A Moms on Call Baby: Four Things You Need to Know About Labor & Delivery

Labor and delivery stories are like snowflakes, with no two being the same! While you can’t predict exactly how things will go, there are four specific things that you can count on.

I’ve mentioned before that labor and delivery stories are like snowflakes, no two are exactly the same.  

We have nine long months to think about this baby coming into the world — Where will I be when my baby decides that they’re ready?  Will my water break in the produce section at the grocery store?  Will they come two weeks early?  How long will I be in labor? — And we do our best to prepare.  

We read the entire internet, take birthing classes and commit all of our friends’ and family’s stories to memory.  We use all of this information to understand our options and come up with a plan that makes us feel prepared and gives us some level of comfort amidst the uncertainty.  

And sometimes things will go exactly according to that plan, and sometimes they won’t.

I know what you’re thinking.  Super helpful, right?!  You’re getting ready to bring another human into this world and your carefully considered plan may be null.  Even for the most laid back of us, this uncertainty is unnerving and can create a lot of anxiety!

While we can’t predict all of the details, there are some commonalities that all labor and delivery stories share. It is my hope that these four universal truths will provide you with a sense of confidence and peace that helps to make the days leading up to finally meeting your little one more enjoyable!

This is the fourth blog post in the A Moms on Call Baby series. Visit the links below for the first three.  And for those interested, my 30 week pregnancy update is at the end!

What I Wish I Knew During My First Pregnancy

My Must Have Products for Baby #3

A Friends and Family Guide to Helping with a New Baby

Four Things You Need to Know About Labor & Delivery

1) Trophies are not awarded for how you birth your baby.

The moms I know have done it all — hospital births, home births, epidurals, unmedicated births, vaginal births, C-sections, hours of pushing, two quick pushes, twins, singletons, 2.5lb babies, 10lb babies, doctor assisted, midwife assisted, doula assisted…you get the picture.  And guess what?  Not a single one of us got a trophy at the end of it! But we did get a precious baby(ies) to bring home!

So, if your plans go astray and your unmedicated vaginal birth turns into a C-section, or you don’t make it to the hospital in time for the epidural you were planning on, you have not lost a competition and are not being judged.  The most important thing is that you and that baby are safe.  Have trust in your medical team to help you figure out the best way to make that happen.

After an uncomplicated vaginal delivery with my first son, I was very optimistic about an easy breezy second delivery.  When I found myself unexpectedly going in for a C-section, I was so disappointed and felt like a failure.  But you know what? It was the absolute best thing that could have happened for both me and my baby.  And at the end of the day, the result was the same.  Our amazing son was here and he was healthy.

2) Someone else’s labor and delivery story has absolutely no bearing on yours.  You will have an incredible story to tell that is authentically yours.

That’s right, your sister’s, friend’s and lady behind you in the grocery checkout line’s experiences will in no way predict yours!  Even your own previous labor and delivery stories may not indicate how this one will go!   

That said, try not to get too caught up in other people’s stories and unsolicited advice.  Trying to conjure up every possible scenario or thing that could go wrong will steal the joy of this season! You are going to create your very own story that is beautifully and authentically yours.

3) Leave your inhibitions at the door.

There is nothing that your medical team has not seen before.  You should also go ahead and let your partner know that there is no such thing as “staying up top”.  Tell them to be ready to grab a leg, provide a steady supply of ice chips and hold back your hair.  It’s all hands (and eyes) on deck! 

4) You are stronger than you know.

You were made to do this and your body knows what to do. Your strength knows no bounds.  Seriously, prepare to be amazed with yourself! (There’s a reason men can’t have babies after all…just sayin’!) 

And remember, women choose to continue having babies, even after the toughest deliveries!

So, there you have it! The four things we know for certain about your upcoming labor and delivery. My hope that these help to bring a little more joy and a little less anxiety to the remainder of your pregnancy.  It will be time to meet your little one(s) before you know it!

Still with me? Read on for a pregnancy update!

30 Week Pregnancy Update

With just 9 weeks to go, my nesting instincts are kicking in.   We moved our two boys (4.5 and 2.5) into a room together and I’ve been loving updating the nursery with all things girl.  

The boys get a solid B in the roommate department, with all of us down a few hours of sleep.  Our 4.5 year old LOVES his sleep but his little brother doesn’t quite understand that yet and thinks that if one of them is awake, they should both be awake.  A wake-up clock and sticker rewards have been helpful for keeping them in bed until 7am. Napping has definitely been the biggest challenge, as our 4.5 year old (thankfully) still naps but if we put them down at the same time, the talking/playing/fighting doesn’t stop long enough for them to fall asleep.  

We have tried two different things during nap time.  1) Putting the youngest down first so that he’s asleep before our oldest goes in to lay down.  And 2) putting our youngest back in the crib for naps.  That worked for a day until he realized he could climb out of the crib, so we’ll be sticking with option 1 from now on!

From a pregnancy health perspective, I have struggled with how much to share as part of this blog series. Not out of a desire for privacy, but because my goal with these posts is to be helpful and I’m not sure how helpful my experiences are as, to the point of this post, they have no bearing on how your experience will play out!  Plus, I only have so long to hold your attention!

On the other hand, it’s all a part of pregnancy and I do want to be transparent.  So, I’ll attempt to compromise and keep things brief!  

Since my last post, I did my glucose test and everything came back normal.  I also went for an ultrasound with my high-risk doctor. 

As background, I am considered high-risk primarily because of Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) in my second pregnancy. Having used IVF slightly elevates my risk level as well.  IUGR means that my placenta was not passing nutrients to the baby as it should have been and he stopped growing.  We knew I was at an increased risk for this because of low PAAP-A levels that were found via bloodwork early in my pregnancy. This also led to blood-sparing, which means that his body compensated for the nutrient deprivation by sending increased blood flow to his brain to protect it. 

My doctor detected the blood-sparing at 39 weeks and sent me to the hospital, where we also realized the umbilical cord was around his neck twice.  His little body wasn’t able to handle contractions, so they went in through the sunroof and got him out via C-section.  He ended up being perfectly fine and so was I!

Therefore, with this baby, they’re paying very close attention to her growth to make sure my placenta is getting her the nutrients she needs to grow.  All of her measurements are on track, except for her abdomen, which fell pretty significantly in percentiles this visit.  However, it’s very common for measurements to be off due to the baby’s positioning, so the doctor is not too concerned at this point because everything else looks great.  I spent so much time stressing about measurements in my last two pregnancies and everything turned out just fine, so I just keep reminding myself of that and am staying away from Dr. Google!

After discussing the pros and cons with my doctor, we’ll plan to deliver this little lady via a scheduled C-section one week before my due date at 39 weeks. 

But, by now, we all know that things rarely go as planned, so I’ll hold this plan loosely and focus on enjoying our remaining time as a family of 4!

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Jennifer and Laura

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