Ok so I know I am not the first person to have a baby and I don’t about you but I was somewhat taken a back by some of the things that happened during child birth (and thereafter) and if I could go back in time I think I would like to know about them, so here they are:
1. Your waters breaking can be a little underwhelming. Now don’t get me wrong I wasn’t expecting a movie style floor soaking but I did expect to know it was happening. With my first baby I was sat 100 miles from home visiting family and I thought oh god I think I am having a wee on the sofa, I legged it to the toilet and sat there for a good 2-3 minutes having what I thought was a wee, a long one admittedly. I sat there thinking I know bladder control is bad when pregnant but this is embarrassing – I couldn’t put my leggings back on because I thought I’d wet myself. It did then start to dawn on me, OH SHIT I think my waters might have just broken. I really did mean oh shit as I didn’t have my maternity notes or hospital bag with me, everyone else was too pissed to drive and we were literally in the middle of no where. SHIIIIIIIT.
2. Pain relief is not a given. I was fully prepared to get myself drugged to the hilt during labour. I didn’t bother with a birth plan as I didn’t think it would be worth it, other than pain relief. Pain relief was my only birth plan. I was petrified about having to give birth. However when my time came, I didn’t even get a whiff of gas and air. We made it to the hospital with little more than 5 minutes to spare before baby 1 (and 2 for that matter) came to meet us.
3. You might lose your shit. As a general rule I thought I held it together pretty well during both my child births expect for a slight incident during labour number 2 (both were a grand total of two hours so it wasn’t exactly a big ask). I found myself in a doorway being wheeled to the delivery suite, with no less than 3 doctors, 3 midwives and 3 paramedics for an audience – I was 33 weeks and had been at the hospital for about 2 minutes after being rushed in by ambulance, I think I may have been a little overwhelmed. I knew the baby was coming and being wheeled down a corridor legs akimbo was just not working for me. Further despite knowing my baby was coming, imminently, I started to yell ‘I need the toilet, I need to get up, I need to get up now and I need to go to the toilet NOW’ and indeed like a knob I tried to get up off the bed ..‘umm no Sarah, you need to have your baby now’ the surprisingly calm midwife said to me and then my waters exploded everywhere and I had my baby on the assessment unit. Turns out she was right, who’d of thought it.
4. It burns. I spent my entire pregnancy stressing about the contractions they are after all the subject of the horror stories, but nobody really warned me about the bit that comes after the contractions – the pushing. This is a whole new world of pain. A friend of mine once described it as ‘imagine someone taking a blow torch and using it on your vagina‘. I am yet to find a more accurate description. It gets hot as hell down there. My midwife said to me after this delightful stage, ‘did the water that I poured on you help?’ hmm now let me see, did a cup of water put out the great fire of London? Nope didn’t think so. Ok so I didn’t actually say this to her as my midwife was way too lovely to deserve my snarky bite but as a mother of three you would think she would know better.
5. It ain’t over when its over. Having your baby is not the end of it – you will be injected, someone will most likely squeeze your boobs, you will give birth to the placenta, your contractions will continue for a few days even longer if you breastfeed and if you need stitches you’ll have someone with their head in between your legs for a lot longer than you care for. Oh and if you do need stitches be prepared to drop your pants and show them off to your midwife for a good 10 – 14 days after. It really is one of your finest moments.
6. The midwife will stalk you until she has inspected your first wee. You will have to wee into a small cardboard bed pan and your midwife will hover over you until you have done so and she has had a good look at it. To this day I don’t know why they do it, I have no doubt there is a very good reason but still, it’s a little weird. That and you will be constantly asked if you have had a poo yet, that will be the last thing you feel like doing, trust me.
7. You would do it all again in a heartbeat. Labour can at times be quite horrendous, it is painful, scary, exhausting and emotional but as mums we are a glutton for punishment and you wouldn’t just do it all over again you may even want to do it again. I did.
8. Childbirth – that’s the easy bit!