I just finished writing a 10 thousand word post about my labor and delivery experience and then realized that no one cares about every detail of my story. So, here are 5 things I learned through my experience giving birth for the first time.
1. Your water breaking is not a one-time deal. It doesn’t break, gush down your leg and then stop leaking. No, in my case it leaked just enough for someone who knew nothing about labor (<– me) to be 99% sure they weren’t just peeing in their pants. And then it leaked until I gave birth. You will hate the diapers they make you wear at first, but you will soon realize what a godsend they are!
2. Getting your cervix checked doesn’t have to be the most uncomfortable thing in the world. It all depends on your nurse and if they like their job, if they’ve gotten enough sleep, how big their fingers are, etc.
3. There is no such thing as getting an epidural fast. From the time I (or Nathan) told the nurse I wanted (needed) an epidural, to the time I felt any relief was probably about half an hour, but it felt like 3 hours. The medicine kicked in right away, but first the nurse had to call the anesthesiologist. Then he had to come in and get set up and tell me all the possible side-effects (which include anything from nausea to death). Then he wiped down my back, prepped everything, and then told me to curl around my belly so my back was hunched over. I knew how to do this since I took a class to be prepared…but what they failed to mention (probably because it’s so obvious) is that you are still having incredibly painful contractions through it all. So, bend over, stay perfectly still so the anesthesiologist doesn’t kill you, and don’t let the contractions affect you. Be nice to the anesthesiologist though, because you’ll think he’s an angel (or at least a knight or something) once those meds kick in!
4. The only medical personnel in the room while you’re pushing is your nurse. For some reason I thought the doctor would be there a lot of the time, but the nurse calls the doctor in literally like 5 pushes from the end (if all goes well).
5. No one talks about the recovery because it’s such a big deal to get through labor and delivery…on second thought, maybe we don’t talk about it because we know that people would stop being fruitful and multiplying if women knew what it was like. But honestly, it’s rough. I don’t want to be too graphic, but here’s an idea: bloody, swollen, stinging, stitches, shakes, exhaustion, etc. Wow, that sounds like something I want to go through more than once!
Yet, somehow, it is more than worth it, because the moment you hold that baby in your arms for the first time is truly indescribable.