If there was only piece of advice I could give Pregnant Mamas about childbirth, it would be hire a Doula. It doesn't matter what kind of birth you are planning, every woman should have a Doula.
You may have the most supportive partner in the World, but they can only do so much. A Doula has been there and done that and seen so much (my Doula had attended over 400 births by the time she had attended mine). A Doula's only job is to support you!
A Doula is particularly important in the hospital because they can be your advocate when you are at your most vulnerable. A Doula is worth their weight in goal!
Here is an interesting piece on understanding statistically how having a Doula at your birth can positively affect your out-come.
During my first pregnancy, I interviewed several Doulas/Birth Assistants; it was one of our Midwives' requirements. It's essential that you meet with several and find someone whose personality fits your own. Listen to your Gut...is it a good fit? If not, keep interviewing...
I ended up going with a Doula I thought I felt comfortable with but then I started have a little doubt at the very end. The Universe works in mysterious ways because she ended up having to call in her substitute.
I met Gwen for the first time when I was completely naked and had been in active labor for 8 hours. She had a motherly presence, an awesome white streak in your black hair and didn't mind when I kept calling her "Glen" instead of "Gwen."
For the next 12 hours, she was my Rock, my Anchor, my Savior. I don't think I could have spent 2 1/2 hours pushing out a malpositioned 9 lb baby with no drugs, if she hadn't been by my side.
My husband was great, my Midwife was great, but Gwen was my life-line. She showed my husband how to do a hip-press and took over when he needed a break. She was with me through every contraction, every breath...using a myriad of visualizations and mantras. She made sure I was constantly sipping enough water. She held my hand and got me through the most intense pain I have ever felt. She was just what I needed.
And, I am absolutely thrilled that she will be by my side for my second birth.
Buy your baby clothes second-hand, don't go on that expensive Baby-moon, scrimp on other things...but do yourself a huge favor and hire a Doula. That's my two cents!
Welcome to the Birthing Month, here at Catoctin Mountain Mama. Enjoy!