In my last post we thought about if it matters how many people are at your birth. (Short answer: Yes. There are lots of reasons why and how to decide how many!)
But of course we’re not talking just arbitrary numbers here. The much bigger question than the last one, which will affect your birth in astounding ways, is WHO will be at your birth. Does that matter? I’ll answer that one right now with too many exclamation points: YES!!!!!!!!!
This one is huge, y’all.
Have you ever seen that photo of a bunch of people looking over the side of a boat looking for sea life and on the other side of the boat there’s an absolutely massive whale just hanging out?
Sometimes this info is like that situation. Parents getting ready for birth are looking around wondering what they should pack in their hospital bag or obsessing over which swing is the best to put on their registry, when there’s something much bigger they haven’t noticed yet.
The people present at your birth will have a tangible affect on your experience. You need to feel safe and supported during your birth.
Having your best team supporting you can make your birth 100 times more satisfying, empowering, and with literal better outcomes than having people there who do not support your goals or even choosing not to have support there. Choosing a good support team will make a positive difference.
This is something you need to put serious thought into. Sometimes it involves putting money into it too, so you want to choose wisely.
But how do you decide who to invite? Picture me putting a huge magnifying glass up to one eye so it’s super big. We’re going to examine all the options!
(Note: doing ALL the options in one post got too long! So we’re breaking this baby up into two parts. This’ll be part one.)
Your person. ❤ Of course you want them to be there! It’s generally a given that your partner will be with you, so this one doesn’t feel like as much of a decision as some of the other ones on this list. You both want to welcome your baby together!
Most partners also do not want to sit in the corner and vaguely call out “You’re doing great, babe!” while they watch you go through the hard work of labor. But they may not know what to do!
They love you so well, have your back in everything, and would do anything for you. Birth is something new though, so do they know how to do all those things for you during labor and birth?
Most partners are not reading all the books and watching all the videos that you are (though I’ve met a few who do!), so how are they going to be ready? Birth classes are where it’s at. Take one together and you’ll both feel prepared and on the same page.
You’re going to want to have a lot of conversations beforehand so your partner understands your goals, needs, and desires as you go into birth together.
(Note: There are sometimes situations where the partner is not present for the birth and this happens for a wide variety of reasons. If this is your situation, keep reading the list because there are so many ways to have a well supported birth! This post and the next one!)
The fact that you will have a care provider is pretty much a given, but which care provider you work with is another question entirely! There are a few things you should definitely think about.
Is your provider supportive of your goals? Are they encouraging you in achieving them or just “letting you try.” Do you feel that you can trust that their recommendations are for your best or merely for their own preferences or convenience? Do they have the skill and experience in the type of birth you want to have?
Remember: You are hiring this person. You are not working for them. They are working for you. Of course we want their knowledge, skill, and experience. So find someone who has the knowledge, skills, and experience with the kind of birth you want, who listens well and communicates with respect and you will have an excellent provider on your birth team!
If these questions are making you wonder if you might need a change, look into it! You’d be surprised how late in your pregnancy you can change providers. (hint: anytime you want)
I won’t do a separate entry for students, but sometimes your care provider has a student that is learning from them. They may ask if you are comfortable having that person present at your birth as well. That person is working under the guidance of your care provider, so they likely won’t affect your birth in a different way from your provider. But you might ask if you could meet them first. It’s up to you if you feel comfortable having them in your birth room.
If you are giving birth in a hospital, nurses will be there with you.
They aren’t in the room all the time, but they have many important jobs in helping you give birth in the hospital. (Though they are there more than an OB is, who usually stops in now and then and really shows up for pushing).
You can expect any nurses helping you to be aware of and respect your birth plan and show kindness and compassion. If the nurse who is assigned to you is adding stress to your birth experience rather than help, you can (and should) ask to have a different nurse. A supportive and caring nurse is a treasure and you will be so glad to have one on your team!
That covers the first group of people you’ll want to think about in relation to your birth. I hope you’ll put some thought into any questions or concerns that may have come up for you. Go talk to the people you need to talk to.
If you want some recommendations for people to have on your team, here’s my resource list for the New Braunfels area!
Check back for Part 2 as we look at the people who you need to decide about inviting or not!