This post is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Medical City Healthcare Women's Services and We Deliver Dreams. All opinions are my own.
Let's get real here for a minute.
My youngest daughter's birthday was recently and, frankly, I've been missing that whole baby thing something awful.
But you know what I don't miss? The stress and build-up to that day when you meet your baby for the first time.
I have a secret, though.
After doing it twice now, I have a pretty good handle on 10 ways to destress your birthing day that you HAVE to know.
See, I had my baby at Medical City, where they cared for me like family, helping me to personalize my birthing experience, putting me in control.
10 Ways to Destress Your Birthing Day
- Talk to your doctor about your birth plan beforehand. This is probably something you expect your doctor to ask you about — but he's not necessarily gonna. Nope. You need to say "ok, so I wanted to talk to you about my birth plan." And if he (or she) is not receptive, it's ok to switch doctors to one who will help you design a child birthing experience that's just right for you and your baby. Need a new OBGYN? You can find an OBGYN here. My doctor didn't ask me. But when I did bring it up, he was on-board with everything and was even able to help me fillin some things I'd forgotten. Remember: your OBGYN is on YOUR team to help you get YOUR baby home safely.
- Keep your birth plan simple and do everything you can beforehand. Don't try to cram everything you've ever thought of in your birth plan. Want a water birth? Great. But maybe don't plan on doing dance moves, water birth, walk the grocery store aisles and eat spicy food. Pick one or two things that are your focus, and if there's anything you can do BEFORE the big day, don't put it off. Schedule a tour of your hospital well before the big day, ask them about your ideal birth. And remember, there are hospitals, like Medical City, where you can have a unique experience and still have the specialized care you might need. Don't try to figure this out too late. Just don't. Get all the t's crossed and i's dotted beforehand.
- Do what makes you more comfortable. You are not superwoman. Nor do you need to do your makeup before baby comes. HOWEVER, if you feel better having makeup on and it's going to make you feel more in control and less stressed, put it on your plan. For me, during my first birth, I felt most comfortable with one particular nurse, so I asked her if she could just be assigned to my room — not that there was anything wrong with the other nurses, I just really got along well with this one fabulous lady. Not only was the Medical City staff more than happy to assign her to me, she was tickled pink and it tightened our little bond.
- Your nurse is now your best friend. Speaking of how awesome my nurse was during my first kiddo's birth day, let's just toot the horn of those nurses. They do this every day and they are passionate about making mom comfortable and taking the stress out of having a baby — well, as much as humanly possible. Talk to the nurses when you get to the hospital and tell them what you need. They are your anchor and will be with you even when your spouse passes out (yes, that actually happened to me) and when everyone else rushes to the nursery to see the new baby (yes, that happened to me). Your nurse is your best friend. No jokes.
- Appoint a person to "be in charge." So, as fabulous as nurses are and as cool as your hubby is, nurses go off-shift and hubbys get distracted calling mom. If at all possible, put your mom, your best friend, or your oldest kiddo in charge of your needs that are totally unrelated to the baby. It's just smart to have a "champion" that's not your spouse because he's too busy worrying to really be in charge of your ice chips. Or, in my case, someone to run to the store to get a contact case. Seriously, you need someone to run errands.
- Have a "focus." This is something that I've used for years when I'm having a stressful moment ... I just pick something to focus all my brain on. If it's a podcast, a TV show, whatever. In the case of my first birthing day, it was the clock. In my second, a C-section where I couldn't see anything but the ceiling, my focus was the music. Pick something to focus on — and let your body do the work, not your mind.
- Speak up. Do not be afraid to say something if you need anything. It doesn't matter what it is, say it. Remember when I told you about my nurse at Medical City that stayed with me? Wanna know why she stayed with me? Because I was scared. My baby was being rushed to the NICU (one of the many awesome amenities of giving birth at Medical City is that NICU being right there, which is why we chose Medical City) so I was afraid. Nothing was wrong, but I was scared. My nurse promised to stay with me — not because she was busy cleaning me up or because it was her job. Because, like all the staff at Medical City, she cared and wanted me to be comfortable. Which was a major stress-relief all in itself, because I was afraid to be alone.
- Keep laughing. Despite being scared witless (you're a new mom — and we're all scared witless that first bit), you just have to keep laughing. A smile does amazing things in your body, chemically and emotionally. Plus, this is a happy, happy day. Laughter is part of it. And you can absolutely have fun, squashing all the stress possible, while having a baby — it's totally ok.
- Ask ALL the questions. If you're a curious person, like me, you get a pass on your birthing day to ask any question ever. Wonder what that medication is? Ask. Wish you could have a cheeseburger? Ask. Want to know if you're dilated more? Ask. Want an epidural? Oh, ask for that. You are in charge of your experience — and if knowing the answer to a question in your head is going to help you relax even just a little, ask it.
- Remember: You can change your plan on the fly. Look, not everything is going to go as planned. Baby didn't get a copy of your birth plan and, even if they did, they're babies, and they can't read yet. So, be flexible on yourself and don't let the stress eat you up when the train goes off the rails. I mean, let's talk about my second baby's birth. Little Donut came into this world with an emergency C-section. This was absolutely not my plan. And the staff at Medical City literally held my hand, stepped over my husband as he laid passed-out on the floor of the operating room (yes, they laughed and stepped over him), and literally went out of their way to make me more comfortable. They helped me take what could have been the most stressful day of my life and turn it into a laughing, fun time where we sang 80s songs they had on the overhead speakers. For real, I just adjusted my plan to fit baby — and instead of watching the clock, I sang the songs.
If you're about to have a baby, congrats, and let's talk about the stress.
It's going to be there in the days leading up to your baby's birth and, surprisingly, even after they come home.
Babies are kind of terrifying and small — and make noises ... oh, and poop.
All you can do is have a great team to help you on your birthing day and afterward.
For me, Medical City really stepped up when I needed them on my birthing day — and the following days with lactation consulting and NICU and all that.
My kiddos each spent about 2 weeks in the NICU and I can't say enough how awesome it was that Medical City not only gave me this grand celebratory dinner after their births, but then let me stay in the private room and basically crash in their hospital as if it was a hotel until my baby was ready to come home.
Having that team really helped me level my stressors from a 10 to a 2 ... if that makes any sense.
And, I will tell you that these 10 Ways to Destress Your Birthing Day really helped me to have a super-stress-free birth both times, even though both births were very different.
So, no matter what you're planning or what actually happens, if you can keep these 10 things in mind, you're doing pretty good, friend. LOL!
Chantal Kirkland publishes the Nerdy Mamma blog. She's a mom on a mission of sharing the fun side of parenting with nerdy tendencies through crafts, kids' activities, good food and ridiculously silly jokes.