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what did you wish you'd known/been told about labour and post-labour (things they don't print in books)(354 Posts)
i wish someone had told me that you can feel the baby go back up sometimes when you're pushing (but it will eventually stay down and come out)
That it was worth every penny of private maternity care
That because I had PE had a c section at 34 weeks I totally escaped labour and had a painless birth due to a mobile epi for 4 days, and also because if this my fanjo Is EXACTLY the same as it was pre DD.
That you could have a baby without 1 VE or need to get my fanjo out at all!!
That my baby could go to the nursery at night whilst in hospital so I got a full nights sleep for the 1st 4 nights after she was born in which to get over major surgery which meant I was fighting fit on leaving hosi 5 days post birth and shopping in Bluewater 3 days later :-)
That pregnancy was a bitch but due to the above the birth was AMAZING!!
you can be one of the lucky few who labour and deliver speedily and without intervention.
you don't feel the tear as it happens, but you certainly feel the stitches. For weeks afterwards.
VEs hurt more than any other part of it. Not sure what happened there, but each time I leapt off the bed in agony.
lochia lasts for ages, but gets lighter each week.
you don't necessarily feel the urge to push. Looking back, perhaps I did, but assumed it was a poo!
some MWs are into active birth and also read the birth plan. I had a bad cop one too, who was like a League of Gentlemen character.
That forking out the amount of cash you'd spend on a fairly cheap European holiday can buy you the birth that you want and allow you to buy-pass all the things that can make birth on the NHS infuriating.
Babytime i just about pee'd myself at ur comment
That you can have really painful contractions for 3 days and still only be 3cm dilated.
That you can be given strong sleeping pills to get you to go to sleep during these contractions.
That the sleeping pills don't work because the contractions are so painful so you are incredibly out of it and don't know what is going on and have lost the ability to speak.
That epidurals don't always work and you can feel all the contractions down one side of your body.
That you will be constantly sick during labour. That you can throw up all over yourself because you can't move due to epidural and you have been left on your own.
That your MIL can be allowed to come into the labour room only 10 minutes after you have given birth so she can see her grandchild.
How BRILLIANT gas and air is. (well was for me)
Seriously you will not care if you do a poo!
To remember to wee between contractions - my bladder blocked the placenta being pulled out.
The pain - contractions - stop immediately once the baby is born - magic!
And... it really is all worth it
That gas and air makes you talk complete bullocks
That the tea and toast after labour tastes the best ever.
That the post-birth poo session really can be that bad.
Not to take neck half a bottle of lactulose in one day unless you want to fart like a horse and have raging stomach cramps.
That the midwives who took the baby overnight for feeds were worth their weight in gold.
That it's all worth it in the end.
That all my care through labour and delivery and recovery would be wonderful.
Post-natal, on the other hand:
That my hospital wouldn't give me toast.
How terrifying it is to be left alone in a room, attached to a bed with drips etc, and your crying newborn out of your reach.
That no-one asks what drugs you might be taking when you arrive at hospital, so after birth you don't get them for over 24 hours. And only then at the fifth time of asking and shouting at a nurse that your vagina feels just fine thanks but you still have the OTHER PAIN YOU CAME IN WITH!
That random people will take your baby away with no explanation (sent interpreter running down the corridor twice to check they were in fact hospital staff)
That staff will fuss about washing their hands before touching the baby, but you lying in diarrhoea for four hours and expected to feed him is considered just fine.
How wonderful the assistants who clean you are - finally being told 'well done, of course you're tired now, don't worry, you will be a wonderful mother' made a huge difference after three days of no sleep. They should get medals. Unlike the bitch who told me breastfeeding for only 15 min per side didn't count, when I told her I'd been lying in shit for four hours despite promises to clean me up, but at least I'd managed some bf.
The one advantage of all that is the post-birth-poo trauma didn't happen!
Most importantly - even once ds and I were cleared to leave at 10am, people wanted us to wait and faff with talks and paperwork so we didn't escape until gone 5pm. Should have just walked out so I could have got some precious sleep at home!
That my birth plan, wishes and general welfare would be ignored and that I would be denied pain relief for the most painful part.
The people who would have wanted to be evil nuns any time up to the fifties these days take up midwifery.
That an episiotomy isn't the little 1 cm cut I imagined to make a bit more room for the baby, but basically a second vagina.
That you end up with an undercarriage resembling the elephant man (front and back)
That it hurts more than you could have ever possibly imagined or believes and nobody gives a toss!
That in the end you don't complain or care because you're so glad to see your baby and you're so loved up.
Anyone who hasn't been through it, you must be a better woman than me even reading this. I actually didn't want to know and wouldn't hear people's horror stories if I could help it.
It's only useful hearing them if you can learn something from it that might improve your own experience ... I'd recommend an epidural!!!!!
Thanks op - ftm now scared of natural birth!!
I should qualify my comments a bit then (tho I'm sure mine aren't the only ones that scared you):
I'm in my 40s and was going overdue so if I was to take medical advice and keep the risks as low as poss a proper natural birth was never on the cards. I was induced which made it all more intense and led to further worries for my baby.
If I was young and within reasonable distance of hosp with no big risk factors I'd probably go for home birth and try to do it really naturally using hypnobirthing techniques etc. I do wonder how it might have gone if I'd have let nature take it's course but couldn't take the chance to find out as they say the risk of stillbirth goes up if us oldies go overdue.
People's experiences obviously vary too, of labour and of the service and care they got. I'd never have read this thread before I'd been through it. Would have scared me too!
that it's possible to have horrendous contractions whilst not actually contracting.
That it's possible to go from <1 cm dilated to 10cm dilated in the time it takes someone to run a bath.
That if you're left the haemorrhage slowly for 2 hours the contractions keep going during said 2 hours.
That panicking pushy DH's can be awful birth partners who's general attitude towards staff make them roll their eyes and not bother to examine you when he tells them that you're still bleeding and becoming less responsive.
That the nurse, midwife and doctor stood at the end of your bed telling you there's no medical reason for you or baby to stay don't necessarily have a bloody clue, and you might end up dragged back into the hospital with a baby who gets fed formula from a bottle against all your wishes because no one listened to you when you said they weren't feeding properly.
that the post birth bleeding carries on for so damned long, every time I thought it had stopped it'd start again, and DH was not remotely prepared for the fact he would go months without sex due to the 'never ending period from hell' >.>
I would tell myself:
That no one has the same birth experience.
How much love I would feel for every woman who had ever given birth in the history of womankind!
That there is no way to shower after labour without getting blood on the floor.
That your DH won't know how to put a sanitary towel in your knickers and you will be too weak to explain or do it yourself!
That being handed a slippery newborn would be terrifying.
That I wouldn't bond with my baby straight away but I would get there in the end.
That I wouldn't get to sleep after the baby was born and for several days after but I would get to sleep again eventually.
To take the nipple cream to the hospital (laughs bitterly at the innocent me who said "I won't need it straight away, they can't get sore that quickly!)"
That after a dream quick drug free instrument free stitch free birth my first thought would be 'right, i did it and now I'd like everyone including the baby to fuck off for a while and leave me alone!'
Also that you don't sleep the first night after giving birth. Not a wink both times despite exhaustion. A tiny part of me has never forgiven dh for being able to go home after birth of dc1 and cook pasta, drink a glass of red and sleep ten hours straight.
I haven't RTWT, my apologies but I need to write this before I forget
Don't worry, you will know when your milk comes in!
I also totally agree with the PP who used the term 'good cop/bad cop' with regards to midwives.
I now think of pressing that buzzer as the 'midwife roulette'
For me personally,
You won't feel labour or any contractions until your waters break and suddenly a baby is making its way out your Vagina, naturally the midwife will look at you like this >> when you tell her this and you'll have to sort your damn self out. (Bitter? Who me?!)
They will all titter and politely laugh at you in your next 2 pregnancies until it happens again. Twice.
But don't worry, by the 4th baby they'll finally trust you and offer a 35 week induction to stop you randomly firing a baby out whenever and wherever you happen to be at the time.
(On the 4th baby now and I'm longing for 35 weeks!)
That when you stop being able to empty your own bladder, the midwifes do it for you with some amazing magical contraption.... !! (Maybe that was just me cos I had a very long labour though and baby was in a weird position so I couldn't pee??)
That you will vomit, possibly in the birth pool. The midwives will be really nice about it.
The birth pool is like a giant jacuzzi without bubbles and it is the best thing ever.
Your arms will be more sore than they've ever been after any workout afterwards, as you probably have been hanging off the side of the birthing pool for hours, trying to support yourself.
The bottom of the birth pool is slippery so putting a towel in there to kneel on is a good idea.
Also you will probably need a flannel to rest your head on on the side of the birth pool. I had a bruise on my forehead afterwards from this !
That you don't notice a lot of stuff that you thought you would...It's all going on around you and you're 'in the zone'. I wrote in my birth plan 'no unnecessary people in the room, no students' -- The entire cast of Cats could have come in and out of my room during labour and I wouldn't have noticed.
You may shake and shiver violently (the adrenaline, not because you're cold). Again, you don't care about this but it freaks your DP out !!
You will go to the birth centre too early and be sent away and it will be the worst thing ever and you will want to murder the midwife who sends you away. And your DP for being bloody right that they'd send you home. FUCKKKKK.
You will not be able to sit down in the car on the way in to the hospital. You will be bent forward over the back seat, face planted into the parcel shelf, head banging against the back windscreen.
It will take you a while to get from the hospital car park/car to the birth centre/delivery ward. Because you will have to stop every few minutes to lean against a wall and have a contraction. Despite you being enormously pregnant and in a hospital, people will still stop and ask your DP if you are alright whilst this is happening.
That the midwives bring you and your partner toast and tea and maybe dessert. It is very welcome and you feel like crying because they are so nice and you are vulnerable, relying completely on them to look after you and they are doing an amazing job, and get paid shit when they are superheroes and should all be on ONE MILLION POUNDS A YEAR SALARIES.
Be careful with the gas and air if you have cosmetic dentistry. I chipped a cap jamming the nozzle desperately into my gob and spent my first two weeks as a mother, looking like half a vampire.
GAS AND AIR IS AMAZING and it won't have run out, even if you think it has. It comes out of the wall.
That after your beautiful brand new baby is born and placed on your chest, the doctors may be doing all sorts of terrible things to your downstairs area that previously you were terrified of, but you won't notice at all, or care.
It's not the end of the world to have the doctors help you delivery your baby, or have an episiotomy, drip or epidural....It sounds awful but at the time, and it's probably not what you wanted if you started out in a birth centre, but at the time you don't care and you just go with it...you're in 'labour land' ..almost like a little protective bubble...and you only care about getting your baby out safely.
That breastfeeding may be very difficult (especially if you had a traumatic delivery that involved a long labour or drugs) and this may be very upsetting and distressing. I was so grateful when the midwives showed my how to hand express colostrum / did it for me and filled a small syringe with it, put it in the fridge for me and told me I could ask for it later to feed my baby with (she wouldn't latch on and couldn't feed after the birth). I am so grateful for that... I never would have known or thought to try and do it myself, the state I was in after the birth (knackered and spaced out). Ask for help if it's not offered because this was just golden for me and my baby.
That's just my story anyway !! ;)
Oh yes and you won't be able to sleep properly after the birth if you're on the delivery ward. Maybe because it was noisy, maybe because the baby needed me all throughout the night...because my partner wasn't allowed to stay with me and help hold the baby...But probably because I was completely wired and overtired..my body was in survival mode and couldn't let itself go 'off guard' and go to sleep properly because I had this lovely helpless little being depending on me .... This continued for the first few weeks of my baby's life ! You do get used to the sleep deprivation.......EEEEK. Hard but worth it.
That delivering the baby is not 'the only way to stop pre-eclampsia so you should go for induction'. You are in fact at risk for SIX WEEKS after birth. Which they only told me after I had given birth and would need to be in hospital for a week.
Loving all these stories. It's a good substitute for the therapy we should all get! Eepie I wish I was as selfless as you. I felt I should feel like nothing else mattered other than the baby and only be bothered about getting my baby out safely but actually the main thing on my mind was the pain :/
@julie -- in all honestly it was probably more a case of wanting it to be over (as in the baby being out) rather than 'just wanting to get my baby out safely'. I don't think anything was on my mind... I was having violent screaming pushing contractions for hours but don't remember thinking 'give me something for the pain' ... I didn't even ask for gas and air until like 15 hours in.. I forgot I could have it !!!???
I was just totally off my face on labour. I didn't know what was happening or what I wanted, I forgot I even had a baby in there probably !! And yes that post was quite good therapy for me ;) heeehee.
I'm a first timer and have read this entire thread. Nothing new in it, so nothing scared me.
I really didn't expect it to hurt so much. I know that this sounds an insane comment to make, but I'd never really been in pain before, so being told it would be worst pain of your life and other similar comments, didn't mean anything to me.
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