Birthing Rules

The Violinist, you’re getting close, so I thought I’d give you some interesting tips on the labor, the delivery, the hospital.


Rule #1 Make sure the car is gassed up from here on out.  This seems logical to you and I, but it doesn’t make any sense to many husbands.  My grandfather’s truck was on empty the night that his eldest child was born.  He hustled his wife into the truck, turned it on to see the gas gauge was on E.   He sped to the nearest gas station, where the attendant took his time.  My grandfather asked if they guy could hurry it up because his wife was in labor.  The attendant’s jaw dropped, pulled the nozzle out, and told my grandfather to go, go, go! 


Rule #2 Have everything you want to take in a bag next to the door.  Don’t forget shoes or a toothbrush.  It was only after Sean was born, bathed, fed, sleeping that I needed to go to the bathroom.  It was then that I realized I had run out of the house without shoes.  It was at this point I realized I didn’t brush my teeth or brought a toothbrush.  


Rule #3 It’s ok not to feel brave.  In my first labor, I stoically kept my verbal complaints to a moan.  The second, I screamed F*** so loud Evan started crying.  Due to my verbal complaints, I scared the first timers in the elevator, who allowed me out first.  Suckers.  I got the last single room.


Rule #4 Get the single room.  I know I have gone over this point a lot, but it’s so important.  Recovering from birth is hard, so it’s nice to have the peace of a single room.  Your husband can stay the night.  You can bring in a whole troop of family with pizza.  You won’t feel self conscious as you try to breastfeed because you’ll have to whip out the whole boob at first.


Rule #5 Use the nurses.  First timers are shy; they don’t want to impose.  I remember meekly asking the nurses office if I can have my son back from testing; while I was there, I watched a mom roll her baby in, tell the nurses she was taking a shower, and come back a half an hour all put together.  I learned my lesson with Sean.


Rule #6 It will be hard.  Labor is hard.  Birthing is hard.  Breastfeeding is hard.  But you can do it.


Rule #7 Enjoy it.  Your baby will sleep, and you can relax.  If you need help with the baby, the nurses will be happy to help.  If you need more diapers or pads, the nurses will go get them for you.  If you need help breastfeeding and latching, they’ll show you over and over and over.  (Or were Evan and I just slow learners?)  You won’t have to clean or cook.  In the end, you’ll get free stuff.


Suggestion #1 Try to remember to bring something for your nurses.  They are totally awesome, and you will fall in love with them. 


Suggestion #2 Remember within 24 hours you’ll forget all the pain and discomfort of labor.


So anyone else have anything to add?

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18 Responses to “Birthing Rules”

  1. Sandra Says:

    The most important thing I learned after #1 (of four):

    GO HOME. I go home a few hours after I have the baby. This solves a dozen things on the list – no bag, nothing to forget. And recovery is a gazillion times better at home! Most women don’t know that they dont’ have to stay (providing baby and mama are fine, of course!).

    I loved being back in my own place, with my own stuff, before my babies were even 6 hours old… heaven!

  2. sunnymom Says:

    That is an awsome list especially for first time moms and dads. I wish before I had Tooters someone had told me some of stuff that was going to happen.

  3. KathyB! Says:

    Tell hubby to look away during the epidural. When I had my c-section the anesthesiologist came to administer the epidural and whipped out his giant needle. My pillar of strength was supposed to be holding ME and keeping ME still lest I jerk and paralyze myself. Instead he half passed out on top of me. Not helpful. Look away from the needle boys, look away…

  4. ck Says:

    When packing your hospital bag…bring your own towel and your own TP. You don’t want to face the end of a much needed shower with the trial-sized towel they provide. Maybe it was just my hospital, but don’t take that chance!

    And put off looking at your minus-the-baby stomach as long as your pride will allow it.

  5. ymK Says:

    When my first one was born, I wanted her to be in my room all day and night. Nurses had offered to take her to the nursery whenever I wanted but I was a first time mom, crazy in love.
    When I had my second girl, I was wiser. When help is offered, accept it, take it. Feed the baby whenever its needed, then send her back to the nursery, and SLEEP. You won’t be getting any for atleast a few months once the baby is home.

  6. C Says:

    I think you list about covers it. I enjoyed all 3 hospital says, actually. The last one I got to stay with my preemie while she gained weight, and it was like a hotel room. I even got room service. The cleaned the room and brought me all 3 meals.

    I would like to add-gross as it may be but totally needed(don’t be afraid). Take with you Adult diapers. Once you have your baby they will give you a pair of mesh panties and ELEPHANT PADS. It is way uncomfy and will make you feel weird. With DD2 I took adult diapers, for those few days after, and it was much better. You can get 1 package(the cheap ones) and they will last until you can use a maxi with wings…Please don’t use the mesh panties, LOL.

  7. Evenshine Says:

    Suggestion 2 is wishful thinking! Within 24 hours you’ll be so tired, ragged, and wondering why the heck you did this that you’ll probably forget everything, true. But I still remember every minute of the labor of both my kids. And it’s worth it to remember it. They are worth it. Blessings to The Violinist!

  8. Ink Says:

    What a fab list, Fae! (And I have to say, Sandra, you are a better woman than I! I was actually happy when I got to stay at the hospital longer the second time, after the C-section, because it’s soooooo nice to have the help.)

    Dear Violinist, I wholeheartedly concur with the suggestion that while you are at the hospital, you should get as much sleep as much as possible! Your body is healing. Two other things related to taking care of yourself during all the hoopla: don’t feel guilty putting a do not disturb sign on the door if you need some rest/privacy (some hospitals even provide these), and don’t be shy about asking for pain meds if you need them! Good luck and all best wishes to you.

  9. Sandra Says:

    Well, fortunately I didn’t have to have surgery with any of my four – A c-sect, I can definitely understand staying! 😀

    Next time I’m not even going to the hospital. I didn’t realize it was an option where I live, and I’m saddened that I wasn’t aware of a midwife group near me for my first four babies. I would much rather be here where it’s cleaner and safer than there!

  10. GoodEnoughWoman Says:

    As for the labor, I think it’s good to know how you would like to it go (meds, no meds, etc), but to also be ready to roll with some changes if they are necessary.

    This might sound like silly minutiae, but for my first, I wish we’d taken some baby nail scissors. My son was born with long fingernails, and he kept scratching himself and the nurses said they couldn’t cut them. We took nail scissors the second time, not that we needed them that time, of course.

    Put the baby on the boob ASAP, and get a visit from the lactation consultant ASAP.

    The day after labor, ask for a stool softener. Not a laxative mind you, but a stool softener.

    Now, I’m starting to have flashbacks.

  11. GoodEnoughWoman Says:

    One more thing: I spent both of my labors sitting on a birthing ball (a.k.a. fitness ball). I don’t know what I would have done without that thing.

    But then there is this Oscar Wilde quotation from Ink’s post today:

    “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”

    This seems especially true about labor.

  12. faemom Says:

    First off, everyone, THANK YOU! I think we all remember needing as much advice as possible even if it contridicted itself. So thank you so much for replying!

    Sandra~ That’s a great suggestion. More power to you for being able to heal at home, especially when you had other little ones. My two cents to add to your is that in my expereince it’s better to hang around because you have the lactation consultant and the pediatrion and the OB-GYN come to call to double, sometimes triple check. My first was found to have fluid in his lungs that they didn’t catch until he was 12hours old, and that worried them enough to send over three more spoecials and put him on meds. But I am glad it worked for you. You’re probably one of those strong women who did it without meds too, weren’t you? 😉

    sunnymom~ Thanks. I think we should share all our advice so we can help others.

    KathyB!~ I totally forgot that one! My husband had to EXIT stage left both times. Thank God for strong nurses.

    ck~ More great adive. God, how I hated my stomach those first weeks. That cute butterfly stretch mark I had on my belly with Evan does not look so cute or even butterfly-ish any more.

    ymK~ Good advice! If a new mom could follow it. 😀 I remember just staring at him all night, and I couldn’t bare to be away from Sean either. My boys slept all night the first few nights and I slept more without the nurses waking me up to tell me my baby needed fed. Talk about a frustraiting breast-feeding experience, trying to do your second nurisng ever with a baby who would much rather sleep than eat.

    C~ Awesome advice. I enjoyed my stay too. The food was great. I like the thought of adult diapers. I used those thick maxies. Thin ones rub. Ouch,

    Evenshine~ I guess my hormones worked a little better than yours. My husband asked me 24hours after Evan if I wanted another, and I blissfully said yes. Ah, drugs and hormones. But I’m glad you mentioned it as not everyone is like me. And we’re all thanking God for that.

    Ink~ Great suggestions! I hear c-section recovery is rough; or at least, that’t shat my mom tells me.

    GEW~ Excellent suggestion about the finger nail clippers! I forgot to mention that breastfeeding is hard at first, but it’s well worth it in the end. Talk to the lactation consultant, the nurses, and I know you have to do a five day check up, so if you haven’t gotten it down by then, ask them. And stool softner is a brilliant idea! Also eat tons of apples, that helps too. I hear the birthing ball is a help. And thanks for the quote!

  13. The Violinist Says:

    hi, yes, i’m here… slow to check the blog this week… thank you all for your advice 🙂 much appreciated.

    rule #1 – car, as of 2 hours ago, is fully gassed. i do know that i can make it to the hospital if my gas light has just come on though. I made it home from there last night with it on 🙂

    #2 – pretty much packed. can i just take 1 bag or should i pack 2, one for labor and one for when i’m on mother baby? I’ve got my toiletries packed and on the bathroom counter. I was even with it enough to get an extra toothbrush and deoderant for my husband. He will thank me later. Shoes are a good idea. note to self…put flip flops in the bag tonight. What do i need to bring? i’ve got a pair of maternity yoga pants, a nursing tank, and i’m probably going to throw in a few t-shirt. For the baby what should i pack her other than the outfit my mom got her to go home in?

    #4…i’m not paying the extra $300 bucks that they now charge for a single room. Eff that. its lame. i’m annoyed. oh well.

    i’ve heard mixed reviews about the mesh panties…some women think they are the best thing ever. others, not so much. i might want to look into getting a small pack of depends. I need to put the nail clippers in my bag too… one of my other friends needed them when her son was born last fall. I think that utilizing the nursery if possible is a good idea. Especially if i’m in a shared room and would like to get some sleep and my husband is at home.

  14. Gibby Says:

    Two things:
    throw out all labor books, they don’t do you any good
    if there are any train tracks between you and the hospital, FIND AN ALTERNATE ROUTE. Trust me. (Hhhmmm, perhaps a future blog post of mine. Thanks for the inspiration, Faemom.)

    Good luck, Violinist!

  15. wild4words Says:

    Oooh! I have to second the birthing ball thing! I used it with both my boys and it was great. I was able to make it a long time through my labor with my second baby, just sitting on that thing and rocking back and forth.

    The mesh panties are weird and can be comfy, but oh boy do they look scary. I wish I’d thought of Depends back then!

    And a big yes! to ignoring the post-baby tummy for as long as you can. One new thing to add – if you get horrible engorgement from the milk coming in, use chilled cabbage leaves in your bra. Smells awful, but helps ease the pain.

    (and only among mothers can you use the term engorgement without feeling awkward…)

    Best of luck to you!!!!

  16. faemom Says:

    Violinist~ That totally sucks about the raise in price in the room. As for your bag, depending on how collectively cool your husband will be should determine how many bags you take. My husband can’t find the diapers in our diaper bag without getting frustrated and they’ve been in the same place for 3 and half years. Make sure your shirts are easy to breastfeed in. Do you have a nursing nightgown? Ask for one if you don’t. They’re totally awesome. Pack a second outfit for the little darling, just in case. Don’t forget the camera. I recomend a pacifier because you won’t be able to comfort her on the road. Also have one of those nasal squeeze things just in case. As well as the usual diaper bag stuff. I think it would be great to add one of those cool headband bows someone gave you at your shower. Hmmm?

    Gibby~ Great suggestions! And I look forward to that post.

    w4w~ Thanks for the suggestion on cabbage leaves! I had no idea. And isn’t it nice to throw out the word engorgement every once in a while? 🙂

  17. melychang Says:

    I love the mesh panties! They are really comfy and if you put a bit of water and calendula on a pad and freeze it, it may seem weird and the mere idea of sitting on something frozen really unappealing but trust me it is amazing! Good luck.

  18. faemom Says:

    Actually at the time, I bet it would feel great.

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