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SIL has asked me to be her birth partner [grin] advice please :)

(21 Posts)
mindalina Mon 16-Jun-08 10:45:38

Well not technically SIL as DP and I not married yet, but she is one of my best friends as well, so am very honoured and excited grin

Is there anything I should know? What do I do? She has done the basics of a birth plan and I was with her when she wrote it out so I know roughly what she'd like (she's not due till Sept) but wondered if the collective wisdom of mumsnet had some tips on being the best birth partner I can be for her I had DP with me when I gave birth and I was glad of his company but he didn't play a very active role tbh so nothing to draw on there.

violentviolet Mon 16-Jun-08 10:57:46

No experience but bumping for you.

I'd just want someone armed with drinks, snacks, cool flannels, lipbalm and comb for after pics, and spare camera etc who would hold my hand and tell me it was all going to be fine and I was doing magnificently, and I hadn't pooed. wink

Just be prepared to do whatever you want her to, as the need arrises. And make sure you know which bits are non-negotiable e.g. if she absolutely doesn't want a certain intervention, not to let midwives try to sway her when she is vulnerable (unless a medical emergency IYSWIM). It's very easy to be persuaded to do anything when in labour, I felt my DH was partly there to protect me from myself.

not "want her to" but "what she wants you to.

Oops.

vitomum Mon 16-Jun-08 11:10:55

how lovely. i'd love to do this.

i had 2 people with me - dp and doula - and it feels good to have that bolstered support network.

learn some massage tips and have nice oils etc with you.

mindalina Mon 16-Jun-08 11:28:12

Thank you for your suggestions. I will (closer to the time obv!) organise a little bag of bits and pieces - I didn't think to do that for myself and it would have been nice.

Youknownothing.. I agree and wish for that reason I'd had a birth partner (other than DP who is not quick to argue when I am in pain/a foul mood wink) as I ended up with a epidural that in retrospect I didn't really want.

I know she would really like as a natural a birth as she can - and she is realistic about what can go wrong and allowing intervention if necesary - so I am very keen to do whatever I can to help her achieve that

Sounds like you'll be the perfect birth partner then smile

EffiePerine Mon 16-Jun-08 11:41:58

How nice

One thing I would suggest as you are good friends is an agreement that 'what happens in the delivery room stays inteh delviery room'. You don't want to be worried about falling out of she swears at you mid-contraction!

mindalina Mon 16-Jun-08 11:48:39

lol Effie, I am quite happy to be sworn at if that's what she needs to do to get the baby out grin

MarsLady Mon 16-Jun-08 11:53:28

Be a quiet supportive presence. No coaching at the pushing stage. Protect her birthing space and be prepared to answer the many questions that are directed towards a birthing mother. If her partner is also there be sure that he eats, drinks, takes loo breaks etc (and you as well).

Be prepared to go with the flow. Don't take too many things with you (massage oils etc) lots and birthing mothers don't actually want to be touched. Also, this is a real time of intimacy and you are there as a support so if her partner is there allow him the space to do the massage/touch etc.

If she comes to a place of despair/lack of confidence etc then step forward and gently remind her what a great job that she's doing and that she can do it.

Also, when the baby's born remember to protect the breastfeeding space. Remind every one that she wants skin to skin and then step back and let her and her partner get to know their new baby. I know it will be exciting but patience. You'll have your turn to hold and marvel at the new baby. smile

It's a wonderful privilege to be at a birth.

MarsLady Mon 16-Jun-08 11:54:24

lots of

mindalina Mon 16-Jun-08 12:15:03

Thank you MarsLady. I agree wholeheartedly with your last sentence

Her DP will be there as well. He is of course very excited and am sure him and SIL will go through everything she wants beforehand. I will make sure I am v much in the background unless needed so as not to spoil the intimacy between them.

TBH I don't remember much from my own labour so can anyone tell me what sort of questions will they ask her?

WindUpBird Mon 16-Jun-08 13:49:37

What an honour to be a birth partner, lucky you!
One question I specifically remember not having the wherewithal to answer was when, in advanced labour doing all i could to stay relaxed and deal with contractions, the
midwife gestured at my discarded amniotic fluid-soaked knickers and asked Do you want these dear or shall i pop them in the bin?
So I think shielding your friend from questions of an inanely practical nature would be helpful!

Sorry if this is a really obvious suggestion: For my first labour I felt very prepared, I wanted the most natural labour and birth possible and had practiced yoga techniques and positions etc to help me through it. However, in the throes of labour I forgot a lot of it and in hindsight it would have been better if I had practiced these techniques with my birth partner (DH) so that on the day he could have been a more useful presence. Mopping my brow with a damp tissue was less than helpful! Second time round he was much better, especially at prompting me to relax and breathe as deeply as possible with each contraction...

MarsLady Tue 17-Jun-08 00:24:12

Absolutely WindUp. Practise the relaxation techniques now so that they aren't some strange new thing on the day.

mindalina Tue 17-Jun-08 10:52:34

Thanks guys I know exactly what you mean about positions and relaxation techniques, I knew loads in the run up to labour but as soon as I was in the hospital none of it occurred to me.

Will be getting together with SIL this week while her DP starts babyproofing their house so will start chatting to her then about relaxtion things. I know she wants me to go along to the antenatal class - she only gets one shock but hopefully they will have hints and tips. When I was pregnant I bought books by Sheila Kitzinger and Grantly Dick-Read which were really good so I've already lent them to SIL and she is having a read - I know there is some good stuff in there about relaxing/positioning etc.

CuppaTeaJanice Tue 17-Jun-08 14:06:19

I think you need to mentally prepare yourself as well, because it's hard seeing someone you love going through so much pain.
You've given birth yourself so you know the screaming in the second stage is quite animalistic and is a way of coping with pain, rather than screaming in pain. It's OK for you all to cry, laugh and get emotional together, you don't have to suppress your emotions for her sake as my partner thought he did.
Also if she does need an instrumental delivery the view will be a lot worse from your perspective so I'd advise you to stay by her head and let the doctors get on with it!
If she wants to go in the birthing pool you need to watch her to make sure she doesn't slip under the water, especially if she's had entonox.
Lastly, print out a second copy of her birth plan. It's easy to forget what she wants if the midwives have whipped it away!
I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable birth!

mindalina Wed 18-Jun-08 14:22:33

Thanks She's not planning to use a pool but you never know, so I'll bear it in mind. TBH I have no idea what you mean about the screaming (own birth experience being far from natural and drug-free) - is likely to scream then?

Any other information or suggestions greatly appreciated

mindalina Wed 18-Jun-08 14:22:50

is ^she likely to scream? blush

maxbear Wed 18-Jun-08 16:10:22

I was my sisters birth partner for all three of hers (along with her dh) although I was already a midwife I found it hard. It was like she had become a different person for a few hours. Just remember that it is normal to shout and make a lot of noise and she might not communicate as much as she usually would or be as friendly as she usually is! Think for her, if she looks hot mop her brow with a cold flannel. Remind her to wee regularly. If she asks for pain relief that she didn't previously want suggest a trip to the loo, most women in labour take ages to go to the loo and it can be a bit of a distraction if she is thinking of pain relief. Feed her small snacks to keep her energy up (unless advised not to, this should not happen in normal labour but unfortuately might in some area's) Take a camera, it is lovely to have some very early photo's. When my dd was born my sister took a photo of me holding her while I was still in the birth pool and she was still blue (the baby not my sister grin). It was so lovely to have a photo of her so early on. Good luck and enjoy the experience.

Fizzylemonade Wed 18-Jun-08 19:09:10

Agree with maxbear about the photos. Even though I had c sections both times Dh had his wits about him and the staff let him take photos as soon as the had opened me up!

So our very first photo is of my ds1 half out of me and taken from a great angle so you cannot see any blood or anything. It is really special.

I wish we had taken some of our old photos in to make me laugh in labour, I could have done with some humour. My waterbirth went out the window when they thought I had placental abruption. sad

Agree with the weeing regularly too! I am so jealous, I would love to be a birth partner. envy

mindalina Fri 05-Sep-08 10:46:26

Just re-reading all your wonderful advice and wondering if anyone else has any more useful tips for me?

SIL due in just a couple of weeks now and starting to get a little panicked!

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