while we're on this whole baby/birthing topic, why not incorporate a top ten tuesday with the same theme?
[*warning* now that i only have about 1.5 months until the baby is due, you may notice a higher frequency of baby-related posts...i think...if i can manage to get them typed up and out of my head.]
when i was first pregnant, i did a lot of research. a lot. particularly in the childbirth and labor department. i didn't know what to expect in this area because i had no previous experience to draw upon. even with the second and now third pregnancy i refer back to the resources i have discovered from my first pregnancy and read up on some new ones. it helps prepare and focus my mind for that big day. the day when we finally get to meet our sweet baby.
my top ten childbirth-related resources (in no particular order):
1. birth stories. one of the best tips i could have ever received from my pregnancy was when a friend told me to read birth stories. lots of them. if you want to get an idea of what real childbirth is like then start reading those birth stories (operative word here is "reading" not watching them like the ones on TLC). i found many helpful ones here and here. another fantastic resource is asking friends and family members who have experienced childbirth. when i was pregnant with emma, i read so many birth stories and asked as many friends and family i could about their own birth experiences. what i learned was that every birth is different. certainly there may be common trends with first, second, third, fourth (etc.) pregnancies, but each one is unique. i think the more birth stories i read, the more i was able to mentally prepare for all possible outcomes.
2. childbirth.org. i don't even remember how i found this site, but i know that i always return here during each of my pregnancies. i have found some great information on childbirth related topics such as pain relief options, natural birth options, complications, interventions. just enough to make you want to do more research.
3. ina may's guide to childbirth by ina may gaskin. i loved reading this book and learned a lot about the amazing capabilities women have in giving birth. her website has some interesting reads as well and worth checking out.
4. birthing naturally. again, another site where i don't remember how i found, but one that i return to. i found the christian childbirth section to be especially helpful for me in understanding how to take a more Christ-centered approach in my childbirth choices.
5. the bible. making time to reconnect with God helps me to focus on what's important and reaffirms my faith that when labor comes that i have nothing to fear or worry because i know the Lord will be with me. compiling a few memory verses to recall during labor has been a tremendous gift. even when i can't recall the exact words anymore because the pain requires all my energy and focus, i can still rest on the basic ideas of those verses.
6. the business of being born. this is an interesting documentary on birth in the united states.
7. waterbirth.org. i came across this site when i was first pregnant with emma. i had never heard of waterbirths before then and found it to be quite a fascinating option for childbirth. ellen, my midwife during emma's pregnancy, had addressed the possibility of doing a waterbirth with me though it would only have happened if she was the attending midwife when emma was born. i decided against it since i wasn't even sure if she would be the one doing the delivery...i didn't want to get my hopes up for nothing (turns out she did do the delivery and i probably should have considered the option). colleen (who had ellen deliver all 3 of her kids via waterbirth...small world, eh?), my current midwife, also specializes in waterbirths, and since she runs her own practice there was definitely a good chance i could do it. although i had planned a waterbirth with gibson, i didn't have a chance to experience it (you'll read more about that later). i'm hoping that i can do that with this baby.
8. the birth partner by penny simkin. i know this book is meant for the labor companions, but i read it and then relayed the information to aaron. my particular favorites were the section on the labor stages, comfort measures during labor and strategies to apply when experiencing variations in normal labor.
9. pregnancy, childbirth and the newborn by penny simkin, et al. a friend sent me this book when i was first pregnant with emma and i continue to refer to it with each pregnancy. this book offers much information without being quick to jump on the intervention/medication bandwagon. both this book and #8 above offer a wealth of information on childbirth, and have really helped me understand the natural process of childbirth.
10. gentle birth, gentle mothering by sarah buckley and pushed by jennifer block. i'm in the process of reading sarah buckley's book and plan to continue with pushed once i finish buckley's book. i think the section i found most valuable so far in buckley's book is chapter 4 (i'm only up to chapter 6 out of 13). she gives a great little "formula" on how to make wise decisions during your pregnancy and childbirth experience, and i appreciate the emphasis she places on the importance of being well-informed patients. i can't give you much on pushed since i haven't read it yet, but i have heard that it's a definite eye-opening book on the business of childbirth and current trends in maternity care.