You think you’re going in all prepared, full of knowledge! But here’s a deep dark secret… You don’t know what you’re in for during those hours of labor and delivery.
Having a baby is the most beautiful thing in the world. Beauty that brings in sweaty, hungry, and tired moms to deliver their tiny humans. Some of these moms have it together, or seem like they do. As for the rest of us, we literally learn as we go. These are the things that no one talks about – to warn you when you are about to deliver. First let me say, everyone’s experiences are different, always. Even if you had baby number 1 and going to have baby number 2, no pregnancy and labor is the same, ever. And these are the things I learned the hard way…
I remember sometime during my first pregnancy that I received many books and magazines about how the baby is growing, what they are developing and how the mom may be feeling. I remember watching youtube videos on “What to pack in my delivery bag”, “Things I didn’t use in my delivery bag”, and “Delivery stories”.
But then one day I was chatting with my mom when all of a sudden she talks about post-partum bleeding. And how this bleeding goes on for weeks to months and is pretty much a long a** period, set on your heavy flow. Say What!?!! No where did I ever see or hear about this! So of course I asked her, “Wait, everyone?” And she laughed a little and said yes. Oh joy… Now let’s talk about the labor itself.
Labor isn’t Obvious!
I knew what braxton hicks were and I had them a bit during the last few months of my pregnancy. They never hurt and I thought it was kind of a cool feeling. Until one night they just wouldn’t let up! I was actually at work, closing up shop, and figured when I got home and laid down that these BH contractions would eventually go away. And girl, was I wrong! I got home and went to bed only to be hit by non-stopping pain in my back. Yes, MY BACK! My BH contractions were in my lower stomach region and this other pain that came and went, came and went, was all in my back. So I never put the two and two together! By the next day I finally struggled into the hopsital and was taken in just to be told I was already in active labor – so into a room I went!
Stop Touching Me!
There will be lots of touching, and in places you don’t want to be touched! When you prepare for your labor experience, you have this plan set up in your head of how things will go… being touched a lot wasn’t even in my mind! I knew that the nurse would have to check my “lady area” to see how dialated I was. However, there was hooking me up to an IV, Getting undressed and placed in a backwards robe, nurses checking my vital signs, nurses constantly checking me “down there” – again… Like there was just no personal space!
The Drugs Take Forever!
By the time I went into the Hospital, I had already been in labor for 18 hours. You would think that once i got into my room that there would be someone there to give me an epidural, but nope! The nurse in charge explained that in order to get the epi – I needed to get fluids in me. So she hooked a bag of fluids to me and it took about 45 minutes. Then the nurse rang the anesthesiologist and he took about an hour to get to me. (In Hospitals they usually have one on the clock at a time and they usually have to make rounds such as surgeries and laboring women.) So finally about 2 hours after I arrived – he showed up and got that sucker in me.
Sleep Wasn’t a Thing…
After the epidural was taking effect, the nurse was sweet enough to tell me that I could now take a nap, get some rest, etc, etc. So I tried. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t sleep through nurses checking in on me every ten to fifteen minutes. There was questions being asked, there was vitals being taken, there was more fluids being attached to my IV, and so on. So even though I got to close my eyes, there was no sleep.
Where’s the Doctor?
Seriously though!? If you go into the Hospital thinking that you’re going to see the one person who has been there from day 1 for 9 months, you’re wrong. Apparently it’s a thing of calling the doctor to come in when you are just about to push. And if they are already there, they are too busy to check in on you, hence all of the nurses. I remember with my second baby, my doctor didn’t even step into the room until literally the minute she was coming out, he showed up to catch her and that was it!
You’re not you when you’re Laboring:
You can be the kindest person in the world, but once you are in that delivery room, pushing, and being told how to breath and to not push (trust me, that ain’t easy!) you will lose yourself and snap at someone. When I was in labor, I was breathing how it soothed ME. And finally after the 20th time this nurse told me HOW to breath, I told her to shut up. “I’ll breath how I want!” I ended up apologizing to her hours after baby came. She just laughed, said it’s ok and that she gets it alot.
I Only Want My SO and my Mom in the room:
That’s totally fine! But be aware that there will be like 15 nurses in the room as well. I was actually shocked at all the people in the room. At this point, only my significant other and my mom have seen my “lady bits”, and now I didn’t have a choice to be conservative! There were nurses to watch the contractions, nurses for the baby, and I’m sure some just had nothing else to do but watch the laboring woman. I wasn’t expecting so many faces.
You Must Have an Open Mind!
I know I’m not the only one going in thinking, “I won’t get a c-section, I will birth naturally, I want a water birth”. You go in with a plan, and sadly, plans don’t go accordingly when you are birthing. You do have a say in a lot, and I knew that if it meant having a healthy baby, I was ok with a c-section – but lord, I was hoping it wouldn’t come to that. Luckily, I had a great experience in no c-sections and no big tears. But that was one thing I didn’t think about, how would I have handled it if I needed an episiotemy? I again, luckily, didn’t need one, but I have heard stories. So I will just say my advice: Prepare for the bad, hope for the best!
You Will Get Chills and Contractions After Baby Comes..
No one ever told me that I would go through so much AFTER baby. This came as a scary shock when I was having contractions after I got home from the Hospital. I then remembered reading about how that was my uterus shrinking slowly back to normal size. But what was even scarier was the night after being released. With both of my deliveries, I got these cold chills and I couldn’t stop shaking. I felt so cold that I even asked my (ex) husband to lay ON me, even though I had like 3 blankets on. The next day I felt just fine. I asked my Doctor about this and apparently it’s something your body can go through due to all of the hormones and post partum.
After Baby, Comes More Pushing…
Mhmm, the not so cute stuff is going to happen. My mom DID warn me that the nurses would push along my abdomen to get all of the “gunk” out of my uterus. What she didn’t tell me was how it would feel… Think of your nastiest period and times it by 30. You will feel oozing of warm thick blood, just never ending… literally its like a horror movie scene. My mom told me she remembered when they pushed her stomach that it hurt. I didn’t notice pain, I noticed the “gunk” lol. Don’t worry, they do all of the cleaning up.
p.s. You also have to push the placenta out as well… joy.
Does an Epidural Hurt?
I had two babies. One I had all natural – no time for an epi. And the first I did have an epidural. I get this question a lot and my answer is yes, at some points it does. When you decide to get an epidural, you will need to get fluids in your body (I mentioned this before.) and then as it happens, you will feel a “hammering” type of motion as it goes into your back. Don’t worry – you are numb before they do this. So then once the epidural is in, no it doesn’t hurt. You may have to lay a particular way because you can’t lay flat on your back with it in. This is more annoying if anything. Now, what does hurt is when it’s taken out. Out of everything, I remember how much it hurt I actually screamed. It’s still not the part you’re thinking about…. the needle coming out doesn’t hurt… it’s when the tape (that’s holding it in place all across your back) getting ripped off like a band-aid. A huge, very sticky band aid just rips right off your whole back area and there’s no mercy. That was the part that freaking hurt!
Clots For Days!
Doesn’t this sound lovely? I knew there would be after birth bleeding… but what shocked me even more was finding out right in the moment (my first bathroom visit after baby) there would be huge gross clots! Oh I freaked, I even hit the call button and had the nurse come take a look between my legs to show her this… blood clot and all she said was, “That’s normal, now if it’s bigger than a golf ball is when you should ask for us to take a look.” Uhm… I kid you not, this clot WAS the size of a golf ball but errr… okay? For several more days there were clots but thankfully they got smaller and smaller.
Alright, that is all of the secrets I have for now, I’m sure there’s more but these are the secrets that I found out on my own, at the scene, the hard way, that freaked me out! I hope there won’t be bad surprises for you either if you’re expecting.