Monday, July 29, 2013

What I wished I Had Known: Labor & Delivery

Here's PART ONE if you had missed the first segment about Pregnancy. 

Attempts to go into labor. 

I did everything to naturally induce when I hit 38 weeks. Guess what? Nothing worked. Looking back, I do wish I did not put so much effort in trying to naturally induce myself to have Forrest, and enjoy the remaining final weeks. My life changed completely after Forrest arrived. My advice? Try your best to relax. If people are bothering you, especially if you go overdue, then simply turn off your phone, and computer. Your baby will come when your baby is ready. 

Castor oil does NOT induce labour!! I was told by many doctors at the hospital that it makes you vomit and that's all it will do. -Johanna

Birth Plan.

I had a perfect birth plan written up. I researched the crap out of everything to make sure I understood what ramifications came with this or that during labor, and delivery. I had a fantasy in my mind how the birth will go. I rewrote my birth plan at least five times. I declared that I wanted a natural birth with no help from any drugs. Well, as it had turned out at my 39 weeks check up; I had to be induced, and I was pretty disappointed. My doctor gave us an option to induce that week or the following week, and made no mention of allowing me to go naturally since sweeping my membranes from a week before had failed. Stu jumped to the date that was offered, and said let's do it on this date! Then we went in to be induced. I was hooked up to Pitocin drug which sucked, and at one point, I even wanted an epidural (I had no epidural request on my birth plan). I ended up not getting one anyway! But the truth was? My birth plan was thrown out of the window. While I was a bit bummed about missing out on a completely natural labor experience, I was still pleased with how everything had turned out because despite having this perfect fantasy of what I wanted, I still kept a low expectation about the whole experience. 

The best advice I recieved and now pass on is not to have a plan that is set in concrete. If you do, it can seem like everything is going "wrong". It's not wrong. It is just different than you had planned. If you keep an open mind about how labor and delivery will go, it will be less stressful. Be educated, but not narrow-minded. -Kara P. 

When I went to my birthing class, they put so much emphasis on having a "birth plan", but after talking to my doctor, I realized a plan would just put more stress on me (and probably my husband too). Instead, I spent a lot of time educating myself on everything that would be and could be happening, so I can make informed decisions without stressing about following a perfect plan. -Theresa S. 

Checks during labor. 

My first experience of being checked for dilation was on July 4th when I had a scare. It was AWFUL. The doctor was rough, and not gentle. Also, I've heard that it was not always good to be constantly checked because it could introduce infection, and discourage women in labor if they are not progressing fast enough. Because of that, I knew I did not want to be checked very frequently during my labor. The hospital I delivered Forrest was amazing. The nurse I had for my labor was also wonderful. I was only checked twice. Once to have my water broken, and other time to see how far I've progressed (I was 5 CM at that time). The last time I was "looked at", Forrest was already right there to be born, and I obviously didn't need to be checked! 

You can laugh or make fun of me on this one, but an honest to god confession, that maybe anatomy class failed me or I just watch too many hollywood movies about childbirth, but I seriously didn't realize that they have to put their hand up there to check for dilation. I seriously thought they could just look up and tell. At least it is how they make it look like on movies, the doctor just looks for a second, and knows how far she has dilated. Needless to say I was really shocked and surprised when the doctor stuck the entire hand (or felt that way at least) to check for dilation. It made me dread when they check because of how uncomfortable it felt. Not a pleasant feeling! -Megan S.

Don't worry about being modest or shy. After a couple hours of doctors, and nurses coming to check on you, you'll get over it, and not give crap about who sees what. -Kristin L.


Contractions is a part of labor. Basically, what it does is that it helps to evict the baby out of your body. It is very hard to describe a contraction to someone, who has no idea what labor is like, because it varies from one woman to another. Contractions felt very much like bad period cramp. It was right at the bottom of my belly, and it was fairly mild for me in the early stages of labor. It was easy for me because I had plenty of break in the between contractions where it hurt then stopped hurting. Soon, the waves got closer, and closer together as I approached the transition (right before when you start pushing). I had no break in the between, and that was the hardest part to deal with. It made me very nauseous  and caused me to cry a bit because the pain was ridiculous--what can I say, I'm a crier when I am in pain. The contractions stopped hurting/bothering me when I started pushing. Once the placenta was delivered, all of the contractions stopped, and it was like oh, whoa, that's it! For some women, contractions can be in the back (back labor). Some women says contractions start bothering them early on, and some later on. It depends on their level of pain tolerance, and the baby's position during the labor.

Contractions feel like a combination of nasty period cramps, and horrible bowel movement cramps at the same time. It started everywhere at the same time for me. -Maddy

My contractions with my second pregnancy were completely different from my first. With my first, they were the textbook example of a contraction. The pain started at my sides, and worked its way to middle of my stomach. They started out like mild menstruation pain, then became completely unbearable. For my second, I suffered from pubic symphysis dysfunction, and all of my contractions started in my lower back, and moved into the front into my pubic bone. They were quite severe. -Bri

I had an irritable uterus contractions. It was terrible, and made my labor more difficult. -Jackie C. 

Vaginal Birth, & Pushing

I had no idea what to expect during delivery as a first-time mom. I went into the whole experience with an open mind, and that really helped me to stay focused. My labor was fairly short, and quick. I came in with 2 CM, went on Piction drip, and progressed very quickly after my water was broken. I went from 5 CM to being fully dilated within half hour. What was the hardest for me was dealing with transition. I had NO IDEA how much it was going to hurt. I did know I was going to be in the world of pain. I had a very high tolerance for pain, but holy lord, it hurt. Really hurt. Then boom, Forrest was right there, and I knew it was time to push. What I did not prepare for was that your body really takes over completely, and you are going along for a ride. That was overwhelming for me. I didn't know what ring of fire was until a few months after I had delivered Forrest. When I found out what it was, and I was like AHA. At that time, I thought my doctor was intentionally doing it to me, and I was mad at her! No, it was the baby, ha ha. I did end up with a second degree tear from having a quick birth. It healed fairly well, and did continue to give me some pain even to this day. Fortunately, it became less noticeable as time went on. My recovery was fairly easy despite my blood pressure crashing after delivering Forrest. 

I had no idea how fast a birth can change rapidly from your first to your second. My son was born within 13 hours, then my daughter was born within 3.5 hours. -Lauren S. 

You can go backwards with pushing. With my son, he kept going back in. It took me three hours to push him out. -Stacy H. 

We took a birthing class and talked about the average length of labor being 12-24 hours. We talked about being not average, and going really quickly! But we never even considered going LONGER than 24 hours. That was something that was really the hardest on my husband because he couldn't help me. I was exhausted, sure, but it was just a job for me to do,and I stayed focused. For my husband, it was terrible. -Ashley H.

Ring of fire, you want to know what it is? Just google Johnny Cash's song. That's what it is. -Lauren S.

Widen your mouth as wide as you can, and hold it. Now, put your fingers in the corners of your mouth, and pull your mouth wider until you feel stretching or burning. Now, imagine that at your hoo-ha. That's how it freaking feels like. -Shaylee M. 

You will obviously deliver a baby. Ta-da, done. Right? Nope. You still have to deliver placenta. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to half hour to get it done. -Loren B. 

As a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect, and I felt like I was a part of the culture where we expect the provider to do what is the best for us, and the baby. I went in wanting a natural birth with my first, but I was too eager, and wanted to get birth going. At my 37 week appointment, I was 4 CM, and my provider said I was having the baby today. Contractions measured on the monitor, but for all I know, those were just practice contractions (early labor). She sent me to the hospital and started me on the pitocin drip. I didn't have the natural birth I wanted. Almost didn't even have the vaginal birth. The piction caused so many problems from unbearable pain, needing an epidural, to my heart rate skyrocketing, and feeling sick, almost passed out, but I had him vaginally. For my second, it was a natural water birth. I was progressing on my own, and I followed the cues that my body was giving to me. The water helped me to relax, and I did not need pain meds because I was able to manage. -Sarah S. 

I loved being pregnant & labor, & delivery...the empowerment of it all. #3 out of my 4 was an emergency c-section due to rapid heart rate drop, that was scary & I kinda felt less accomplished because they just numbed me & cut me open. I didn't get to experience the pushing (I know I'm nuts). #1, #2, & #4 were all natural labors with no drugs (#4 being VBAC). -Michelle S. 

With Ethan, they didn't realize how big he was (9 pounds 3 oz), and how little I was (145, 5 foot 2) so he got stuck during delivery. They lost his heartbeat as well. He was too far down the birth canal to do an emergency cesarean. They tried using vacuum, and it didn't stick to Ethan's head. They turned to using forceps  and told me to stop pushing as they literally pulled him out. They pulled so hard that it was lifting my bottom off the bed. NICU was called as they didn't think he would make it, and they thought they broke one or both of his collarbones to get him out. Thankfully everything turned out great. No broken bones. Perfectly healthy. But for any of my future children, I'll need scheduled cesarean for them -Ellie T. 

Epidural and Spinal 

I had in my mind that I was going to have a medical-free labor. I talked for my whole pregnancy about not getting an epidural. While I did prepare mentally for the pain; I was surprised by how much it really hurt to have contractions during transition stage, and I was afraid I'd be stuck in so much pain for next few hours at 5 CM. I did ask for an epidural because of my fear of being stuck at 5 cm, and having to deal with an extreme pain. What I did not realize that I was in transition. A few minutes after I tapped in for an epidural request, I immediately knew Forrest was coming, and ended up being looked at, then be told that it was time to push! Having come from this experience, I realized I now knew what transition felt like, and felt more prepared for the future not to need an epidural. 

The epidural caused me not to feel anything when I needed to push, and I had 3rd degree tearing. I took a couple months to heal completely. -Sarah S. 

The epidural doesn't always work. -Casey T.

I wished that someone had told me that at 8 CM dilated, getting an epidural was not a good idea, because it would have saved me from a lot of issues. -Lauren S. 

I had to remain in magnesium for 2 days, which makes you feel extremely intoxicated. -Ashley A. 

You can throw up from the spinal you get for c-section. -Kristin R.

I was NOT prepared for the spinal tap-related headache, and needing another procedure done to take the blood from my arm to be placed in my spinal area because it was a bitch way worse than actually get the spinal done itself. I was also not prepared for mind over matter thing; my head kept telling my legs to move, but obviously they wouldn't due to spinal for my c-section, and I freaked myself out, and started to have a panic attack, and needed an oxygen mask. -Ashley E. 

I had no idea how much between epidural, and the spinal I had would affect me (being a first time mom). I missed out on several first hours between the drugs, and Logan's blood sugar not stabilizing. Liam's delivery was much easier to handle since I had an idea what would be happening. -Jessica MB.


I did not have a c-section so I asked for ladies, who have gone through this, to help me with this section! Here are their answers: 

For C-section, my feet swelled so big and stayed that way for days. They would "jiggle" when I walked, and I couldn't get any of my shoes on. They said it happens during the surgery. I wish someone would have told me because it was very hard to walk, and it was very uncomfortable. -Nikki

If you go in with the mindset for c-section that it is not going to hurt that bad, and I'm going to do great, and not need many pain pills. It pays off. -Kristin R.

With my C-section, I didn't even get to see my daughter right away. They took her straight from the surgery suite to the attached nursery. There were no complications, and I was really upset. I did get to hold her for a couple minutes before I was taken to recovery for an hour. I had her at 8 pm, and it was almost 10 pm before I can really bond with her. My birth experience was so drastically different than I imagined, and a lot of decisions that were made for me was not what I wanted. Next time, I'll have a Douala to advocate for me. -Athenais P. 

One thing I did not know about after having a c-section was having to wear those things on my legs to prevent from getting any blood clots after having the baby. I wasn't also prepared for the amount of blood that I lost after I went to take my first PP shower. Totally thought I would only bleed like that from a vaginal birth. -Ashley E.

I had wanted a natural birth for my first child, and ended up with a c-section. Initially, I felt like I had failed, and had a sense of loss. I learned later that it's a common reaction for women who have had unplanned c-sections. -Kristina G.


Call me silly, but I had no idea that Forrest was going to be born with a misshaped head! I knew he was going to be covered in goo, blood, and junk. The head? I had no idea that babies' head are very pliable in order to fit through the birth canal. It took Forrest about 5 months to finally have nice dome of head. To this day, he still has a small bump on where his head! 

Babies aren't pretty after being delivered. -Casey T. 

My husband was shocked by how much blood came out with the baby. -Sarah 

Babies aren't born pink, and clean. They are born covered in goo, blood, and junk. -Dave N. 

I was surprised at how warped my daughter's head was. I thought a baby would be born with perfect dome. Not my kid. She was a conehead. -Brandon J. 

My husband learned in the birthing class that babies were born purple, and he was freaked out. -Yasmina

Stay tuned for Part 3: Recovery