The scariest part of childbirth for me was the unknown. It was something I’ve never experienced before and was likely going to be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. So, what did I do? I researched, researched, researched. I spoke with mama friends, asked lots of questions in multiple mom/pregnancy groups on Facebook, Googled plenty, closely read all the pregnancy apps and never was shy with questions with my doctors. Thing is though, when you’ve never been through it, it can be difficult to know what to ask. So, you’re often depending on those who’ve been through it to let you know what to expect. But I found that quite a few things were left out and I’m going to share them with you, because I wish someone had shared them with me.
Just because they say you’ll know when you’re in labor, doesn’t mean you’ll actually know.
Even though I was already in the hospital before I went into labor (if you don’t know that story, you can read more about it here), I was still constantly on edge, wondering if/when I was in labor. There were multiple times I thought I was having contractions and the nurses picked nothing up on the monitors. And then there were multiple times where I felt nothing, but the nurses were picking up small contractions on the monitors. Side note, the monitors are helpful, but most importantly, you need to listen to your body. It wasn’t until I was 4cm dilated and having contractions every 2 minutes that I was 99% sure this was labor. Sometimes you just don’t know. Especially if it’s your first time.
Pushing is hard work.
Maybe this is an obvious one, but from all the birth vlogs I’ve watched, the mom’s make it look so easy. Like they’re complete naturals. I was so focused on how I’ll get through the pain of contractions, I never really thought about how I’ll get through the physical act of pushing. I think every muscle in my body hurt for about a week after. I had finger nail marks in the palms of my hands from where I was gripping onto a bed sheet that my nurse had me grab onto when bearing down. It was so hard.
You’ll be so, so thirsty.
I’m not sure if this is a thing at all hospitals, but I wasn’t allowed to drink anything all day long in case I had to have an emergency c-section. So, during all that difficult pushing, you’re sweating up a storm annnd you don’t get to drink any water to hydrate. I remember telling Austin over and over how thirsty I was. I’m not sure if I had ever been so thirsty before in my life.
The doctor isn’t there for any of the pushing.
I always imagined my nurse would help me for a majority of the pushing, but then thought the doctor would come in and help encourage me for those last few pushes before catching the baby. Nope. I was on my last set of pushes as he walked in and scrubbed in. He sat down in front of me and Lucy nearly popped out right as he sat down. Seriously, thank God for nurses.
You’ll have no choice but to let your guard down and be vulnerable.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel super violated when people I hardly know see my privates. I expected for multiple people to see my hoo-ha during labor, but afterwards, when we went to recovery, I wasn’t expecting anyone but Austin to be helping me out. Two nurses had to be there to help me use the restroom for the first time and “set me up”. As in, squirt cool water on my vagina, spray numbing spray down there and teach me how to get the ultimate-after-labor pad. So, imagine me, two nurses whom I just met and Austin all hovering over me while I’m on the toilet. Waiting for me to pee and me cringing and wanting to scream as I do, because it burns like hell. Then them putting stuff on my vagina for me. But honestly, at this point, I didn’t care so much. They were so sweet and kind to me and I just let myself be vulnerable and open. I mean, I just gave birth to a baby… I’m a damn superhero, right?
Getting your uterus checked after labor is a bitch.
After labor, the doctor will likely come in and want to check to make sure your uterus is shrinking back down. He/she will press (not gently) down on your uterus and continue doing so all over your abdomen. And holy hell it hurts. I wanted to scream and swat the doctor’s hand away. They actually did this to me two more times before I left the hospital. Ouch.
I’m sure there’s plenty more that I have long forgotten about. That’s the beautiful thing about giving birth. It’s so hard and there are lots of awkward and painful moments, but down the road, all you can truly remember is the moment you saw your baby’s sweet face for the first time. Ahh, it’s complete bliss in that moment. I relive it in my mind every single day.