If I Had It to Do Again :: Reflections on Birthing Children

This post is part of an editorial series, “The Stork Stories,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog and Texas Health. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and answers as you prepare for baby’s arrival.

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My youngest child was born almost six years ago, and I can still remember every detail. I love reminding my husband about all the specifics of each labor and delivery we experienced, especially when I tear up over how our boys are growing. When I think of the moments leading up to birthing my boys and the moments after, gratitude and joy fill my heart. When it was all said and done, I walked (okay, was pushed in a wheelchair for safety reasons) out of the hospital, got in our car, and made it home with a healthy baby — twice. If I had it to do again, what more could I ask for?

Well, for starters, I could ask for time to stand still. This time in a mother’s life passes undeniably way too quickly. Looking back, should a friend ask if I had it to do again, what would I do differently, here are my answers in no particular order.

Wait. I will wait longer to go to the hospital. I was so nervous with my first son; I could have lived in the hospital during the entire pregnancy. I was past my due date, and I was overly anxious. I have no idea what I thought would happen during the first few contractions, but I didn’t want to find out alone. My husband and I went to the hospital to learn I was only at a one. In less than an hour, I went from one to four. However, TWENTY-THREE HOURS LATER, I gave birth. So yep, seeing how I didn’t have food or water for over a day when I was preparing for the most extensive push of my life, I think I will wait at home a little longer next time.

Makeup. Shallow you may say, but I will definitely wear makeup. I remember the day one of my friends told me she needed me to grab her makeup bag before her C-section. Whaaat?? How did she even remember that? After I saw her glowing, after-delivery snapshots and compared them to my raw photographs, the question is really, how could I forget the makeup bag? Maybe I won’t do the full on make-over like my friend, but a little lipstick will go a long way.

pregnant bellyProfessional photographer. I will employ a professional birth photographer. Not doing so is sincerely one of my biggest regrets. I didn’t miss the professional pregnancy and birth photos until recently, as I was combing through photos. The candid snapshots are nice, but there is something sentimental about taking time to capture the polished memories, as well.

Sleep. I will sleep, sleep, sleep. Did I say I will sleep? I will sleep so much before delivery, my new nickname will become Sleeping Beauty. I will only awaken for the kiss of a contraction. I know it is difficult to sleep during pregnancy at times; however, I was so tired after delivery. Honestly, it is safe to say I am still tired from giving birth. Yes, I know I cannot technically “save sleep,” but, by golly, I will try.

Say no. I will tell the hospital solicitors NO. I will tell the random consultants NO. I will tell some friends NO. I may even tell my mama NO. I will tell the folks who want to inform me of the latest diseases, worldwide travesties, and depressing and discouraging commentary to go away, not at this time, I am not interested, come back never. I will set my boundaries in what works for me and tell everyone else NO. I will not feel bad about it.

Exercise. I will exercise more. For me, this means simply exercising. If I had it to do again, I will make exercise a priority.

Pray more, worry less. I will pray more about a safe delivery and worry less about the experience going my way. I wanted to try things I read in books and discussed with friends. I had heard many stories of disappointments. Next time, I will pray more and let the peace of positive outcomes flood my memory bank.

Ask for help. I will ask for help, and I will accept help. I am a pretty independent gal, and asking for help can be challenging. Yet, having a newborn is even more challenging. When help is offered, I will not turn it down. Before birth and after, I will embrace help. As a matter of fact, I may even make a “just in case someone offers me help” list. All help, practical and emotional, is a support during the birthing journey, and I will be sure to stay open to it.

If I had it to do again, I would do many things the same, as well. Perhaps that is a post for another day. I am so thankful for the birthing journey, where I took part in a miracle. What joy!

What would you do differently? Please share!

Andrena moved to Texas as a newlywed in 2006. She and her husband, Elten, have two active and loving boys, Ernest (born in 2009) and Andruw (born in 2010). Andrena finds great joy in simple living. She loves good food, good friends, and good conversation. In her free time, she likes to write and photograph her family. You can follow her personal blog at myandrena.com.


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