomeGoods will also often have nice large water bottles for sale.
- A cute bathrobe. This is what I live in (with a nursing tank and yoga pants underneath) during my hospital stay. PinkBlush has some cute robes, and this time around I was gifted a robe from MilkMaid Goods, which I like a bit better because it’s longer.
- A L&D gown. I’ve never purchased one of these before, but this time I’m planning on it because my husband won’t be there and so I sense that I’ll want to feel a bit more put together (basically, I don’t want my butt crack hanging out when I walk to the bathroom while my friend is sitting in the room behind me 😂). I’m planning to buy one of these L&D gowns from Kindred Bravely.
- Slippers with good traction/rubber soles. That you can also throw away when you leave the hospital (ain’t nobody wanna bring the MRSA bacteria home with them). They give you socks with traction, which are fine and cozy until you step in something wet (usually an unknown substance). Check out Target’s dollar section (they usually have slippers there in the winter season) or their website for slipper sales. I also saw some slippers on discount at my local grocery store the other day.
- My iPad & phone (don’t forget your chargers!). Because I’m always induced, I usually have tons of time in the lead up to birth to sit and binge watch a show. My phone is essential to check in with my big kids and text with friends—it’s nice to have a support system outside the hospital too!
- A good book. Another way to spend time, if you’re not in the mood to watch TV.
- A thick, soft, cozy blanket. This has always been SO nice to have upon arrive in the mother-baby ward post-delivery.
So there you have it! My game plan this time around. What are you doing to prepare for L&D? Have you read any good books that have helped you with your preparation?
Peace be with you!