Things that no one Tells you about Labor and Delivery

From the time most of us are told congratulations, you’re pregnant, we have a vision of how our labor and delivery will be. Especially if you are a first time mother. You read the books, see the movies, and you see yourself like those women. You’ll go into the delivery room, make up on, a few grunts, maybe calling your spouse an obscene name, a couple of pushes, and viola! New baby. What they do not show you in these books, videos, and movies is the nitty gritty messy aspect of labor. And yes, it is all messy.

In the movies, the woman’s  water breaks, they head to the hospital and a few minutes later, she has her beautiful baby in her arms. Hollywood got that very wrong. You will not rush to the hospital the moment your water breaks, or the second your contractions begin. As a general rule contractions should be at least two minutes and be four to five minutes apart. If you go in too early, the staff may send you home, or worse, to walk around and come back to check-in in a few hours. However, every woman is different, and if your instincts are telling you it is time to go, then go.

Your mucus plug will come out in pieces. Most of those pieces will resemble the worlds biggest, slimiest slug. Gross? Yes. True? Yes.

You may expect that when your water breaks, it will all come gushing out, splashing all over the floor. This is not always the case. Sometimes it is a trickle, you may think you have wet yourself. Other times it can be almost unnoticeable with all the other less than lovely things your body discharges when you go into labor.

Your child will not come out as that beautiful, clean ball of pink that they portray in the media. Your baby will come out covered in mucus and other things you can not identify. They may also be wrinkled, from spending months in a sac of amniotic fluid. If you go through natural birth, expect a cone headed baby. This is nothing wrong, it is simply the shape the head has had to take to get through the birthing canal. You may wish to inform your partner of this, as many dads may not expected this.

When it comes time to push, your partner will be asked to hold one of your legs. They will get an upfront view of what is going on down there, and may very well never look at that area of your body the same way again. Make sure he can stomach the situation, and that he will not be one of those dads that faint in the delivery room.

You may act psychotic at times. You have hormones racing wildly through your system, you are exhausted, and your partner is hovering. You may yell a profanity or two, even tell your partner you hate them, blame them for the pain. All of that is completely natural, and your partner should not take any of it personally. However, an apology afterwards might help.

It is the messiest thing you will ever do. In all seriousness. There will be fluids leaking from your body, you will be sweaty and gritty feeling from the contractions and the overall stress of childbirth. Not to mention that there is a fifty percent chance that you will poop on the table. All that pushing does not just put pressure on the birth canal.

You can tear down there. Before you go into labor you need to ask your doctor what their policy on episiotomies are. Some doctors will not do them, some will only do one if they think that you will tear in a way that will not naturally heal. Make sure you have clear information because it can be a painful experience if it happens.

You will bleed. For a while. Heavily. Whether you have a cesarean or you go the natural way, you need to stock up on the pads. Seriously ladies, your monthly has nothing on this. Some women bleed as few as three weeks, others for up to six.

If you have to have an epidural, they have to insert the needle in your back during a contraction, and you will have to stay perfectly still. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Once you are given the epidural, they will not let you have anything but ice chips. This can be very frustrating, especially if you are in prolonged labor.

After the baby is born, you think the worse part is over. Until you wake up the next morning to find that your breasts are huge and rock hard, and they hurt. This is called engorgement. It can happen whether you are breastfeeding or not, and it can be very painful.

Breastfeeding is not always easy, and it can hurt. Many new moms think that the baby will just latch on and that will be that. In many cases it takes quite, a few tries to get it right. Also, it is often painful the first few times the baby latches on. Keep at it and you will find what works for both of you.

Afterbirth. After you have delivered your baby, you may think it’s over. Not exactly. They still have to get the placenta and other wonderful things out of you.

Last but not least: Tell visitors to not bring flowers, bring food. You just spent numerous hours bringing a life into the world. Chances are, you will be hungry. No, you will probably be starving, and hospital food is not known for being the most appetizing.

Hopefully these facts will give you some insight in what to expect when you go in to deliver your bundle of joy. The biggest thing you need to remember, even if you have a birthing plan, is to be flexible. Every woman, child, and birth is different, and sometimes things come up that we do not expect. It’s okay, go with it. The people around you are there to make sure you and your child have the best possible outcome from this experience.