Keeping a Labor Log

Photo: Veer / The Bump
Photo: Veer / The Bump

It seems, to me, that many women who’ve given birth can tell you the story of their labor. They can tell you how long they labored, when they knew when to go to the hospital, what their nurse’s name was, when they got medication, how long they pushed for, and, of course, what time their baby was born. Me? I have a bad memory. There are times that I can’t remember details from just a few minutes ago. (I make heavy use of spreadsheets and to-do lists in my life!)

I wanted to be able to remember my birth story, but I didn’t trust my ability to remember. Especially since so many things would be happening during the process! I wanted to know the big milestones of course — how long I pushed and what time my son was born. But I also wanted to know the small things — what time my water broke, when I got pain meds, etc. I knew that other women in my life would want those details. Some women just love birth stories!

I also knew that I wanted my husband to be involved wherever possible. Since I was being induced, there wasn’t any laboring at home that he could participate in. He wouldn’t need to drive a deep breathing, arm gripping wife to the hospital. In fact, I knew that when we checked into the hospital on that Wednesday morning, I’d walk in with my bag in one hand and my pillow in the other. I suspected that my check in process would be almost like checking into a hotel. “Jayme, 1 room, 2-3 nights please.” Once settled into our room, I knew that there’d likely be hours of just sitting around waiting for the induction meds to do their thing.

So I gave my husband a job. I asked him to keep a “labor log” for me. Supplies needed: a piece of paper, a pen and a clock. Whenever something happened, he would write it down. He didn’t write down little things like ‘Jayme turned over in bed’, but he wrote down the time and what meds they gave me, how many centimeters I was dilated at different stages, when they broke my water, when I got the epidural, and what my contractions were like throughout the day.

I’m so glad that I did this and definitely plan on doing so again with any future births. Not only did it help my husband be an active participant, but I didn’t have to remember the small details. All I had to say was “Honey, can you write this down?” any time I thought “Oh, I want to remember that.” It allowed me to focus on the job at hand and while it’s just a scrap piece of paper, it makes for a fun keepsake!

Thanks to my husband, I can actually tell my son’s birth story!

Did you keep track of your labor or save any mementos from the birth?