Half of my pregnancy was spent glued to my YouTube watching many Labor & Delivery, Birth Story videos, and researching childbirth. I was never scared of delivery and I even searched for the complicated stories so that I fully knew what I was getting myself into and to be prepared if anything went wrong.
Despite my research efforts and my determination to be prepared, I was thrown off when my own experience didn’t go as glamorously as everyone else made it look. It wasn’t until after I had my son that I realized there were quite a few things the new moms in those videos left out. This is why I decided to share my experience and talk about what I wish I would have known beforehand. So let’s gets real personal.
*This post may get a little TMI for some. If you have a weak stomach or are terrified of childbirth, now would be the time to deuce out!*
If you read the post about Ronan’s Birth Story, you know that my experience with the epidural wasn’t the best. As soon as the back labor started and I couldn’t stop shaking, I asked for it and it was put in. Within minutes it had failed almost completely. My dr told me most women have a “hot spot” that the epidural doesn’t seem to cover, my “hot spot” happened to be my birth canal which none of my nurses or midwife had ever seen before, lucky me! I couldn’t feel my contractions in the front but I could feel them in my back and I basically gave birth naturally, I say that because I felt it ALL.
I never imagined I would be someone that it wouldn’t work on! My point is, the epidural doesn’t work for everyone so I suggest having a back up plan.
I also was never told about the aftermath. To this day I can still feel a sore spot where it was placed, especially when I’m out in the cold or stretching. I’m not sure how long the soreness is here to stay, but I hope not forever.
Stretching and Medieval Methods
The next item on the agenda, I was COMPLETELY unprepared for. Delivery was long and hard for me. I pushed for 2.5 hours before my son blessed me with his presence.
In videos and movies I had always just seen the woman lying on her back pushing and the baby seems to slide right out. I no longer believe what I see on tv or on YouTube! The majority of my labor consisted of my pulling on a sheet that was attached to a bar placed over my bed like women used to in the old days, the only thing I was missing was the rag in my mouth.
I also did NOT expect my midwife and doctor who were delivering to stretch around the outside of my labia with every push as Ronan’s head was slowly coming out. That made it so much more excruciating but in the end I am beyond thankful that they did as I only received one stitch after all was said and done.
Massaging Your Uterus
This was probably the worst part of recovery for me. You spend all this time laboring, pushing out a baby, then pushing out the placenta and you think you’re done with the worst of the pain. But 10 minutes later these nurses want to massage your uterus like they are kneading dough (if you’ve ever seen the I Love Lucy meme, it’s accurate!)
And it’s not just once. They do it every 30 minutes for a few hours then it turns into every 2 hours until you leave the hospital! It’s beneficial because it gets any remaining placenta and gunk out, but goodness gracious is it awful!
Post Delivery Soreness
I knew I would be sore after delivery, that was a given, but I had no idea just how sore. I wasn’t the most active during my pregnancy. I worked 40 hour weeks on my feet and the last thing I wanted to do was come home and work out, but I probably should have.
I was so incredibly sore for the first few weeks that it was hard getting up and down to take care of Ronan. Had my mom not been there the first week and a half and frequently visiting afterwards, I think I would have suffered a whole lot worse.
Even today, I’m 4 months postpartum and during certain exercises or stretches I still feel a little sore in my uterus and I have not fully “snapped back.” It truly is a personal healing experience and every woman is different. I feel much more in tune with my body now though than I ever did before.
All those wonderful months of not having a period is made up for after you have your baby. I lost a little more blood than the average person when I had Ronan and I was not prepared for the literal buckets of blood and bloodied rags collected after delivery. Luckily, I’m not squeamish!
I had to be on iron supplements for a couple months and the bleeding continued for about a month.
A lot of people aren’t fans of the pads the hospital gives you but I personally loved them. They were aloe infused and cooling and I didn’t have to change them every 2 hours. They gave me enough for the first week home and after that the large maxi pads sufficed.
- These were chosen based on my personal experience! As I’ve said before, every woman’s experience going through this is different and reading others stories definitely helped me prepare mentally!