Anticipating Birth

At 38 weeks and 3 days (5 hours and 23 minutes… no, not really) pregnant, I can’t help but think about what lies ahead. I have always had a bit of a fear around birth and so I have been reading about birth for months, or more accurately, 34 weeks and 3 days. As someone who has always worked with parents and children, I have heard my share of birth horror stories, and so when my good friend gave birth earlier this year and described it as “awesome”, I definitely wanted to hear more. On her advice, I’ve been reading only positive birth stories, as well as some informative (but not at all scary) books written by some well-known midwives and birth educators.

My preference for a natural birth had me a little bit scared in France, where our local hospital has an 89% epidural rate. But we decided instead to birth in Germany near my husband’s family and so we drove the 8 hours to a small city in Bavaria to wait it out. To be completely honest, I was surprised by just how natural natural birth is here! We took a tour of the hospital delivery rooms and they looked like gymnastics studios, with giant exercise balls, birthing stools, and ropes hanging from the ceiling! We also learned that all of the hospital midwives are certified in homeopathy, aromatherapy and acupuncture.

I have read all about what to do ahead of time: pack a hospital bag, buy supplies, wash the baby’s clothes, write a birth plan, but haven’t quite started on any of that yet. Instead, we had a lesson on birth from our midwife (how exactly does one use a birthing stool??), and sat through an entire 3-hour class on newborn care in German, nervously laughing with 5 other expectant couples fumbling to put cloth diapers around plastic baby dolls. Now we are just waiting and walking, walking and waiting. And drinking litres of raspberry leaf tea. Apparently it tones the uterus, and I have no idea what that means, but according to Wikipedia it can cause labour to start or be easier or something, so I’m all over it.

I would love to hear about what you did to prepare for the birth of your child, or the interesting ways you spent your time waiting! I am also curious if anyone has a story about crazy birthing equipment?!

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8 responses

  1. Hi NIcki! I can’t help but chime in here – I sort of went through the same thing as you and finally decided to fill my head with positive birth stories only. We had midwives for both births and did them both naturally! I found the shower and the birthing ball were awesome for both. I know what you’re talking about with the ropes, and they have bars here that you can sort of hang from with your hands to help you relax during contractions. At first I thought it was hilarious, but in the heat of the moment I figured I would try it and found it really helpful. I remember the weeks leading up to Lachlan’s birth – I think I walked for miles and miles… and I’m pretty sure that helped. If only I had known about the raspberry leaf tea, I might not have been overdue! Best of luck to you – I’m sure you guys will do great 🙂

  2. Hi Nicki,
    I love the birthing studio, it gives the impression that giving birth is going to be a lot of fun! You made the right choice going to Germany! Lots of kisses, Adé

  3. I am thinking of you a lot, so this blog post helped me better understand exactly where you’re at in terms of mindset and preparation. Lots of positive stories are great, and I did that, but I think a balanced approach will not leave you feeling disappointed or otherwise if things don’t go so “positively”. I am sure your midwife is also preparing you to be ready for the unexpected, which includes a LOT of pain. Being realistic will reduce the anxiety.

    I also did a lot of walking, especially hills. I enjoyed swimming/walking laps in the pool as well. I think the thing that I tried to do most was sleep and rest with my feet up, because once that little one comes you won’t be getting much sleep for a while.
    As for the second, it’s all chasing a toddler, school, moving, etc. So enjoy the amazing opportunity to relish the entire experience the first time around. You guys are going to be great parents!

  4. Nicki all the best with everything! I had a good birthing experience 2 months ago and I wish you the same 🙂 Motherhood is FANTASTIC and no doubt you will be an amazing mum and Pat an awesome dad!

    Just a note, 2 other good books by Daniel Stern are:
    The birth of a Mother
    Diary of a Baby
    They’re not only for birth, but great for the road ahead as a mum!

    Much love,
    Ayesha and Imaan

  5. You go girl!! You are going to do just great. For me, my doula had a rope system that I referred to as the ‘water ski rope’ which she hooked onto the bar in front of me so I could grab onto that and pushhhhhhh…lol…I never had that for the first one so I was really happy to see my doula pull that out of her bag of tricks!
    all the best Nicki…will be sending positive energy your way over the next few weeks!!
    Nicole McNaught

  6. Nicki,
    The birthing studio is very impressive, wow! It looks like as soothing as a birthing room could be.
    I am thinking of you two lots as the time is coming nearer for you to deliver. I am also thinking of you since the organization I’m working with here in Kathmandu runs a daycare, which I hope to be involved with. So I could definitely use your ECD knowledge!
    Hop you’re settling in well there in Germany.
    xoxo Mira

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