My dh and I were talking last night, and he wants me to write a list of instructions for him for labour. He's aware that we have to be flexible, but another friend of ours had such a list from his wife and found it really useful.
My plan (all going well) is to labour at home for as long as is humanly possible. Given that all women in my family had very slow, long labours that didn't respond well to induction, I am guessing I won't have a rush job. Could be wrong, of course, but I am preparing for a slow 'un. Also, my best friend had five days of stopping/starting in early labour, didn't sleep at all and was so exhausted by the time it all truly kicked off that she says it was even more difficult. So just want to plan how to stay calm and stay away from the hospital until my contractions are 5 mins apart and at least a minute long (which is what the hospital have told me is their admissions criteria - if my waters break before, I'll go in for a swab but go home again for 24 hours if labour isn't progressing).
What do you reckon I need to say to my dh? I haven't a clue to be honest?
What do they realistically need to do? I am guessing the early stages at home are more important, as in hospital the professionals will have a greater role? Happy to be told otherwise!
I know he would have been in my ear all the time asking questions if I hadn't given him that job
Then he was in charge of timing the contractions - he used a stopwatch and I told him when I was starting one and when I was finishing one. He thought he was great writing down how long in between and how long each lasted
I also had a list of things to be brought to the hospital (camera, ipod etc) so he could go off and make sure everything was ready. He would have either forgotten things or asked me a million questions if it wasn't written down.
I also asked him to make sure the house was ready (no dirty plates etc left around).
Other than that we watched TV in the early stages. I suppose it depends on how much you think you'll want him near you during labour? I handle pain better on my own so I gave him loads of jobs
At the hospital the midwives will tell him what to do during the final stages
If your DH is a bit of a worrier, it's a good thing to have a bath as soon as labour starts. You can get him to run you a bath and then leave you in it for a while (with your phone there so you can get him if you need him). That way you both have some time to get used to the thoughts of being in labour without panicking each other and you get to relax - if you start off relaxed you're more likely to stay that way.
I asked DH to make me dinner so he went and made pasta while I had my bath. He made two huge panfuls - panicking
The easiest way to tell if you're far gone is to check - sounds mortifying but your DH will see anyway in the hospital. If you're far dilated or getting near the pushing stage you'll be able to see. Or if you go quiet (or start moaning through the contractions) and don't really respond to him much it's probably time to go!
Also meant to say don't take it as a given you'll have a slow labour. My family have had long labours too, but I was in active labour for about an hour and a half with my first (had about 5 hours of contractions but wasn't in active labour before that). Fingers crossed you'll get the same!
It's a good idea to let your DH know how to tell if it's time to get to hospital quickly. Most women in the final stages of active labour kind of go off into another world. That happened to me at home but as it was so quick DH thought I was just coping really well. In reality DD's head was crowning and I needed to get to hospital quickly but wasnt really 'there' to tell him that. He was setting up a little bed for himself while I was 10cm dilated with contractions every 3 minutes