9 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Giving Birth

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Image via j&j brusie photography

Looking back at the four times I have given birth, I have to say that there's only one thing that's certain about labor and delivery: it's never predictable.

But, there are a few things that I wish I would have known along the way about giving birth, such as …

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Image via Flickr/ Anna Maria Liljestrand

That my water breaking would not be like in the movies.

When I pictured my water breaking, I envisioned a dramatic scene like in the movies: a tidal wave of fluid followed by a mad dash to the hospital, where I would be begging for my epidural. Turns out, it's not exactly like that. With my first pregnancy, my water leaked a tiny bit–just enough to make me think I peed my pants–and with my other three children, my water didn't even break before my contractions hit.

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Image via Flickr/ LEONARDO DASILVA

That labor can take forever.

Sure, you hear that first-time moms usually labor a long time, but who really believes that will happen to them? Well, my friends, believe it: it's better to be prepared for the long haul and be pleasantly surprised, trust me on that one. Pack a lot of distractions in your hospital bag, like headphones and a Netflix app, because you may be in for a long haul.

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Image via Flickr/ tiarescott

That those fetal monitors really aren't completely necessary.

If you're giving birth in a standard hospital, chances are you will be continuously monitored with a fetal monitor. And while the nursing staff may make you feel like you can never take those straps off, you may actually be surprised to know that studies have shown that continuous fetal monitoring has not been shown to decrease fetal mortality or complications. In other words, they aren't really helping to prevent any “emergencies” and in fact, may cause unnecessary interventions. So if they are driving you nuts, don't be afraid to ask your nurse for a break.

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Image via Flickr/ Sheila Sund

And the same goes for banning snacking.

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Although I was lucky enough to have a midwife with my first pregnancy who let me snack, when I had my other children, the nurses in the hospital refused to let me eat. Luckily, I knew that eating during labor carries very little risk with it anymore, so I let myself have light snacks to keep my strength up during labor.

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Image via Flickr/ george ruiz

That honestly–no one cares if you poop on the delivery table.

Seriously, don't even waste a second worrying about whether or not you are going to poop on the delivery table. After working as an OB nurse for years, I will tell you without a doubt that I have never once cared if a mother giving birth, pooped–in fact, nurses chart the very occurrence because it's a sign that she is pushing correctly, meaning it's almost baby time! We see it all the time and a quick swipe and it's gone. No big deal, really.

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Image via Flickr/ george ruiz

That pushing can be really, really hard.

Not for everyone, of course. For a great many women who talked to me, it would seem that pushing was actually the easy part of labor. “It was a relief!” they gushed to me. For me? Not so much. Pushing was hard, hard work.

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Image via Flickr/ Pat David

That it's easier to get the epidural early.

For some reason, I had the thought that I couldn't get an epidural until I was well into my labor. I thought, mistakenly, that I needed to hold out until the last possible minute when I couldn't take it any more or everyone would think I was a wimp. Or, that somehow, the epidural wouldn't work unless I was at an advanced stage in my labor. Turns out, it doesn't work that way. If an epidural is in your plan for pain management, talk with your nurse or care provider about the best time to get it–it's easier to get it before your contractions are too hard, because you are able to sit still enough for the epidural to be placed.

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Image via Flickr/ David Swift

That giving birth naturally is totally possible.

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I thought that giving birth without an epidural was crazy–but now I know better. I've seen countless women give birth and the only thing that separates women who give birth naturally is simply the belief that they can do it–and the desire to do so. If giving birth naturally is something that's important to you, you can do it.

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Image via Flickr/ Kala Bernier

That giving birth would be the single greatest experience of my life.

Nothing in life compares to that moment–that exhilarating, exhausting, overwhelming moment–when you give birth to your baby and meet him or her for the first time. The first time it happens, you wonder how you ever lived before and your heart feels like it's rushing out of your chest to unite with this tiny, little being that will forever claim your love. And the second, third, fourth or tenth time it happens? It's exactly the same.

{ MORE: What to Do When You're Scared to Give Birth }

What do you wish someone would have told you about giving birth?

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9 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Giving Birth

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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2 comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    You forgot to mention the joys of episiotomies. For those who don’t know what an episiotomy is: An episiotomy (/əˌpiːziːˈɒtəmiː/ or /ˌɛpəsaɪˈɒtəmiː/), also known as perineotomy, is a planned, surgical incision on the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall during second stage of labor. The incision, which can be done at a 90 degree angle from the vulva towards the anus or at an angle from the posterior end of the vulva (medio-lateral episiotomy), is performed under local anesthetic (pudendal anesthesia), and is sutured closed after delivery….So basically, when you have a vaginal birth, and your vagina is too small to pass your baby, no biggie, they’ll just cut it bigger! Otherwise you will tear open and that’s much worse and takes longer to heal. After the baby is out, and theyre down there cleaning you up and taking all the leftovers out you don’t need in there anymore, like your placenta, they stitch you back up. For me it was quite painful for a couple weeks following. I couldn’t stand without bracing myself on something to help lift myself up because it put a lot of pressure on the stitches and hurt. Also you have to wear hemorrhoid pads in your panties so your stitches don’t get dried out and hurt more or pop open. It also burns your incision and stitches when you pee and get urine on it. And you have to take stool softeners to keep your bowl movements soft, otherwise its painful to have a bowl movement and can potentially pop your stitches. Also, for years after, sex can be painful because of where you were cut…Good times.

  2. kayla says:

    I wish someone would have told me the nurses deliver your baby. I thought I was just practicing pushing waiting for the dr… I bet I could have had a natural birth instead of a c-section.

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