I am an on-location, natural light photographer based in Dallas, Texas. My style is based on beautiful light, pastels, and intimate connections. My goal is to beautifully capture the most precious moments in your life in a way that you will cherish for many years to come. I can't wait to get to know you!
As I was preparing for the birth of my third baby, I kept reflecting on my previous labor experiences. Each one was so different and beautiful in its own way and this one is a whole new story I can share with my daughter someday. We welcomed Regina Marie Dufreche on November 3rd, 2022 at 5:48 am. I had a scheduled induction for that same morning but I went into labor naturally the night before. I knew that this time I wanted to get an epidural so we headed to the hospital pretty soon after active labor started. I am thankful to say that labor, delivery, and recovery have gone pretty smoothly so far! There is a lot of comfort that comes from knowing what to expect during labor and delivery and I definitely felt more relaxed going into this birth than I did with my first. Well, I’m not sure if anyone ever feels relaxed about giving birth, but there’s a certain peace that comes with experience. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few tips on preparing for a hospital delivery, especially for first-time moms!
Choose Your Advocates:
My hope and prayer is that every momma has an amazing team of nurses, doctors and/or midwives to help her through labor! But it’s always a good idea to discuss your birth plan with your provider ahead of time and to choose a trusted friend or relative to serve as an advocate during labor. The pain, pace, and nerves of labor can sometimes make it difficult to know what’s happening or to speak for yourself. It’s helpful to entrust your partner or labor advocate with the task of speaking on your behalf or enforcing your wishes—like if you don’t want extra cervical checks or if you do want an epidural.
For me, my husband was an amazing advocate who not only helped communicate with the nurses but also encouraged me with his presence and strength. Some friends have shared that while their husbands were wonderful emotional support, they were thankful to have a mom or sister also in the room for other, more practical support—like running to get ice chips or asking the nurses questions. Doulas can also serve as experienced guides to help explain aspects of the labor process as well as offer emotional and physical support. Whomever you choose to be your advocate, make sure it’s someone you feel comfortable having by your side through moments of vulnerability.
Have a Plan in Place:
Once you know who your advocates are, talk to them about your plan, from the mundane—like the fastest way to the hospital—to the more complex—like what to do if there is an emergency. It’s not only practical to have you and your partner on the same page; it can also be really comforting to talk through even the smallest details, like what you’ll pack in your hospital bag or which coping-mechanisms you’d like to try. This time around I felt at peace knowing we had some practice—not least of all because we’ve made the drive to the hospital more than once—but you don’t have to be expecting your third to have a plan in place.
Expect the Unexpected:
Even the best laid plans can change, so while I’ve learned the importance of having a plan, I’ve also discovered that giving birth requires a certain amount of flexibility. With my second, for example, I’d planned to get an epidural but ended up having a natural birth because of how quickly labor went. Even though I chose to have an epidural with my third, I don’t regret the way my second labor went because it gave me a new perspective on my own strength and it was still a beautiful way to welcome my son into the world. Things may not go as smoothly as you imagined, but remember that the most important things are a healthy mom and a healthy baby.
Keep Your Mind on the Prize
Before giving birth, it was hard to imagine the pain involved. It was also hard to imagine the absolute joy of holding my son in my arms for the first time. Whether you choose to give birth naturally or with an epidural, labor is a marathon and you have to keep your mind set on the ultimate goal—meeting your little one. It was during labor that I discovered the depth of my love for my children, that I could do almost anything if it was for their good.
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
Right after birth and during your hospital stay, you’ll receive a lot of options for your child and your own care. Do you want vaccines? Do you want to breastfeed? Do you want your boy circumcised? Do you want pain medication? This is also where a pre-existing plan can come in handy so your spouse or partner can answer those questions while you rest and bond with your baby. But don’t be afraid to speak up if you need to. For example, you can ask the nurses to only check on you every few hours at night instead of every hour to help you get more rest. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you are in a lot of pain, don’t just will yourself through it—there is always someone who can help!
Take It One Day, One Nap, One Cuddle-Session at a Time
Everything is new, including your relationship with this precious baby you’ve brought into the world! It’s okay for things to feel a little scary, for the adjustment to take time, and for you to take the rest you need. If I could go back and talk to myself as a first-time mom, I’d let myself know that these days are hard and you don’t have to enjoy every minute, but it’s okay to find the joy in little things.
If you’re a first-time mom prepping for a hospital labor and delivery, I hope this blog is helpful to you! What are a few things that are bringing you peace as you prepare to bring your little one into the world?
Ana Dufreche is a luxury Dallas wedding photographer. She aims to capture the most precious moments in people's lives and create a story for them to relive for years to come. If you're looking for a wedding photographer to capture your precious moments, contact Ana to schedule your big day.