Congratulations! You’ve made it to the big day. Your contractions are making you uncomfortable and close enough together that your caregiver has asked you to come to the hospital or birth center. Maybe even your water has broken. Your excited and a bit scared. What do you do when you get there? What should you expect?
Upon arrival to the hospital or birthing center you will go to the admission’s desk. Your caregiver should have already let them know you are were on the way. Have your ID and insurance card ready to go. Even if you have pre-registered they will ask for this when you check in. Remember your breathing during this time as it may take a few minutes. It’s okay. There are many people around to assist you.
After registration, and you get your identification bracelet, you will be escorted to your room. The person that escorts you may or may not remind you of the room’s amenities. If they do not, the nurse will when they come in. A gown will be provided for you to change into. You may choose to wear your own birthing attire. (See “What Do I Wear During Labor?”) While you are changing, your partner or Doula will unpack any special items that have been decided on to be used for labor. Such as a diffuser, a picture for a focal point or some other comfort and coping item. It is best to store your personal belongings that will not be needed during labor in a provided closet or on counter that will be off the floor and out of the way. You don’t want anyone, much less yourself, tripping over a stray bag strap and getting injured.
A nurse or another member of your birth team, will come in and check all your vital signs and ask you lots of questions about how you are currently feeling. They may or may not check your dilation progress. That will depend on the orders of your caregiver, how you are feeling when you arrive and if your water has broken. This is a good time to give the support staff the Birthing Wishes For Labor Day that have been previously discussed with your caregiver and written out.
What happens next depends on your location, what you have discussed with your caregiver and your physical condition as you present at the hospital or birthing center. Your Doula can help you with a list of questions to ask so that you are prepared for your specific situation and location. The following are some examples of what you might experience.
Fetal Heart Rate & Contraction Monitors
It’s likely that you have already experienced these at least once already during your pregnancy. If not, pink and blue stretchy bands are placed behind your back and then wrapped around your stomach to hold a fetal heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor into place. It is typical for the first 30 mins that you are there with these you will have to stay in the bed. After that, there are wireless adapters they can attach to the monitors to allow you to walk, use the birthing ball and move around more freely.
An IV is started for fluids and any pain medications that may be requested. If you are planning on an Epidural, you will need to have a full bag of fluids before they are able to administer it.
Dilation or Progression Check
As stated before, this can be done by the nurse or by your caregiver. Checking your progress lets them know how your body is doing and if the baby is moving down as needed. This will not be done too often as it is uncomfortable for you and it increases risks for infection.
Birthing & Peanut Balls
If birthing and balls are provided by the facility. Now is the time to grab one! Be prepared for when you are need. If your Doula is bringing her own, then your all set!
Before the big day one of the best things you can do is ASK QUESTIONS! It is always recommended that you take a tour of the facility you will be giving birth in. It will give you a chance to see the labor and delivery room, become familiar with the environment and ask the staff there any specific questions you may have. Discuss labor day with both your caregiver and Doula so that they are aware of your wishes. They will also be able to let you know the policies of the facility you will be giving birth in. Working together will help you prepare for a wonderful birthing experience.
Most of all Momma, breathe. Be beautiful. Be Zen. Be a Goddess.