Last time we talked about how providing the right smells (within the rules of your chosen birthing place) can impact your overall birthing experience. We learned how closely smell was linked with memories, both positive and negative, and how smell has the ability to distract your mind from the task at hand.
Today, we are going to look at sight and how utilizing the sense of sight within your birthing experience is important and how exactly to pack "sight". First, we will talk about how the actual birthing space incorporates sight into the decor and furnishings. Second, we will explore what sights you love from home, and how to bring them with you. Third, we will provide examples of our favorite items to pack in your birthing bag. And always, we will end the blog with a tip of a particular item you cannot forget!
If you are choosing to delivery your child in a birth center, sight is already something they are acutely aware of when they designed the space. The birth centers in our area (Baby + Co. in Cary, and Women's Birth and Wellness Center in Chapel Hill) have designed their spaces to be similar to your home, with the advantages of having medical professionals and medical equipment present. They utilize rugs, couches, soft lighting and other familiar touches to make the sights provide a safe and comforting environment. The hospitals are trying to also do this, but due to the amount of medical equipment needed, as well as the standards of hospitals, they tend not to be as homey and comforting. While some hospitals do have additional lighting available, some only have large, bright overhead lights. Be sure to check out your hospital room if you can to locate the softer lights they have available, both in the main room as well as in the restroom.
We suggest talking with your doula more to understand exactly the setup of your chosen birthing space, and what you would like to do to ensure your sense of sight is the happiest. As always, it is important to understand the rules with your chosen birthing place regarding bringing in items, using electrical outlets, and changing anything associated with the space.
Personal touches to enhance your sense of sight
Another important element of sight is using pictures or personal objects to look during the most painful parts of labor. The type of pictures or objects that you bring should be highly significant to you because they are what you are going focus on during the apex of your worst contractions. By focusing on the image, your mind may naturally take focus away from the pain and onto that picture. We suggest not bringing in an original picture as birth can be messy and if you are holding the picture, it is likely to get wrinkled. You can either bring a picture in a frame to set up on a table near you, or a picture that in laminated so you can hold it and not be too worried if it gets ripped or wet. The advantage to a small picture is it will most likely not impact anything associated with the equipment or staff at your birthing space, so there is less need to worry about interfering with your medical professionals' tasks.
Some of our favorite ways to pack "sight":
- A string of Christmas lights to add a little color
- Battery powered candles to place throughout the space. These are great because they can be moved and do not take up valuable electrical outlets
- A small bedside lamp to soften the room. Be careful it cannot be broken or that it interferes with the medical professionals' equipment
- A picture of your baby's ultrasound to remind you what is about to come
- A picture of your other child(ren) to show how much love is in your life
- A picture from your wedding day or another special event to remind you do actually love your partner
- A picture of your favorite vacation spot to instantly relax you
- A personal object that you just love to look at (just be careful it can't be broken or ruined)
Pro-tip: Bring a camera AND charger! With all of this talk about sight, you want to have a way to remember exactly what it looked like to hold your child for the first time. Whatever camera you decide to document those first memories on needs to be fully charged and accessible. Plus, you will most likely be taking a million pictures during those first hours of your baby's life, so make sure that charger is accessible.