Things I didn’t know about birth

I adore reading birth stories. I find them fascinating. I love to watch One Born Every Minute now, and Call the Midwife is probably my favourite recent TV series. I felt a little bad that I have been reading all these amazing birth stories but I hadn’t written about my birth experience. Rather than write a long spiel (we all know I can get carried away) I decided to tell you the things I didn’t know about birth which I discovered on the day.

Contractions might not be regular, but you could still be in actual labour! There I was in shitloads of pain worrying that I wasn’t even in real labour, because my contractions were so random. Everything I had read said that when you are in labour your contractions are definitely regular and become more frequent as you progress. With me, some were almost a minute long and 4 minutes apart and then I wouldn’t have another one for 12 minutes. Eventually we went to the hospital anyway as I was in so much pain – which was lucky as I was 4cm dilated and needed to be monitored because bubba’s heart rate was a bit shallow (or something like that?!).

IMG_4598
The gorgeous baby shower cake my clever mother-in-law made.

At some points there will be so many staff in the room that you feel like a museum exhibition, being peered at and poked at! I had said yes to students coming in and because I was in the consultant-led ward there were midwives and doctors. To be fair I wasn’t really that bothered by this point at how many people saw me in a seriously undignified position; I was just hoping I would get through it with no major problems for the baby or me.

If you’re stuck in the bed during labour like I was and it’s nighttime, you might fall asleep in between contractions and then find the pain even bloody worse when you wake up to it. Add in the fact that your husband is snoring on the chair next to the bed and it all becomes a little stressful.

Everyone will tell you to listen to your body as you’ll know when to push and how long for…but honestly I don’t think I did. I kept telling the midwives that I couldn’t do it and they were all singing my praises telling me how great I was doing, which was nice but I genuinely didn’t feel like I was achieving much…luckily I was!

They might tease you with an epidural. I am sure this is a particular form of cruelty. They said I couldn’t have pethidine because bubba had pooed (meconium or whatever) and gas and air made me puke. When they offered me an epidural I was all for it; ‘YEAH! You won’t let me out of this fucking bed anyway so I may as well not feel the pain’. Unfortunately they then kept putting it off and eventually decided the birth was progressing too quickly. There’s a special kind of terror that comes with the realisation that you are suddenly having an entirely natural birth in a bed with your legs in stirrups, the staff swapping over and a dozing husband rather than in a relaxing giant bath as you’d once naively hoped.

black and white stock baby feet image

You might be told not to shout/grunt/scream and to focus on pushing instead. I have a lot of issue with this. I saw it recently on One Born Every Minute where they quite sternly told the mother ‘No, you’re not pushing because you’re talking’ or something along those lines. I get the principle. It’s logical – if you’re expending energy on shouting or screaming (I felt talking was too far, that poor mother!) then you’re not putting all of that effort into pushing. And midwives/obstetricians/consultants have had a lot of training. BUT. You are pushing a baby from your body. Without pain relief in my case. Did I mention that? Yeah. I didn’t have any training for this other than some half hearted breathing attempts they gave me leaflets about in an antenatal class. Prior to that the worst physical pain (other than a hangover) I’d known were some bad headaches and a burnt wrist (I have been exceedingly lucky). You are scared and unsure and honestly it hurts so very much. If you need to grunt or shout or cry or scream I think they should back the fuck off and let you. They see multiple births every day but this is your first (or second or third etc) and it is understandable if you need to shout. It’s my baby’s birthday and I’ll cry if I want to, alright?

This point isn’t exactly something I didn’t know about birth – I probably should have predicted this one. Your husband may afterwards refer to forceps as ‘those barbecue tongs’ when discussing birth with the family. It’s funny but awful.

When that baby is put in your arms you can’t believe it is the same being that you’ve been waiting for and dreaming of and talking to and growing inside you. You love it and you are astounded that you actually managed to get it out of you (with interventions!). Hearing your child’s first cry is a beautiful moment.

 

B holding TM when he was a few hours old in a grey baby grow with a white hat on
He had arrived! And he was perfect.

When they tell you your baby weighs 7lb 4oz you have an enormous amount of empathy for women who give birth to big babies. How do they do it?!

You might lose a LOT of blood. Like horror film amounts. If you aren’t very careful this leads to an awkward moment where you pull the emergency cord in the loo as there is blood everywhere and you cannot attempt to clean it up alone.

At night when your other half has gone they tell you to leave your baby when you go to the toilet. You’ve read too many novels where babies get swapped or stolen to feel happy about this. Cue a lot of panicked, rushed weeing/changing pads…not an easy feat after birth!

Despite all of it you’d do it again, over and over if you had to, because no amount of pain compares to having your healthy, naked baby placed on your chest.

I’m sure there are other things I didn’t know about birth but we’ll leave it there. Let me know what surprises were in store for you!?

Diary of an imperfect mum
A Mum Track Mind
Pink Pear Bear
Advertisements

51 thoughts on “Things I didn’t know about birth

  1. For me- I had researched all types of pain control etc and births types. Wanted the natural birth but wasn’t precious about it so when I had an emergency section and everything was taken out of my control it felt strange. I wasn’t disappointed as I knew it was for the best but I was disconnected at the seriousness of it all. I love birth stories. Everyone’s are so different!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this alternative take on a birth story! I had to lie on my back with my legs in stirrups (my pre- labour idea of worst position) because it was the only way to be comfortable. I loved it! They wanted me to stand up and I found it very painful and Js heart rate dropped quickly so I got back to my stirrups where we were both content… until he was so stuck he wasn’t going anywhere! X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laura! That’s interesting, I felt like I would have preferred to be moving around or sat on a birthing ball, maybe even on all fours or something…but maybe I actually wouldn’t have liked any of those positions! Oh bless him he didn’t want to move haha. Thanks so much for reading, Ellen

      Like

  3. Labour is pretty much the only time that it’s genuinely acceptable and not frowned upon to take a massive great series of shits in the bath. I’m telling myself it’s fine though. Bit late now!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh I like your angle on this. There were lots of things I didn’t know I would feel or think or do until my birth happened. The noise is a funny one – I think it depends on the midwife…some encourage noises, low ones apparently help open muscles or something. I do enjoy a birth story! X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, such ‘happy’ memories, ha! For me, I had no idea it would even feel like you were doing a poo. I got all panicky, thinking baby had somehow managed to grow (undetected for nine months) in my bowel!! Off to fire up the BBQ now…now, where did I put the tongs! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my word isn’t it amazing – you think you know heaps before you go into have your baby – you’ve attended the classes and you’ve read EVERYTHING (well apart from the caesarean chapter because there was no way I was having one of those so didn’t need to read it) – I knew everything I needed to know and then … BAM … 45 (and a half!!!) hours later I was having an emergency section – yep you can imagine how well that went down and just how much I knew about that! Loved this post Ellen – and oh my – that picture – melting! #triballove #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Useful to read an alternative birth story. Have all this to come in approximately 8 weeks. I guess your body just deals with it because it has no other choice. Trying to read as much as possible so I understand what is happening, but am prepared for surprises. After all, I have no idea how I’ll cope since I have absolutely nothing to compare it to! #fortheloveofBLOG

    Like

    1. How exciting! I think that’s a great attitude to have – knowing about lots of different types of birth is always useful and having lots of knowledge in general can help you to feel prepared. But honestly as you say you really can’t anticipate how it will feel or what will happen! Good luck though lovely. Thanks for reading, Ellen

      Like

  8. I find that sometimes midwives forget that first time parents haven’t had an experience of labour before. I can relate in terms of not knowing when to push and how long for, with my first I was so exhausted and none of the medical staff seemed to be communicating very well. It made the whole experience quite traumatic in ways to be honest. I remember having midwives talk to me like absolute rubbish and like I was stupid during and after labour with my first (one was so awful she made me cry on the ward) and in actual fact it turned out I had nerve damage. The experience of labour with my second was completely different and the staff were a lot better. Thank you for sharing this, I think it will help so many people realise that labour isn’t all that predictable. You’ve inspired me to write about my birth stories. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thank you so much, I am so glad I inspired you to write about yours! Poor you it sounds like your first was traumatic in some ways. It definitely seems to be luck of the draw with the staff and that can make a huge difference to your experience – my friend had a brilliant midwife for the first half of her labour but once the staff changed over she really didn’t like the second midwife. It’s such a shame! Thanks so much for reading, Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was surprised by how much it hurt too! The early contractions weren’t that bad, so I didn’t really know what all the fuss was about – until I did. And then it was f***ing awful. I found gas and air gave me something to focus on, but the midwife took it away when it was time to push. I have no idea how mums of big babies do it either – mine was only 6lbs 13oz and I couldn’t manage it! #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This was such a good post!! I am pregnant with my second and I’m doing it naturally!! The first time Holly was breach so i was sectioned. I recently posted a post about anyone and ervyone giving me labour advice hahaha. I have no idea how I will squeeze a watermelon sized human out a hole the size of a pea! but there you go, everyone keeps telling me I’m built for this haha. So your post for me was amazing to read!!
    Thanks!
    Lx
    http://workingmumy.blogspot.com
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ha ha ha I feel like I shouldnt laugh but I can’t help it. you do have a way with words bless you. I feel like i want to smack your hubby for snoring and i know what you mean about the blood… and I had a friggin c-section!!

    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime hun #triballove xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Thanks… I think?! Ah I didn’t really mind that much as I kept falling asleep myself so I could hardly blame him! Oh the blood was so grim. It’s why we didn’t take any photos of me and TM after the birth as I was so deathly pale haha. Thanks for reading and for having me my sweet xxx

      Like

  12. A lovely post. Mother said that what surprised her when the moment of no return came, of how calm she felt. That, and the fact she has a higher pain tolerance than she ever imagined 😉 x #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I laughed so much at the BBQ tongs – lol! I was so freaked out in my c-section with the sheer number of people in the room, quite a shock. This is a great post for mums to be to know what to really expect xx #triballove #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love hearing birthing stories! I don’t think you’re ever fully prepared!!

    Motherhood is so fab! Tough but fab!! Particularly when you can then give your husband a kick for dozing off!

    And the blood…..no warning is sufficient! Ive only had c-sections, planned due to medical issues, but the blood loss is colossal!!

    Thanks for sharing your experience!
    🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I didn’t make barely any noise at all in labour – not intentionally, it just kind of happened that way. I think I was so focused on getting through the pain my brain wouldn’t allow for anything else to happen. I wish I’d cursed like a sailor. Seriously, it’s one of my biggest regrets – not swearing in labour. What a wasted opportunity!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha bless you!! Everyone is different, some people are very loud and some don’t make a peep! I’m not sure if I swore much, I think it was mainly crying ‘I can’t do this ‘ 😂 I think you should feel superior that you were so calm and taking it all in your stride so didn’t make much noise haha!! Thanks for reading, Ellen

      Like

  16. Fab post!! I think every labour is so different isn’t it? I didn’t make any noise at all with all five of my children, I think I just withdrew into myself and focused on getting through it. I don’t think anything can prepare you for that level of pain and until it happens you have no way of knowing how you will cope with it. I discovered that I have a very high pain threshold which was surprising as I’m such a whinger about most things, ha! #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure if my pain threshold was high or not – I think maybe not!! You definitely don’t know how you will cope until the day though- actually one thing I didn’t include in this list that surprised me was I didn’t want to be touched. I know some people had said that but I’m quite an affectionate, tactile person so I was surprised that I felt like that! Thanks so much for reading, Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha you have to hope that it is don’t you? Or that means that there is potentially even worse!! Agree on not wanting to be touched, my husband tried to massage my back at one point and I wanted to punch him!!! xx

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Oh man, I LOVE this post!
    I also had a medication free birth, and it was soooo tough! Totally know where you’re coming from, I was also falling asleep between contractions-rude awakening though! haha
    I was absolutely terrified when I took a shower a few hours after giving birth. It was so. much. blood. I screamed for my husband and a nurse because I was horrified! Totally normal hahahaha. Thanks so much for this awesome read (: #StayClassy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah thanks for your kind comments! Not just me then that makes me feel better!! Oh I know one of them actually came with me to shower as they could see how much blood I was losing and were slightly concerned – there were rumours of a blood transfusion the next day but luckily they settled on iron tablets as I wasn’t dizzy or faint! Thanks for reading, Ellen

      Like

  18. Omg yes! I fell asleep between contractions (which were also irregular) and woke thinking I was going to die each time too! I thought this might just have been me! I also felt like they medical staff actively encourage no pain relief and for what end I cannot understand. There is no medal for giving birth with or without the drugs after all. I really enjoyed reading your take on the birth story! Thanks for sharing with us on #fortheloveofBLOG X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah that’s true and I can’t even imagine how that must feel. At the end of the day like I said you’d do it over and over if you had to because having a healthy baby placed in your arms really is the best feeling. Thanks for reading, Ellen

      Like

  19. I also love a birth story!! Call the midwife is quite possibly my most favourite TV show of all time! I used to be a community nurse, and I wish that I could have been doing the job in the 50s and 60s, when the role was as traditional as it is in the show!! I agree with the noise issue-I was grunting/screaming/swearing with my second baby, and the midwife was very kind, but she said ‘stop waiting effort on shouting, and use it to push.’ I had actually thought it was helping me a lot, and so didn’t see that it mattered!! I also had the blood thing-they made me have a bath about half an hour after my first baby was born-I really didn’t want one, but was so dazed I just agreed. It was 3 in the morning, and I just sat in this bath with it filling up with blood, hearing the screams of other women from surrounding rooms. Then I stood up and just flooded everywhere, and also pulled the emergency cord!!!! I just literally wasn’t prepared for any of it-it was all a shock to me! Maybe my gross, squidgy sack of spuds tummy in the immediate aftermath was the biggest shock! I couldn’t touch it, it grossed me out so much!!
    #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah yes I imagine it was very rewarding to build up that rapport with patients. Oh bless you I know there were lots of surprising things really – a blood bath how nice for you haha! Yeah I think the noise helped – at least I felt like I couldn’t not make any noise so really it was irrelevant whether it helped or not! I actually found my stomach fascinating I kept pressing my fingers into the big hole that was left!! Thanks so much for having me and for reading, Ellen x

      Like

  20. I absolutely take my hat off to you brave chicks who do it the natural way. I was so relieved when they told me I had to have a c-section (although it would have been nice to have had more than 9 hours notice and in the end my GP was less than impressed that I’d had my first child 3 weeks early due to the hospital’s decision). And relieved when I had to have two more! They all get here in the end bless them. Well done mum #BigPinkLink

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh bless you! I know some people who had contractions and laboured for hours to then have emergency c sections – seems so cruel to have gone through all that pain but also have to recover from a major op. Thanks my lovely, not sure I was that brave – think I spent most of the time crying ‘I can’t do it!’ haha. Thanks for reading, Ellen

      Like

  21. Hahaha barbecue tongs! They used that vacuum thing for mine lol. I love how you’ve written your birth story to the reader : ). I completely agree with everything you’ve said, especially having eight different people in the room staring at your bits. Absolutely love the photo at the end as well, so adorable. Thanks for the lovely heart-warming feelings and sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s