Any last-minute advice for a third-trimester preggo?

This is our first baby, and while I’ve read a TON of books and have gotten a great deal of support from our midwives, there’s no substitute for those who have been there and done that. I have six weeks left until my due date.

One caveat: I’m having a homebirth provided that Josie turns from transverse, so I will (hopefully) not need hospital advice. I’m packing a hospital bag anyway at the advice of my midwives, and I’ve read up on c-sections just in case she never turns. But hopefully we won’t need any of that advice. Just the general advice you’d give someone who has never been in the unsupervised presence of a newborn and who has never changed a diaper or really done anything regarding babies. I’m great with toddlers but babies scare the crap out of me, and I’m getting more and more apprehensive as time goes on.

Any help would be muchly appreciated.

My advice is go to a real hospital with real health care profesionals who actually have some medical training and know what they’re doing.

My first bit of advice is to practice rolling your eye muscles so that you get used to hearing that crap without letting it get to you (assuming that you’re using a certified midwife and not a lay midwife.) Believe me, it won’t be the last time as a parent that someone shares an unwelcome opinion with you.

After that, one little weird thing that no one told me that I wish they had, about the delivery itself: Once you push the baby’s head out, they make you stop pushing so they can ease his/her shoulders out without breaking a collarbone. They’ve just spent the last 20-60 minutes yelling at you to push and just when you finally feel like you’ve got it right and things start sliding, they tell you to STOP! It’s mucho infuriating, not to mention rather ouchy to have your vagina spread that far open by the neck and have the pressure of the shoulders behind it. But it only last for a few seconds, I promise!

After that, just work on being as flexible as possible. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: good parenting is making plans, and then throwing them out the window when they don’t work. Plan to co-sleep? Great, hope that works for you. But know that a dresser drawer lined with a towel works in a pinch in the baby refuses to sleep next to anyone. Bought a great bassinet? Wonderful, hope that works for you. But know that there are perfectly safe and responsible co-sleeping techniques if you can’t sleep without your baby next to you.

Don’t be afraid to try new things if what you’re sure would work doesn’t. I don’t ever say “we’ll never_______ with our child!” because inevitably, _____ will be the choice of last resort AND the thing that works.

Good luck, and don’t forget to post pics!

My advice is to enjoy every moment of your pregnancy.

After she’s here - sniff her head - it’s the sweetest aroma and it helps the bonding thing.

Being a mom is great - have fun!

The opinion was solicited and it was sincere. She needs to be safe during the delivery and be in a setting where somebody can actually do something if something goes wrong besides call 911.

Other than that, there really isn’t any advice. The delivery will happen how it happens. I’ve seen three of them now. It basically happens by itself. The mom has very little control of it.

After the baby is washed, anyway. Amniotic fluid doesn’t smell too wonderful.

The best advice I can offer is what my grandmother told me. Do what works for YOUR family, and don’t worry about what anyone (or everyone) else does. Whether it’s your daily routine, meals, breastfeeding (or not), co-sleeping (or not), attachment parenting, cry-it-out, etc…it is YOUR family. Just because they’ve “been there” doesn’t mean they’ve been you, with your child.

Good luck to you!

(Of course, I meant to say ‘As long as it isn’t unsafe or unhealthy’.)

I recommend you do a little reading yourself on midwifery, Dio. Midwives ARE trained and able to handle emergency situations. I know many, many women who have had successful homebirths with healthy babies (and more than a few who had disasterous hopsital births, me included with my first). The OP is an intelligent woman and I think she’s carefully considered this situation and made the right choice for herself and her family, and to imply that she hasn’t is rude at best.

To the OP: relax :slight_smile: Babies are very forgiving of mistakes. I’d never babysat or even held a baby less than 6 months old prior to giving birth to my first and he’s now 11. You’ll handle it fine.

Do you have a sling or other soft carrier yet? I used a Maya Wrap with mine and LOVED it. I am 5’8 and have a small frame and none of the snugli-type carriers tightened up enough for me. The Maya was terrific with both tiny babies and hip-sitting bigger ones.

On diapers – uh – if you are using disposables, all of the brands fit a little differently. Huggies leaked terribly on one of my kids but fit the other fine. If you are not sure baby is wetting, put a bit of TP or tissue in there and see if it is wet when it’s time to change. Some of the disposables are scarily abosrbent and it can be hard to tell the difference. If you’re using cloth, I used a dry pail and it worked very well for us. No need to soak if you don’t want (and a dry pail is MUCH easier to lug down to the basement laundry).

Have diaper changing areas in all the rooms you spend time in. So, one in your room, one in baby’s (if you don’t share a room at first), one in the living room, etc. Makes it easier to change and not have to haul baby to another room. Also, I always changed my kids on the floor. They have a hard time falling off the floor :wink:

GL!!! :slight_smile:

The first part of labor is pretty sucky because it’s your body doing stuff that you can’t do anything about. It can be overwhelming and scary and you’ll probably have more than a few “waitaminute, somebody stop this ride I wanna get OFF!” moments during it. That’s why they teach you Lamaze breathing, so you’ll have something else to think about. Try to sleep between contractions if you can, it really helps. Just don’t freak out and fight it, because it will NOT help and it will just make things harder. This is where the Zen stuff comes in handy. :stuck_out_tongue:

Then when the pushing part starts it suddenly becomes like the biggest scariest roller coaster EVER, but it’s exhilarating because finally you can DO something about what’s going on. Yeah, the stop pushing between head and shoulders part is disconcerting, but that’s why you have a labor coach, right? Don’t be too surprised if you find yourself cussing out your husband like a fishwife, and slaps around the ear are not unheard of, especially in transition.

After it’s all over you’ll have a rush like nothing you’ve ever experienced and never will again unless you have more kids. It’s your body’s way of rewarding you for going through it all, the endorphin rush right afterward. This is when you count the fingers and toes and you and your partner agree that this is THE most AMAZING baby EVER BORN in the ENTIRE history of humankind. The funny thing is, you will be absolutely correct–except for my kids, who are actually the most amazing. :smiley:

The next day you will be TIRED. I’m talking bone deep, comprehensive exhaustion the likes of which you’ve never experienced. Don’t worry, it does pass. Depending on your level of conditioning it can be anything from a few days to a couple weeks. Give in, you have nothing to prove. Sleep whenever the baby does, you’ll need it.

After that, just DON’T WORRY. Billions of babies have been born and raised in unbelievably adverse conditions and yet the human race continues. Babies are tough and resilient–good thing considering most of them have been dropped on their pointy little heads at least once by inexperienced parents. Trust your instincts, spend a lot of time with the baby on you, next to you and within smelling distance of you to reinforce the bond. Have fun, they’re only this tiny for such a short time so enjoy it to the fullest.

Oh yeah, and post lots of pics–it’s like kittens, only worse. We’ll hound you unmercifully if you don’t! :smiley:

A friend gave me some helpful advice for bathing my first baby. Babies (especially newborns) lose body heat quickly. And they don’t need full tub or sink immersion baths. Washing with a warm damp cloth or your own clean soapy hands (gentle soap) is enough. Keep the parts (or the half) you’re not washing covered with a towel or small blanket. A cold baby is an unhappy baby.

Congratulations and good luck!

Dio, you know I like you, but I asked for no hospital advice, so I would consider that verymuch unsolicited. My senior midwife has been catching babies since 1977, and is highly qualified. I trust both of my midwives completely and did over a year of research before making the decision to have a homebirth. I would be glad to point you in the direction of several studies that show that homebirth is just as safe (if not safer) than hospital birth for low-risk pregnancies, but I have no desire to hijack my thread any further.

As soon after the birth as possible, put an ice pack between your legs. Even if you didn’t have an episiotomy, that area is gonna be sore as hell. An ice pack will relieve the pain and help reduce the swelling. After the first 24 or 48 hours (don’t remember which) I think the generally accepted wisdom is to switch to heat lamps if you have stitches.

Having a hospital bag packed is an excellent idea. I hope that you don’t have to use it. If you can manage to deliver with qualified midwives, that’s great.

You ARE taking your vitamins and eating well?

On first reading, this post seriously peeved me. But after thinking about it, I decided to add my two cents in agreement, even though the OP didn’t ask for medical advice, which I am not actually giving. Just an anecdote.

My second pregnancy was entirely problem free and healthy, with absolutely no indications of any potential problems. When I went into labor, things went fast. While I was in active labor and contracting, pre-pushing, for some reason my doctor asked if the baby had been active lately. He had not. For that reason alone, she decided to do an internal heart monitor. His heart tones were down to 40 beats per minute. That being scarily low, she ordered me to get him out of there immediately, which was extremely scary. We were minutes from a C section. He was born healthy, achieved high Apgar scores with flying colors, and is an extremely intelligent young man. It tears me up to think of what could have happened had we not known about the low heart tones.

Now it is entirely possible that midwives are trained in this fashion. I just don’t know if they are. That said, I wish you the best of luck. Being a mom is the best gig in the world, especially those first few days when you are allowed to be waited on, hand and foot. And yes, the baby smell is nirvana.

Well, first of all, get lots of sleep now while you can. Because trust me, no matter how prepared you think you are, the sheer nonstop 24 hour parenting thing is a reality no one can imagine until you’re in the thick of it.

Second, the last few weeks (or if you’re lucky, days) of your pregnancy will be miserable, even you’ve had an awesome experience for the prvious 8 1/2 months. I’m convinced this is nature’s way of getting you to cooperate when it’s time to get the baby out. So if one day you suddenly realize that you feel horrible and you no longer want to work/do yoga/go for a walk/carry the laundry basket, you know what? DON’T. Just make yourself as comfortable as you can.

Third, the wisest thing I heard about birth is that the only thing you can expect is that the birth will be nothing like what you expected. This is so true! I also want to say that no matter how the baby arrives, as long as you both survive and are healthy, the method really doesn’t matter! C-sections are births too. It’s not like it doesn’t count. So if you don’t get the birth you want, please remember neither did anybody else.

Fourth, watch out for postpartum issues. Most of the time it goes away quickly, but if you find yourself crying hysterically while breastfeeding, please know that it is 100% normal and you are not alone. Just let those feelings flow. Also, breastfeeding is a LOT harder than it looks. It took me over 6 weeks before I felt remotely comfortable with it.

Fifth, stock up on household stuff so you don’t have to worry about it for few weeks. Toilet paper, freezer foods, drinks, diapers, wipes, laundry soap, deodorant, etc. You really won’t want to leave the house just to go buy toothpaste or whatever.

Sixth, figure out the carseat before the birth! Both you and your partner should practice with a stuffed animal or something. Trust me, you don’t want to have to figure it out right when you need it.

Seventh, stock up on Mylicon or gripewater, infant Tylenol, saline nasal spray and that type of stuff NOW. It is AWESOME to have it on hand when you need it and not have to go to the store while your baby suffers!

CONGRATULATIONS and good luck to you!

Ghanima, mom of a nearly 5 month old, and just getting the hang of this Mom thing.

All of my 4 children were born unmedicated, although in a birth center, not at home.

It hurts more than you think it will. No matter what you think. But it’s totally worth it.

My biggest advice is to relax during labor. The only problem is that this is incredibly hard. But when I didn’t fight the contractions, and relaxed during them, the pain was MUCH less. But to acheive that relaxation was hard, and I had to figure it out anew each time.

What worked during one birth didn’t work during the next. You have to just try different things to see what works. Once I sat on a birthing ball and just pictured myself taking a long walk through my old neighborhood. The next time I imagined myself floating in the ocean.

Find what works and go with it. It’s all worth it in the end.

Good luck!

I don’t know what kind of shape you are in, but I highly recommend doing prenatal yoga for the next 6 weeks. Right now your ligaments should be very flexible due to the hormones that prepare your body for delivery and yoga makes them even more so.

Also have a yoga ball around…it really helps during labor.

Oh and one more thing: Don’t expect your first labor and delivery to be a beautiful and/or spiritual experience. It is incredibly painful (off the charts if you’re not getting drugs) and you’ll lose your sense of humor very quickly.

But as soon as the head is out, the pain is over (at least it was for me). Also don’t be alarmed if your newborn doesn’t look like the Gerber baby. Newborns can be hideous looking…esp if your labor is long. This took me by surprise when I had my first because I was expecting to see a beautiful little bundle of joy…but instead I saw a shriveled up wrinklely alien looking thing with black buised swollen eyes and a long cone head. After a few days, his head went back to normal, his skin cleared up, his facial swelling subsided and he was gorgeous…but God did he look horrible when he first came out! I was terrified!

Take whatever help is offered with grace and enthusiasm.
Take whatever advice is offered with a pinch of salt.

Parenthood really is both harder and more fun than you think it will be.

My first baby is due on Thursday so I can’t help on the delivery part yet, but there are several things I’ve experienced recently and didn’t know how normal they are.

  • Pain before birth. I can’t stand up longer than five minutes. It feels like every one of my lower belly muscles have torn. My belly button is one giant bruise and my hips and pelvis feel battered. Lots of rest and baths relieve the pain. A support belt would help as does wearing husband’s boxer shorts - the waistband doesn’t bite into me as bad as my underpants do.

  • Swelling. Wow, I didn’t know my ankles would really truly disappear or that I wouldn’t be able to tie my shoes because my feet have gotten so fat. As long as your blood pressure stays down, it’s okay to be bloated.

  • Carpal tunnel. I haven’t felt my fingers since October. Wrist braces have helped the pain, but not the tingling or numbness. It will go away after delivery and when the swelling goes down.

  • Emotions. Everyone knows that pregnant women are highly emotional. I wasn’t like that until last week. I finally accepted that I’m going to have a baby when I sobbed at Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian”. Don’t worry or feel guilty about your ups and downs or even if you decide you don’t want a baby any more. It’s normal that these last days suck.

  • On the grosser side: my boobs started leaking a month ago. I thought it was too early to be ruining shirts. Nope. Just use pads if necessary. My nipples have gotten unbearably painful, especially when I’m cold. It helps so much to take off the bra and rub on lotion. Rub the lotion everywhere, matter of fact. Your belly will thank you (with stretch marks!). I didn’t realize how much my belly would itch. I wake up with claw marks from itching while I’m asleep. Discharge gets heavier and sometimes with an odor that only you can seem to smell. I wear panty liners constantly and change often. I’ve also turned into a poop machine. Sure I pee every twenty minutes, but no one said that the bowels move almost as much. I also sweat like a priest in a playground. It’s 20 degrees out now and I’m sweating in a t-shirt and underpants while sitting in front of an open window.

  • Sleep depravation. Everyone talks about no sleep after baby comes, but I know I will get more sleep after delivery. I average 2 1/2 hours of sleep a night. There is no comfortable position and Braxton Hicks keep you up. Often snoring will appear or increase. Before pregnancy I didn’t snore. Now I snore while I’m wide awake. This should go away as the weight goes away.

  • Listen to your body and do what feels right for you. If you want lots of quiet (which is why my mother is banned from the delivery room), say so. If you want to take a bath, say so. Walk around or rest on your elbows and knees (that’s the position that gives me the most relief). Eat something, play monopoly, balance your checkbook. Or just cry and cuss. It’s all okay. The main thing is allowing your body to do what nature intended and not prolonging the process by stressing out.

Congratulations and best of luck, you’ll be fine.

PS: Don’t let your feelings get too hurt if your partner pokes fun at you. My husband calls me Homer Simpson and Teletubby. At first I was bothered, but realized he’s just as nervous as me and tries to make us both feel better by making goofy jokes. Just yesterday, he was standing around like a dork and watching me flail about on the bed trying to get up. Instead of helping me, he grabbed his phone and yelled into it, “Greenpeace! Greenpeace! We’ve got one out of the water!” I laughed so hard I peed. On his side of the bed. :slight_smile:

:smiley: You guys are going to be awesome parents.

My first baby is due in early January, so I’m reading this with lots of interest. One piece of advice that I’m trying very hard to follow has to do with being pregnant/a new mom around the holidays: “Declare this the Season of Limited Caring, where you give a shit about a small number of things, especially your health and the baby’s health, and let everything else go hang for one year.”