Labour is messy. Some of it will be your doing and some of it will just be all the usual things. I remembered watching the birthing video and thinking how little it was like my own experience. I guess they really do try to be reassuring in the pre-natal classes.
The epidural does not hurt. It may sound super scary having a stranger put a needle into your spine, but it really wasn’t so bad. I was one of the few women who had back labour instead of the usual stomach contractions, so the contractions are what you end up focusing on the most. It does get a little difficult staying still during this time because you do still feel contractions while you are getting the epidural, but that is why you have a pillow to squeeze.
Time seems to go by quick for you than it does for your family and friends waiting. The seven hours I was in labour for (fist pumps in the air for having a nice short labour as opposed to the usual 12 hours) seemed to almost fly by. I'm sure that this is because of the adrenalin and all the things going on around you that it seems to go by so quickly. Another reason is that women are created to not remember all the details because if we did, many of us wouldn’t want to do it again.
I asked my husband what surprised him about the whole process and he said that there was more detachment from the doctors and nursing staff than he expected. Yes, the nurses are great and help a lot during the contractions and the beginning of pushing - but when it really gets down to it, everyone’s priority is getting the baby out safe and sound. I remember getting good advice from a nurse about using counter pressure for my back contractions, and hearing them tell me how impressed they were with how well I was doing, and they even checked in with my husband to make sure that he wasn’t going to pass out during the delivery. He didn’t. Once the doctor arrived, it was all business and that really was the best thing.
So as much as people hear both horror stories and some great stories about labour, it really does happen pretty smoothly and you will be ready to do it again in no time.
-- Lisa Wlodarski
What do you wish you knew about labour? Read Lisa W's post on what she wished she knew about pregnancy.