I’m excited to introduce you to my guest blogger Alyse. As a former Labor & Delivery nurse, she will gladly share with us secrets behind one of the most memorable experiences in every women’s life.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I read all the books. You know, all the books that break down your pregnancy into week by week and trimester by trimester and give you the scoop on what your sweet little peanut is doing in utero, comparing your little bundle to various fruits and veggies. But, even with all the preparation and reading I did, I still felt completely clueless and overwhelmed when it actually came time to give birth.
The second time around, I had some insider knowledge. You see, not only had I been through the whole labor and delivery process before (which, let me tell you, gives you a heck of a lot of knowledge), but I was also working as a labor and delivery Registered Nurse. So, I knew my way around a delivery: the good, the bad, the ugly. And I knew what it was like on both ends of the process, from both the patient and health care professional point of view. This was a HUGE help to me when I was making decisions about my care while in labor.
So, I decided to make a list of some information that I not only did NOT know the first time around, but that I also found that many other moms weren’t familiar with as well. And just be warned I’m going to be real and messy here, because let’s face it, labor and delivery isn’t exactly the cleanest thing in the world!
Your water breaking doesn’t always break in a massive, watery gush like what movies depict. In fact, your water might not even break at all before you get to the hospital.
The first time around, many women envision their water breaking in a fashion similar to the floodgates opening up. Yeah, this isn’t always the case. Some women may even question their water breaking because it can sometimes happen as a slow trickle (in which you may think you’re peeing yourself with your squished, flattened bladder) as opposed to a downpour of amniotic fluid. If you ever have any question about your water breaking, call your health care provider!
If you get an epidural, catheters will be your friend.
Not sure what a catheter is? It’s a thin tube that is inserted into your bladder to help drain urine. Because the whole point of an epidural is to keep your belly numb, it usually means you won’t get the opportunity to walk to the bathroom to go pee since your legs are numb too, and they’re usually pretty important when it comes to walking (unless you have a walking epidural). Therefore, since you can’t feel when you need to pee, usually you’ll have some sort of catheter, whether it be a straight catheter (where they insert it, empty your bladder, then remove it) or a Foley catheter (which will stay in your bladder). Good news is since you have an epidural, you shouldn’t really feel it!
I cross my heart, pinky-promise that if you poop while pushing (which, when you’re pushing, it essentially feels like your pooping because you’re using the muscles in the same area) it doesn’t bother us! SERIOUSLY! We’ve all probably seen just about every bodily fluid possible in the medical field. A little poop doesn’t scare us. And if it did, we probably wouldn’t have gotten very far in our training/schooling. If we even say anything at all (I was a fan of just getting things cleaned up then going on our merry way with pushing), we will tell you that means you’re pushing right. Because you are! And it happened with me with both my kiddos. No shame!
Speaking of poop, if you feel like you need to during labor, PLEASE tell your nurse!
When you’re getting close to delivery, your baby put’s A LOT of pressure on your rectum, which can make you feel like you have to take a huge dump. Please, promise me something. Promise me now. If you’re in labor and feel like you need to poop, PLEASE just let your nurse know before you just hop on over to the bathroom and try. Your nurse or healthcare provider may just want to check your cervical dilation before you try. I’ve seen a few babies born in the bathroom because of this.
Your delivery isn’t done when you birth your baby.
Say what?! Yeah, once your baby is born into this world, you still need to give birth to another thing: your placenta. Fortunately, this big, gooey, amazing organ has no bones, like your previously birthed little bundle and usually is delivered fairly easily and painlessly with a push or two. Feeling brave? Usually your provider will be happy to show you your placenta after delivery (which is an INCREDIBLE organ that your body grows to sustain that little life!)
You’re still going to have contractions after delivery!
I know, it’s not fair, right?! You go through the grueling process of giving birth, either vaginally or via c-section, you are holding your sweet little bundle in your arms, and BAM! It hits you. You start having cramping very reminiscent of labor contractions. These can especially be intensified when nursing and can be more painful with subsequent children. Why does this cruel, cruel process happen? Well, since your uterus is so stretched out from having something the size of a watermelon in it, it is trying to go back to where it was pre-pregnancy. So, your uterus contracts down to not only move its way back to where it was in your pelvis, but it also works as a mechanism to prevent you from bleeding too much postpartum. Pretty cool, huh?
You will still have a baby bump after you have your baby.
Going off of #6, your deflated-looking belly needs time (many, many weeks, in fact) to go back to where it was before your baby occupied it. After all, it took 9 months for your baby to stretch out your belly! You probably will look like you’re still pregnant when you’re freshly postpartum. Again, no shame. My 4-year-old asked if I had another baby in my belly the day after his sister was born.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace the professional medical advice from your health care provider and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please contact your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance for any health issues.