Preparing for labor and birth- my favorite resources

Thursday, March 25

This is a post I've been meaning to write since I was pregnant with Avonlea. 

That was four years ago, and I'm just now getting around to it before the birth of our 3rd baby ( due date is actually today! Come on out little guy! haha) 

I knew going into this process of preparing for birth that I didn't want to be overwhelmed with a million voices in my ear. I wanted to be selective in how I prepared myself with books and resources that resonated with my heart to be as natural and baby friendly as possible. 

In an effort not to overwhelm you, I will list the top 3 resources that impacted my mindset and I believe, truly prepared both my mind and body for an amazing labor. 

Just to preface, the number one lesson I learned from each of these resources is to keep your hands open to the birth that the Lord gives you. Often, if we go in with a PLAN of how WE want it, we will be gravely disappointed. No birth ever goes "according to plan" so it's best to just roll with the punches and allow your body to relax into the Plan HE has for you! 

With that same idea in mind, it's important to know that while I may have desired a fully "natural" type birth, part of keeping my hands open was truly knowing that having meds (wether induction medication or an epidural or anything in between) could be beautiful too. Avonlea's birth did NOT go according to what I had envisioned, but because my heart was so open, I look back at her birth story as so so beautiful and holy (even though I was induced and ended up needing an epidural). You can read more of her birth story here.  And Everett's birth was the total opposite of Avonlea's birth...all natural and so fast! It was crazy! 

Preparing for birth is far more than just knowing facts about how birth works, it's preparing our mind and body to relax and rest when we may want to fear. And these resources below are what really help me learn how to do that! 

A Heavenly Welcome- Kingdom Childbirth Class

In 2009, the Lord put the most incredible mentor and friend in my life named Kierra. We worked together at the same non-profit and over the years I watched as Kierra got married, had her children, wrote life changing books, and become a doula. Kierra has since helped thousands of women prepare and become confident in the birthing process God has for them. She started a ministry called A Heavenly Welcome and you will find the most amazing resources there. While pregnant with Avonlea I regularly listened to her podcasts where she would interview women about their labor and birth process, and it made me realize nothing goes to "our plan" but how was can truly live into God's plan and enjoy the birthing process. Kierra has lots of other great resources on her website 

Kierra also created an incredible Kingdom Childbirth Class which Kevin and I both took together. When you purchase it, you gain access to dozens of lessons that prepare your mind and heart both physically for what is about to come, mentally, and of course, spiritually. It was such a sweet bonding time for Kevin and I to go through it together. It also comes with a birthing soundtrack, scripture cards to take with you to your birth, and other printable birth resources. The great thing is, her class is so affordable (Compared to most birthing classes!) This was such a sweet foray into preparing my heart for birth. 

Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongen

Hypnobirthing: A Natural Approach To A Safe, Easier, More Comfortable  Birthing (CD is not included): Mongan, Marie: 9780757318375:  Books

Don't let the title of this book scare you. Hypnobirthing is not hypnotizing yourself nor is it dabbling with something "new agey". It's actually an amazing method which helps you teach your body how to relax and release any fear you may have going into birth. The HypnoBirthing program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Essentially, it taught me so much about ways I could train my body to be at peace, even during the pains of contractions. I was induced with Avonlea, and was in hard labor for about 16 hours. I played the CD on repeat for hours on end, and it was what got me through the intense labor. Every nurse that came into the room commented on how peaceful and calming it was. I was actually able to sleep between contractions, because I had used the cd to train my body to be at peace with it. I LOVE this book and always recommend it to friends. 

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth "Updated With New Material": Ina May Gaskin:  0074748342760: Books

This book truly reinforced many of the things I learned in the resources above. It empowered me that my body was MEANT to birth a child, that childbirth is beautiful and holy and amazing. It had a lot of really incredible birth stories in it (which was fascinating to read), and gave a lot of info about how the body works during childbirth. It's probably slightly outdated now, but I still found the principles and encouragement really life giving! 

If you are preparing for your first birth or your third like me, these resources are all SO wonderful. 

I'm curious...what resources helped you to prepare for birth? 

Pray for me friends as I spend these last few days (or hours) preparing for the birth of our newest sweet boy!! It could be any day, hour or minute now, haha!!