Oh my goodness friends, I'm sitting here writing this at 36.5 weeks pregnant! I thought this day would NEVER come ;-P
A Quick 3rd Trimester Recap
The 3rd trimester started off very strong! I actually felt pretty decent from about 27-31 weeks... then we were just bombarded with a ton of information that I'm sure I will share eventually... it's just not the time (yet)!
I had my/our baby shower this trimester, which was super exciting and beautiful. Plus, baby girl's nursery is almost put together. If all goes according to plan, everything will be hung by 37 weeks and I'll be able to put up my feet and relax a bit. Lord knows that will be the exact moment she decides it's time to enter the world!
How I'm Preparing for Childbirth
In true form, I've probbbbably gone a little overboard in "preparing" for childbirth, but I've been fascinated to learn about the process, the female body and my mindset around childbirth has done a complete 180 in the past couple months. Instead of being deathly afraid of the experience, I'm feeling empowered and capable going into it.
Hiring a Doula
I've felt much better since we decided to hire a doula for our daughter's birth. A doula is, simply put, a "birth coach." I wanted to have an advocate as I hope to have as close to a natural birth as possible in the hospital. I also have some wishes that are different than standard hospital procedures and protocols. Plus, I wanted someone there to help my husband through the process as he's not reading and listening to everything I have below ;)
Mama Natural Birth Course - This course was amazing. I'm so glad I could watch it in the comfort of my own home, mostly on Saturday mornings with my red raspberry leaf tea :) I loved hearing the perspective of Genevieve AKA Mama Natural, her partner-in-crime doula, natural child-birthing couples, and husbands/men... it was very detailed with tons of great resources. My only gripe is that you only have access for 1 year. It would be nice (should we ever have another child) to refresh on some of the info! I also LOVE mamanatural.com as a resource for any question I have about pregnancy or childbirth.
Hypnobirthing Home Course Audiobook + Audio Tracks for during birth - I just started listening to this in the past 2 weeks and again, it has affirmed my new positive mindset around birth.
Ina Mays' Guide to Childbirth - I cannot recommend this book enough! I did read the "2nd half" of the book first and then went back to read the positive birth stories. I like this order better than how it is presented.
Ina Mays' Guide to Breastfeeding - Great to have a foundation before getting to the hospital. I don't expect breastfeeding to be "easy" but I'm looking forward to nourishing and bonding with Baby M!
Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth - This book was actually JUST released so I didn't have much time to dive into it fully, but if it contains information like the Birth Course & Mama Natural's website, I know it will be a FANTASTIC resource!
Supernatural Childbirth - I'm a bit hesitant to recommend this one, however it's a VERY short read and shares powerful, positive birth experiences (I'm shying away from folks who are trying to tell me their negative stories). It is religious, so if Bible verses and quotes don't resonate with you, I would skip this one!
The Fear Free Childbirth Podcast - Special shout-out to episode: Preparing your mindset for birth and thanks to a fellow Disher for introducing me to this podcast episode, however there are several other episodes that are helpful.
I've also been including some "extras" to help prep my body for birth (and it must be working because at 36 weeks I was 1 cm and 70% effaced!)
6 Dates a Day - It's been said that 6 dates a day can help with the ease and length of labor. Why? Dates are said to have an oxytocin-like effect on the body and thus, increases the sensitivity of the uterus. Even if it doesn't work that way, there's no harm in these little guys... they are like nature's candy! I love them with a small dollop of nut or coconut butter.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea - I'm drinking to help strengthen the uterine wall and therefore, help with contractions. More here! I also have had the Labor Prep Tea from Pink Stork.
Chiropractor/Massage - I just started including this around 35 weeks to help ensure baby girl is in good position, my pelvis is aligned, and my muscles are relaxed!
A lesson I learned in pregnancy: it will not go according to plan (ha!), however I think having a vision in place of how you would like birth to go is important... as well as accepting and realizing that everything will not necessarily manifest that way.
I used Mama Natural's Visual Birth Plan as it seems easy for nurses & hospital staff to grab, read & understand. While I don't want to be a "control freak," this IS my body and it IS our daughter, so I would like my voice & vision to be heard.
Last, but not least, we have our hospital bag!
I'm not quite finished packing yet, but once we are home and settled, I will do a post about what was packed and used... no sense in writing this too early as I have a feeling I'm WAY overpacking. Until then, here are some of the snacks I ordered from Thrive Market! (Link will offer you 15% off.)
These have all been such a tremendous help in my mental preparation and I highly recommend them if you are someone who is feeling apprehensive about the idea of labor.
Best of luck, mama! xx
And if you have any great resources that YOU loved, leave them in the comments below, even if I mentioned them! Let others know what their BEST resources are!