I surprised myself with a considerable list so far and I'm sure I will still think of more down the road (when I'm actually planning for #2). Keep in mind that these are not from regrets, just improvements I would like to make after learning so much with my first.
- I will get a Midwife. With little E I had an OB, but with no doubt in my mind I will switch to a Midwife next time. I like the idea of going through the pregnancy with 1 or 2 midwives that work together and having them there with you on the day of birth too. With my OB, it was just whoever was on call from the clinic that day. I had a great OB, but the connection and assistance I needed just wasn't there.
- I will find out the sex. We kept little E's sex a secret, but we both strongly felt he was going to be a boy. It was important for me to keep it a secret for our first child, but the suspense nearly killed Hubby. I don't know why but I don't think we can do it again!
- I will do pre-natal and post-natal yoga. I wanted to with my first pregnancy but didn't get around to it. I was extremely active, running and walking throughout my pregnancy, but wish I had practiced the stretching and breathing techniques of yoga.
- I will go to the hospital later (if I can control this). I wanted to wait until the last minute with little E but there were so many things happening that I was unsure of in my early labour including consistent contractions. Next time around I will be more aware of how my body works and I'm sure the Midwife will also help with that. No more walking marathons around hospital halls - I'll do that in the comfort of my own home or neighbourhood next time, thank you!
- I will leave the hospital earlier (if I can control this). I felt like I was in jail after being held there for almost 48 hours. I was repeatedly told that I was doing well so there really was no reason why I should have stayed. It also took us what seemed like forever to have little E checked and approved for discharge. I wish I could have been sent home earlier to recover in the comfort of my own home.
- I will stick up for myself. Since it was my first birth I was relying on the nurses a lot for guidance. After I gave birth naturally, little E was laid on my chest briefly but then whisked away to be bundled up. I was then cleaned up and transferred to the Mother-Baby Unit. Once I got there, I asked for assistance in breastfeeding, but the nurse assured me that another nurse would be in shortly and once all the paperwork was done. Over two hours later, I was finally nursing little E for the first time. I was frustrated and should have stuck up for myself and demanded assistance to nurse him earlier.
- I will accept help. I tried to be too independent and should have let family and friends help when offered (in those first few weeks especially).
- I will look more seriously into cloth diapering. I was too intimidated by cloth diapering first time around - but I will definitely be giving it my all next time.
- I will purchase a quality baby wrap carrier. I had a Hotslings and Baby Bjorn and they were very handy but I will invest in stretchy wrap like a Moby or Hub a Bub or something similar.
- I won't drink milk or eat dairy products when baby is born. That way I can phase them in to my diet to see if they are affecting the baby and not go through all the trouble I discussed with little E in this post and this follow-up post.
- I won't try to be perfect. I won't try to do everything by the book. I know now to do what I believe works for me and the best that I can.
Something that I want to be the same is to give birth naturally again. I believe I can, but I understand that it will definitely take more courage and preparation next time. I have forgotten the pain, but not the experience - and I know now what to expect. I felt invincible with little E's birth and although I was well informed and prepared - I was extremely naive because I had not experienced it yet. Experience can be a good thing and a bad thing I have come to realize. My Mom agrees and I think of her as an expert after giving birth 11 times!
Baby #2 isn't in our immediate plans so I have time to ponder and dream about these things. For now, I will just send my best wishes to my brother and partner with their baby #2!