These tips are based on my own personal experience with having little Zeke Ryker Lewis! I honestly HATED the pregnancy. Yes, I loved bonding with my son and feeling him kick, but the actual pregnancy process was awful. Morning sickness overcame me 24/7 for the whole first trimester, pelvic and back pain in the end of the 2nd trimester caused me difficulty with my hobby of lifting weight, and my anxiety rose at random points throughout each day. The outcome, my son, was completely and utterly worth all my troubles.
Anyways, I started feeling contractions around 12am June 11th, 2016. Zeke was ready to come out 8:30pm June 11th, 2016. I pushed 4 times (a total of 15 minutes) and he was born! Here are my tips on having an easy vaginal labor!
1. Follow Your Instincts
When I started having close contractions (which to me felt like horrible, extra bad period cramps), I knew he had to be coming that day unless something was wrong. The night was long and I could not possibly sleep with all this pain. My mom took me to the hospital in the morning (Zeke’s daddy was busy that morning so he couldn’t take me, but he luckily made it to the hospital before Zeke was born!). The doctor told me I was only dilated 1 cm. and I wasn’t too close yet. She gave me a pain reliever injection and, after feeling a bit better, she said I could go home unless I wanted to stay. I went home, but I still felt it was time. The cramps came back harder than ever. I did all of the “contraction tips” that I had found on Pinterest, but nothing was working. Soon enough, I went back in and they said I was way closer so they kept me. So DON’T be afraid to go back to the hospital in the same day if you don’t feel any better, or if you feel worse.
2. Keeping in Touch with Your Designated Driver:
You will be in way too much pain to drive yourself and be safe. Some people don’t feel much pain at all. Hopefully that happens for you, but it is best to be prepared in case you experience some pain. Find a few people who you can put on an emergency list to call up for a ride when the time comes.
3. Don’t Let Yourself Starve:
I was in too much pain to think about food. Cramps started attacking me at 12am June 11th, 2016. Around 7:30am is when I went to the hospital the first time before being sent back home. I had half a bagel around 9am. Then my cramps worsened and I went back to the hospital at 1:30pm. Needless to say, I was starving, Zeke even seemed hungry when he was born (shortly after 8:30pm), and I didn’t get to eat until around 7am the next day. So EAT. Even if you don’t feel good enough to eat, find a way! I am telling you that you will regret it.
4. Drink Plenty of Water:
Again, I was too focused on the pain to think about water. So I forgot to drink much at all. When I was admitted, it took about 15-30 minutes and about 4-5 sticks in my arm before the doctor got the IV in. The doctor has to start the IV before you get the epidural (if you choose to get the epidural) so I was agitated, in pain, angry, and thirsty. After the IV was finally in and I had my medicine and some sprite, I was good to go! I don’t ever drink soda, but I felt bad and was thirsty and sprite helps with stomach aches and headaches so that’s why I chose that drink and a side of ice cubes.
5. Advanced Preparation
Zeke was born 9 days early. Now even if your baby is not premature, he/she can still decide to come a bit early. Be prepared for that.
- Organize a hospital bag for you, your baby, and your man if he plans to stay at the hospital with you. Make these bags at least a month in advance and keep them in an area where you can quickly grab them.
- Make Freezer meals so that you don’t have to worry about cooking meals when you come home and are recovering and focused on your new baby
- Decorate the baby Room
- Get all the necessities that you will need while you are still at the hospital: baby wipes, shampoo/lotion/towels/bath stuff, diapers, diaper cream, etc.
- Create Questions to ask the doctor. They should explain all you need to know, but make sure you have questions ready… how do I help my baby latch while breastfeeding? When can I be intimate again? How are some ways to deal with hormones? <-some examples. I’m just showing that there are no wrong questions. They want to help you be prepared so they are going to answer any questions you have.Put on some pretty nail polish and have someone give you a manicure/pedicure. For one, you won’t get to pamper yourself for a while after you have your baby. For two, you’ll have pretty nails for hospital pictures after your bundle of joy is born!
6. Bathing and Relaxing:
Though nothing was helping my cramps/contractions go away completely, a warm bath definitely calmed the pain. If you don’t think you are ready to go to the hospital quite yet, then take a warm bath and relax for a moment or two.
Some people decide before the labor pains that they are going to go through labor without an epidural. I honestly do not understand their reasoning. The epidural is safe and won’t harm the baby. There are cases in which epidural injections can go wrong. But if you trust your doctor than this is the best suggestion I can give. It hurts for a short moment but the medicine kicks in quick and then you don’t feel pain anymore. The cramps calm down and your lower body goes a bit numb (but it feels relaxing). They give you a button to press at the most every 20 minutes to release more medicine. Try to click it shortly before baby arrives so you will be numbed 🙂
Take deep breaths. This is for during contractions and during labor. To help with contractions, take deep breaths and focus on what the outcome of your pain is. You are about to be a mother!!! For labor, the doctors will tell you to take a deep breath and push while holding your breath for 10 seconds. You don’t have to go the full 10 seconds but it makes the labor faster if you can, so practice holding deep breaths if you have to before hand.
9. Once Baby is Ready:
This is where those kegel stretches and inner thigh workouts come into play. You are pushing a big baby through a small hole. Relax. Our bodies are meant to expand that way so it isn’t as bad as it sounds. This is one of the biggest tips I can give for labor. This is the part that could either take hours or go by quickly and painlessly.
- My boyfriend was there so I had the choice to hold his hand. I chose to hold onto my legs to spread them more. I held them apart the whole time which I believe helped the process.
- Ask for a mirror or video display of the process. This sounds weird. Watching yourself give birth. But it DEFINITELY helps. There is a difference between someone saying “PUSH! You’re almost there!” and being able to see how close you are. At my hospital, they had a TV and video camera so I could see everything. Mirrors make it a tad harder to see everything, but they are better than nothing. This gives you the motivation to push harder.
- Hold the baby in place with your inner muscles. This is how I had Zeke in 15 minutes. The doctor tells you to push, you push for 10 seconds, then they say relax. Well the problem is that most people relax everything causing the baby to go back inside. I, on the other had, worked on relaxing my upper body, but holding the baby where he was with the muscles in my vagina. (This is where those kegels play a role). So relax and breathe, but do not completely relax your lower region.
10. Get Sleep if possible:
I was up from about 8am June 10th until 12am June 12th. Since my contractions started around 12am June 11th, I never got sleep that night. And since Zeke was not born until 8:45pm June 11th, I didn’t get sleep until I was all checked into my next room. So try to get as much sleep as you can through your contractions and after the birth. Depending on how fussy your newborn is, you may not get too much sleep for a while.
I truly do hope you learned a thing or two through these tips. I am speaking from my own experience and not from other people’s experiences. Everyone deals with the process in their own way so your labor may be different. However following these tips should help make it just that much easier.