We’re exactly one month away from Baby Girl’s due date. This time, thinking about labor and giving birth isn’t quite as intimidating and anxiety-provoking as it was two years ago. My current fears and feelings are different, but more on that another day. Instead, I’m happy I did learn a few things that will help me prepare for round two in just a matter of weeks.
Looking back on what I remember from my first experience, there are some things I was surprised to learn about this whole giving birth process. I hope you find these helpful leading up to your delivery:
- You might mistake early labor for active labor. This results in a trip to your L&D triage. It’s common for first-time-moms to head into the hospital early, mistaking increased discharge or the mucus plug for water breaking, or early contractions for the crazy ones. I was in early labor for about two days before active labor started and we had one trip to triage that sent us home for another 24 hours before the real show began.
- Labor hurts, like, A LOT (duh). While the pain is different for everyone, mine felt like severe period cramps that could rip my body in two. I thought to myself, “well this is it. This is how I go. I am going to die from pain.” This mindset did me no favors and I’m sure it prolonged my labor. This time, the most helpful thing I read to prepare my mind for labor pain advises you to look at it from a productive standpoint. I’m hopeful that if I remind myself that I’m not actually being injured (thanks, Ina May) and that my body knows what it is doing, the pain might be more tolerable, allowing me to focus on breathing better and toughing out labor naturally.
- You will not care if you poop. Really. I stressed so much about this leading up to Wildman’s birthday. When it came time to push, I just wanted to get my baby out of my body and hold him. I would’ve pooped the table all day if it meant I could hold him sooner.
- You won’t care who is in that delivery room (aside from your “person”). Leading up to delivery, the janitor could have come in to tell me his family had a century-old pain relief kazoo song and I would’ve invited him in to teach it to me. Also, about a million nurses, residents and attendings flood in and crowd your lady bits as the baby is on its way out. Get ready for your close up. There’s no room for modesty in the hospital delivery room.
- Postpartum bleeding is no joke. Again, this varies for everyone. Some lucky women can use winged pads for their bleeding and others are confined to mesh diapers. I had no idea you could bleed for weeks (5 weeks in my case) after giving birth. It’s like having a never-ending period. Being a small lady, the mesh undies from the hospital were HUGE. This time, I’m stocking up on adult diapers in my size for more security and comfort.
While I can only share from my perspective, I’d love to hear from you. What are your fears? Second-time (or more) parents, what did you learn from your previous experiences?