A letter to my younger self – when your birth plan changes
Congratulations, you just found out you are pregnant! How exciting! I know you have waited so long for this moment. You fought hard to get here and now look at you: Tears of joy running over your face, your hand shaking, holding the positive pregnancy test. The look of disbelief in your eyes. The feeling of overwhelming love for your unborn child.
Enjoy this moment, you deserve it.
It is an emotional time for you, trust me, I‘ve been there. But don’t worry, you will have a beautiful pregnancy. You will be able to enjoy every minute of it. You will doubt yourself at times, and that is OK. You will do just fine.
You wonder about this tiny being inside of you. Let me tell you a secret, it’s a girl. But you sensed that already, didn’t you? She will be nothing like you imagine her, but she will be everything you hope for. And yes, just like you, she will have your dad’s rather square looking fingers. She will be perfect.
This is your first child and it is all knew to you. I know you are scared, primarily of the birth. People told you it will be painful. They told you that you will need medication because you are not strong enough. Don’t listen to them. You will know better. You will educate yourself. You will be brave enough to question the things you that you have been taught. You will make one good decision after another, all of them leading up to your choice of a natural, un-medicated and positive birth experience. Things will not work out as planned, but I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let me start at the beginning:
First of all, your husband may not read all of the Hypnobirthing books you bought for him, but he will be wonderful. He will be your rock. And although your mom won’t be able to make the long trip from Germany, there will be another person watching over you; somebody, who will quietly create an atmosphere of peace and comfort, just by being there. Somebody, who will hold your hand, whisper encouraging words and who will stand up for you and protect you during this vulnerable time. That person will be your Doula, Lorie
Your labor will be beautiful, exactly how you imagine it. You will labor at home, in your familiar surroundings, with your husband and Lorie. You will be relaxed because you know Lorie has done this before and knows how you feel. You will trust her to know when it is time to go to the hospital, so you don’t have to stress about the perfect timing. She recognizes your strength; she knows what you are capable of. Her respect for you makes you feel confident. You will drink tea together, talk, laugh and oh yeah and every few minutes you will have a labor surge. Then you will close your eyes, go deep within yourself and breathe, knowing you are safe. Shortly before midnight, you will be on your way to the hospital. Lorie never leaves your side. She knows her way around the, to you so unfamiliar, hospital hallways. The soft pressure of her hand holding yours, while guiding you to your hospital room, will be your security blanket.
Once in your room, Lorie will make you comfortable by setting up your music, dimming the lights and answering the door whenever someone knocks. She will protect your dignity by covering your body with a towel so you don’t feel exposed. It will be a relaxed atmosphere, allowing your labor to pick up. You will become more concentrated – you will be in your own world. It is an intense and powerful feeling! You are able to let go, knowing that your husband and Lorie are there to support you, no matter the circumstances.
Lorie will set up the birthing tub when she feels you are ready. The water feels soothing. And while letting your big belly float in the water, you will enjoy having these last moments with your daughter so close. It will be so peaceful. You go through transition and your husband will hold your hands, while Lorie will stroke your back and hair. Later, you will remember how such simple touches will leave you feeling so loved.
The room will get busier; midwife and nurses checking in more often now. But do not worry; with your husband standing by your head, Lorie will always be right next to you, to explain what is happening. You trust her because you know she has your best interest in mind. She is your advocate, assisting you with any questions, filling out forms and understanding the hospital policies.
More time will pass. You are bearing down with everything you have. You connect with your instincts. You will become a warrior. When you feel like you have no energy left, Lorie will encourage you, telling you exactly what you need to hear to keep you going, even after several hours of pushing.
You will be exhausted, you will be scared. You will be faced with a C-section. I know, this isn’t what you want to hear, but sometimes things just don’t go as planned. It will be OK, trust me. Lorie will be right by your side. Holding you. Crying with you. Her heart will break for you, but in those moments she will be strong for you and your husband.
And then it is time…
Oh, how can I ever find the right words to describe to you the feeling of hearing the very first cry of your baby? The world stands still, all other noises fade. You will hold her, touch her, look into her eyes and from that moment on, you will be hers and she will be yours. There is nothing that compares to this moment. You’ll see…
Lorie will not be in the room, but by talking to the nurse, she made sure that you will get immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby and even be able to nurse her right on the operating table.
Although you will be dazed, you will notice Lorie being there when you come back from the OR. While your husband will be too nervous to pay attention to anything but you and his brand new baby girl, she made sure all your belongings made it safely to the new hospital room. She will stay until you are settled and you have nursed your baby. Then she will leave, but the impact she made on you and your birthing experienced will stay.
You see, you will not have a natural, un-medicated childbirth. But you will have a beautiful, un-medicated labor which will leave you empowered. You will be able to experience your body’s strength during the surges without fear because you felt safe.
I want to thank you, for you will be the one making the decision to hire a Doula. You will not know how much you will need her at that time, what she will mean to you. But instinctively, you know that she will make a difference even, or especially when things don’t go as planned.
With love… L.
My name is Lena Howard. I was born and raised as the oldest of three sisters in a small village in Germany. At an early age, I discovered my love for books and writing and since then it has become my creative outlet.
In 2008, I moved to the US to be with my husband Ron, who I met by chance over the internet. We have been married for almost 6 years and live in South Florida. In May 2013, we welcomed our first child, a daughter named Amelie. Since my pregnancy, I have become passionate about natural birth, breastfeeding and all things attachment parenting.
Now we are a family of three, living under one roof with two dogs, three cats and some salt water fishes, juggling two different cultures to create a harmonic, and sometimes chaotic, household. We feel strongly about living a natural lifestyle, which is based on healthy, organic foods and being environmentally responsible, a very down to earth and gentle approach of raising our daughter, a conscience of gratitude and naturally – Love.
Link for Lorie’s website: http://www.orchidnest.com/
Link for my Blog: http://babyhoward.weebly.com/blog.html