Pregnancy is an intense time in a woman's life. There are so many changes happening in such a short time, both physically and emotionally, so it's pretty common to feel unsure and anxious and even uncomfortable. Then, of course, there are the times when labor and delivery is just plain terrifying.
I have what can only be described as a pretty messed up pregnancy and delivery history. In fact, I bet my OB-GYN has a file with my name on it that's at least three inches thick, so just the thought of having another baby is enough to make me literally have a panic attack. My number one fear during my most recent pregnancy was making it to the hospital in time. I actually had a contingency plan, just in case I found myself delivering on the side of the road or in a parking lot somewhere. We left the house way too early because we live over an hour from the hospital and, well, you can never be too careful, right? I ended up going to the mall and walking around for at least two hours and still checked into the hospital 12 hours before I actually gave birth.
There are so many things that make mamas nervous when it comes to bringing their baby into the world. Some are legit and some aren't all that necessary, but there are some undeniably valid fears and situations that will terrify pretty much anyone, including but not limited to:
When You Can't Tell Whether Or Not It's "Go Time"
You've been laboring at home for a while — maybe you took a warm shower or went for a walk — but your contractions are speeding up and it's time to leave for the hospital.
Or maybe it's not.
I was never sure when was the right time to leave. I was afraid I'd get there too early and end up with a ton of interventions I didn't want, but I was afraid I wouldn't get there in time and have my kid in the car on the way to the hospital. Decisions, decisions.
When Your Water Breaks
Whether you're walking through the grocery store or sitting on your sofa at home, when you feel that gush (or trickle), you get an adrenaline rush like never before. Even if you are an old pro at childbirth, this is the moment sh*t gets real.
When Your Contractions Ramp Up In The Car
Even if you live right around the corner from your hospital or birth center, every woman is afraid she'll deliver in the car. We've all heard the stories so we know that it really does happen.
With all of my pregnancies, I lived a minimum of 45 minutes from the hospital, so roadside delivery was a very real possibility. I always kept towels in the car just in case. Too bad I couldn't fit a midwife in the glove compartment, too!
When You Accidentally See The Epidural Needle
You made it to the hospital without delivering on the side of the highway, and now you're ready for the pain to stop. Whether you planned for an epidural right from the start or decide midway through your last mind-bending contraction that you're ready; if you accidentally catch a peak of that needle they are about to stick into your spine the chances are high you're going to freak out. That thing is no joke. My advice? Just keep your eyes closed.
When You Think You Might Poop
Sh*t happens. Literally. Frequently. In fact, almost all the time.
Trust me, when and/or if you poop during labor you won't even know it happened, or you will know and won't care. Everyone assisting you is a professional and they take care of it before it's a problem. You will not be the only woman who poops that day, I promise. Let this one go. It's NBD.
When You Think You Might Tear
Yes, it's true. You might tear, or you might opt for an episiotomy instead of a natural tear. You most likely won't feel it when it happens and you'll probably be numbed before they suture it, so you likely won't feel that either.
Sure, chances are you'll be sore and you'll have stitches when labor and delivery is all said and done, but the idea of tearing is usually worse than the actual reality.
When You Have To Have An Unplanned C-Section
You've been laboring for hours and nothing is happening. Baby might be acynclitic or posterior (sunny-side up) or breach. The birth team may notice a change in baby's vitals. The reasons can vary and hey, things do and can happen. When they do you may or may not find yourself being prepped for surgery.
This. Is. Scary.
It happens very quickly and very efficiently. One moment you're in the delivery room and the next you're hooked up to a zillion machines and about to have major surgery. If that's not terrifying, I don't know what is.
When You're Convinced You Are Literally Dying
There comes a point in every unmedicated labor where you are convinced you will die from the pain or that something is wrong because it shouldn't hurt this much.
You aren't dying. It just hurts.
When You Worry Your Baby May Not Be Healthy
Every mother (every parent, actually) worries their baby might not be born completely and totally healthy. Honestly, you never stop worrying about the health of your kid, so this normal labor ands delivery fear is really just preparing you for the future.
The moment when the nurse hands you your beautiful, perfect baby, you realize just how scared you were that there would be a problem. A weight is (hopefully) lifted from your shoulders as soon as you touch him or her.
When It's Time To Leave The Hospital
Before you know it, it's time to leave the hospital or birth center. They wheel you out, you buckle your impossibly small baby into an impossibly large carseat (the buckles seem huge, I'm not gonna lie), and you're on your own. No more sweet nurses to help change diapers or get the baby's latch right. You have a baby and they actually let you leave with him or her.