As a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect during labor and delivery.
The past several months have flown by and I am now about nine months postpartum. My baby is growing like a weed and I can’t help but reminisce about her being a newborn. Seriously, how do these babies grow so fast?
Anyways, as I think back on the days of my baby being tiny, my mind also floods with memories of labor, delivery and postpartum recovery.
I had no clue what to expect during labor and delivery, so that made everything pretty new and scary. Labor is different for every women, of course. However, there were eight things that stood out and really shocked me about labor and delivery.
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YOUR WATER CAN KEEP LEAKING
When my water broke on it’s own at the hospital, I honestly wasn’t real sure it was my water.
It had gushed all over the floor so the nurse used a strip to test the puddle and see if it was my water or just.. urine.
When she told me it was indeed my water I thought “cool, got that part over with.”
Little did I know, my water would continue to leak for a quite a while. It was a strange feeling to have water leaking uncontrollably and all I could do was sit and wait for it to stop.
The nurse tucked some towels under me and changed them frequently to keep me dry until the leaking stopped, so it wasn’t too uncomfortable.
If you’re not sure what to do if you’re water breaks at home, or just really nervous about labor in general, check out this Online Prenatal Class!
It covers a ton of information that I wish I would have known before giving birth. And, it is completely online so you can learn at your own pace.
THE HEART MONITOR -UGH
I knew that they needed to monitor my baby’s heart rate during labor and delivery to make sure she was safe, but I hadn’t given much thought to how they monitored it. They just strap a little monitor on you and call it a day. That little monitor is so. darn. annoying.
The heart rate monitor was constantly sliding over or riding up, causing it to lose the fetal heart rate and send the hospital staff into a mild panic because they couldn’t get a good reading. Panicked staff=panicked mama, am I right? The poor nurse kept having to come in there and adjust it so they could get a good reading. The monitor that tracks contractions is just as annoying but at least it is not a big deal if it moves a little.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor inconvenience, but be prepared for that thing to bug you to no end while you try to get through labor and delivery.
YOU MAY CRY (BUT NOT FOR THE REASON YOU THINK)
I went into labor and delivery aware that I may shed a tear or two due to the pain of contractions. Matter of fact, I was almost certain I would cry when I finally got to hold my daughter for the first time. But, as it turns out, the words “great, you’re ready to start pushing!” were what sent me into tears. The moment that the nurse said those words, it became so real for me.
My entire pregnancy I had a hard time wrapping my head around the thought of having an actual baby that it was my sole responsibility to care for. I struggle with change so the moment that I realized my whole identity was changing, there were some tears shed.
The crying was short lived and quickly turned into excitement about meeting my baby, but I still didn’t expect to cry because of something so silly.
THE NURSES ARE WONDERFUL
I don’t know if I got lucky or what, but the nurses who helped me through labor and delivery were absolutely wonderful. They went above and beyond to make sure I was comfortable and progressing well.
These selfless ladies did a great job of distracting me from the epidural insertion, helping me get into ideal position for dilation, and just about anything else I could have needed from them. I know that these things are in their job description, but I was pleasantly surprised with the bedside manner.
A strong support system during labor and delivery is so important and I truly hope every woman has the support that they need during that time, weather it be from the nurses or anyone else.
YOU WILL PROBABLY BE SUPER THIRSTY
I tried to make sure I drank plenty of water before I got to the hospital because I knew that they wouldn’t let me drink anything after I got there. Despite chugging a ton of water on the way there, I found myself so thirsty after a short time at the hospital.
The ice chips weren’t cutting it and were more of a tease than anything else. I tried to let them melt in my mouth to get somewhat close to the sensation of drinking water, but that wasn’t much help either.
The sweet nurse did allow me to get one small sip of water somewhere in the middle but the relief was short lived. I was so relieved when I was done delivering and could eat and drink again!
CHECKING FOR DILATION IS SO PAINFUL
I was checked for dilation twice by my doctor during my prenatal appointments and while it was uncomfortable, it was not necessarily painful. So when I checked in at the hospital and the nurse said she needed to check me for dilation, I didn’t really mind.
Well I don’t know what changed, but this time it was so painful. Like holy moly why on earth did this hurt so much? They had to check for dilation frequently and it was excruciating every single time until I finally got the epidural.
My doctor didn’t get around to checking me himself until my epidural had already kicked in, so I’m not sure if he is just especially gentle when checking or if the nurses we’re just accidentally rough. Either way it was super painful and I definitely could have done without the pain.
THERE PROBABLY WON’T BE YELLING
In the movies, the women are always screaming and yelling during labor and delivery. If they are not screaming their heads off, they are cursing at the baby’s father for being the root cause of the situation. (The only time I wanted to curse at my husband during labor and delivery is when he was sleeping soundly in the chair while I was dealing with contractions.)
I knew I probably wouldn’t be screaming or yelling, but I figured someone would. I didn’t hear a peep from any of the other ladies delivering during my hospital stay, and there was a lot of women there at the time! Moral of the story: giving birth is not necessarily how it seems in the movies.
THE EPIDURAL IS NOT THAT BAD
I knew my entire pregnancy that I would probably want to get an epidural when I gave birth, but I still had some anxiety about that big ole needle. I decided pretty quickly that I did want to get the epidural to help deal with the pain. All that was left to do was wait for the anesthesiologist to get there.
When the time came I decided not to even look at the needle because I figured if I didn’t see it, it would be easier not to think about it. Thankfully, my wonderful nurse did a great job or distracting me while my epidural was being placed and I hardly felt anything. The relief was almost instant and the epidural quickly became my best friend.
Overall, labor and delivery was not near as bad as I expected. Sure, it was painful (until my good friend epidural showed up to the party) but it was totally worth it to have my sweet girl.
What shocked you about labor and delivery? Did you have a helpful hospital staff? I would love to hear your story!