Last time I wrote about Early Labor. Take a look at that blog before you read this one. Seriously, CLICK HERE! It may calm the nerves about this SUPER IMPORTANT question. And, if you are catching what I'm throwing, you'll be in your home for a while before heading to your birth place, which, for the benefit of the whole, I will refer to as the hospital from here out.
People ask me this question so much, if I only had a nickel every time...You get it. Seriously though, rolling in dough. If someone only handed out nickels...
For women who have chosen to give birth outside their homes, the number one asked question I hear is - DRUM ROLL!
In the blog about Early Labor, you know, the one you read before reading this one, I spoke extensively about resting and distracting yourself when you felt like labor was starting. (And, if you've been anxiously anticipating your labor like I talk about here, then you are probably not in the best place to rest and distract. I know this. I get it. I am sorry that Baby is making you wait in agony in the space in-between but trust me, its for a good reason. Your body has to get ready for the big show just as much as your mind does. So, you're following my very wise words - hanging at home, contracting away while baking a cake and watching Finding Nemo, and suddenly, that feeling pops up again. UGH.
You look at the clock - its 4pm. Traffic is starting. What if labor moves too quickly now that cars are on the road? What if I have to push in the car? What if I have Baby in the car!?!?! I'll be on the news! OH SNAP! MY "DOWN THERE" WILL BE ON THE NEWS!!! OH MY GOODNESS!! GET IN THE CAR!!!!
Look at me. (Figuratively speaking but my picture is right in the right corner if you need some eye contact.) Breathe. Now -
STOP. FREAKING. OUT.
No, we don't want a car baby. So, let's do a mental check. (Here's a spoiler alert. If Mom is able to actually do a mental check...might not be time to head out just yet.)
Mental check - My contractions are about 10 minutes apart. I'm still hungry. I still can do laundry if I wanted to. Actually, I want a turkey sandwich and...some juice. Breathing is returning to normal. Freak out over. Mom gets in the shower and waits for her sandwich. (She probably won't eat it but hey, it kept you busy, Partner! Great job!)
Now that I've told you a bit about knowing when its not time, let's talk about some signs it *might* be time. *Might* because your labor is circumstantial to you. You *might* want pain management and, in understanding the benefits/risks/alternatives you are choosing to be in your location sooner. These are more guidelines for low risk women who are trying to go as long as possible without pain management. Also, if anything alarming suddenly happens and Mom no longer feels safe at home, go.
That last one is always the end all be all. Basically, Mom has the human right to decide everything here. She is actually deciding for two humans! For a Mom who is educated on childbirth and her birthing environment, with her own preferences and plan in mind, she is probably having some internal conversations as her body flows into active labor. She has seen the writing on the wall. She doesn't need to be reminded that she wanted to go to hospital. She'll figure it out. Don't be pushy, Partner. Also, its sort of your job to not let other people be pushy.
Mom will know.
Hope you liked this one! If you've been in labor before - comment here about how you knew it was time to go!
Cat is the founder of Birth Freely Birth Services. Her passion is empowering women through education and providing them with continuous labor support so they can have the birth they desire!