I spent a lot of time thinking about how to create a calming atmosphere during Dylan's birth. Thanks to Megan at Sorta Crunchy I've figured out that I'm definitely one of those HSP (highly sensitive) persons and the stimulus around me really matters if I'm uncomfortable. The main considerations were: music, lighting, smells, physical aids, and food/hydration. Given that my labor was only two hours long, I only utilized a few of them BUT the few I did made a difference in my comfort and peace of mind!
The wrong kind of music is like nails on a chalkboard. While I scrolled through our iTunes library, I had a feeling that I wouldn't want any words being sung so I wouldn't be distracted or annoyed. So, I downloaded Bethel's Without Words CD and it was perfect. Beautiful instrumentals, no singing. The CD finished just as I was getting into the tub and my mom asked if I wanted her to restart it, and at that point, I said no. I wanted silence to just focus!
It's been proven that laboring in the dark/dim lighting can aid in the progression of labor. Luckily for me, I went into labor at night with both the twins and Dylan, so I didn't have to use blackout curtains. Right away as I came downstairs laboring I asked my mom to bring down my Himalayan salt lamp. I love that thing. I also had a salt tea light candle holder that I purchased specifically for the birth and she made sure it was on - we had to use a battery operated tea light because we had forgotten to buy some, but the ambience was the same! The corner lamp of the living room was on but that was it. It was dim, quiet, and so peaceful in the house. My pre-pushing laboring was done in the dark kitchen. Also, the two big girls were sleeping so that helped, too!
This was a big one. For many women their sense of smell heightens during labor. Sometimes even pure lavender essential oil rubs me the wrong way, so I was unsure if I wanted anything diffusing in the house during labor. In the end, I was in labor for such a short amount of time that I didn't diffuse/spray/use infused washcloths or anything, which was all for the best. I had also planned on buying some beeswax candles because I love their subtle scent, but I ran out of time. If I had wanted some smells, I was leaning towards Frankincense essential oil - it feels so empowering - or Peace and Calming essential oil blend. Both Young Living, but there are equivalents for DoTerra and other EO companies. Or, make your own! Funnily enough, I remember leaning on the towel laid over the edge of the birth tub and in between a big contraction I said, "this towel smells!" I don't think it smelled any different than normal, but it all of a sudden did to me!
OK, so I am a no-touchy laborer. My midwife and the acupuncturist applied counterpressure to my back, but they knew exactly where to press and were confident about it, so it did feel good. Other than that, no thanks! No balls, no massagers, nada. At one point the midwife left the room and told Andy to keep applying pressure and I could feel his unsure hands hovering just above my lower back, and in my head I was laughing because I knew HE knew that I didn't want his touches. Sorry babe! Just leave in my corner and let me work!
That said, a cold washcloth applied to my forehead did feel extremely soothing and refreshing in between contractions and I did want Andy to hold my hand while I was in the pool and pushing.
The labor wasn't long enough to be eating anything, but I loved my labor aid! It was a variation of the labor aid recipe from Mommypotamus and I'll post my recipe on the blog soon. Basically, it was coconut water, fresh lime juice, mineral drops, and a pinch of sea salt. I took a sip in between contractions and it was super refreshing.
What about you? How did you create your labor space?
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