The countdown to your due date is on. You’re swollen, sore and tired. And SOOO ready to be finished with the whole pregnancy thing. But labour & delivery…
You’re probably incredibly apprehensive for what’s to come. Pregnancy, albeit uncomfortable, is familiar. Labour and delivery. This is new, scary unchartered territory.
And it can bring out a whole truckload of anxieties, especially during the lead-up to the big event.
Regardless of how long your labour and delivery takes or how your birthing experience goes, there’s a pretty good chance that, if you’re opting for a natural vaginal delivery, these 10 things will happen.
Consider this your official warning…Oh, and try not to take it too seriously. I promise you, it’s not that bad! Well, actually it is. But you forget about it pretty quickly. That’s why women go back and do it again.
1. Thou shalt assume you’re in labour about 15 times before you actually go into labour.
Is it the start of labour? Or did I just pee myself? More likely than not, it’s the latter.
Assuming that every niggle, hiccup or poo pain is the start of contractions is pretty standard. And when she does a round kick to your bladder, you may find yourself thinking (okay, hoping), “Please kick me hard enough to break my waters.”
2. Thou shalt attempt to convince baby to vacate the womb. And fail miserably.
Bounce like no one is watching. Squat like no one is listening. Have sex often. Dance. And eat ALL the pineapples.
Why? Because these are some of the methods that may induce labour. More likely than not, they won’t, because baby will come when she’s ready, not because you spent a half hour bouncing on a fit ball.
3. Thou shalt find a large collection of goo in your knickers.
This is known as your mucus plug. It basically seals off your cervix and comes out when labour is near. It’s gross. But it’s also a bit comforting, like “Yay! Something is actually happening down there!”
You may also discover a bit of blood, which is known as the Bloody Show. Another horrifying name to accompany the joy that is childbirth.
4. Thou shalt discover that hospital parking is the WORST.
Where are the “This lady is in labour parking spots”? And WHY must husbands insist on parking so far away from the entrance? Waddling your way through a crowded car park to birth suite mid-contraction is no one’s idea of a good time.
5. Thou shalt become obsessed with how many centimetres your cervix has dilated.
Your mission? To get to 10cm. How you get there? More bouncing, more squatting, possibly the request for a stretch and sweep.. or ten.
6. Thou shalt probably poo.
Or at least feel the insane urge to poo. When you gotta push, you gotta push and sometimes your bowel get confused and goes for it.
7. Thou shalt also probably vomit all over your nightgown.
If you’re lucky enough not to vomit, then you can still expect plenty of sweat, blood and tears. So wear a hospital gown or strip into nothing for the big event. Then, bring a pretty one to change into after the whole ordeal is over so you can look like a glowing birthing goddess for photos.
8. Thou shalt discover the horror that is crowning.
As baby is about to make her grand entrance, you will experience the not-so-royal moment of crowning, where bub’s head pushes out through your ya-ya.
This is accompanied by the Ring of Fire, a lovely term to describe the feeling of bub ripping your lady bits to shreds.
9. Thou shalt tear down there.
It’s a beautiful moment that you will remember forever. But your baby’s entry into the world isn’t the prettiest picture, especially if you happen to have a front row seat south of the belly.
In addition to the engorged cervix, the swollen ring of fire and the possible poo trail, there’s a pretty good chance you will also experience a perineum tear. It’s quite common for the tissue between your vagina and above the anus to tear just a wee bit during the process, requiring stitching after birth and probably an ice pack for several days.
10. Thou shalt forget about ALL of the above the moment you first hear your baby cry.
The nine above commandments of labour and delivery are not set in stone. But this final one is. Because, no matter how your labour and delivery goes, when you first set eyes on your baby, there is no pain. For a few minutes at least.
Then you will probably have to deliver the placenta. And get stitched up. And try breastfeeding. And prepare for a whole new set of commandments to follow as you get used to life with a newborn.
But, for a brief few minutes, the world stops. The above gets erased and there are no commandments to follow. All that’s left to do is sit back, cherish those first cuddles and remind yourself of the amazing thing you’ve just done.
So good job mumma! Your reward? A bruised vagina, a couple of ice blocks and a beautiful baby to shower with endless cuddles and kisses. After you get stitched up, of course.