Welcome to the finish line! You have arrived annnnd.......your baby might still be hanging out inside for a bit longer. WHAT?? Yeahhh, no one wants to accept the fact that you might not deliver exactly on time. Unfortunately, that is just a fact of life. But now, you will know for a fact that whether labor starts on its own, or is induced, it will be happening in the next handful of days! It's baby time mama!!!
Only about 15% of women start labor with their water breaking. For most, the water will break or be broken in a later stage of labor. But, what if you are part of the 15% that does start that way? Well, you will want to look at the color of the fluid. Amniotic fluid should be colorless and odorless. If it is anything but those two things make sure that you inform your provider! When your water breaks, you will need to head to the hospital or birthing center in which you are delivering. Woo hoo!
So what else might happen during labor? First of all, know that it is possible to get sent home even if you are having contractions (if your water has not broken, of course)! For some, especially for first-time moms, the first stage of labor moves slowly. You might be having regular contractions, but if your cervix is not dilating, they just might send you home until you progress further. You may even get put on oxygen. This doesn't always mean that there is something "wrong." Sometimes you and baby both just need a little extra while you work through the delivery! There are of course a lot of other things that will happen, but you will experience them all soon enough!
After 40 weeks of growing in a small dark place, anyone would be ready to get out, right? Hopefully your baby is thinking the same way, and wants to vacate their cozy home right on time! This week may be the official end of pregnancy, but sometimes the baby and your body just have a mind of their own.
When baby does make her sweet arrival, she won't be able to see very much. Newborn babies can only focus one inch in front of them. Although they might not be able to examine the details of your face, they will recognize their parents voices from their time in the womb!
Transitioning to a place where they are not curled up and perfectly regulated all the time, is quite the adjustment. It does both baby and mom good to spend some time doing skin-to-skin right in the beginning! Soak in those uninterrupted quiet moments as much as you can! You still have to take care of yourself of course, so you will want to master swaddling too! A great swaddle, will help your babe feel like they are back in your womb!
You have gone over your birth plan a hundred times or more by now. Although you know exactly what you want to happen, you should be aware of the possibility that those plans may need to be changed. The most important part of delivery is getting baby here safely, and preserving your health at the same time! If that means there ends up being some alterations to your original birth plan, that is more than okay! Just take a deep breath and trust the provider that you picked so long ago for that exact reason.
Written by: Alyssa Liston