Since I just finished writing Dominic's birth story, which was so much fun (and very emotional), I have been reflecting a lot on the experience and things I would like to change or do the same next time.
Things That Worked Well:
Exercises! I did my kegels and squats regularly as preparation. Obviously there is no way to tell for sure if these things helps me in labor, but I really think that they did.
Reading and Research. I am so so grateful for all of the knowledge prep that Geoffrey and I did. We took natural childbirth classes and did lots of reading. Even though it can't prepare you for exactly what to expect, the information helped us make good choices before and during labor. I feel a lot of women just do what the doctor tells them simply because they don't know any different. Knowledge is power!
Doula. This wasn't someone that I thought I needed and wasn't going to have, but boy am I sure glad Alicia was with us! Even if you have a good midwife or doctor and a loving supportive husband like I did, one more advocate can make the difference. Her expertise was invaluable.
Walking. I spent a good part of the first two hours of my labor walking. I do really think it helped speed things along.
Water. I drank so much water during labor and it kept me energized and fresh. I do understand that my labor was pretty darn short and if it was longer I may have had to break into the honey sticks and such. :) I still can't believe that some hospitals won't let women in labor drink water! Seriously crazy.
Pain Managment. What I did worked perfectly for me. Go in my own little world, sit completely still, and don't move a muscle!! Ignore everyone and everything during a contraction; just focus on the pain and it isn't so bad.
Drug Free. I almost didn't even think about putting this because it is so obvious to me. Drugs were never something I've considered. Before or during it wasn't even an option and I think that is one of the best "decisions" I've ever made.
Prayer. I was so blessed to attend Mass almost every day while pregnant and did lots of praying/novenas/holy hours. I think this was probably the biggest component for my great birth experience so I hope next time I can do the same, or more!
Things to Change:
Hospital Birth. I am really hoping and praying to have a home birth next time. Even though I had more or less a good hospital experience there are some things to this day that I am not happy with. I think it would be so much more comfortable at home and even though the next time could be different, I had a great birth and at least now know how my body labors. The hospital is close enough for any emergency, which is a rarity, and I know in the hands of a good midwife and my husband I would be completely safe! Plus it would be cheaper!
Afterbirth. My plans were changed this time due to neccessity, but next time if everything goes smoothly I would love to follow my original birth plan. I hope to let the cord pulsate until done, or at least for a few minutes. Also immediate bonding and breastfeeding with baby.
Sleep. I would like to get more than a half hour of sleep before labor. Just saying. *grins*
As I said previously, I do understand that I was incredibly blessed to have such a good and quick birth with Dominic. God willing all future ones will be good too.