One of the first things the baby books recommend doing when you’re pregnant is to create a birth plan that outlines exactly how you’d like delivery to go. If you want a water birth with flowers floating around the tub? Write it down. If you want all of the pain medication available and a frozen Coke two seconds after delivery? Plan for it.
But not matter how many books you read, you have no idea what labor is really like, making your birthing plan somewhat pointless. And if you’re pinning all of your birth dreams on a preconceived notion of labor, well you might end up disappointed. I thought I would look like Rachel after she gave birth to Emma on Friends. Not even close. Thanks to TV shows and movies, women (and many men too) have a distorted view on what really happens in the delivery room. We assume the the woman will be a drug-craving lunatic, her SO will be completely useless, and they will both come out smiling and sweat-free.
In actuality, every labor is different. Some are smooth sailing while others are a bit more arduous. (The only thing all deliveries have in common is the bad *ss mama who endures a myriad of pain and procedures to bring a child into the world.) Here are eleven real-life labor stories that prove just how different (and miraculous) delivering a baby can be.