Before I had my first baby, I thought a lot about my birth plan and how I expected and intended it to go. I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that things don’t always go to plan, particular in labour and birth – but nevertheless I concocted my dream outcome.
I was incredibly lucky that bar a few surprises – what I had planned did work out beautifully. Those surprises? Well, I can certainly laugh about them now! Here are a few of the things no one warned me could happen in labour and birth.
1. Waters can break whenever, wherever, and they don’t stop
Firstly, I had imagined that when your waters break, it was similar to tipping out a glass of water from a cup. You pour it and it runs out. Secondly, I imagined that they’d break during established labour. Incorrect.
During my first, my waters broke early in my labour. It started with a trickle and ended with a puddle. I changed my pants and headed into hospital. Thankfully my husband noticed the continually growing wet patch around my crutch and towelled up my seat in the car. When I arrived at hospital, I looked liked I had gone waist deep in a swimming pool.
Before my second labour, I sneezed and I literally ruptured my membrane with a sudden catastrophic waterfall result. This was classic movie style water break. Shortly after I went into the early stages of labour – one which involved layers of maxipads and multiple changes of pants.
2. Nice people can piss you off
When I arrived at the hospital with my husband, a caring young nurse came to me and asked if I wanted a wheelchair. He asked me if I wanted water and if I needed any more help getting to my birth suite. I couldn’t answer but my husband kindly responded that I didn’t want any help. He was right. I actually wanted to punch that nice man right in the face. Seriously.
3. Going to the toilet is horrible
After having two natural births, I would dare to compare that first wee to birthing all over again. I was dehydrated after a long labour. Acidic wee on a recently messed up private region? Ouch. During my second labour I drank neutralising powder you would buy for a UTI. The results were outstanding and such a simple solution to avoid something seemingly small, but agonising.
4. You need to take breaths in between the gas
Gas for me was my life saver. That’s my go to pain relief option and it worked a treat. But I did find that if you keep that tube in your mouth and guzzle down on that gas continually – you will turn into that drunken friend that vomits and can’t remember anything. Lesson learnt. (Side note: pack a spare change of clothes for partners in close proximity)
5. You don’t (always) have to push
In a bath full of confusion, pain and a gas tube – I was attempting to push out my first baby girl. Apparently, for someone high on gas and nude in a bath, pushing was an extremely hard concept to grasp. When I was meant to push, I was too busy sucking on the gas. But, low and behold, my body actually pushed for me.
During my second labour I was a seasoned professional and knew to push on top of the contractions but I did learn during my first that your body will just take over, whether your mind is in the game or not. I actually find that beyond incredible.