Hi All! These are some of my experiences after having two babies. The first of which being a intervention riddled experience, and then the second time, knowing better and going au-natural, but still being surprised along the way. It is not a “how to” or a “do this!”. It is just what happened to me and what I learned along the way. SO away we go!
*Be warned, there are mentions of pee and poop in this. If you’re squeamish with that stuff, well get over it. This is a good read.*
1. Wear what you want, home OR hospital
With my first I was told upon arriving in my room that I HAD to wear the hospital gown with no bra and no underwear. The nurse laughed and said “you cant have baby with underwear on”. I wanted to wear my own nightgown and my bra and underwear because I was more comfortable that way, but I conceded, and was uncomfortable.
Newsflash: I did NOT HAVE to do this. I could have said NO!
It is not a rule that one must wear the hospital gown with nothing underneath. It is the hospitals preference, so they can access your body more easily. I get it, but you can wear whatever the hell you want. If there is some sort of unlikely emergency, they can cut it off. So don’t wear anything you care about. See? Easy-peasy.
2. You don’t want fingers up your vag every 30min to an hour? Again, you can say no.
I feel like with my first, there were fingers all up in me a lot, and I would ask every time, with expectant stars in my eyes, “how far along am I?”, then found it deeply disappointing to learn I was only “x” amount of centimetres dilated. So with my second I decided I didn’t want fingers all up in my who-ha every hour, so I refused almost all pelvic exams from my midwife while I was in active labor, AND when I allowed them to examine me, under no circumstances were they to let me know how dilated I was. For me, it helped a lot. It forced me to just pay attention to my body and nothing else.
3. If you are having a hospital birth, and you have the opportunity, EAT A BIG MEAL BEFORE GOING!!!!!!!!
I cannot stress this enough. With my first, I went in on a Monday around lunch time to be induced (my water partially broke around 14 hours earlier and I had no signs of labor). Once you get to the hospital they will not let you eat. My labor took, FOR-EH-VER. So again, long story short, I didn’t deliver my first until Wednesday morning. WED-NES-DAY. I went a full 48 hours without food. By the time I was finally ready to push, I was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to push anymore after 30 min. So my monkey ended up being delivered with the help of forceps. He was fine, no injuries, but the experience was No Bueno.
4. Know what your getting into when you get an epidural.
My first birth, was highly medicated. Everything was taking so long I couldn’t handle the pain anymore, so I got an epidural, yeah it didn’t take, so they had to do another one. So I had two, repeat two epidurals. (eye-roll). Epidurals are great, they definitely work, but what I DIDN’T know is that once you get one they will no longer allow you to move around or get out of bed, AND they have to catheterize you. Meaning they have to stick a tube up your pee hole so you don’t wet yourself. The insertion process of the catheter was not painful, but i felt VERY exposed and uncomfortable (sorry in advance for this visual, but picture someone you’ve never met parting your vaginal lips with their fingers). Again, No Bueno. (see aftermath of said catheter in #6)
5. My second birth was au natural. I still gave birth in the hospital because I had gestational diabetes, and my hubby was pretty freaked out at the though of a home birth, (but that’s another story). However, I labored at home until the last minute, and gave birth in a water bath after pushing for only 15 min. What a difference. And yeah, the last hour of contractions leading up to the birth sucked balls, and are indescribably intense. I say intense and not painful, because the pain is soooo crazy deep, but you are also aware that your body is doing something incredible, so for me its hard to describe it any other way then “intense”. What surprised me and what I didn’t know was how totally and completely your body takes over when the time comes for baby to come out. Pushing her out was COMPLETELY INVOLUNTARY, and I felt no pain at all, just crazy pressure.
6. I don’t know weather it was the forceps or the catheter or a combination of both with my first, but for weeks (and to a lesser extent, months) after the birth I had no control over my bladder muscles. If I stood up to fast or coughed, ran, sneezed or laughed too hard, pee came out. No one told me this might happen, wtf?!!! To be honest my badder has never been back to 100%, although I’d say we’re at about 95%. Now i understand all those Poise commercials where women complain about peeing when they laugh.
7. Four words. Poop. On. The. Table.
I did with my first.
Did not with my second.
It MIGHT happen, but don’t worry, at the time you won’t give a shit. (pun intended) 😀
Really, at the end of the day do what makes you most comfortable. Be your birth medicated, natural or even elected c-section, Midwife or Doctor, question, question, and question some more. If something doesn’t feel right, or if you are not comfortable, SPEAK UP! It is your caretakers responsibility to inform you of every option you have, and it it your right to question them.
And finally, you’ve probably heard this before but…. Be prepared, but also be prepared for everything you’ve prepared for to go out the window. Fuhgeddaboudit!! You’ll do great!
~Hospitals have policies and procedures, I get it. Some are rules, some are not. If your doctor or midwife, weather at home or at the hospital, strongly recommends that they need to examine you or do a procedure for the heath and or safety of yourself or your baby. Do it. At the end of they day they are the professionals and have you and you baby’s safety in their best interest.