Your baby will arrive with no less than ten zillion questions and decisions to make, especially in a hospital setting. Childbirth education and a qualified doula can help you get ready.
Before labor begins:
Should I let them strip my membranes at my next appointment?
Should I be induced even though I'm only a little past my due date?
How long is too long to wait past my due date?
What may I or should I wear during labor?
Is there anything I can do to help my body prepare for labor and delivery?
And that's all before you're even in labor! Buckle up. There's so much more!
Once labor starts:
Is this really labor?
Should I go to the hospital now or labor at home for a while?
They say I'm not really dilated and should go home to labor more; should I?
Should I change positions now?
What positions haven't I tried yet?
Should I try getting in the shower/tub?
When's the last time I used the bathroom?
Should I have some honey/tea/water to gain a little energy or hydration?
Would it be okay to eat a little something?
Should I ask for more time when the doctor: offers to check dilation? Recommends breaking my water? Wants to increase pitocin (for an induction)? Says I'm not progressing quickly enough?
Then the baby is born:
Do I want pitocin for delivering the placenta, even in a completely natural birth?
Will breastfeeding help me to deliver the placenta?
How long should we wait before clamping the cord?
How long should we wait before cutting the cord?
Can we do skin-to-skin right away? Why or why not?
Do we want to keep the placenta for encapsulation?
When should I start trying to breastfeed?
Are we circumcising him?
Are we do the Vitamin K?
Are we donating cord blood?
Do we want him bathed in hospital or not?
Do we want him to have a pacifier or not?
And then two seconds later:
How in the *heck* do I get this baby to breastfeed?
Is that a "good latch"?
Am I holding him right?
Is he hungry?
Is he getting enough?
Is it supposed to hurt?
Where should I put the pillows under my arm?
If you wait for someone else answer these questions for you, you may or may not like the outcome. The reality in childbirth is that everyone's body is different, but if you don't have a clear understanding of your preferences (and why those are your preferences and the risks associated with those preferences), in a hospital setting, your body will be treated like every other body. Get informed. Get your birth partner/spouse informed. And get a great doula on your team. (Maybe get a birth photographer? Cuz you know.) Best of all, get ready for something beautiful.