Birth and delivery is glorified everywhere. You have some pain, heavy breathing, rush to the hospital, give birth and then you’re wheeled off into the sunset, holding your baby with your balloons and flowers. Seems so simple, right? Wrong!
I’m not here to scare you away from having a baby. I’m also not saying that giving birth isn’t beautiful and joyful. I’m just keeping it real and giving you the blog post I wish I had for before, during and after giving birth. The dirty details the birthing books, websites, doctors, family, friends, etc. may not share with you.
See that smile? It's a smile of someone who is so happy to be holding her newborn Son. It's also the face of someone who had no idea how difficult birth and motherhood would be, the face of someone who needed this post. That's me, the greasy haired, baggy eyed, no sleep, stressed out, worrier, that is going to help you out. So, here it is, the 14 dirty details everyone should know.
1. Don’t have a plan.
First thing on the list and you probably think I’m crazy. The reality of giving birth is that you have no idea what’s going to happen. So to some extent, have a birthing plan, but make sure you’re flexible. Half of the things I planned on wouldn’t have been possible because of my specific birthing situation. Thankfully I went in with an open mind and I wasn’t upset when things went off course.
2. Your vagina can tear or you can opt for a slit.
Sorry for those of you those still have a peaches and cream take on birth. I tore 3 degrees out of 4 and personally wish I would of gotten an episiotomy. You live and you learn right? For some tearing can heal quickly, that wasn’t me though. I ended up having silver nitrate applied to burn my open wound, that didn’t want to heal on it’s own and later a procedure to remove excess scare tissue. So fun.
3. Your labor can stall, stay at home as long as you can.
For some, labor can come to a complete halt. Doctors believe this can be due to your body becoming stressed or moving to a stressful environment. Try to stay at home for as long as you can. This will help prevent stalling, although there are other reasons stalling can occur.
4. Your water doesn’t always break.
Waiting on that paramount picture gush, for the ‘oh my gosh’ let’s rush to the hospital moment? That’s not always how things go, in fact you can go into labor and your water may not break at all. My doctor actually broke my water at the hospital to try and progress my labor. Your water can also break and not have a gushing effect, for some it’s just a drip or wetness like you peed yourself. In that case it’s always best to contact your provider.
5. Look at those Pinterest lists for what to take to the hospital.
I’ll be doing a post on this as well, but be sure to look at multiple lists of “What’s in my Hospital Bag” and then stop and think about YOU. Your favorite YouTuber took leggings? Hold up, leggings are tight on your lady parts…PASS!
6. You can be in early labor for over 24 hours.
That’s right, it’s not all the huffing and puffing contractions right away. Did you know there is a labor before the actual thing? Early labor can make it hard to sleep the night or two before the real deal. Making it extremely fun for after giving birth. You didn’t sleep those nights, gave birth and now have a human to take care of can quickly mean DAYS without sleep.
7. Being in the Hospital SUCKS.
You birthed your baby, congrats! Now you get to stay in a wonderful suite where people wait on you and help you recover. If only it were truly that magical, 48 hours after birth felt like an eternity, which brings me to my next detail…
8. The Checks are Endless.
Nurses check on you every 2-3 hours, sometimes more. This made recovering and trying to rest, IMPOSSIBLE. Check into the specifics with your hospital and see if you can get their evaluations/checks spaced out or put to a minimum. I’ll for sure be doing this next time, I’m pretty sure my blood pressure doesn’t need checked 10 times a day.
9. Breastfeeding is HARD and you will want to quit.
Breastfeeding is probably one of the top 5 most difficult things I’ve ever done. Not only is it new to you, but it’s new to your baby (and your nipples.) For me, it started to ease up after 3-4 weeks. Be sure to research techniques and consult with a lactation consultant as needed. Push through those first few weeks and it will pay off. Breastfeeding helps you bond with your baby, lose weight and saves you money. Also, look into pumping and foods to eat to maintain your supply. You don't want to over pump or you can produce too much for baby, you also don't want to have your supply start to dry out. Like I said, it's hard work, but totally worth it!
10. Get ready for nights without sleep too!
Newborns need fed every 2 hours and most doctors now recommend waking a newborn every 2 hours to nurse. Nursing takes about 20-30 minutes each side with a tiny one, subtract that from the time you started and you now have about 1:00-1:30 to get ready for you’re next session. Cheers!
11. You're not going to care about needles, even if you care about needles.
My contractions were so strong I didn't even feel that 'huge needle' go into my back. If you're worried about freaking out, don't stress. I was begging for the anesthesiologist to medicate me and I'm the type of person who passes out when I get a shot in my arm or blood drawn.
12. Placentas are HUGE.
You’re going to see a lot of gross things during birth and afterwards. The table drops down, afterbirth comes out, your baby, placenta and umbilical cord. Luckily the pain and all the preparation makes it easy for it not to phase you. Your husband on the other hand? Yeah... he might faint, or gag, or claim he is just tired.
13. Pack LOTS of medication.
Most hospitals will only give you pain medication every 4-6 hours and the dose they see fit. That wasn’t always enough for me, on top of that I wanted to keep up with my own prenatal and DHA, be sure to pack those as well.
14. Baby Blues is common & having PPD doesn’t make you a bad mom.
80% of women will experience baby blues, that uncontrollable crying that might not even make sense. Welcome to the wonderful world of hormones. If you feel like your baby blues doesn’t fade, there may be something more going on. I struggled with postpartum depression and quickly realized something was off, I didn’t feel like me. From nursing, to moving to a new place, not having much help, having multiple infections, a baby with a breathing issue and reflux, things added up and took a toll on my mental health. Again, that doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you normal. Find someone you trust and let them help you or consult your doctor.
If you are about to give birth, I hope this helps you. Again, I am not trying to scare anyone or shame the birthing process or postpartum. I simple wish someone made a real - down to earth post like this and I found it before pregnancy/ birth + postpartum. What detail do you wish you knew before motherhood?