I feel like I’m giving a public service here, because when I gave birth for the first time, I didn’t know ANY of this. It’s not that I’m trying to scare you into never having kids, because if I was, I wouldn’t have done it twice. We all know that the trauma of giving birth is forgotten about 3 weeks afterwards, anyway.
I’m sharing this because sometimes it’s nice to have a realistic account of what labour could be like. I was in labour for 21 hours with my first, and ended up having an emergency forcep delivery in theatre. I was in slow labour for about 3 days with my second, then I gave birth within 2 hours of being in established labour!
If labour is on the cards for you, I wish you a speedy, safe and painless delivery. Read this with a little pinch of salt – we’re all different.
- Right before labour, your body tells you to sit the f down. Your insane nesting stops, then, boom. Go time.
- The ‘Show’ is pretty gross. Nope, not Les Miserables on the tele again. You will most likely give birth to some weird coloured gunk just before contractions start. Or, you might not. I did with my first, I didn’t with my second. Helpful.
- Contractions are damn painful. Really damn painful. A tens machine might be your absolute saviour whilst you’re pacing around at home.
- Your labour could last days. It’s a lottery, so you better get comfortable and enjoy the ride. Or just swear and cry. Either strategy will get you to your end goal just fine, but you’ll use up less energy if you calm the heck down.
- Your labour could be lightening fast. You never know how this thing is going to pan out, so being prepared it key.
- Shaving down there is no longer your main concern. Who knew you’d feel so uncaring about a dishevelled bikini line when you’re bits are on full display to room full of strangers.
- You can’t eat if you have an epidural. Pain or pizza…hmmm, that is a tough one.
- Your epidural might wear off. Blissful ignorance one minute, searing pain the next. Thank goodness for epidural top ups.
- You might not have time for any pain relief. If the pain is intense to say the least, you may be begging for pain relief like I was with my second baby. If your Midwife is reluctant to get the drugs out, they normally know that your baby is nearly ready to meet you. In my case, it was within minutes of being admitted, and that Pethidine that I begged for one minute was replaced swiftly by my lovely baby girl.
- Gas & Air will make you sound like a chipmunk. You also might pass out if you have too much, but don’t worry, that’s all part of the fun.
- Gas & Air might not do sh*t! It’s worth a go, though.
- Biting helps. Try biting down on something like the Gas & Air pipe thing. This really helped me channel the pain away from the fire down below!
- You may get your waters broken by a long-hook-looking-thing. Just like popping a water balloon.
- Yes, you will probably poo whilst pushing. The rumour is true. But don’t worry, you’ll have other things to think about, like why is your birthing partner being such a dick.
- You may need a little snippety snip. Giving birth to baby big head? Or your little bundle not playing ball? You might need to open the gates a bit.
- You may not need a snippety snip, you may tear instead. This makes #14 a little more desirable. Either way, it’s all fixable with a needle and thread when you’ve completed your mission.
- You may have 10 people peering at your cervix. Emergency theatre trip? Wait, where did all those people come from? And why are my legs in stirrups?
- You have to deliver your placenta. Just when you thought you were done, you have another little task on your hands. To be fair, I coughed my 1st placenta out. Really, I did! With my second birth, I remember the midwife coaxing it out with a tug of the umbillical cord. That was a verrrry weird sensation.
An edited version of this post.