You’re near the finish line and whether through vaginal delivery or caesarean, your baby is coming soon…oh happy day.
You’ll start to read up on every birth article you can find, watch every birthing video you can stomach, and take any and all childbirth classes you hear about.
Your doctor, family, and friends will do you their very best to prepare you for that special moment – the moment you give birth.
But let’s face it, there is still so much that people don’t tell you for fear they might scare you half to death or for the simple fact that amidst the grand entrance of a baby, they forgot themselves.
So I’m letting you in on 7 things no one tells you about giving birth.
1. Your Birth Plan Won’t Necessarily Go the Way You Want It To
It’s always a good idea to have a birth plan.
Think about who you want in the room with you? Do you see yourself in hospital or in your own home? Would you like music playing? What kind? How do you feel about medical intervention and pain relief?
However, keep in mind that the big day can be unpredictable.
I went in thinking that I was going to have a vaginal birth NO MATTER WHAT, but the doctor was having so much trouble finding her heartbeat and I was only 2 cm dilated. So eventually I had an emergency c-section (and that’s totally okay).
The way in which you give birth doesn’t define you as a mother.
Point being, think of your birth plan as more of a guideline and be open minded about deviating from it.
2. You Might Be Pushing for a LONG Time
We’ve all seen those TV shows and movies where a woman is clenching her sides and pushing with all of her might. Then, miraculously a bundle of joy is delivered in 3- 5 huff and puffs.
Although this all sounds very idyllic, the reality is pushing can be lengthy and can take hours or even days. This is not a concept that is talked about often, but is normal.
One way to be prepared for this is to take a birthing class. It can teach you coping strategies for enduring the wait.
3. You Won’t Always Have the Luxury of Pain Relief
For some the prospect of getting an epidural (anesthesia injected into the space surrounding your spinal cord) is their only saving grace in labor, that and any other form of pain relief.
But sometimes it just doesn’t work!
My epidural was injected 3 times, yet still when it came time for the c-section I felt EVERYTHING.
The truth is if you have had a previous surgery or infection, have a tricky anatomy, or your labor just progresses too quickly than expected, it is possible that you might not get the alleviation you hoped for.
Talk to your doctor about all your pain relief options and what to expect.
4. You’ll Have a Million People Coming In and Out of Your Room Most of Which Will Look Between Your Legs
During labor, there are a lot of things that could happen.
Often time the umbilical cord is stretched or constricted, resulting in momentary drops in fetal heart rate. This and a host of other symptoms can cause nurses and doctors to come rushing into your room to check your progress as well as the baby’s.
It can be worrying, stressful and downright frightening. But don’t worry; this is actually all quite common. The urgency of the people around you doesn’t necessary mean something is dreadfully wrong.
Remember that everyone just wants you to have a happy and healthy baby. Try to be prepared for this in advance and ask as many questions as you like.
5. You’ll Feel Like You Have To and Probably Will Do Number Two
When it’s about time to start pushing, most likely you will feel a strong sensation to run to the bathroom and do number two. This is because you have a big baby pressing down on your bladder trying to break free.
I have heard of women begging doctors and nurses to let them go to the bathroom in which they will politely decline your request (they probably don’t want you to have the baby on the bathroom floor).
Go with what your body is telling you.
If you push hard enough, it is a possibility that the baby will come out along with a little mess.
But that’s okay, the people around you will not make a big deal about it and neither should you.
6. You’ll More Than Likely…No Will Wear a Mommy Diaper
When someone tells you to pack diapers for your hospital bag, you immediately assume it’s for your little one right, but what about a diaper for the new mommy.
A mommy diaper is either a mesh underwear with a maxi pad or an actual diaper. Both can be worn as is or packed with ice. This diaper can provide a huge relief for you and deal with the large amount of post-birth bleeding (which will continue for days after baby is born).
If you’re in a hospital, you will also notice that your bed has similar disposable sheets to absorb any additional bleeding. Most hospitals will provide the diapers for you or you can bring your own like I did.
Most importantly, the diapers are comfortable and are easily disposed.
7. You Might Not Have That Epic Bonding Moment Right Away
The first time I held my little girl, I didn’t have that HUGE bonding AHA moment that every mama gushes about it.
I actually thought I was a bad mother because I wasn’t a bucket full of emotions when I first laid eyes on her. But, of course in the days following I fell in love like I never thought I could and the same will happen for you.
It might not come right away due to a number of different reasons, but I promise the love will come.
For new moms, labor can be a scary unknown. For all moms, labor can be incredibly nerve-racking and strenuous.
But no matter if this is your first child or your fifth, know that you are capable.
Know that you’ll have a new understanding of just how strong you really are.
Know that you’ll meet the love of your life
And know that you got this mama!