I started having contractions at home, 8 days before my due date. For part of the day I thought it was false labor as things were pretty irregular, but as the day went on things got more intense and consistent. Headed to the hospital based on the 5-1-1 rule!
The most challenging aspect was 2 things. During labor, trying to decide if and when to get the epidural. I was so tired by hour 24, and it allowed me to get some rest for pushing, although it did slow things down. The second was the hours/days after at the hospital – I had been so focused on preparing mentally for birth that I barely gave any thought to preparing mentally for what happens afterwards… pain, recovery, sleep deprivation, breastfeeding issues. I wouldn’t say I overcame it – just got through it!
The Push Lab helped me know what to expect and most importantly prepared me that things will likely not go to “plan” so to plan for that. I went to the hospital with an open mind and my husband and I made decisions together in step with our very kind nurses. I felt that my birth experience was overall very positive because I was able put my anxiety aside and just deal with things as they came. It was also so helpful to have my husband watch the partner tutorial – he knew what to do to help me through contractions (with breathing and counter pressure) and the nurses commented that they wished every guy was as involved and helpful as he was!
I was surprised at how kind and caring my nurses were, and how much they helped me understand things and make decisions. I was surprised at how much the epidural helped me relax and enjoy the process, as I wasn’t focused so much on the pain.
Amazing – words can’t do it justice. Full of happiness and relief. I was just so glad that she was healthy!
Take the PushLab to prepare yourself mentally! And make sure your partner does too – that support is invaluable. Also take time to prepare for what happens after birth is over. Those first few hours and days can blindside you. I do think that the PushLab (although I know it’s purpose it to prepare you for birth) could be improved by having some more information on what to expect afterwards in the early postpartum period, including breastfeeding and resources to help. Breastfeeding was probably the hardest thing for me, and I was not prepared for that.
Thank you, Betsy, for helping me feel confident in myself!