Birthing. Something women have been doing, well, basically, since forever. For most of that forever, there wasn’t much science to it. When it was time, it was time, and there your baby was born.
Now, we are planners. We plan for everything. Or, we try to because, you know how plans can change at the blink of an eye.
When we first started discussing the birth of our daughter, one thing that came up pretty quickly was who would be a part of our birth team. Before we get to that, you might be thinking “what is a birth team?” I imagine that many people have different definitions. To me, your birth team is the people that will help you bring your child into the world on the day of their birth. Because the reality is, your doctor or midwife will only be in and out of the room and if there is a shift change, they might change mid-labor. The same goes for the nurses.
In fact with our first three daughters (our fourth was an unplanned unassisted home birth…just me and the hubby there), we had at least two nurses and midwifes throughout the labor and birth.
So, our birth team…who will be helping us bring our daughter earth-side?
Before I could fully answer that question for myself, I had to think of the qualities of the person or people that would be there with me. (For me, having Mr. Serious there was a no-brainer).
Picking Your Birth Team
Will they unequivocally be by your side no matter what happens?
Will they take time before the big day to make sure they understand your goals and desires for your positive birth experience?
Will they stand up for you even when you aren’t able to stand up for yourself?
Will they be your advocate even if that means kicking somebody out of the room?
Will they respect your wishes?
Do they agree with your birth plan?
Are you okay with them seeing you naked? And maybe pooping?
Are they okay in situations that might turn scary very quickly?
Can you handle them being in your face?
Can you handle them touching you?
Do they respect you and your baby?
If you scream wanting an epidural, but previously said in your birth plan you don’t want one, will they remind you that you really don’t?
Will they speak kindly to you?
Will they support you when you change your mind?
- “I know you said you didn’t want an epidural before, but I will support your decision if that’s what you really want. BUT, I don’t think that’s what you really want.”
Are they trained professionally?
Are they comfortable with a camera and taking pictures?
If you can answer these questions in a way that makes you feel positive, then they are the person for you. In my case, it was my husband. He was the only constant in all of the births of our children. Some spouses aren’t comfortable or they are worried they won’t be enough. If they love you, they will be perfect. Many women have taken to hiring doulas who will be there to help throughout the entire birthing process because that is what they are trained to do.
With no family close by, having a parent, sibling or in-law wasn’t an option for me. If, we were closer, after my sister had her first daughter, I would absolutely have had her there with me the entire time.
And guess what? It is totally okay to change your mind! You can do it mid-pregnancy or even mid-labor or delivery. You have to have people there that will even be okay with it. Your body is doing a lot and you have to trust yourself!
Another thing to consider with your birth team is the hospital. Will they respect you, your baby, your choices and your birth team without hindering the process? One of the local Atlanta Hospitals, North Fulton seeks to do just that.
“North Fulton is very supportive of moms and babies. We aim to give you the safest child birth experience and we try to follow your birth plan as closely as we can in order to accommodate that. I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to work here at North Fulton.”
-Beverly Tanner, Certified Nurse Midwife
Hospitals are changing. They are working more with women to give them the experience they want. Make sure you find a practice, a hospital and birth team that will give you the positive birth you want and deserve.