If you're anything like me, you might've heard labor and delivery stories and either gasped in horror or thought, "That can't be real" because, let's face it: all of it is horrific and, simultaneously, sounds totally unbelievable. Even the seasoned mother has different experiences with each baby. I can attest, having birthed two myself, there was so many things I wasn't prepared for when I went into labor. I mean, it's one thing to hear about some of this stuff but to go through it? I'm still traumatized, to be honest.
As a first-time mother, I had no idea the way things would play out. I thought I did, but no. I'd already been on bedrest and labeled "high risk" because of hypertension so I tried to be prepared for anything. The thing is, that's really hard to do if you've heard the gamut of possibilities and still aren't sure how your body will react. My first instincts were to flee and/or sob, honestly. Though, it was a long process because after being sent home a couple of times first (practice, I guess), I'd finally be induced on a pre-planned day. This took all the flurry of excitement out of it, sure, but it also gave me more time to plan.
There's no real way to be prepared for bringing new life into the world. It's surreal and out-of-body and literally everything dreams (and nightmares) are made of. And I'm sure from the opposite end, my partner would agree. Sorry, honey.
I always wanted t know what it felt like to go into labor the "natural way." You know, standing in line somewhere when my water breaks or something equally dramatic. It wasn't in the cards for me, though. While I'm happy to have known the day I'd be admitted, it took a little of the thrill out of the experience, so I'm a bit envious of those who, like my grandmother, went into labor and gave birth in the back of a car. Because, exciting!
All The Waiting
With an induction came lots and lots of waiting. For my first, I was induced on a Monday evening and gave birth Wednesday morning. Only Tuesday through the night was the active labor and delivery portion so, as you can imagine, I laid and stared for many hours leading up. Even with my youngest (I was induced for him, too), it was nearly identical down to the very day I pushed him out. Yes, my kids share the same birthday, five years a part and purely by coincidence.
How The Contractions Would Feel
With my son, I knew how much pain to expect during delivery. Sort of. My first pregnancy five years prior was painful because I'd never given birth before. Everything hurt and I had nothing to compare it to. But it was nothing compared to what it felt like with my son. Though I had epidurals with both, neither took and the second delivery was far more painful than anything I could've ever imagined. I wasn't prepared in any way for it. The pain. Oh. My. The pain.
Having The Doctor Break My Water Manually
Guys. Have you ever had this happen? If yearly exams aren't the worst, consider this the new crowning champ. It's one thing to have everything checked and poked and prodded for the sake of your health, but having your water broken, manually, is the weirdest experience ever. There was pressure, then a gush of water. Oh, and then all my dignity lost in the process (and it was only the beginning).
Pooping On The Table
I've heard it happens to a lot of women but that didn't keep me from feeling mortified. My poor mom. My poor husband. And yes, my mother-in-law, too. There's seriously no coming back from that moment. Ever.
Having Lots Of People See Everything
Let me repeat: My poor mom. My poor husband. And yes, my mother-in-law. That didn't include the doctor, several nurses and interns and, oh, let's throw in some passersby just for fun.
How Painful It Really Is
There are no words, my friends. No words.
Seeing The Actual Umbilical Cord
I've seen these things on TV and in pictures, but live? In person? Yeah, it doesn't appear as, um, normal. I don't know if that's the word but seeing my husband cut the cord almost made me vomit, if that says anything about my state of mind.
Holding This New Little Person
Regardless of all the things I thought I was prepared for (and totally wasn't) for either delivery, I can honestly say I was the least prepared for holding my new baby. There's nothing quite like seeing the one who put you through so much misery, looking into his or her eyes, and realizing it was so worth it.
Every. Last. Part.