It’s Time for the Draft! Are you picking your own dream birth team?
Since it’s football season I figured I could squeeze in a timely sports metaphor.
It’s officially that time of year- when our husbands (and maybe you if you’re into it) spend endless time checking their phones to see how their perfectly crafted fantasy football team is performing. I don’t know about yours, but mine spent hours looking into the players, checking stats, watching highlights and evaluating before doing his draft for his fantasy team.
So why am I talking about fantasy football on a birthing blog? Because I think that there are some HUGE parallels that we could and should be looking at here.
The fact is that so many people will spend sooooo much time doing ALL the research for their imaginary football team that will at most give them some entertainment and win them a few hundred bucks. Yet so many women out there don’t even consider spending that much time creating their dream birth team.
This isn’t a knock on anyone. Or me telling you what you should have done or should do. What I’m looking to do here is to get as many women as possible to realize that we can choose our birth team, and that it’s up to us to put in the time to create that for ourselves.
Changing the statistics on birthing mortality, birth trauma and birth abuse in our current medical system is only going to happen if WE as the women involved stop participating by taking what we DO have control over into our own hands. I’m in no way saying that some of the terrible things that happen to women during labor in delivery are ever their fault. It is the fault of the people perpetrating these acts. The fact does remain though that you wouldn’t go running at night alone in a shady neighborhood simply because knowingly putting yourself in a dangerous scenario isn’t smart.
If you want your pregnancy, labor and delivery to go the way YOU want it to go, then you’re likely going to have to do a little of the work yourself to ensure that happens. Most people wouldn’t have a house built and never talk to the builder, contractor and designer about what it would look like. It’s unlikely that you’d hire a personal shopper to buy you a whole new wardrobe without checking into their style and having them ask you about yours. You’d want to be an active participant in both of these processes right?
Can I be real here? Can we agree that no one is being blamed and still talk about some real truths? The fact is that most people have their doctor on a pedestal. They expect that this doctor is an absolute expert in their field, keeps up with the most current research, treats their case like an individual case and always has their best interest at heart. We then put ALL of the responsibility of having an ideal birth (sometimes without even considering what an ideal birth would be like for us) onto this doctor, without any real discussion with them about if they have the knowledge, desire, ability and facility to make this happen. While it would be nice if that was how it went, we’ve got to start taking some responsibility onto ourselves to do the research of picking not only what we’re interested in, but also the right people to make it happen.
Taking the time to research your fantasy birth team isn’t a frivolous or foolish dream. It’s self-care. It’s something that you deserve. There’s nothing selfish about wanting things to go your way while you do one of the hardest and most rewarding tasks of your life in bringing a baby earthside. This time is special, sacred and deserves respect for the birthing mom from every person involved from the receptionist, to the labor nurse, to the person delivering. You are worth it. Your physical and mental health is worth it.
So let’s talk about making the dream team!
Your first draft pick (yep, back to the football analogy) should be your primary prenatal care provider/who delivers your baby. This would typically be your obstetrician or midwife. Check them out, interview them, look at their reviews online. Ask them about their statistics, like cesarean rate if that’s something you’re looking to avoid. What hospital do they deliver out of? Do you like the policies and facilities of this hospital? Make sure that you feel absolutely comfortable in their presence and that they make you feel valued and safe.
The next draft pick might be your support person. For many ladies that support person is their hubby or partner, and that’s totally fine and possibly wonderful. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to consider a secondary support person in case you feel that your partner (while an amazing person I’m sure) might not be exactly who you need in terms of guiding you through labor and delivery. It’s not that they wouldn’t be with you, just that you might need someone else to help support you and that’s okay too. The typical person for this is called a birth doula. They are highly trained in all things birth and can help coach you, massage you and just plain be there for you throughout the process. Maybe your secondary support is your mother. Regardless, consider this. Give it some real good thought before the big day. If you do end up going with a doula, then the same rules apply. Do your research and pick the one that’s right for you!
Some other draft picks to consider. A lactation consultant. Hospital births are often a whirlwind and then you’re home and everything changes. Having a good IBCLC on hand can save you a ton of stress and sleep! Consider also a birth prep course. Research these too. Does the person offering it seem to line up with what you’re looking for? Does the course material support the way that you want to give birth and guide you through the process?
Look into a good prenatal chiropractor. Sometimes things get caught up during the last trimester, or even during labor and prevent baby from moving along correctly. Having someone on hand to get things back in balance could be crucial to having the birth of your dreams!
Okay, deep breath. There was a LOT of truth in this post. And maybe some won’t like it. I’m okay with that though. If even one pregnant mom has the birth of her dreams then I’ll be happy. If even one woman avoids being traumatized by unexpected circumstances during labor/delivery, then I’m stoke. If one less woman dies, it’s a win.
We are the ones carrying the baby, we are the ones with the power. We DO have choices, we just have to know what they are. Let’s take our bodies into our own hands and trust our intuition. Research and give yourself the gift of certainty. You deserve this!
Dr. Katie O'Connor is a Webster Certified prenatal chiropractor. In practice for over 10 years, she is passionate about all things pregnancy and helping women have the best experience possible while becoming a mother.
16335 S. Harlem Ave
Tinley Park IL 60477