We (and by we I mainly mean my wife) went through 37 hours of labor, which gave me a lot of time to think about what was happening and what I might be able to learn from the experience. I'm not here to tell you how to be a parent. There are enough blogs for that, and just about anyone you meet is happy to hand out unsolicited advice. But marketers would do well to keep these things in mind, whether launching a new campaign or just about anything else. Have a plan. We went to the hospital with five copies of our "birth plan" that specified the way we wanted things to go down, and handed them to the nurses when we checked in. They may have thought we were crazy, but we didn't care. We weren't there for the nurses. We thought through the outcomes we were hoping to achieve and did our best to stick to the plan.
Don't be too married to your plan. Okay, we went in with a plan, but we learned along the way that some things out be out of our control. Force majeure, if you will. Circumstances changed as the hours passed, and we had the opportunity to reassess our priorities and make new decisions.
Stay focused. Things get pretty tough in there. At times it was tempting to abandon the plan altogether and just succumb to the pressures of what was happening (the market) or hospital procedures. For us, that meant we had to be deliberate about what rules we were breaking and what was really important.
Find the right partners. We've had a lot of amazing help — doulas, lactation consultants, instructors, doctors, nurses, family, friends. Even so, we don't know what we're doing half the time. Our team was top notch and we struck a balance between letting them do their jobs and keeping them focused on our goals. I can't imagine how we'd handle it if we were on our own.
Enjoy the ride. Giving birth is tough work. So is launching anything, although not always as physically painful. Of course, the reason to go through the pain and discomfort is because of the outcome you hope to achieve, but it's also important to find enjoyment throughout the process. One teacher told us to celebrate each contraction, because that meant that we were one step closer to holding our baby. Following that logic, the more intense the contraction, the closer we were. 37 hours is a long time if you're suffering through it just to get to the finish line. We found little ways to acknowledge the milestones along the way.