The Reality of Labor and Delivery is one many mothers don’t discuss often. My experience is not typical and I am grateful for some of the uncertainty. Your experience will be different in that it’s your own.
While you are going to your regularly scheduled appointments hopefully you have a list of questions prepared beforehand. As you are noticing between the “baby brain” syndrome and excitement to hear your baby’s heartbeat you’ll often leave with questions unanswered.
Continuing to Google search Pinterest for answers to something you are still trying to figure out for yourself is not easy. Half the things that occurred during my labor I hadn’t even read about.
I believe the reason most mothers don’t discuss their experience is due to the power of emotions it represents. I had some friends that compared the experience to having a bowl movement after 10 tiring and partially boring hours. Other friends had unknown complications and cried when they shared their experiences. End result, you’re having a baby and its coming out!
Before you read on, please know do not be afraid. There is medical documentation that discusses the increase of hormones rushing through your body. As a result of these hormones your reaction to any mild medical discussion with doctors and nurses during labor will feel in the moment crucial and life threatening. Had this been a non-hormonal situation your brain would be processing the information a little more logically. This is why everyone around you is telling you to calm down.
Coming from the Mom that swore Jesus was singing Jesus Loves the Little Children telling me my time has come I can assure you, I was not in critical condition. Instead, I had 36 hours of labor an epidural maxed out with additional pain medication, 2 rounds of pushing resulting in a cesarean. Absolutely-not-typical. I had a unique situation that lead to 36 hours of labor and my own inability to realize my water had broken.
Knowing you are probably researching to be prepared, here are a few of the facts I wish I would have known.
Hormones– If you are inducing labor and not dilating progressively your body will overheat and you will be shivering like you have a severe fever. For some, the opposite can take place where you are extremely cold.
Epidural – It is very possible you might miss the window to have an Epidural. If you do have one more than likely your birth will feel like a bowl movement. It is very weird pushing with the numb sensation. I couldn’t imagine the strength it takes women who choose Natural Birth. The process of administering can be scary, it happens quickly and you’ll be grateful you made the decision.
Bowel Movement – If you are having natural labor rest assured you will have a bowl movement unless you have an enema. I hadn’t ate in over 40 hours and we believed my body had processed everything. It hadn’t. The nurse isn’t going to say anything, you might notice however its completely normal for them.
Water – You cannot drink water until after you have the baby. It is miserable. Drink water on your way there and make sure you have chapstick! I was very happy to have a constant flow of ice water wash cloths and the desperation to drink those was overwhelming.
Hospital Bag – The bag you packed for the hospital more than likely won’t be with you. With the amount of moving rooms etc. moving your belongings is difficult. This being said be sure you have a cell phone charger, hair brush and hair clip in your purse.
Calling Friends – I had a perception that while in Labor I would have an epidural my Fiancé and I would be binge-watching shows on Netflix and I’d be able to text friends and family with progress updates. That was absolutely not the case for us. I took two selfies in moments of delirium (if you read until the end you will see one, its quite funny) and spoke with my family over the phone twice. Give a list of who to call / update during labor and after the baby is born to someone that is there with you. If you want pictures, let them know beforehand.
Arriving at the Hospital – Be careful, you could be sent home. I arrived at the hospital only dilated 1.5cm with irregular contracts and minor pain. Obviously I was sent home. We returned 6 hours later on what seemed to be the worst car ride of my life. I believe we waited too long however I returned still only dilated 1.5cm. This time I was sure to scream to demonstrate the severity of the pain.
Hospital Gowns – I wish I had brought my own. I do understand why you might think it’s an unnecessary expense, it is. Looking back I spent a long time in their gowns and was changed into another one after the baby was born. You will be taking pictures and that gown will be in the pictures. I even put on make up on the way to the hospital the first time thinking the pictures would look better. After 36 hours, it was smeared everywhere. Buy your own hospital gown. Here are some more essentials I suggest for packing your bag.
There is really no way to completely prepare as your experience is your own. Knowledge is the best way to get prepared for Labor and the faith that those around you in the moment are focused on your comfort!
18 Hours into labor…..
Wish I was wearing a different gown!
Much love during your exciting pregnancy. I hope you share with me your newborn photos!! <3