As we all try to navigate a new normal that doesn’t really feel normal at all, it’s natural to feel anxious, scattered, or generally off-balance.
The world has changed, and we are all feeling it. I’m writing this not to be doom and gloom but to help you be prepared, for when you are prepared you can deal with fear with much more grace.
Who would have thought the uncertainty and fast-moving changes around pregnancy and birth care would be upon us now? It seems as though you might be feeling like your birth plan is just going to be thrown out the window. I feel like now more than ever it’s important for us to focus on and put our energy towards the things we do have control over. It’s more important than ever to have your birth plan but be flexible. The feeling of anxiety is not just your own. We all understand things are going to look a little different than we imagined. Keep in mind, this is probably just as hard for your labor and delivery nurses as it is for you, just in different ways. There are going to be disappointments. I hope they aren’t yours but the reality of it is they may very well be.
As you plan for your birth, hold space for those feelings. Let your partner, your midwife, your mom, your sister, and your friend hear of your concerns, your fears, your uncertainties and let those feelings out. Talk through them. Cry through them. Ask yourself, “what is the worst-case scenario”, and then see how you would work through that if it actually happened. Holding those feelings in will only be held in until you get into labor, then I promise time and again they find a way out. Trust me, it’s much easier to work through your fears BEFORE labor than IN labor.
I know that with good preparation and a positive attitude you can still have a great birth experience. My Essentially Prepared course is a fantastic place to start. This is a course that can help you be prepared for not only what to take to your birth, but how to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally. Whether you are birthing at home, in a birth center or in a hospital it’s important to make that space as comfortable and peaceful as you can. This course can help you prepare in all ways to have a positive experience including what oil blend to make ahead of time and pack in your birth bag as well as many other tips and tricks for your perfect birth.
The best part about my online Essentially Prepared course is that you can do it in your pj’s from the comfort of your own home! You can read more about this course here.
As of right now, and hopefully, it won’t change, most hospitals will let you bring one birth partner to accompany you. You will definitely want to stay home for early labor, no need to go too soon because you will surely be sent home.
If you are planning labor stimulation or induction, then it’s up to that hospital to let your birth partner in at that time. I know some who will only let your birth partner in when you are in active labor. No one says you can’t be on the phone with that person though. Again, every hospital and situation is different depending on where you live and where we are in this pandemic. As I write this today, these are the guidelines. Also, it might be worth mentioning to have a back-up birth partner in case the one you planned being there is sick. I’m sure questions will be asked about everyone’s health status and if that person is sick, they won’t be allowed in with you.
Many hospitals have VERY strict visiting rules now and it may very well be your hospital won’t allow visitors for the remainder of your postpartum stay and this may include your birth partner. Again, I’m just letting you know the worst-case scenario, not to put a cast of doom and gloom but just to prepare you because being prepared is half the battle. Face Time, House Party, Marco Polo, and Zoom among other great video apps will be your friend if you are under these strict policies. Be proactive and download these apps NOW. You may or may not use them, but you will be glad you have them if you need them. Bring a diffuser with you to the hospital so you can be diffusing OnGuard essential oil. This will add another layer of protection from unwanted threats.
If you are fortunate enough to have a low-risk pregnancy and have a midwife where you can do a home birth or birth center birth, then your birth will most likely go just as you planned. Continue taking precautions by diffusing On Guard and other immune-boosting essential oils at home and practicing safe social distance, so your plan will hopefully not be affected much.
Here is what you CAN do to create the most positive outcome for you and your birth plan. Your labor room is yours for the time you are there, so make it as comfortable as you can. Create an atmosphere of calmness. That may look like a diffuser in the background with calming oils, or immune-boosting oils, whichever will bring you to your calm and comfortable place. Dim the lights, even pack some battery-operated candles as a dimly lit room always brings a clam feeling. Set up a playlist of your favorite relaxing music ahead of time. This will help you feel calm and focused. Bring your diffuser but be prepared to spray your essential oils on a pillow or towel or even your gown in case your hospital doesn’t allow diffusers. Most of them don’t have a problem with it, in fact, your nurse will probably say you have the best smelling room on the whole labor and delivery floor. Bring your favorite pillow from home, everyone’s more comfortable with their own pillow. Download my birth affirmations here and tape them up in your room. Ask for a birth ball or bring your own with you. This is one of my favorite birth tools along with my essential oils.
I mentioned earlier you might be feeling like you might as well just throw your birth plan out the window, but really no need for that, just be flexible. Remember your labor and delivery nurses are trying to navigate through uncomfortable waters as well and they really just want a positive outcome for everyone. When you’re happy they are happy.
It may feel like you don’t have any control of this situation, and you may not when it comes to temporary hospital policies, but this is still YOUR birth, and you still have choices. You still have to give your consent for certain things pertaining to your birth and your baby, so don’t lose sight of that. I wrote another blog about the acronym B.R.A.I.N you can find that here for more information. In short, it’s about using your “BRAIN” to feel confident about your choices and knowing what is right for you and your baby. In reality, you do still have MANY choices.
The B.R.A.I.N acronym is a great tool to help make informed decisions you may be presented with.
Benefits: what are the benefits of doing this?
Risks: what are the for real risks associated with this decision?
Alternatives: are there any alternatives what are other options?
Intuition: what is your gut telling you?
Nothing: what if we do nothing or wait and revisit later? Take charge of your birth and use your B.R.A.I.N!
I highly encourage you to breastfeed even if that wasn’t your plan, it’s much less expensive than formula and baby gets natural antibodies from breastmilk that she wouldn’t get otherwise. A friend of mine who isn’t breastfeeding ran out of formula, when she went to the store there wasn’t any to be found. She was able to finally get some through her mom who lives almost 2 hours away. These are the kinds of things we didn’t have to think of before.
Remember…you are about to meet the next love of your life and it will be a great day of celebration, but preparation is the key!
You’ve got this mama!
We’ve got this!