My younger sister is expecting a bouncing baby boy in late September (but probably October). Even though Vi is my first baby and she isn't even a year yet I feel as though I've acquired (some) knowledge of baby rearing.
On that note, my expertise is limited to a healthy, non colicky, fairly even tempered girl baby. However, unlike the previous geneations who have solid advice my advice is so fresh that I havent even left the garden yet.
So I'm going to try to keep this fairly general and most of the things I am going to list she has already asked or saw my experiences or heard me taking about it.
Despite that. Here it goes, it's gonna be a long one.
1. Try to labour at home as long as possible.
This does not mean until you're past the point of no return. Give yourself plenty of leeway to get to the hospital in a leisurely fashion. It certainly won't be leisurely for you, I'm sorry to say. Also make sure you have enough time to have an epidural if that your plan (and I'm pretty sure it is).
It's SO much easier to be distracted when you have your own movies, music, reading material and friends who can come and go easily.
Invite everyone, the whole neighbourhood. Make them tell you jokes and basically ignore everytime you need to stop and breath and wince and cry a little. No need to dwell on a contraction everytime it happens. Live it and move on.
2. Ask for the drugs (if you want them) if and when it becomes so tiresome and painful that you panic a little.
Or before if you want. I had the policy that the less time I was doped up the better. Don't let the nurses make you feel pressured any which way. The anesthesiologist will come back to the hospital, even if he wants to sleep, to inject that sweet sweet nectar into your back.
3. Start preparing meals for yourself to freeze.
Super easy stuff than you can take out in the morning and let thaw all day. Sheppards pie, lasagna, stews, chili, borscht. Anything with a lot of fibre.
4. Buy tucks pads, a sits bath and fibre supplements
You're gonna need them.
5. Make Lists
Make a birthing checklist, I found one by just googling birth plan checklist or something. They are always geared towards Americans so don't take things too literally. Also when the time comes don't be upset when your birth plan gets thrown out the window. It's a guide and it's mostly so you know your options.
Make a baby stuff list, again something you can search. Don't be duped into thinking you need it all. You won't.
Lists made me feel a bit better, a bit more in control. They can also be stressful when you don't have it all a week before your due date. People have survived for millions of years without this stuff so don't sweat it.
6. Make sure the call button works at the hospital.
Not pre baby but not baby care. Call for something simple like extra bed pads.
You will want to be sure in case there is an emergency or you need something in a hurry. Call while there are still people visiting so someone can run and tell them it didn't work.
7. Bring a whole box of your own pads to the hospital for after the baby
I didn't. So stupid.
Also pack at least like 15 diapers. I think I only packed 8. Also so stupid. They don't poop or pee that much yet but that won't stop you from changing him unnecessarily.
8. Listen to and read lots of different experiences
From the 30 hour to the 40 minute. With and without drugs. Different kinds of drugs. Various circumstances. Emergency situations.
Then comfort yourself by repeatedly saying, "everyone's experience is different." Don't think about what ifs but also don't be in a situation where things are happening around you and you're the only clueless one.
9. Don't be afraid to tell people what's what during labor.
Friends, family, nursing staff. We aren't mind readers. It's ok to be bossy. Encouraged. Tell us what you need and want. We are at your beck and call.
10. Don't be afraid.
Nervous, yes. Anxious, probably. Don't be afraid because its unavoidable. Face it head on.
11. I'm there for you.
I'll also go away when you don't need me. When it's family time.
I love you. I want this to be as awesome as an experience as I know it can be.
You're going to be amazing and I have faith in you.