I want to live in a world where parents don’t have to choose between career or family or self; a world in which all parents have meaningful, flexible work, and have ample time to simply be with their families without constantly rushing. I want to live in a world where parents feel fully supported by society and by their communities and by each other. Yes I know it sounds Utopian, but...
The truth is that we don’t live in this world unless we create it. We have to build community, make time for ourselves and demand flexibility from our jobs, or create businesses of our own so we can design our lives to work around our families. It’s challenging to live life the way we really want, but I truly believe we can do anything we set our minds to. So strive for happiness, work less, play more, put yourself on your priority list, and enjoy life as much as you possibly can!
Because really, how many of our kids will ever think, If only my parents had worked harder and made more money!?!
Some of us are simply petrified of natural childbirth, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of! An epidural can be a great thing. (Yes, I had epidurals for both of my births.) However, know that if you go that route, you can’t do all the stuff you’re able to do in a natural birth – things like walking around, laboring in a birthing tub, being free from constant fetal monitoring and an IV, etc. I didn’t understand that completely until I was in labor and learned that all the medical things like the IV and the fetal monitor and lying on my back, were all non-negotiable due to the epidural. Somehow I thought I would be able to convince the hospital staff to let me skip the IV and the fetal monitor and that I would win because I usually get what I want. Yeah, right!
If you choose an epidural, here are my Top Five Tips:
1. Labor at home for as long as possible. Take a bath, rest, breathe, and go to the hospital when your contractions are coming regularly, about 3 minutes apart.
2. Have an advocate (partner, doula, mom) with you at all times, to help you discuss any suggested medications and/or interventions.
3. Ask for medication before you need it – it may take over an hour for the anesthesiologist to show up. (You can also request pain or anti-anxiety meds as soon as you’re admitted.)
4. Be nice to the nurses. You may be stuck with them until the shift change (7am and 7pm), and you want them on your side!
5. Try to time the epidural right. You don’t want it too early (it may wear off while you’re pushing), and you don’t want it too late (you may miss your opportunity). Discuss with your birthing team to determine the ideal timing for you.
Remember this is your body, your baby, and the choices are yours. Though you may not always get what you want, don’t be afraid to speak up!
I recently spoke with a woman who was 31 weeks pregnant with her second baby. Although she had no complications with her first delivery and delivered a nearly 10 lb baby naturally, her ObGyn is concerned about another big baby and keeps mentioning that she should schedule an induction a week before her due date. This mom wants to deliver naturally and has no interest in an induction, but she's afraid to speak up to her ObGyn. She is nervous that her ObGyn will drop her as a patient, or that he will force her to be induced. Now, this may sound silly, but it's a very real fear and it's too common, especially in NYC. Why not state your birthing preferences? Why are we afraid of medical practitioners? Whether you want to deliver naturally, have a scheduled c-section or an epidural, it's your body, your baby, and your preferences should be honored, period. Things may not go as you planned in childbirth, but if you don't discuss your plan with your birthing team, you will never know if they're agreeable or not. If you're not comfortable enough to speak honestly with your practitioners, or if they are not willing to honor your birthing preferences, perhaps you should find a new practice.