Between Hollywood and old wives’ tales, there’s a lot of misleading information about childbirth out there. But until you’ve been through it, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.
I’ve had three children, all natural deliveries. Two induced, one spontaneous labour, each experience different. So thought I’d clear up a few myths and expectations and tell it like it is based on my experiences
It’s nothing like One Born Every Minute
First off, I can’t speak for other mums and dads, but there was no playful chatty excited banter in the delivery room with my other half. None.
Mainly because soon after my first dose of induction gel with my second child, my hubby was given a bed, snuggled down and went to sleep. Which worked out fine anyway, as I wasn’t able to think of anything other to say other than repeat ‘I am SHITTING myself’.
I then labored very quietly an hour later, for around three hours, before waking him. Then once again repeatedly told him I was shitting myself.
How do I know I’m in labour
If it’s your first time you may be expecting your waters breaking will be your first sign of labour. This was the case with my first two children, but with my third, contractions started soon after my second sweep.
They actually started as we went to do our weekly shop in Morrisons. Intensified throughthe night, so off to hospital we went at 5am, via McDonalds drive through, for carbs.
I was checked over. Confirmed I was in active labour, but sent home. They got stronger as soon as my waters broke whilst bouncing on my yoga ball watching ‘Thismoring’. So straight back to hospital we went. Me sat in the passenger seat on a pampers changing mat to protect the seats. Seriously.
I was convinced I wasn’t going to make it from the car park to the delivery room. Rushed through the hospital recption area pulling my overnight hospital bag replying ‘NOW’ as someone asked when I was due, and stood in the lift insisting ‘it’s coming out’ whilst thinking ‘phew, we’ve made it just in time’ and ‘go me’ for doing it all drug free.
I went another 5 hours
Your birth plan goes right out the window
Nobody can predict how a birth will go. With my first I stated I’d rather not have any students present, yet I had 3 or 4 stood at the end of the bed, watching intensely and taking notes as I was stitched up after labour.
I hoped for a water birth with my third. I had a vision of this completely calm, earth mother, serene drug free experience. Just me, the midwife, and the hubby
My daughter opened her bowls, ruling out a water birth. I panicked every single time the midwife left the room and continuously sent my hubby out to look for her, snapped up her offer of ‘pethidine’ without hesitation, and again welcomed a few male student doctors in the room. Pretty sure I kept asking them random questions, although I have no idea what – I was off my face.
They congratulated me and left as soon as I’d given birth, turning down the opportunity to watch the needlework.
The birth plan goes right out the window, along with your dignity
The truth about the poo
Yes, you might have one, no you will not realise this, yes your partner will find great joy and hilarity in telling you, and no you will not care
The tea and toast
I think I was more focused on the tea and toast I knew I’d be getting after labour than the hugs with my baby whilst laboring with my third. I knew the drill at this point, baby, placenta, repair, toast.
I swear my hubby even spurned me on with ‘Think of the tea and toast, Lou’ as I pushed through the final contractions with my third
Post birth tea and toast is the best tea and toast you will ever have in your life
Your hospital bag
Pack underwear, plenty of it or like me you’ll be texting your mate asking her to pop to Peacocks on their way to hospital to visit, to pick up a few packs of big black size 18s
This is also the one occasion it’s perfectly acceptable to rock a nighty and pair of fluffy socks. But trust me, it’s gonna get messy so make sure they’re cheap ones.
And just when you think you’re done
You have to endure the not so rewarding third stage of labour, which nobody tells you about. The delivery of the placenta. I think it just pretty much slipped out with my first two, but with my third I was convinced it was twins and powered through it with gas and air. There was a moment of panic as I heard the words’surgery’, but out it popped just in time
The hospital exit
Boy is it emotional. Not only are you met with ‘congratulations’ off hospital staff as you pass them, you also feel a slight pang of ‘we’re on our own now’ anxiety
I’ll always remember filling up with tears as I heard my other half say ‘welcome to the world, little one’ as we exited through the doors with Emily.
It’s a special moment, take it all in
You’ll probably vow ‘never again’
Whilst in the final stages of labour, then whisper ‘I’d do it again in a heartbeat’ the second you hold your long awaited perfect tiny little bundle.
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