When you go on a big trip, what do you do to prepare? Buy a road map, google everything about where you are going, pack, unpack and repack a bunch, talk to friends and family, ask advice, go through lots of conflicting emotions, and spend money. :)
When you are having a baby, should it be any different? Make a road map, a birth plan, an idea map of what you want your labor and birth to look like, hire a Doula, research, take childbirth perperation classes. read books (see my resources page for lots of good ones!), create a registry, learn heavy on your partner, friends, family, and allow yourself to go through all the different emotions.
What is a Birth Map? It is like a birth plan, an idea of the direction you want your labor and birth to go. Sure, you want a "healthy baby, healthy mama" in the end, but the way you get there matters too. Do you want an epidural? Do you want to have an un-medicated birth? Do you want a Birth Photographer (resources page!), a Doula (yes, you do! :), your Mom, friends, etc? Do you want to encapsulate your placenta? Do you want music? Delayed cord clamping? Do you want to avoid a c-section? Are you afraid of tearing, pooping or losing control? What if you choose to/need to have a c-section? Do you know about gentle c-sections? There are a mulitiude of items to think about, talk about and read about to prepare for your labor and birth journey. We all know birth is unpredictable! :) Having a plan that is flexible will be the most helpful.
Need Help writing a birth map? "Birth Map Package" 2 hours of time spent talking, discovering and planning - in the end you will have your own Birth Map based on your choices, preferences, experiences and expecations. Only $125 I travel to you! (Travel time not included in 2 hours. Travel within 20 miles of Raleigh Hills, OR)
Here is an example of a Birth Map, shared with permission:
General Guidelines for Writing a Birth Map:
Keep it short! 1 page, no more.
Use "friendly" language. For example " would would like to avoid unnecessary interventions" instead of "no unnecessary interventions" This helps the medical staff feel included (instead of yelled at) and it helps them percieve you as someone who is flexible.
Use pictures for an easy and quick way of communicating
Have different paths (ie: "In case of emergency c-section," "intervention-free preferences," "if I have to go on Pitocin..." etc).
Include who you would like in the room with you (Partner, Doula, Birth Photographer, Mom, etc) and if there is anyone who you Do Not want in the room.
Include preferences for post-delivery care/baby care (delayed cord clamping, no bath, no Hep B shot, etc)
If using words instead of just pictures, use headers (Labor, Delivery, Baby Care, If a C-section Should Become Necessary, etc)
Make sure you take it you your OB/GYN or Midwife - you want everyone on the same page. They can also provide feedback.
Make sure everyone who you want to participate in your labor/birth get a copy. Sit down with them and go over everything, and answer questions. You will probably feel better knowing everyone is on the same page as you are, even when your path changes.