It has been almost one year since I gave birth to our first son, and it sure has went by fast. It's hard to even remember most of the details of that day. I went into to labor almost six weeks early; after working the whole day, my husband asked if I wanted to go swimming. I thought, "Sure!" My feet were swollen, my back hurt, and I was hot and tired, so a dip in the pool sounded fantastic. Little did I know I would be going into labor soon. After I got out, I felt like I was peeing, but I had a weird feeling it wasn't pee. Still I dried off, got dressed, and headed in town to get something to eat. We got to the restaurant and as soon as I stood up again, that small rush of fluid came out, and I knew my water had broke. So we hopped back in the car, and I called my doctor. I was crying and trying to explain (I was scared out of my mind!). We quickly packed a bag and headed to the hospital. They ran some tests, and sure enough my water had broken. After almost 10 hours of labor, and just 30 minutes of pushing, I gave birth to a healthy but tiny baby boy. It was overwhelming, stressfull, scary, and extremely joyful. Who knew you could feel so many emotions? There were a couple interesting things I learned after giving birth. Books seem to only focus on the pig picture, not necessarily the little surprises that can go hand in hand with childbirth.
Expect to bleed...a lot. And sometimes for quite a while. It felt like I was never going to stop bleeding. I think it was almost 6 weeks of a constant period. The hospital provides you with their massive pads and "Mesh-tastic" underwear. When I got home I purchased the overnight pads, and they were lifesavers. As far as the underwear are concernes, I defintiely kept with the mesh during the hospital stay. Some people prefer to wear their own, but those were so much more comfortable and I didn't have to worry about ruining them. Also I know some books recommended you bring your own gown...how about not! It was a mess after giving birth, might as well use theirs instead of ruining one. Trust me, no one is here to see what you look like or what you are wearing...it's all about the baby! And since you will be bleeding, your lovely nurse will come in every couple of hours, usually once you get comfortable, and push on your uterus, making sure everything is doing good. Oh the lovely parts of birth.
Before going into labor, I decided I was defintely going to be an epidural type of gal. Why put up with the pain, when I don't have to? So once the pain reached unbearable, I asked for one. I was so excited to see the anesthesiologist, but as they were preparing me, it felt like forever, because everytime I had a contraction, they had to stop and wait for it to pass. All I thought was just stick me all ready! At the hospital I was at they lower or stop it a little before the pushing, so that you are able to actually feel the pressure and are able to push. The esperience that I had as well as a few others, was that one of our legs was completely numb while the other one we could still move. I didn't think this was going to happen. I thought I would get it and not feel a thing. I was somewhat surprised by this and wish I would have known this beforehand.
I am generally a hot natured body, but during labor, I got the worst case of the shakes and shivers. I was hot and yet I couldn't control my body from shaking. They say that is your bodies way of relieving stress, so I tried to breathe slowly and focus. They eventually subsided.
Luckily for me this did not happen, but my best friend, who gave birth a few months after me, experienced this: vomitting. Sometimes during labor, you may end up vomitting. She had little bowels by the bed in case she felt it coming. Some people experience it as an effect from the epidural or pain, and some doctors believe it may be related to a drop in their blood pressure. I'm thinking it may have been a combination of all three for her. I do remember her blood pressure dropping dangerously low at one point (She was the opposite of me...mine was dangerously high).
The very last and definitely most important thing I wish someone would have told was to make sure everything is well documented. We did remember to pack a camera, but because our circumstance was a little different we were not prepared. I said earlier that I don't really reember much of the details and it's only been a year. Try to take as many pictures during your labor, and make sure you document or write little thoughts in a journal. That is such a great way to record your labor and I wish I would have done this.
Hopefully that provided a little insight into labor that you may not have known. What are you most afraid of regarding giving birth? Or if you all ready have a little one, what is something you wish you knew beforehand?