Wednesday, November 26, 2014

15 Things I Didn't Expect: Labor, Delivery, and Postpartum

You will never, ever be 100% prepared for labor & delivery.  

I believe that.  Even if this is your 4th pregnancy, odds are labor & delivery will be different than the last or even the one before that.  Even if you've read book after book and hundreds of blog posts (as I had) there will still be unexpected moments during labor & delivery and in the days/weeks to follow.

So because of that I've compiled a list of things that I didn't expect and things that surprised me a bit.  And, yes, there may be some TMI moments here...but I am all about full disclosure.  ;)  

1. Modesty is out the door.  We opted to not have a Doula because I didn't want another person around while I was in my most immodest moments.  We were striving for a very comfortable experience and that would have made me a bit more uncomfortable.  Or so I thought.  Once things started progressing I didn't care who was around.  I wanted that baby out of me and if the stranger walking down the hall saw my hoo-ha I didn't care.  When baby girl finally arrived I wanted skin-to-skin so badly that my gown was open in an instant and I sat there, boobs hanging out, for about 15 minutes.  Didn't even think about it until later.  And then there was the nurse showing me how to keep my stitches and lady parts clean after delivery....  Or the group of nursing students who had to inspect my stitches before we left.... the list goes on.

2. Poop happens.  I had read that before and was prepared for poo.  When I was pushing...  But sometimes it happens before the pushing starts. Eek!  BUT, no one speaks of it.  It will be like it never happened.  Just be sure to let it happen...because I discovered that trying to stop it made my pain worse.

3. You might not act like yourself.  I am a pretty reserved person (some of the stuff I'm writing today would never come out of my mouth...haha).  But in the heat of the moment, when you are in pain and your life is about to change....all bets are off.  For one, I screamed while I was pushing.  A few times.  Not so much out of pain but out of frustration and exhaustion.  I was a little overwhelmed with everything and was trying to do my best.  That energy erupted in a couple of unexpected screams.  I also got a little feisty with the nurse at one point.  I had a horrid, horrid leg cramp (also while pushing).  I kept trying to stretch out my leg and she wouldn't let me until I snapped at her.  After that...I just kind of tuned her out.  She had no bedside manner.  :P

4. The part you think will hurt the worst doesn't.  I think any girl that wants to one day have a baby dreads the pain.  And I'm talking about the pain of pushing a pumpkin out of an orange sized hole.  Yeah.  That.  Well, it didn't hurt that bad...and I had a 3rd degree tear!  The contractions were much worse.  In fact, the pain that I felt as my baby girl entered this world was a relief.  It was over.  My baby girl was here!  And I had no clue that I had even torn at all. 

5. It might not be love at first sight.  I have never told a soul this...but it took me a little while to fall in love with my baby girl.  Don't get me wrong.  I loved her from the moment we found out she existed.  But I didn't get that gut feeling when they gave her to me.  I think I was in shock for a bit.  I watched my husband fall in love with her first and I thought something was wrong with me.  But at some point in the next 24 hours when I had some time alone with her, I fell head over heels.  And the world was right again.  Apparently, however, this isn't all that abnormal.

6. You forget the pain the moment that baby is in your arms.  I know I noted my lack of emotion immediately after birth.  But I was still overwhelmed with joy.  I would have done it all over again in the next minute if I had to...just to have that precious little girl in my arms.  It was so worth it!

7. Ice diapers are the greatest invention known to man.  Remember that bit about pushing a pumpkin out of an orange sized hole?  You just did that!  And it may not have hurt horribly in the moment.  But it does eventually hurt.  And you will be hitting that call button for a new ice diaper the minute you can tell it is melting...    

8. You will bleed for a loooooong time.  I knew that postpartum bleeding lasted longer than a menstrual cycle but I didn't expect it to last more than a month!  There were days I thought it was over and the next day the flow would pick back up.  It felt like it was never going to end.....

9. The emotional roller coaster isn't over.  It might actually be worse.  It was for me.  Your hormones are everywhere after delivery.  In the first few weeks we were home, I thought I was crazy.  I cried for no apparent reason, got angry super easily, and could go through more emotions that I knew existed in a matter of minutes.  Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde have nothing on me!  I was never that bad throughout my pregnancy.  Never.  But it does even out eventually so hold onto that hope!

10. The fist time you shave your legs will be amazing!  Remember that huge bump that was always in the way?  The one that prevented you from seeing your toes or bending easily?  It is gone!  It is heavenly to be able to reach your entire leg without any issues!

11. You will be amazed.  Speaking of shaving....  Once I could see my lady parts again I was appalled at how unkempt I looked even though I had tried to keep shaven and trimmed... talk about a jungle!!!  Don't get me wrong, I'm not a perfectionist and I have never had a bikini wax.  But when I know I'm going to the lady doctor, I at least try to look a little cleaned up and a little less "au naturale."  ;)

12. You will heal faster than you think is possible.  3rd degree tear.  There are some parts of your body that should never have to see a thread and needle.  And when it takes the doctor almost a half an hour to stitch you up....yikes!  I wasn't sure how I would ever walk again let alone think of doing anything else....if you catch my drift.  ;)  But after just 2 weeks, I felt pretty good.  And by 4 weeks, I felt almost normal.  Still waiting for the doc's okay for a few things....but I feel like nothing ever changed down there so I think we'll be okay.  ;)  Still amazed that I'm not limping around the house any more.

13. You can function on 2 hours of sleep for days.  I might be exaggerating a bit.  But you will be amazed at how little sleep you get and how well you feel.  

14. You will forget what life before was like.  A few weeks in and you will feel like this has been the normal forever.  You can't imagine what life was like without the precious miracle that keeps you up late and brings endless smiles to your life.

15. It goes fast.  Okay, I know people tell you this all the time.  So maybe it shouldn't be on the "unexpected" list...but, Good Night!  It flies.  I can't believe how big my baby girl is already.  I can't believe she was any smaller.  But she was.  And it was just a month ago but it feels like a lifetime.  So expect it to zoom past and make every single second count.  

What would you add to the list?


  1. I had an epidural when i had my daughter in August '13 and I still get awful pains where the needle was placed. it worked great i didnt have any issues when they put it in but now i really regret it. when i was pregnant i didnt want to have it but I had been up 18 hours without sleep when my labor started (water broke, contractions started right away) I caved. What got you thru the pain?

    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your experience. Pain is never good. :(

      I used the Bradley Method which focuses a lot on relaxation and breathing. It was super helpful. My back labor was pretty awful....if she had been facing the right way it would have been much more manageable I think. It definitely wasn't easy but I was absolutely determined. In the end it may have been my stubbornness that got me through. ;)

      If you would like some suggestions on books or if you have any other questions, let me know!

  2. All 3 of my labors were different.... it's funny... I'd take the contractions any day over pushing! Pushing is the WORST! Haha! Guess you have a different take on that! ;) Yeah... and the modesty thing.... well, I had a nurse who I went to school with. Talk about awkward! She was wearing a mask over her mouth so it wasn't until almost time to push that I realized who she was (after my mom and Cory were chatting with her). But by then, I didn't care. She was doing all of the checking and stuff down there.... not sure if I could look her in the eye the next time I saw her. And I may've barked at a nurse a couple of times.... but I apologized ahead of time to all of them (just in case I got mean) so I hope she didn't mind! And I have no idea which nurse it was anyway since I was kind of in a whole lot of pain! ha!

    I also did not feel the love at first sight thing with El.... it took awhile and I felt guilty.... but I def think it's normal!

    1. I think for me pushing just meant it was almost over so it was more of a relief thing maybe?? Who knows.

      And the more and more I talk to people, I think it is pretty common to not have that love at first sight feeling. I just think it is kept *hush hush* because no one wants to admit it. We feel like we did something wrong. And, honestly, I think we are in shock! Which is why it was so much easier for Hubby to fall head over heels first.


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