How to Prep for Labor

Part I: First you are going to want to stand in front of a warm and cozy fire. Take about 30 seconds to write a “birth plan” and then go ahead and rip it into little shreds before placing it gently in the fire. If you want you can have your birth partner help with the ripping because this symbolically will be about as much as they can “help you through the pain” of actual labor. If you have a playlist, incense, a birthing ball, or other materials, those can be destroyed as well, because just like in parenthood, absolutely nothing will go according to plan and it’s best to recognize now that all of your preconceived expectations will go up in smoke.

Part II: Sleep like your life depends on it. You cannot afford to enter labor in a sleep deficit. If you have children already, you will naturally be about 3 or 4 years behind in the recommended 8 hours a night; so lock yourself in a hotel room or your favorite spot to hide while you eat dessert you don’t want to share and set up camp like a toddler in a sea of stuffed animals.

Part III: Don’t make any other major life choices during this time. These last few weeks shouldn’t determine the ultimate size of your family. If these decisions were final, the world would be filled with only children. The biggest decision you should allow yourself at this point is what color nail polish should go on your toes.

Part IV: Change your outgoing greeting to, “We haven’t had the baby yet, but you will be the first one notified when we do.” Also copy and paste a witty, yet sarcastic text to send out when your due date approaches and you aren’t even dilated yet. Make sure it’s still charming as you will want them to eventually bring food.

Part V: Make believe that on labor day you’ll be transformed into Ariel from the Little Mermaid and be forced to give up your voice as the ultimate sacrifice of love. Your birth partner's most important role will be for them to advocate your top 3 most important things.

Here’s my list for reference:

1). Do not let them tell me I am too far along for an epidural. I typically arrive during the “transition” phase which is aptly named since this is when you transition from a human being into Alien vs Predator. Name drop my beloved, dearly departed Grandpa who was the chief of anesthesiology for all of Northern California Kaisers if necessary and do not stop fighting for it until this is me:

2). Do not let them give me Pitocin. My average birth time is about 2 hours (I know I will lose friends by admitting this) so I do not need any help in the speed department.

3). Stay with the baby if it comes to that. I am a strong, independent, Bad-A Mama and I don’t want our little one to be alone.

Ultimately this is you and your baby’s first dance together, so take mental snapshots throughout the experience that you and only you can carry around for those challenging days to come. Mine, for both girls, was the moment I pulled them onto my chest. Today, when the going gets tough I hold them close, put them to my heart and immediately I’m transported back there; where we first met, fell in love, and they showed me how to be a mother.