There are lots of lessons to be taken from my two days of what was ultimately fake (but very convincing!) labor. Sure, these are intangible lessons of patience and humility and the beginning of understanding that my baby is a person with its own ideas and personality. But there’s some practical info I can take from this into the real deal–whenever that might be.
* Buy a second robe to bring along. Man, was my brand new robe a wonderful purchase. Functioned as a lovely blanket when I was in bed and a cozy covering when I was walking around and on the birth ball. But on the off chance I soil that one somehow I’m going to need a backup.
* Ditto extra pajama pants. Those disposable underwear thingys at the hospital are remarkably comfortable but hospitals are chilly places. And I learned that if the contraction is powerful enough and you had maybe been putting off getting up to pee, your bladder is going to fold like goddamn origami under the onslaught and thus you will require new pants. (Apologies to the more modest among you.)
* Phone communications are going to go dark. I made the mistake of sending a mass text when we thought we were being admitted for good and was astonished by how many people texted later on as the process began to slow, “What’s going on?!” While I respect that these are just concerned and curious parties, it’s either one of two things: nothing, or something. If it’s nothing, I’m not going to send a message to say so. If it’s something, I’m going to be dealing with the something and not making contact with the outside world until after. My sister had me to run communications interference with the family, but I don’t have that option. So after the initial message goes out and the people who want phone calls get their calls, the phone is going off until we have a new baby in the room.
Incidentally, a lot of the people who did send that particular text do not have children and are totally unfamiliar with the birth process, so I’m grading on a curve here. They have no frame of reference for the “hurry up and wait” of labor and how it’s all fun and games until the contractions hit about 3 minutes apart, and then you have to focus on making it through the next 90 seconds of your life without strangling the father of your child with a monitor cord. So I wasn’t mad, exactly, but I guess I thought they would know better. But for the most part nobody who’s experienced birth–either first or second hand–sent that message.
Edited to add: I LOVED the messages of the “Yay!” and “Congrats!” and “I’m excited!” varieties. The ones that contained a request for info or that required some sort of reply were the ones that rattled me.
* My memory foam pillow is delightful and is going to remain attached to me in some capacity. Ditto the birth ball.
* Monitors SUCK and I’m going to shamelessly lie, connive, and manipulate in order not to be attached to them any longer than I have to be. And you know what? Not once in any of the monitoring did the baby show the slightest blip of distress–except when I shifted and the monitor slid up and started recording MY heartbeat.
* Hypno Birthing works, by God! I just have to have Tom stay on me to keep me from clenching my jaw and lower back while I do my breathing.
So that’s what I’ve learned thus far. Also, monitoring aside, I’ve been delighted with the nurses that I’ve met so far.
Okay baby. We had our practice rounds. Bring it on!