Labor sucks. I don't care if you're medicated or unmedicated, it sucks. It's painful whether you're using drugs or not, and the pain continues long after your baby has entered the world. I've had three labors, all incredibly different, so I can guarantee there are things you will definitely do during labor. Yes, not every woman's labor and delivery process is the same, so when I say "definitely" I don't mean "absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt." However, if what you experience during childbirth is even remotely similar to my own, I can safely say I got you covered.
My first pregnancy ended early, at 22 weeks, and was an unmedicated vaginal birth. My second pregnancy was induced, so I was begging for that blessed epidural before too long, and ended up having a c-section. With my third pregnancy, I fully intended to soldier through and experience the entire labor and delivery process completely unmedicated, but you know what they say about birth plans, right? I changed my mind and asked for an epidural when I hit transition. However, the epidural didn't work. So, while I was able to feel everything, I was not allowed to move because I had a needle in my spine.
Since all of my labor and delivery experiences vary so greatly, I think it's pretty safe to say I know a thing or two about labor. In fact, I think I've earned the right to say as much, so there.
When labor starts, you'll almost assuredly say something along the lines of "Oh, sh*t, I think I'm in labor." As things progress, your swearing will likely become a little more emphatic, turning more towards more of a, "You better hurry up and f*cking drive" type situation.
If you are planning on laboring with an epidural, you may mutter. "Holy, sh*t" when you see the needle, and if you're opting for an unmedicated labor, you can just go ahead and plan on dropping every swear word and combination of swear words you know.
You'll Pray (Maybe)
Whether you pray every night and before every meal or if you've never prayed before in your life, you will call on the presence of the divine to intervene on your behalf. "Dear God, this hurts," or "God, please help," or, "Please God, let this be over soon," are sure to be called-upon pleas. Sometimes it's an actual prayer, sometimes it's just a form of expression, but either way it'll probably become a staple in your labor and delivery lexicon.
You'll Question Your Decision To Procreate In The First Place
No matter how you're getting that baby out of your body, you'll probably end up wondering what ever possessed you to put that kid inside you, in the first place. I know I questioned my sanity on more than one occasion, even though I knew it was way too late int eh pregnancy game to do a damn thing about it.
You'll Hate Your Partner
Honestly, just the fact that my partner was there pissed me the hell off.
If you are laboring with an epidural, your partner may drift off to sleep while "nothing is happening" and you'll want to commit murder. If you're going the unmedicated route, he or she will, if you're anything like me, become the focus of your pain induced rage. I wouldn't feel bad about any of the above, however. I feel like that's the main purpose of anyone in the labor and delivery room, yor doctor included. You need someone to hate.
You'll Hate Your Doctor Or Midwife
Your doctor's or midwife's job is to see you through your labor all the way to the end. They are there to encourage you when you're ready to quit and make sure everything happens as it should. As such, they will tell you to push when you don't want to and you'll want to kick them in the face.
You'll Hate Everyone Who Said You Having A Baby Was A Good Idea
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I believed (to the core of my very being) that every woman who has ever had a baby and told me it was this wonderful, magical experience, was a damn liar. I hated those women when I was in the middle of labor and delivery. Who are these women? Why did they do this to me?
You'll Swear You'll Never Have Another Kid. Ever.
Screw having a second baby. There is no freaking way you'll ever do this bullsh*t again. Needle in the spine? Someone sticking their hand all the way inside your vagina every hour or so? False.
You'll Convince Yourself You're Dying
There was a point in my labors when I just knew I was dying. That amount of pressure and pain just seemed unnatural, so I truly thought there was no way someone could survive it. (Hint: it's normal, and you can.)
You'll Worry About Pooping
While pooping on the delivery table is a pretty common fear for most pregnant women, I can tell you that you won't even notice. Epidural or not, it won't be a big deal because a human being is literally exiting your body.
Whether you're scared or excited or nervous or in pain or happy or some wonderful combination of all of the above, chances are you'll cry. I can almost guarantee you that when that precious babe finally comes into the world, and you see your baby for the very first time, there will be tears. Hard-earned, wonderful, this-is-a-life-changing-moment tears. Those tears, mama, are the goddamn best.