Planning Your Birth Session
I’m chuckling a little as I am preparing this information for you, because we all know there really isn’t any way to plan your birth “session”. Birth is totally unpredictable, which makes it so uniquely exciting. But there are a few things you can do in advance to prepare for your birth in general, and therefore your birth session. The biggest piece of the planning puzzle is communicating your desires through your Birth Preferences Checklist located in your client portal, which you likely have already done. Beyond that, I have prepared a few things for you to help make your preparations easier.
Depending on where you plan to deliver- hospital, birth center, or home- your packing list will vary slightly. If you are delivering at a birth center or at home your midwife will have a specific list of items that you should pack/gather in advance. I would advise that you purchase and/or gather all of the items you need in the quiet of your second trimester. You can then pack them or prep them in a designated place when you reach full term so that you will be ready. Of course, some little ones decide to come even earlier. I have prepared a general checklist for you that you can find in the Welcome Packet you should have received during your consultation, or you can view it and print it again here.
When to Contact Me
**It is never too soon to contact me to let me know that you might be experiencing signs of labor.** In fact, I love getting early updates from mamas after their weekly appointments, even before there are any signs labor. Even if there is not much change to report, it reassures me that we are connecting. Then, if you experience any signs or symptoms that lead you to think that you might be in labor, go ahead and send me a text or give me a call to let me know. *Important: you should hear back from me promptly. If you don’t, please make a second attempt. Cell phones are wonderful, but they are not always 100% reliable for reasons I will never understand.* I promise not to hop in the car right away, but I will get all my ducks in a row on my end just in case.
You are welcome to contact me with updates as much as you want, but definitely let me know when you plan to leave for your birth location. If you are having a home birth, then communicate with me as you are your birth workers. It is never my intention to bug you during your laboring, but I do start to get anxious if I haven’t heard from mamas in several hours (depending on what the last update was), so I may reach out to you just for a little reassurance. I hope to keep my perfect birth record, so I always like to err on the side of arriving too soon. It is always and option that I capture some of the earlier labor, leave for a bit, and then return when things pick up pace.
So the moral of all this: communication is KEY to our success. 😉
Location, Location, Location
As is mentioned in your Birth Contract, you will need to verify your doctor’s and birth location’s policy on birth photography in advance. Some locations have specific regulations that they expect that I follow, which I always strive to do. It is just important that we all understand what they are ahead of time so that we can avoid any surprises.
What to Wear
It really is not necessary to plan out what you are going to wear while you are in labor or delivering your baby, but some moms like to so I will mention it.
For Moms: Depending on where you are delivering, you may not have many options about what you choose to labor in, so this is something else you will want to ask ahead of time- perhaps when you go on the tour of your birth location. In some hospital settings it is expected that you will wear the hospital gown given to you, but usually this is flexible. Primarily hospital gowns prevent you from ruining anything that is of value to you due to bodily fluids, but they also allow easy access when needed. Just keep this in mind when selecting your alternate labor attire. If there is any type of emergency it is possible that what you are wearing may need be cut off if it is not easily removable.
Hospital Gown Alternatives: A bathrobe, maternity pajamas, a sports bra, comfortable underwear, bathing suit top and/or bottoms- especially if water laboring/delivering is available, comfortable t-shirt
For Dad: Dads will also need to be comfortable in whatever they choose to wear. It is a good idea to prepare for cold temperatures as well, because hospitals tend to get quite cold. You may want to have him pack pants or jeans as well as a jacket/sweatshirt just in case. With my first I regretted not thinking through what my hubby was wearing because he had on his favorite Hard Rock Maui t-shirt from our honeymoon just over 11 months earlier. For the next births I asked him to wear a comfortable polo or solid color t-shirt, just so what he was wearing didn’t distract in his images. But again, this is just something you may want to think through ahead of time, but not necessary.
For Your Baby: Some moms are completely happy with the given blanket and hat provided by the birth location, and others like to pack a little something special to change baby into for those first few snuggling images as a family. Depending on the timing and circumstances of labor and delivery it might not be a good time to change baby into something other than their given swaddle.
Birth Photography is documentary. It captures your baby’s birth story as it happens. It is not intended to be glamorous, but it will be beautiful. You are not expected to be made up and camera ready. You’re giving birth. Sometimes that is likened to running a marathon. Especially if this is your first, but even if it is your 6th, this will likely feel like your greatest accomplishment to date, no mater how your birth unfolds. Bringing a life into the world is incredible. Becoming a mother for the first time or again is amazing. You will cherish reliving your child’s birth story over and over no matter what you are wearing, what your hair looks like, or if you are wearing makeup. What you will see in your images are your strength and determination, and LOVE. You will see so much love. This I can guarantee.
Please let me know as you have any thoughts or questions.