When it comes to choosing where to give birth take your time and choose well. This shouldn’t be a decision based on what other people think, it is you who gives birth. Yes, homebirth is great for some people, but if you feel more comfortable knowing that there’s an operating theatre nearby then that is a very valid choice as well. Conversely, hospital isn’t for everyone and the cascade of intervention: epidural, leading to forceps and so on and so forth, is always a possibility.
More than anything, birthing is in the mind. If you feel comfortable, open and totally without fear then your muscles relax, the birthing hormones kick-in you have the very best hope of labour running smoothly.
For some women, a happy half way point between hospital and home is the birth centre. Auckland’s Birthcare birthing centre offers birthing rooms with balls and pools, and a private postnatal room (depending on availability) for labouring women and their lead midwife. There are no operating rooms or obstetricians, but if you’re simply looking for a bit of extra back-up when giving birth in terms of meals brought to you, a well-designed labour environment and nursing back-up, then this is a great option.
Post-birth, my wonderful doula had the foresight to take pictures of the very first time I held and fed my now seven-year-old daughter. I cherish those images: the mix of joy and disbelief on my face as I grapple with this tiny, wriggling figure; the excruciatingly tender look my husband has holding her. Now my daughter also loves looking at these moments from her very first minutes on earth.
For those in the Auckland area, New Beginnings Birth Photography specialises in catching these fleeting moments in pregnancy and birth with intimate documentary-style images.
Nurture and Protect
In some ways, giving birth brings a harsh dose of reality for a new mum. As soon as baby arrives, the spotlight shifts from her. This is no bad thing: newborns are tiny, helpless and in need of constant care. But to do this, a mum really needs all the support her friends and family can give her. This is a vulnerable time and many feel the baby blues a few days after birth which can deepen into Post Natal Depression.
Pop in for a coffee to hold baby so she can have a quick shower; bring over cake or something for her freezer (home-baked is lovely, but shop bought equally welcome); offer to hang out the laundry or clean the bathroom: small gestures of support in those first few overwhelming weeks of parenthood are indescribably important.