Labor and delivery is not for the faint of heart. It's messy, painful, exhausting, and utterly magical. There's a lot to get worked up over, but there's a certain group of soon-to-be moms who absolutely own childbirth; kicking ass and taking baby names like bosses. I'm talking about the original gangsters. There are some specific labor and delivery moments that will confirm your OG mom status, so if you're looking to join the ranks, know that there are a few things you can do during birth to solidify your status.
I think the fact that I gave birth in my thirties had a profound impact on my pregnancy, but especially on how I handled labor and delivery. I did my research and asked a good number of my contemporaries to share their hard-earned wisdom with me. I managed my expectations and knew that the most important thing about giving birth was the healthy baby that showed up towards the end. How the end result was achieved paled in comparison to the end result, his or herself.
Although it was my first kid, feeling like I was part of the old guard by virtue of my generation helped me remain remarkably calm and prepared. As an OG mama, I also don't give a rat's ass about what other people think, which is essential when making the decisions that shape your birth story (because there's a lot of judgment going on). OG moms know there's no "right" or "wrong" way to handle labor and delivery; just what's right for you.
You Handle Contractions Like A Boss
When I went into labor, I'd already experienced half a lifetime of debilitating cramps. My period is often accompanied by such intense pain that it feels like someone is wringing my uterus out with a towel. Sound unpleasant? It is. Sometimes it's so bad I actually pass out (like on the bathroom floor of a Burger King, in Honduras).
The good thing about those horrific cramps, it turns out, was that early contractions really didn't phase me. They were like progressively worse cramps, and I took them on like a damn professional. OG moms have been through worse, and they're not about to let contractions get the best of them.
You Labor At Home
OG mamas in labor are not about to head to the hospital only to be told they're not sufficiently dilated enough to be admitted. They'd rather handle their business at home until they're sure.
When my water broke at 4 a.m., my midwife said she wanted to see me in 12 hours. I pushed it right to the limit, waiting for my sister to arrive from a work conference so she could accompany my husband and me to the hospital.
Like other OG moms, I wasn't that worried about getting to the hospital on time. A badass friend of mine waited so long that she had her second daughter in the garage. However, you don't have to have a home or hospital birth to be an OG mama. Honestly, it just means you take things as they come.
You Netflix During Labor
OG moms are pretty relaxed. They know they've got some time to kill, so why not catch up on a favorite series. Nothing says "I'm ready to have my baby" like binge-watching Orange is the New Black. I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I watched several hours of Castle before heading to the hospital. I find Nathan Fillion irreverent and delightful, and I won't apologize because I'm a freaking gangster (if gangsters watched procedural crime drama/comedies, of course).
I come by this behavior naturally. My mom was in labor with my older sister for 64 hours before eventually having a c-section. Thank goodness they don't let you go that long anymore, but it was the '80s (clearly my mom is the original OG). She went and saw The Empire Strikes Back while in labor in the theater because she's a stud like that.
Your Hospital Bag Is A Minimalist's Wonderland
If you have a tiny hospital bag, you might just be an OG mom. You have what you need; no more, no less. I think I had a phone charger, an outfit for the baby, and my toothbrush. I didn't even pack clothes for myself. I purposely wore a maternity tank and yoga pants to the hospital so I could wear the exact same thing on the way out.
I knew from my expert mom-friends that the hospital would hook me up with everything I needed (and some things I didn't even know I'd want). I'm talking about the magic that is the Kotex Icee. Ask for it by name. I walked out of the hospital with a garbage bag full of witch hazel pads and sumo diaper sanitary napkins to last me until the end of time.
Your Birth Plan Is Simple, Flexible, Or Non-existent
If they have a birth plan at all, OG moms write them knowing that things can change. They list a few preferences and maybe one or two "absolutes," then simply hope for the best. Managing expectations allows OG moms to avoid disappointment when things don't go as planned. In the end, what matters is having a healthy mother and a healthy baby, so however that happens is OK.
In my birth plan, I stated that I preferred to tear rather than have an episiotomy, breastfeed right away, and have immediate skin-to-skin contact. I got one out of three. Still, it's a better average than most baseball players, so I was cool with it.
You Have An Epidural, Or Not, Because Whatever
The decision to have a medicated or unmedicated birth can be controversial, but not if you're an OG mom. You'd never shame a mom who chose an epidural, and you don't use the term "natural."
Like French women, OG mamas know that birth is about the baby. A woman's choice in this matter isn't a reflection of her quality as a mother. An epidural is a tool, and you can take it or leave it. If you'd rather go unmedicated because it allows you more freedom of movement, or you just don't like the idea of it, that's also a valid option.
I had decided to go as long as I could without the assistance of drugs, and I made it 20 hours. It was such a relief when I got the epidural, and I was able to focus and enjoy the birth of my daughter when the time came to welcome her to the world.
You Don't Care What You Look Like
OG moms aren't trying to be cute when they're pushing and/or having a baby cut from their body. They are here to do serious business. They have enough on their plates concentrating on their breathing, keeping active, and eventually squeezing a human out of their vaginas or being ushered into an operating room, to worry about what their hair looks like.
I'm not going to lie, I'm a greasy, pale, exhausted mess in the photos of me giving birth. But I don't care because I choose to focus on the love on my face for the perfect being in my arms.
It's No Big Deal Who Delivers Your Baby
As we know from reliable sources like Knocked Up, it's never a guarantee that your chosen provider will be the one to deliver your baby. Honestly, Knocked Up's depiction is funny and mainstream because it happens a lot. Which is why I skipped the chapter on selecting a provider.
I went with whoever my insurance suggested for non-high risk pregnancies. I received prenatal services from a team of midwives, and the woman who would deliver my baby was whoever was on call. I liked all the midwives, so this was fine by me. In the end, the midwife wasn't even the one who caught the baby. My daughter wasn't responding well to my pushing, so they brought the doctor in to vacuum her out. In the end, the only "who" I cared about was my newborn.
You Don't Give A Sh*t About Pooping On The Table (Pun Intended)
Once you've been through birth, you know that pushing is a very similar feeling to (warning: crass language ahead) taking a crap. So, it makes sense that many mothers poop when giving birth. OG moms know it's not a big deal. You might not even know you did it, and nurses are super discreet (bless them).
Many moms of my generation lost their modesty along the way. For me, it happened after college. My period has always been accompanied by intestinal woes. Once they were so bad that as I was lying on the bathroom floor, I actually pooped my pants. Obviously, I don't care who knows it. Original gangsters know that sh*t literally happens.
You're Demanding About What Matters
Having one's priorities in order is a dead giveaway that you're an OG mom. You don't make a fuss, but when it comes to what really matters you're unapologetically uncompromising. OG moms will go with the flow, right up to the point you start to mess with what's important to them. Maybe it's breastfeeding or rooming in or who's allowed in the delivery room. Either way, when you've crossed the threshold, an OG mom will let you know about it.
I don't think it's a reach to say that what all moms care most about is the health of their baby. While original gangster mamas don't sweat the small stuff, we're fierce about protecting our little ones. And we're not sorry.