In a perfect world, a pregnant person could give birth anywhere they wanted. Whether it's at home, the hospital, or the woods, the sky would be the proverbial limit. But we don't live in a perfect world, and many soon-to-be parents have to compromise when it comes to where and how they deliver. That's why it's important to be prepared for anything. So, what is it like in the delivery room? And what should a first-time mom expect? Romper reached out to eight moms and asked them to share their experiences so we could all get a better idea of what a labor and delivery room is actually like.
My first delivery room experience didn't exactly replicate what is often depicted on television shows or in movies. Because I went into preterm labor, everything happened much faster than expected. I remember feeling terrified and completely unsure of what was going to happen, and the large amount of people coming in and out of the delivery room definitely didn't help.
As a result, I do recall the room fitting a lot of people in it, and the same can be said years later when I delivered my son. I also remember feeling a bit unsettled by the amount of equipment in the room, and the generally sterile feel of the environment. I will admit, though, that while I wanted to experience a home birth, when I was pushing my kid into the world I could've cared less where I was or who was around. Everything around me simply faded away.
No two labor and delivery experiences are exactly the same, though, so here's what other first-time moms had to say about their delivery rooms:
“Nerve wrecking! I was told my pregnancy the twins [sic] were not going to make it, so to make it that far was an overwhelming emotion. I started to cry and cry as I was wheeled in as it was just surreal. Was so excited to meet my little ones.”
“Being in the delivery room was satisfying. I was waiting in triage for three hours and that was aggravating. I didn't know what to expect entirely, but had a good idea of how it was going to be and thankfully the room was really nice.”
"It was incredibly surreal. I had already been sent home earlier that night having been told that I was not actually in labor, but probably just had a bladder infection. So when we returned hours later and went straight to the delivery room because I was dilated to a 10 and ready to push, I couldn’t believe that I was actually about to meet my daughter!"
“My hospital was baby-friendly, so they actually had a great delivery room — private, with a birthing ball and tub available. With my first son, because I didn't have an epidural, they let me walk around both the room and the hallway making strange noises. One thing that surprised me was that they made me be monitored 15 minutes out of the hour. Staying in bed for that time, especially during active labor, was absolutely the worst part.
With my second son I was at the same hospital, so I knew what to expect. However, I gave birth 15 minutes after getting to the hospital, so I didn't have to deal with the rest of the crap.
“I am the eldest of nine children and was raised in a Quiverfull cult with home births being mandatory, which made me both well familiar with childbirth and determined to have mine in a proper hospital. They initially tried to send me home when I showed up with contractions not much more than five minutes apart, saying I was a first timer and couldn't be anywhere near delivery. ‘It will be hours!’ but I insisted they admit me. I was in terrible pain and my older female friend was with me and kept saying ‘shhhh’ and I snapped, ‘YOU shush, I'm having a BABY!’
After trying to labor without intervention for just a few hours, I blacked out briefly from pain and then gave in and asked for an epidural. Only a few minutes later I was crowning, and they ran yelling for the doctor, who raced in, snapped on his gloves, and caught my daughter in the nick of time. Nurses in the corner caught my husband, who fell over in a dead faint.”
“I have precipitous labors, so I walked into the delivery room for my first fully dilated. It's all a bit of a blur and I didn't spend much time there. Mostly what I remember is the nurse screaming at the OB after he said I was ready to push, ‘DO NOT LET HER PUSH! DO NOT LET HER PUSH! I am NOT your nurse! I am TRIAGE!’ and her sprinting out of the room as fast as she could to make sure she wasn't stuck with me for the duration. All told, I was in the delivery room for barely 20 minutes before I was holding my son, and then we rested there for about an hour before being brought to our room.”
“I felt comforted when I was admitted to the hospital. I felt like if something was going to go wrong, it should be in hospital. I had high blood pressure and was on bed rest for about a week. I was very nervous at home. The hospital was relief. [My daughter] arrived within a few hours of short labor.”
“It felt sort of like my wedding in that I had built up these experiences so much I was expecting them to feel more significant in the moment than they did. Not like it was blasé or anything, but I still felt, like, present, very much in my body, and not any different as a person. It was cool and weird.”