I was supposed to go bowling last night, but my doula/friend (D/F) was under the weather and her daughter wasn't feeling the bowling alley. The mommies stayed home while the daddies went bowling. I got a chance to hear lots of advice from two new moms and an experienced one (my D/F's mom).
Most of the advice was about postpartum life, something I have to think about now. I'm halfway through my pregnancy, so now it's time to look forward to labor, birth, and beyond. My husband and I started a birth plan a while back, but it doesn't include what happens after the baby is born and home. Both my friends said it's really important for our family (new father, mother, and child) to have time to get to know each other before visitors come to call. And they specified: you need days, not hours, alone. My D/F urged me to make family bonding time a part of my birthing plan, and to let the extended family know ahead of time what our needs are.
As for my bithing plan, I hold the image that my labor will be peaceful and stress-free birth. Notice I did not say painless. I accept that there will be pain, and I know the pain exists for a reason, and that there is an end to it. My mother said that to this day she can put her finger on where the epidural needle went in 28 years ago. I'd rather endure the pain of childbirth than recover from cesarian surgery. If there is a medical emergency that calls for cesarian, I accept that. But it better be a true medical emergency. If the nurses and doctor are just tired of me laboring and are doing it for their convenience, they will have to wait. My doula may be short, but she's feisty, and she'll cuss somebody out in a hot minute for me, I guarantee!
Other advice from La Doula and Co:
Drink lots of water
Get lots of exercise (in addition to all the walking and stair climbing I do)
KEGELS, KEGELS, KEGELS!
Drink Raspberry Leaf tea (my adopted mother suggested that too!)
Filter out judgmental advice (it usually comes after this or similar preface: "Oh, you're doing that, are you?")
Do your own research about everything so you can make informed decisions.
Trust your instincts.
I hope you had a wonderful Chanukah!
Have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!