Settling in Once You Arrive At the Hospital in Labor

Active labor is officially here, now, you’re ready to go to the hospital!

While most families birth in the hospital we recognize that many families in our area and many of our clients deliver at the Winchester birth center, for the sake of an easy writing experience, today, we will be discussing how to make settling into the hospital easy! Stay tuned for our settling into the birth center blog soon!

What will labor be like?

In order to talk about going to the hospital in labor and settling in, first we want to brush up on when your labor starts, timing contractions, what to expect in labor and how to know how labor will start!

Labor often starts in many ways, and typically it is NOT with your water breaking and contractions raging while you rush to the hospital in rush hour traffic! Typically labor starts slowly and contractions pick up and build as time goes on. Naturally, you will begin timing contractions, as things pick up you continue to time contractions and when to do you start to notice their intensity that require you to use tools to cope through them, you know you’re close to active labor!

Now that you have officially determined that you are in labor, you pull out your comfort measures sheet and begin using your tools that you learned in your Childbirth Unlocked Childbirth Education Class. For now your plan is to labor until you are in active labor officially and you are ready to go into the hospital. Maybe you plan to have an epidural, maybe you plan to use nitrous oxide to manage contractions, maybe you plan on no epidural, or maybe you just want to see how things go. For now you are managing well and you will take things one hour at a time. Regardless of your plan for pain management a Childbirth Education Class will hep you prepare for labor, know what to expect and stay comfortable throughout every stage of labor!

This is it! It’s time to go to the hospital!

You pack the bags, or they’ve been packed for weeks, we all have our preferences! The bags are in the car. At this point, you have so many emotions: excitement, questions, maybe some panic. The best way to make this a smooth process is to just remain relaxed. There is no need to rush ( unless this is not your first baby, you have a history of precipitous births, your contractions are 2 min apart, you are feeling pressure, or pushy)! First time labors often take between 10-24 hours, so you can take a deep breath and travel to the hospital at a safe speed!

Time to check in at the hospital

You park and finally make it to the labor and delivery room doors and you sit ( or stand if you’re laboring intensely) to check in! Maybe you have a Doula there helping you manage contractions while your partner checks you in and helps you answer the questions. She occasionally rubs your back or applies counter pressure to keep you comfortable while you manage between the excitement and questions.

You make your way to your labor room! This is the room you will get to meet your baby! Finally after all of these months, you will soon in a short (long) time be holding that sweet baby, or babies!

Staying comfortable during the check in process

A Nurse will ask you questions and during that time they will monitor your baby to get a good solid read on their heart rate to establish a baseline! The phlebotomist will come in and draw your blood for some lab work!

This can be a difficult time because you’re contracting and most likely still sitting in bed so they can get a good read on baby.

Rest easy, it will soon be over! Your partner and Doula, if you have a Doula, will help you stay comfortable during this time while you wait to get up and move around or wait for your epidural.

Now that you are checked in, your blood has been drawn, maybe you’re provider has come in to say hello or would come later!

Whatever your goals, reclaim the room as yours!

Put on your music, darken the lights, get the wireless monitor, get out the affirmations and have your support put them around the room, request the squat bar for position changes, get out the birth ball and make that room yours.

The hospital can never be like your home, it is mostly an unfamiliar place to you, even if you tour the hospital, so make it more like how you want so that you feel comfortable and relaxed in that environment.

Now that you are all settled in you may notice contractions pick back up - all of that adrenalin from excitement might have slowed them down. You are well on your way to meeting your baby! Congratulations!