As a first-time mom, the thought of giving birth scared the crap out of me. What scared me most wasn’t the pain, oddly enough. It was not knowing how anything would go that shook this millennial to her core. So, for the benefit of other young first-time moms, I’m going to share some things I found out only after I’d gone into labor. Now, some of these things may seem obvious, but I’m willingly to bet that some of my points will make you say “huh…I hadn’t really thought about that, but it makes sense.” Stay with me.
- When it rains, it pours. When my water broke, I didn’t realize that I’d keep leaking amniotic fluid until my baby was born. For some reason, I assumed it would stop at some point but spoiler alert….it didn’t. In hindsight, it makes total sense but it’s just something I’d never thought about. So if this is your first time, know that you’ll be laboring over those giant doggy pads way before it’s time to push.
- Vroom, Vroom… While this may not be true for all women, I found that riding in the car and contractions didn’t mix well. The bumpiness of the road combined with being strapped down by your seat belt creates a special kind of torture chair. My poor husband drove as fast as safely possible while I squirmed and winced in pain.
- “Go home, Roger!” Even though your water has broken, you may still be turned away from the hospital if your contractions are inconsistent. The midwife on call the morning my water broke tried her best to encourage me to labor at home because my contractions were 8-10 minutes apart. I want to note here that you have to do what you are most comfortable with. I was anxious and decided not to labor at home after my water had broken. It would be another ten hours before active labor started for me but I don’t regret my decision.
- “Who is she talking to?…” This was news to me, but hospital staff isn’t always nice to you. As a first-time mom with only my husband there for support, I was depending on helpful and understanding nurses to help guide me through labor. However, the same midwife mentioned above had a nasty attitude when I called the hospital that morning. She told me and I quote “I’ve already told you want I think, you do whatever you want” when I asked (admittedly for the third time) if she recommends I come in. I was frantic and scared and in need of guidance, and was met with stank attitude. That moment kicked my mother’s intuition into full drive, though. I decided we’d do what I felt was best for me and my child and we went in anyway.
- “I just know!” I always wondered what would make me sure, beyond any shadow of doubt, that I was ready to push. I’m here to tell you that it is…*drum roll*… the pressure. When your child makes their way down through the birth canal, you will feel such intense pressure in your nether-region. It is unmistakable and when it’s really time, you’ll feel as though the baby’s head is right at your opening. When they say you’ll know, trust me mama, you will know.
Share this list with friends, family, and any expectant mommies you know. I’ll be doing this list for postpartum as well, and you won’t believe what’s on it. See you soon!