4 Unexpected Things That Can Happen at Birth
You may have prepared for the moment that you bring your baby into the world, you may have taken classes where you pinched yourself to mimic a contraction (ha!), or you may have even watched some pretty intense birthing videos, but at the end of the day, you probably still might wonder if you're truly prepared for what will happen when you give birth.
To that, I will have to answer: probably not.
But don't worry — I think you'll still be fine. No matter how your birth experience turns out, it will lead to your birth experience and that's all that matters. Some are beautiful, some are hard, and some are completely unexpected, but it's still your journey.
And actually, hey, speaking of unexpected, here are some of the more interesting things you may want to be on the lookout for come birth time. Don't say I didn't warn you …
#1. You may be asked to pee in front of everyone
Listen, I'm sorry, but this is unfiltered motherhood right here. If you haven't had an epidural and still have complete control of your bladder, there may be a chance that you will be asked to empty your tank right there in full view of everyone. I am telling you this because it happened to me, so I promise it can happen.
I just happened to already be up in stirrups, ready to push, when the doctor and nurses realized that it had been a while since I used the restroom. And because a full bladder can block a baby's head, there was only one thing left to do.
So, I did it. Not without enormous uncomfortableness and cries of “I can't believe I'm doing this!!” but it worked, because my daughter was born a few minutes later. How's that for the beauty of birth?
#2. Your baby may poop before you deliver
If your baby poops anytime on the way out of the birth canal, chances are, you will see a lot of commotion in your birthing room. This is because a baby who has passed the meconium before delivery is at risk for then swallowing that poop into his or her lungs, which can be dangerous and led to breathing problems as well as an infection.
To prevent that, immediately after your baby is born, if there is any sign of poop, the nurses will suction your baby's respiratory tract with a small tube, so you won't be able to hold him or her right at birth. Meconium during delivery is also usually an indication that the baby was stressed somehow during the birth process, so your birth team will do some extra assessment and pay even closer attention to your baby if there is meconium present.
#3. A nurse might have to ride on your bed all the way to the OR with her hand in your vagina
I know what you're thinking with this one — what in the world? And I assure you, this isn't common practice. But in the event that you suffer what's called a uterine cord prolapse, which is essentially when the baby's umbilical cord somehow slips out of your vagina before the baby does, things get really serious really fast.
Because the umbilical cord is your baby's literal lifeline and supplies it with all the oxygen he/she needs to live, if it slips out like that, it will cut off oxygen and the baby can die very quickly. So, if that happens, a nurse or other team member will have to literally hold your baby's head up off the cord so the weight of the head doesn't compress the cord. And that's how you may find yourself taking a ride down the hall to the OR for an emergency C-section with your nurse's hand in your vagina. (Just so you know, cord prolapses are extremely, extremely rare that happens in approximately 0.16 percent of all live births, so this is not something that happens every day!)
#4. Your water might never break
Everything you know about giving birth from the movies centers around a mom's water breaking dramatically, right? Well, in real life, that doesn't always happen. In fact, it is entirely possible for your water never to break, all the way up and through your baby being born. While a lot of doctors will break a woman's water if it doesn't naturally break to help facilitate labor, in some rare cases, a baby can be born with the amniotic sac fully intact around it. This type of birth is called an “en caul” birth and if it happens to your baby, it not only looks pretty darn cool but it's also said to be good luck, so lucky you!