What they don’t tell you about Childbirth

As you are probably aware, every labour and childbirth experience is different, even for the same mother. For my first child we went the Parentcraft Sessions run at the local hospital which went through many of the basics – when to come in, what pain relief was available, the stages of labour, ideas of what to pack, caring for stitches should you tear, that sort of thing. We didn’t bother with the second.

My first child was born by emergency c-section due to foetal distress (cord round neck twice!) so my second child was my first proper birth. Although my consultant offered me the option of another c-section, I chose a normal birth. I then found a coule of things which weren’t covered in ante-natal / parentcraft sessions, or which are told to you by friends or family.

1) Water’s breaking feel like you’ve lost bladder control. Embarrassing! My husband joked about not finding a dry bit of carpet when I’d got over the embarrassment.

2) When the baby is finally starting to make an appearance, it feels like your bowels opening until the last second. My husband and the mid-wife heard me shout “It’s not a poo!” from the toilet signalling the start of the arrival.

I used gas and air as the main pain relief. I was warned it made your mouth dry, but was not told how dry. I belief I went through 10 litres of water in 7 hours.

It is also possible to go through the labour without an epidural. Although the pain got worse, I opted for pethidine and not an epidural. I was then able to feel when I needed to push and had to use the pain to aid this. The gas and air was taken away from me for the actual birth part.

Even if you know you can tear you perineum, no one can predict how badly this can be if it happens. I tore quite badly and could feel the blood pumping out. This will not happen in every case, but massive blood loss can lead to circulatory shock.