10 Things That Go Through Your Head During Labor
I tried to be tough, but I opted for the epidural as soon as I got to the hospital.
When I woke up on Monday, June 17, I knew something was different. I had been having Braxton Hicks off and on all night long. While that wasn't terribly uncommon at 39 weeks pregnant, this time felt...different.
Fast-forward to that night around 8 p.m. My contractions started becoming more regular and intense. Yep, I was in labor.
I remembered what they said in the birthing classes - follow the 5-1-1 rule. That means wait to go to the hospital until your contractions are five minutes apart, lasting for one minute, for at least one hour. By 10:30, my contractions met the protocol, but I still held out because I wanted to labor at home for as long as I could possibly stand it.
I started doing household chores to make sure everything was nice and organized to come home to after having the baby. Finally, at 1:30 a.m., after the dishes were done and the laundry was put away, I decided it was time to go in.
I was SO anxious, but not in a bad way. Sure, I was in a lot of pain, but this is the moment I had been waiting for. I was having a baby!!!
When I got to the hospital, I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd seen movies where women are screaming and dripping sweat during labor, so that's kind of the mental image I had. Surprisingly, it was nothing like that.
Here's 10 things that went through my head during labor:
1. I can't move my legs. Like, no, I really can't feel anything.
When I got to the hospital, I requested an epidural. I mean...I had been in labor off and on for almost an entire day, so I was exhausted. I got my epidural around 2:30 a.m., and then took a much-needed nap. When I woke up, I had a slight panic attack because I literally couldn't move. It was the strangest feeling not being able to move your legs.
2. Am I going to poop?
I feel like this is most women's fear. I made my boyfriend promise me that he'd tell me if I pooped. I even asked the nurses how common it was for women to poop. Plot twist - it's actually super duper common. HOWEVER, I am very proud to say that I did NOT poop during labor. Yeehaw!
3. Wow. This is much calmer than I expected.
At one point during my labor, the nurse asked me if I'd like to turn on the TV or listen to music. I declined, but that just goes to show how mellow the whole experience was. I know it's not the same for everyone, especially women who have a drug-free birth, but for me everything was very relaxed.
4. Is that your whole entire arm up there?
I remember the nurse telling me that she was trying to turn my baby to face the other way before his decent. I was like, OK COOL. Then I was like...wait...how is she doing that? I mean I know an entire baby is coming out of there, but it's pretty wild to think that you can fit a whole arm up there. Is that TMI? Probably.
5. How many times are we going to change this bedding?
I was consistently surprised with just how much fluid my body had produced during my pregnancy. I had what they call "excess fluid", so I had more than most, but it was still mind-blowing to see just how much stuff comes out during the whole process.
6. Dang. The umbilical cord is TOUGH.
I remember watching my boyfriend cut the umbilical cord and it wasn't an easy snip. The nurses had to coach him through it because the cord was so tough. He basically sawed it off with the scissors. The more you know.
7. Am I going to rip?
I mean...probably. Some doctors will cut you to prevent tearing. My doctor is not one of those doctors and takes the more natural approach of letting your body tear as it needs to. Some women (lucky you) don't ever rip or tear during the process. That wasn't the case for me. At all. And it hurts. Bad.
8. Will my spouse ever look at me the same?
I remember looking over at my boyfriend during the whole shabang and trying to read his facial expressions. Would he ever be able to look at me - or "that" - the same? He doesn't have a very good poker face and was visibly concerned with what was going on down there, but the outcome is beautiful.
9. Will I ever be the same "down there"?
No, you won't. My advice to new moms is just...don't look at it for a while. I'm talking like weeks. It's a war zone down there. Just don't look at it. It'll ALMOST go back to how it was before, but not quite. You still get a baby out of it, so it's worth it.
10. This is the most incredible thing I've ever done.
Sure, it's messy and painful and exhausting, but think about it...you're literally bringing a human life into this world. A life that you grew in your belly for the last nine months. When I think about it, it's truly amazing what our bodies are capable of doing. Several times during my birthing experience, I got emotional over just how incredible the entire process is. We are warriors!!!
At the end of the day, regardless if you poop or if you have a c-section, child birth is the most incredible experience in the world.