Childbirth is often romanticized as a beautiful process with two different scenarios. One, the mother slips away and comes back a day later glowing with pride as she presents her new baby. The second scenario dramatizes a lady screaming and sweating in pain as she’s surrounded by several assistants. Well, I can tell you from experience labor and delivery is rarely similar to either of these portrayals.
Here are all the details your friends won’t tell you about labor and delivery.
1. Hospital Underwear Is The Best Thing Ever
Most hospitals provide super stretchy, disposable undies to wear while you are at the hospital. They are seriously the most comfortable thing ever!
2. You Have To Keep Pushing After The Baby Is Out–No, It’s Not Twins
Thanks to TV, most women believe the job is done when the baby comes out. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Once you deliver that sweet baby, the nurse is going to tell you to keep pushing. Nope, you’re not having twins, you’ve still got to deliver the placenta. That’s right, you’ve got to push out the placenta. Usually it comes out quick and easy, but nonetheless, expect to keep pushing after the baby is out.
3. You May Have An Unexpected Audience
Everyone expects a nurse to be in the room with the doctor and maybe a few relatives, but you may have a few more eyes on your lady parts than you expected. At teaching hospitals, your OB may have multiple residents with her whom are likely responsible for medical students. All of whom will get a front row view of your delivery. On the bright side, you may be able to add “contributed to medical education” to your resume after the delivery.
4. Bowel Movements Are All Part Of The Process (Gross!)
It’s gross, it’s dirty, it’s embarrassing, but it’s all part of labor. You use the same pelvic and abdominal muscles to push out the baby as you use to have bowel movements. Expect to have one or more bowel movements while you’re pushing.
If you have a good nurse, she will whisk away the pad beneath you and replace it between pushes when it is soiled. That being said, if you do a water delivery, you will soaking in the mess (gross!).
5. Birth Plans Ensure Your Labor Won’t Go As Planned
Your body and your baby may have a plan completely different than the birth plan you create. Unfortunately, a lot of births don’t go as planned and this often causes unnecessary stress. The best birth plan is a flexible plan that considers a wide variety of scenarios.
6. The First Time You Stand Up, It will Look Like A Crime Scene
The motion of moving from a seated to standing position causes tons of blood to gush from the uterus. It seriously looks like a crime scene. I have never been squeamish about blood, but the sight was seriously too much for me to handle when I first stood up after giving birth.
7. Requested C-Section, Take A Number Please
On TV, a delivering woman screams she wants a C-section and is promptly wheeled to the O.R. and handed her baby fifteen minutes later. In real life, you may be able to request a C-section, but it will be scheduled after the emergency C-sections. If there is a lot of emergency C-sections that day you may be waiting for hours for a non-emergent C-section.
8. Frankenstein Has Appeared
Sutures, swelling, asymmetry, a deflated belly, red spots, and oddly shaped stretch marks may all be part of your recovery fun. Yep, you might look like Frankenstein for a few days. Let’s just call it the beauty of child birth that no one talks about.
9. Musical Rooms Is A Not-So-Fun Labor And Delivery Game
Checking into the labor and delivery unit is not like checking into a hotel. Just as you get unpacked and cozy in your initial room you may be moved to a different room for labor. Then possibly the O.R. for a C-section. Then back to the labor room, and finally moved to a recovery room where you will likely spend the rest of your hospital stay. Think of it as a hospital tour.
10. Dude, Where’s The Doctor?
The doctor you spent the last nine months bonding with may not make an appearance until the last few pushes. No, she’s not sitting in the lounge drinking coffee (I hope). She’s busy delivering all the other babies that are coming out before yours. It’s pretty much impossible for a doctor to give you one-on-one care for the twenty-plus hours that comes with labor. Instead you’re going to get lots of quality time with a random nurse that’s assigned to you. Expect to see the doctor a few times throughout the labor and then throughout the actual delivery.