Here it is. (it's not actually a class, just this blog post...It's also meant to be funny. ;) )
1. Birth is the hardest thing you will ever do times 1000. If you want to have a natural birth, have a plan... Plan to get some sleep early on in your labor, no matter what it takes. First babies are often the longest and most difficult labor you will have. (And by long, I mean, contractions can literally last DAYS... and that's NORMAL)
2. Sometimes birth is really long (and seems even longer).
3. Birth can feel like it's taking forever.
4. Typically, the first birth takes the longest, and is the most difficult labor.
5. When you hear about a "normal" or "average" labor being 12-18 hours.... That doesn't mean from the time contractions start.... That means 12-18 hours after "ACTIVE" labor is established. ACOG recently change the definition of active labor to 6 cm, rather than 4....because we all know... it can take DAYS of contractions to get to 6....then it tends to move faster...and by faster, it can still be hours and hours before your baby is born.
6. When you are having contractions that are more than 5 minutes apart... going about your business is usually the best thing you can do for yourself... distract yourself instead of sitting still and timing contractions. (That will make them seem SO much worse)
7. Labor takes a long time.
8. It's more than just dilation (going from 0-10 cm). Birth can't happen until, you your cervix is dilated to 10 cm, effaced (thinned) to 100%, it's moved from posterior to anterior (pointing to your back and then to the front), baby has moved down into the pelvis, from -3 station to +3 station (0 is right in the middle of the pelvis) and baby rotates the head to navigate through the pelvis. EACH change means progress. Sometimes one thing needs to happen BEFORE the cervix dilates anymore. That can take time (especially for a first baby).
9. Plan for your labor to be long. Get a survival kit... food, water, juice, coconunt water, netflix, sleep, repeat, food, water, some activity... have some lunch, go to dinner for the last time before you have a newborn to take care of. Take a walk in the park (or the mall). Visit friends (the kind that won't freak out when you stop to breathe).
10. If this is not your first baby, it's highly possible that your next labor could be faster... Not always, but most of the time. Your body has memory so pay attention to when things get intense....It may kick into overdrive faster than you think. In my experience, second babies like to fly out the fastest.
Abbey Robinson, ProDoula CD-Labor
Abbey is a birth and postpartum doula and placenta specialist in Dallas/Fort Worth and a mom to 4 children between the ages of 21 and 7.