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My best friend will be going into labor any day (or minute) and I have been texting her labor tips as I think of them over the last couple of weeks. Looking back through our text messages made this post really easy to write. These are literally the tips I told my very best friend. Some you will only get from your VERY best friend.
1.) Fear is your worst enemy.
If you are, or have ever been, pregnant, you most likely did or will experience a period of complete terror. It goes something like this: “What have I done? This baby has to get out of me somehow! How am I going to do that? What was I thinking? I can’t do this! How am I going to push this baby out!?!?!” This freak out happened to me in my first trimester (Type 6, remember?). I started researching labor. What I found was that fear creates a reaction in your body that is the exact opposite of what you need in labor. Fear is your worst enemy. I can’t explain why, but reading about the negative effects of fear took away all of my fear. If this is not enough to assuage your fear, proceed to Tip #2.
2.) You are going to be HUGE!!!
I text my best friend this or some version of this or a .gif that says huge or anything I can to remind her of this mantra often. I was literally repeating “I am going to be HUGE!!” in my head as I pushed during labor. God designed the vagina to stretch and our bodies to do this work. I read about this in Ina Mae’s Guide to Childbirth and passed it to my best friend to read too. This book completely normalized birth for me and gave me the confidence I needed. Like All Moms Before, I could do it too. Disclaimer: This book is weird and goes too far sometimes, but it was still extremely helpful. There is one part you are going to read and think “Did I just read what I think I just read?” Don’t go back and read it again… just keep on going and forget what you think you read. Trust me.
3.) DO NOT go into labor constipated.
Leading up to labor, if you are dealing with any amount of constipation deal with it now. This was a mistake I made and I would have rather given birth again than deal with the repercussions. That’s all I’m going to say about this one.
4.) Go Low
While you are pushing, making some noise helps. But, the type of noise you makes matters. This tip came from my brother-in-law. He is a nurse and this is what he learned on his labor and delivery rotation. When you are pushing, go for a lower pitched groan over a higher pitched yell or scream. Something about keeping your throat open (low pitched) helps more than a closed throat (high pitched). I surprised even myself with the sounds that came out of me, but it helped.
5.) When you think you cannot go on any longer, it is almost over.
This golden nugget came from my cousin who has seven children, so she knows a thing or two… or seven. She told me this at my baby shower and boy was it true. I was feeling like a complete weakling and like I could not do it any more when all of the sudden his head was between my legs… birth story to come.
Bottom Line: The moment they place that little baby on your chest all of the pain is in the past and does not matter anymore. The whole world shifts and your life will never be the same. Savor every moment because you will blink and he will be almost seven months old and have two teeth and I’m going to go hug my baby and cry now!
You’ve got this Mama!!
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