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Labor & Delivery 101: Things No One (Probably) Told You

Last week I shared with you how being a new mom has radically changed my heart. As soon as that itty bitty, totally dependent, little lady was laid on my chest, it was like something in my heart was unlocked; a new room that expanded my ability to love unconditionally ten fold. Being a mom is SO cool.

Anyway, this week I wanted to share a few tid bits of information for expecting parents that perhaps you’ve never heard.

1. When you’re in labor, the hospital can choose to not admit you if you are not actively in labor.

This means you might have to leave the hospital even though you’re in early labor. And early labor could mean you’ve been having contractions for many, many hours, perhaps even days. This is why most hospitals have you call in advance and assure you’re having contractions at least as close as five minutes apart, for a full minute, for at least one hour (as well as to get a room ready for you when you do arrive!).

The worst part? You’ll probably be stripped into hospital attire and hanging out with a fetal monitor on for 45 minutes before they’ll give you an answer.

Tips to get labor actively progressing: Move, move, move. Yes, it isn’t comfortable. No, nothing makes contractions feel better. But, you’ll be happy you’re up and moving if you’re trying to move yourself towards active labor.

2. When they give you your pretty hospital gown you’ll be living in for probably the next two to three days, you strip down to perhaps a bra.

This seems logical, since a baby sometime during your labor will exit your body presumably from your vagina. But, I was so incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of not wearing underwear under my wafting, sort of backless gown. What if my water breaks? What if... what if... what if... I leak... something?

But as labor progressed, I eventually got over it, even walking the public women and infant center halls.

3. With the above ^^ don’t be surprised when your dignity goes out the window.

Starting with no underwear, ending with all of your female parts (and all the other body parts that sit very close to your lady bits) on display for EVERYONE in the room to see, and lastly, sitting on puppy pads (chuck pads) so as to keep your bed and other sitting surfaces clean when you’re on the other side of giving birth, you think you would feel some level of mortification or discomfort.

But somehow through all of that, you feel zero shame- and you shouldn't! The doctor and team of nurses have seen, heard, and been covered in it all, Though you may feel the need to apologize, don’t. They do this for a living, and care about you regardless if you poop on the table, cover them in amniotic fluid, cuss at them, or kick them. Labor is not easy, and they know it.

4. Pooping on the table is real, and it’s ok!

Seriously. All of the things that take place during labor and delivery happen very close to your lower intestine and anus. If your body still has any waste left near your exit zone, all of the pressure of delivery might just make it leave your body for your team to witness.

Also, every women I’ve ever talked to at one point or another in their labor have felt the urge to poop. It might be that your really have to poop, but probably is actually your baby letting you know it’s time (or real close) to push.

So know you’re not alone if you poop, or “poop” out a baby. It pretty much is the same feeling.

5. Contractions will not kill you.

I feel like EVERYONE knows this, but I needed to be reassured of that more than once during labor. Even knowing all the “tricks” and having a tool belt of resources, I couldn’t get away from the pain for long, and it can be very overwhelming.

As my husband reminded me ALOT, you cannot quit at labor, you cannot give your baby away, and you will not die regardless of how bad the contractions get. Your body is doing a beautiful thing designed by God Himself to get that itty bitty baby out of you. It might not feel like it in the midst of things, but His design is absolutely perfect for exactly what needs to be done.

6. Pushing is sweet relief from contractions.

You cannot avoid contractions. You cannot make them disappear. You cannot make them shorter or less painful.

Your body is a champ and will do all these things without you controlling it.

All you can do is mentally ride... it... out.. and perhaps hang out in a birthing tub, or find a position that allows you to retreat into your ability to let it happen.

Pushing though? Oh is pushing ever sweet relief! When my nurse said I get to start pushing, I was terrified because I was unmedicated and I knew that a baby would be bigger than the space given to me to bring her into this world.

Oh, but it was so much better! You know that awful pain I talked about with contractions? Pushing makes it disappear! It’s the most glorious, active part of labor and delivery. Do not fear pushing, even if it takes you a little while to learn how to push.

7. Pushing isn’t always a natural movement.

And that’s ok. Your team will help you learn quickly to push most effectively to get that sweet babe out.

8. Your doctor or nurse team may stretch your perineum during your contractions.

Surprise. It’s enough a baby is about to come out of you, but your team may spend some time in you stretching your perineum... during maybe every contraction you push through... to help make baby’s entrance into the world a smooth one.

9. The “ring of fire” is real. And real brief.

Don’t sweat over this. You just conquered contractions and nothing feels as feely as those. Plus, it’s a short experience that paves the way for your little to arrive very soon after.

Lastly, 10. Your very first moment with your brand new baby is indescribable.

Simply, nothing else compares. You did it mamma.

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