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Whether you are a mom-to-be, planning to be a mom, or maybe you want to support your wife (huge brownie points to you), this post is for you. Or maybe you’ve had a baby, or two or three, and you want to commiserate with me on all the surprising things about giving birth. You know, the things no one talks about and the things they don’t tell you beforehand. Well, fasten your seatbelt, or in this case, tighten your belly band, and prepare to get really personal as I share my top 14 things to know about giving birth…the good, the bad, and the ugly.
14 Things to Know About Giving Birth:
1. Birth Plans: Just go ahead and throw that out the car window as your spouse is speeding through stop lights to get you to the hospital. Wait, your husband didn’t do that? While it’s important to be prepared, and a plan can certainly benefit you, just know that “plans” often don’t go as you think and you may not be thinking about those plans when breathing through excruciating contractions.
2. Labor Pains: With my last three births, my labor pains started 36 hours in advance. I was having full-on contractions consistently 5 minutes apart for an hour and as soon as I got to the hospital they would slow down. Sadly, when contracting pretty regularly for 36 hours you don’t get much sleep, or at all, so you begin the whole parenting journey sleep deprived already. I didn’t realize that I’d lose that much sleep BEFORE having the baby.
3. Water Breaking: If you’re lucky enough to break your water in the privacy of your home, wonderful, job well done. I had the joy of five doctors sticking a long tool along with their hands in my area to break mine. And then it gushed, and it gushed, and it gushed some more. There goes one layer of my modesty.
4. Epidurals: Number 1 birthing tip, don’t let your husband hold you during the epidural. It’s a known fact that both my husband and I don’t do well with needles or blood, but the longer we’ve been parents the easier it has gotten. When getting the epidural on baby #5, we were a little too confident in our skills. The nurse asked my husband to hold me while getting the epidural. I was already at 7 centimeters at this point and the contractions were coming on very strong every 2-3 minutes. As the needle goes in my back and I’m in the middle of a contraction, my husband says “I’m going to have to sit down”. All I could muster was “What?” and I lifted my head and saw his eyes roll back as he fell backward like Goliath, the nurse catching his head as if it were a football just before he hit the ground. He passed out cold and had all the medical professionals surrounding him. All while the needle is still going deeper into my back, I’m having contractions, and I’ve got no one. He ended up getting sick and had to lay down for a few hours before the baby made her debut. Here he is sleeping peacefully, isn’t he cute? Moral of the story, if they can’t handle needles, kick yo husband out of the room!
5. Pushing: Birthing books may mention how to push, they may mention doing exercises to help build muscles to aid in pushing. Pushing for me was a little hard to get the hang of it, but once I did it was the easiest part. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard work to push, because I pushed with all my might and have the hilarious pictures to prove it with my face contorted and red. But it was much easier to push than to contract. Goodness, those contractions hurt!
6. Uterus “Massaging”: “Massage” is an interesting term for what they really do. After you’re all sewn up, the nurse tells you they need to massage your uterus. It really feels like they’re trying to poke through your skin and come out your back. Not your typical massage, if you ask me, but it’s a necessary evil.
7. Bleeding: You think maybe because you had a c-section that you might get a pass on bleeding for weeks. Nope. Not at all. I bled for nearly 6 weeks after each of my birth experiences, both c-section and vaginal, which means you’ll need lots of pads. Oh, since you can’t use any other method (tampons), you get to just hang out in giant pads for 6 weeks.
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