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What Would You Do Different for Baby #2?

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Suggestions are still trickling in to my nifty little suggestion box and I’ve just got to say, ya’ll have the best questions!

I’m interested in your birth plan for baby numba two. What’s a MUST have and a must not for The Mommypotamus on the big day?

Genevieve at Mama Natural

The Essentials According to Mommypotamus

To say I am the nesting type would be a whopping understatement. I am the ultimate nester. Unfortunately, due to the fact that we are doing whatever we can to sell this house in the next two weeks despite the fact that we haven’t found a house to buy (that we can afford), I am currently without a nest at all. I have no idea where we’ll be in 6-10 weeks. That has made planning rather difficult.

The upside of our less-than-ideal circumstances is that it’s got me focused on people rather than places. Here are the key players:

Daddypotamus – Daniel is doing double-duty for this birth. Like many husbands he is taking on the role of comforter and encourager. However, I am also looking to him to provide a little something extra this time.

When we found out we were pregnant I thought we had plenty of time to find a new home, but that seems more unlikely with each passing day. Having a home of my own to lovingly prepare for the big day is part of my nesting ritual. It calms me. It helps me to feel prepared and ready. Most likely, it’s not gonna happen.

The thing is, I am not a big talker when I’m in pain. I went through almost two days of labor without making so much as a sound until my midwives asked me to try not to internalize so much. I tried yelling for them. It felt weird. Anyway, because I internalize when I need to keep my focus, Daniel felt at times like he was unnecessary during Katie’s birth.

This time will be different. I trust him and I’m going to need him to help me adjust to whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Our marriage is good but life is hectic and sometimes we fail to connect. We are making an effort to correct that so that when the time comes we will be completely on the same page.

Midwife/Chiropractor/FriendDr. Cindy came to my first birth in the role of chiropractor. Her adjustment helped me move past the 12 hour puking streak I was on. Since then, she has become one of my best friends and my best resource for all things birth and health related. I am grateful that she will be acting in all of these capacities as my lead midwife on the big day. Note: Last year Cindy and I attended our close friends birth together (she was the midwife and I was the photographer). It is truly amazing the kind of bond we all have and I hope it will only deepen as we raise our kids together.

Doula – We are in the process of interviewing doulas right now, but we know we want one present. We didn’t have one with Katie because I thought my mom could act in that role. Um, no.

“Doulas often use the power of touch and massage to reduce stress and anxiety during labor. According to physicians Marshal Klaus and John Kennell, massage helps stimulate the production of natural oxytocin. The pituitary gland secretes natural oxytocin to the bloodstream which causes uterine contractions and also secretes it to the brain, which results in a feeling of well being, drowsiness and a raised pain threshold. Synthetic IV oxytocin cannot cross into the blood stream and brain, so it increases contractions without the positive psychological effects of natural oxytocin.”

American Pregnancy: Is a Doula for Me?

Sign me up! Besides, Gigi will be staying with Katie at the birth. If Katie chooses to be present Gigi will help her understand what’s going on. If not, they’ll do something else.

Birth Photographer – Although I can’t really call birth photography an essential, Lynsey Stone is a confirmed part of our birth team and I am so excited to have her.

We have nothing but a few grainy pics and a short video (in which almost nothing is visible) from Katie’s birth. The whole experience was so surreal I don’t remember much. This time I plan to document every moment, which I’ll probably end up sharing here ; – )

Key Elements:

Birth Tub – My happy, happy place. I cannot imagine giving birth any other way.  Water birth:

  1. Helps with relaxation
  2. Provides the ability to more easily change positions, allowing for widening of the pelvis and easier descent of the baby.
  3. Helps the tissues of the pelvic floor to relax and stretch more easily.
  4. Reduces the incidence of perineal trauma (tearing). The need for episiotomy also decreases.
  • Snacks for me and the birth team
  • Peaceful music

If I Can Get It Done, I’d Also Like:

  • Birth Day gift for Katie – I’d love to give Katie something meaningful on the day she officially becomes a big sister. Jewelry seems a little to mature for her, but I was thinking that something like her very own “diaper bag” and maybe a sling for her baby. What do ya’ll think?
  • Birth Day activity for Katie – If baby comes during the day Gigi will probably take her to the pool. I’m not sure what to do at night if she’s not able to sleep. Probably read books or something.
  • Calming essential oils

Longshot Luxuries

  • Scented beeswax or non-GMO soy candles – A room FULL of them. Yeah right!
  • Beautiful flowers in my birthing room
  • A home of my own to birth in!!!

What we will avoid

  • Cord clamping – We will cut the umbilical cord after it has completely stopped pulsing to avoid infant anemia and potential brain damage
  • Vitamin K shot – totally unnecessary and potentially harmful
  • Eye goo – I am 100% certain that I do not have gonorrhea or chlamydia and therefore my child is not at risk to being exposed to these diseases in the birthing process
  • Hep B  vaccine – Hepatitis B is primarily transferred through sexual contact or via blood (needles, etc.) In addition, most people that contract Hep B fully recover from it. On the other hand, the vaccine itself contains preservatives such as aluminum (a neurotoxin). For us, the risks outweigh the benefits.
  • Circumcision (if we have a boy)

We’re all looking forward to baby #2, though he/she doesn’t have a name yet and we’re all so busy we sometimes feel that we haven’t soaked in the anticipation like we did with baby #1.

The clock is ticking! So while I re-read my list and make sure I didn’t leave anything out, I’d like to hear from you: what will YOU do differently with your next birth? Any new must haves on your radar? Any must avoids?

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27 Responses to What Would You Do Different for Baby #2?

  1. Tiffany@ The Coconut Mama says:

    This post makes me feel like I want to be pregnant again. I had the best home birth with DD. I am also very quiet during labor. I need quietness. I get very annoyed at any sound others make around me. I also don’t like to have many people there, if my hubby was up for it, I would want him to be the only one there. I think it would be sweet if he delivered all our babies =). He can’t handle it though. I had my close friend help with delivery. I drank a lot of bone broth, green drink, and fresh OJ/carrot juice when I was in labor. I don’t like to eat during labor, so these nourishing drinks were great for me.

    I really hope your able to get into a new home before your little one comes! My sister in law was in the same position as you when she was 9 months pregnant. They got into a house 3 weeks before delivery =)

    Good luck!

  2. Whittney says:

    You have forgotten to plan for the most vital thing: FOOD! As in muffins in the freezer to be eaten at 2AM while you’re nursing and of course the after birth meal….Schlotzsky’s is my pick. :)

    We purchased Avery a gift FROM her brother as well. We stuck with an elaborate Play-Doh set because we know it will be a hit, but I love the idea of Katie having her own baby “stuff.” I have also written down several activities for Avery and her Dad (or whichever Grandma is here) to do during the first couple of weeks. Special things that will get her out of the house and feel loved. Library story time, water park, zoo, carousel at the mall, etc…..

    Your birth is going to be fabulous, I just know it!

    • kate says:

      Whittney- the after birth meal? I thought you were talking like placenta lasagna or something….haha

    • Heather says:

      Whittney – Do you know that after two days of labor (which included 12 hours of throwing up and NO eating subsequent to that) I didn’t have an after-birth meal??? Is that crazy or what? I was so tired I just forgot.

      NOT THIS TIME! After reading your comment I put in my order for a huge steak and fully-loaded baked potato. My comfort food!

      I love the idea of getting Katie a gift from her new sibling. Thanks for your suggestion!

  3. Genevieve says:

    Hi Heather!

    LOVED THIS POST :)! Thanks for taking my question! I feel honored :).

    I’m totally in the nesting phase myself and my heart goes out to you regarding your home quest. I will be holding the vision that you’ll find a new home before labor. But if not, I know that you’ll do just great… remember, home is where the heart is.

    In fact, my baby room is so not set up and there are a million loose details all over the place; and I’m learning to just live in this grey free-fall place. And it’s not so bad :). Most important thing is mommy and daddy love baby and they are “present” with the birth. So that’s what I like to focus on.

    We are interviewing doulas now too. Best of luck finding just the right fit! I’d also love to brainstorm some good music ideas … I love Enya. I’ve found some relaxing soaking music… some meditation music… let me know if you have any good albums.

    I loved Tiffany’s suggestions on food/drinks to prepare as that’s essential too. I heard honey sticks are good too. Perhaps yogurt… fruit… I’d imagine lighter foods fair better although I haven’t given birth yet so not sure on that one :).

    Any ways, I LOVE your blog! Keep up the good work and be in touch! Genevieve

    • Heather says:

      Thank YOU for suggesting this post, Genevieve! I had a lot of fun writing it and actually discovered there were a few elements I hadn’t thought of. And your snack suggestions are making me hungry!

  4. Anna D says:

    Wow, this is so great!!! It also makes me want to be pregnant again. I agree with Whittney, you should definitely plan some nourishing food for yourself for after delivery. I read in Ramiel Nigel’s book ‘Healing our Children’ that the best option is fish broth.

    I wish you to find your new home, but sure the birth will be perfect anywhere.
    Good luck which you do not really need with such a great team and planning!

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, Anna! I I haven’t read that book but I did read another one of his and loved it: Healing Tooth Decay. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into it!

  5. ElisabethCS says:

    Hey Heather!

    I just recently found your blog and I am becoming addicted to it!
    It’s so exciting to see how you have become the go-to-mom! I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog entries!

    My husband and I are expecting our third baby in 5weeks(I’m hoping in 4weeks)
    We are having a birthing center birth, as we did with our second. My husband was a fabulous coach at our daughter’s birth (7years ago/ hospital)
    But the second time around I had too many people present, it wasn’t clear who my coach was and it was kind of chaotic.
    This time it will just be my husband coaching and we are meeting with a couple doulas next week. I think a doula will be great. Mainly, for support for my husband.
    I agree with you about not having your Mom as your doula. I am not having my Mom there this time. I really want to give my husband a chance to coach me like the first time. We have taken The Bradley Method childbirth classes and this time are just reading husband coach childbirth again. I always have a stack of books on my night stand when I am pregnant. Some of which I have read two times already…like, The thinking woman’s guide to a better birth and for the first time, Supernatural Childbirth (recommended by my sis)…

    and of course praying and preparing mentally.

    I like your ideas and share many of the same.. although I was not a fan of the water. Maybe it was because we have a hard jacuzzi at our birth center. Maybe I should get one of those inflatable ones.

    Looking forward to reading about your second birth! Blessings to you and Daniel!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Eliabeth, it’s great to “find” you and your gorgeous blog! I think your birth plan is really intriguing. You’re going to be at a birth center but only have your husband and doula present? Am I understanding that right? Please fill us in!

      • ElisabethCS says:

        Hey Heather,

        Aw thanks. I’ve only been blogging for a short while. Still feel very lost in the blogging world.

        Sorry if I confused anyone..there will be a midwife and a nurse practitioner attending our birth. I guess I forget to mention them, since it’s standard at our freestanding birth center.
        My husband will be my coach and we are hoping we like one of the two doulas we are meeting with on Monday evening.

        • Heather says:

          Okay, that makes more sense ; – ) A friend of mine opened a birth center a couple years back and I could just hear here saying “What about the liability of a birth center birth with no midwife????” Thanks for clarifying, Elisabeth.

  6. dianthe says:

    hmmm … for my next baby, i’m hoping to actually make it out of the car! lol!

    but seriously, it sounds like you have everything covered – one thing i would think about, since you’re having a photographer, is to think about your clothing choice – a friend of mine asked a similar question to yours on a mommy message board and several of the moms mentioned they wished they had been wearing something other than a ratty old t-shirt in their post-birth pictures – one mom wished her husband had on a different shirt and one said she wished someone had combed her daughter’s hair! i know it sounds ridiculous, but looking back at Sydney’s birth slide show, i wish my husband had been wearing a different shirt – he’s a HUGE Mavs fan but for some reason he has on a Chicago Bulls t-shirt! random! of course i’m also the girl who redid my makeup when i realized i was actually in labor – yes, i’m vain – but at least i’m self-aware! 😉

    i also just realized that i never answered your question about nursing while pregnant – yes, it hurt!! bad! it actually hurt throughout my entire pregnancy but i sucked it up thinking Sydney would eventually self-wean … she never did! but it usually only hurt for the first 10-15 seconds after she latched on and then it would be okay – i did tend to get touched-out a lot easier though – so that was a struggle – i will say that the moment i gave birth, the pain went away though – isn’t that weird? i haven’t had any issues since!

    • Heather says:

      Dianthe – I am SO GLAD you brought up the clothing issue. I picked out an outfit for my first birth but ended up in my birthday suit because it was too restrictive, so the pics I can share are VERY limited. I knew I wanted to thoroughly research what would be comfortable this time around but I hadn’t given much thought to my husband and daughter. But since I want them to be an integral part of the process I guess I should have. I guess you could say I’m vain, too ; – )

      Oh, and THANK YOU for sharing your experience on nursing while pregnant. It has become more comfortable but not like it was before. I am hoping to return to normal after the birth!

  7. Linda says:

    I won’t ever have the option of having Baby #3 (husband had a vasectomy in May), but I know with #2, I definitely did things a little differently. For #1, my doctor had me take an Ambien to help me sleep through the night. I ended up sleeping most of my labor & almost had to have a c-section. Thank goodness I didn’t. With #2, I refused the Ambien, and was so glad I did. That was the biggest difference in the 2 labors, but I did other small things as well differently.

    As far as the gift to Katie….my husband and I did the same thing. But we made the gift to #1 FROM #2. It was sweet. We wrapped it & got him a card from the baby, and I have it all in #1’s baby book. It will always be something for him to remember. #1 loves to color and draw, so #2 got him stuff to do that. And he LOVED it!

    Good luck! I am keeping you in my prayers that y’all find the right house before you have #2.

  8. Des says:

    I’m not entirely sure, but it’s going to be different!

  9. Shannon Marie says:

    I love all of the ideas in the post and comments. My son will be 11 in February and as a 19/20 pregnant and new mother I did minimal research. I knew a little bit, and trusted in the meds and epidural to ‘get me through’. The past 4-5 years I have done more research than when I was pregnant! My son is healthy as a horse but I will change almost everything I did with him if my husband and I get to have baby #2. I look forward to learning more before we get to that point but I will be changing almost everything!

  10. Misty says:

    Def, gonna leave out using the eye goo. It did nothing but made his eyes ooze for 10 days green stuff. I felt so bad. This time, not going there. We didn’t do any shots, no vit k, the cord clamping might be tough b/c I am having another c-section, but I will ask my doctor about that one. Thanks for this post!!!!

  11. Jennifer says:

    Hi! We have an 8-year-old daughter. I am very plan and research-oriented and did my best with the knowledge and understanding I had at the time to make it the best pregnancy and birth I could imagine. It was a good experience overall but I know so much more now about nutrition (thanks to and later other websites) and natural ways of living, etc. If we do decide to have another, I have a long mental list of things to do differently in order to make it better all around… If we never have another child, we will still be better off.
    Off the top of my head:
    1. Saturate my body with magnesium chloride (I started making magnesium “oil” to spray on skin) to prevent deficiency and hopefully specifically avoid morning sickness. :) And, otherwise pay close attention to my needs so I can be strong, energetic, rested, etc.
    I am 30 years old, formally strong and energetic but now recovering from what I call Adrenal Fatigue/Exhaustion and from UNintentionally going several months without eating enough for my body to be well and function. I had gotten so focused on eating perfect foods that my list of “forbidden” foods grew and eating *right* became overwhelming and complicated and I was constantly hungry. I just kept taking my health for granted. BTW, 3 months of aggressive re-feeding and rest has done some awesome things for me so far. I’m a little over-weight for the first time in my life (except right after birth) but it’s temporary (and humbling) and worth being happy. But I do look forward to getting back in shape. 😉
    2. Continue to improve our traditional diet, incorporating more recipes I’ve been wanting to try.
    3. Make sure to include specific foods in our diet that make for greater health all around (Mommy’s eggs, Daddy’s seed, and baby.) Especially in the months prior to actually considering conception.
    4. Prepare to have a home birth (we would need to have a home, first. We live in an RV right now… just for the down-sizing and adventure). We both want to settle back into a home with a good amount of land in order to be more self-reliant. Our daughter was born in a small military hospital in Idaho. :) We’re back in Idaho and hope to settle here.
    5. I would be more mindful of walking and squatting more throughout pregnancy and labor. I do remember doing a lot of squatting during labor at home, but once at hospital I stayed on my back and just followed orders and didn’t know what was going on really. I want a home birth in order to be more relaxed and free.
    I probably did better than I remember with some things (I feel like I was active and did my best to eat balanced meals) but there are those things (like dense nutrition) that I wish I had known then. :) Our daughter is exceptionally healthy though and we’ve been feeding her traditional foods since age 6 1/2. Anyway…
    6. Drink red raspberry leaf tea, especially during 2nd half of pregnancy. It’s supposed to be great for women’s health especially in getting the body ready for labor.
    7. Use herbal tea to support nursing, in addition to traditional diet. My milk supply waned at about 3 months and I didn’t know why. I’m thinking now it was probably the time I reduced and restricted my diet/calories and began exercising to lose weight. I feel like I should have know better, but I did fight to get every drop of breastmilk I could muster for my daughter. I pumped a lot and she stopped nursing at 10 months though by then it was just a little in the morning.
    8. Things like cloth diaper more, use a sling to carry baby, even when I nursed exclusively I pumped and used bottles for when other people watched her–I desire to just nurse and not use the bottles, etc.
    9. Start doing cleanses. When the timing is sufficient, we will do colon cleanses and probably other cleanses like for the liver, etc. I just want us to get a good internal cleaning. :) I plan to use products from the Bulk Herb Store.
    I hope my comment isn’t too long. I have not had much of a social life for many months due to the fore-mentioned fatigue. 😛 I read and enjoyed this article and have been thinking a lot about what I would do differently the next time. Thanks for sharing your life with us Heather.

  12. Krystal Wight Armstrong says:

    Hi, Heather,
    I know you get asked so many Qs and are a busy mommma, but if you have a moment I could *really* use your advice on birthing tubs. From the pic above and from your other birth story posts, it looks like you’re the only one I ‘know’ who has experience with several.
    I’m almost 34 weeks with my first, and need to reserve our birth pool rental ASAP. We have the option of the La Bassine, Birth Pool in a Box Eco (and possibly the Aquaborn Eco if it’s returned in time for our due date 2 weeks later). I’m having to deliver in a hospital, but with a doula and great OB who encourages the crunchy/natural water-birth route. Anyway, I have no experience or idea what to consider here, except that I’d like to know which is most conducive to Daddy fitting comfortably too.
    Any advice/info/tips are So appreciated; Thank You & Happy Thursday! : )

    • Heather says:

      Hey! Yes, I have tried three different tubs. Here are the things I would look for:

      1. Handles so that you can hold on while you position yourself to labor.
      2. A deep, spacious tub. I’m tall and so is my husband, so this was a must.
      3. My last tub also had a small “stool” built in on one end. I found that helpful.
      4. It also had a cover to help hold heat, which was great because they filled it up for me while I was in early labor and only needed to add a little hot water when we got closer to then end. Hope that helps!

      • Krystal Wight Armstrong says:

        Thank you, that is helpful!
        It looks like the last one you used, Pool in a Box Eco, has all those features (except handles only on the outside, not inside, like La Bassine…but it doesn’t have the seat). Do you know if you’d say the BPiaB was your preference/favorite?
        The one I can rent won’t come w/ that cover, but it does have a thermometer to keep track of temp with.

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