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No matter how much you think ahead, labor and delivery rarely go according to plan. Find out what surprised moms the most about giving birth.
Better than expected
Labor wasn't as bad as it was cracked up to be. I heard so many horror stories, but contractions were very manageable for me. I had a higher pain tolerance level than I thought.
Of the whole pregnancy and birth of my son, I enjoyed labor and delivery the most.
After my emergency c-section, they wheeled my son next to my bed in the recovery room. I spoke to him and he tried to arch his back and wiggle closer to me and my voice. Everyone kept telling me to keep talking. It was amazing!
I loved every minute of labor. I only pushed for 20 minutes. It was great and I felt so accomplished. My husband and I have actually bumped up our goal of having three children to five.
When the anesthesiologist and nurse came in to give me my epidural I sat up and peed the bed. I totally soaked it. I was mortified to the point that I cried like a baby and tried to help them wipe the bed down. They didn't think twice about it. The anesthesiologist even gave me a hug and said he'd seen it happen many times.
I had gas when I started pushing. I kept letting 'em go for the first 20 minutes. It was really embarrassing and I kept apologizing. I don't think the nurses cared one bit but my husband was there and he'd never heard me fart before.
When my husband went to cut the cord, the cord blood sprayed me in the face! The baby was sliding off my chest and as the doctor grabbed for the baby the cord ended up angled toward my face. After a very quick delivery, it made for a good story.
I threw up. It literally went all the way across the room. My midwife said she was very impressed and that she'd never seen that distance from anyone. Had there been a contest, I would've won, hands down. It was actually kind of cool.
Meconium. The one thing I told my daughter while on the inside is, you better not poop in me, and she did!
I didn't poop, but my daughter sure did! She was holding it all in for nine months. As soon as she popped out, she exploded all over my legs and stomach. I was so excited about seeing her that I didn't even notice until the nurses were almost done cleaning me up.
Yes, I pooped on the table...twice!
A few days before my due date, I decided to drink 3 ounces of castor oil to see if it would get things going. I woke up in the middle of the night with really bad contractions and told my fiancé to call the midwife. She told me that since my contractions were one to two minutes apart, I should stay home and call her if there were any changes. Two hours later, I was getting ready to call when I suddenly had the urge to push. My fiancé said, "No, no, wait!" I told him I couldn't wait, pushed once, and my water broke and my daughter's head came out. After two more pushes her body came out. My fiancé was on the phone with 911 and they walked him through the whole process. He tied off her umbilical cord with a new shoestring and waited for the EMTs to arrive. The midwife arrived after they left.
My labor only lasted an hour and a half. I live an hour from the hospital and my husband delivered our baby in the van 6 miles from the hospital!
Just because you want an epidural doesn't mean you can actually get one. My anesthesiologist made nine attempts to place an epidural, without success. Natural childbirth was not my plan, so I was completely unprepared for the pain. It's good to keep your options open and be prepared for everything, even if it's not in your birth plan.
I didn't know I would be so agreeable to the epidural. I also didn't expect that it would take four tries to get it in!
I didn't expect the anesthesiologist to have so much trouble getting the epidural needle in correctly. For an hour I was hunched over, having it inserted, removed, and reinserted, all while contracting every four minutes, before she finally placed the needle correctly. That was not fun. And then the kicker....the epidural didn't work! I ended up feeling everything while delivering.
Was that my water breaking?
I didn't expect my water to break before I started labor. And I really didn't expect it to break 12 days early! I was having a conversation with my co-workers when I laughed and peed my pants. I excused myself, went to the bathroom, came back, and a minute later, I did it again! When I went to the bathroom, my underwear and pants were soaking wet, but it still didn't occur to me that my water had broken. Finally, it happened a third time, and I thought, "Oh my gosh, my water broke!"
Water breaking doesn't have to be a big gush. My water broke three weeks early and it was just a trickle.
I was surprised and grossed out when I started pushing and broke my own water. It went flying and hit the poor doctor and covered her head to toe. Oops!
A medical student was in the room, and it was the first birth she had witnessed. They asked me first, and I had no problem with it, but the look on her face was priceless.
I had a lot of nurses-in-training in the delivery room. It weirded me out that they kept asking, "Is this normal?" That's not something you should say to a woman in labor.
I was being induced and ended up with an emergency c-section. No one told me that nursing students who had never seen a c-section before would be in the room! It was scary, and the horrified looks on their faces as they watched my c-section made my anxiety triple.
I ended up with more of my family in the room than I anticipated. It was my husband, mother, father, sister, daughter, and mother-in-law. Things just happened so fast that they didn't kick anyone out. I wouldn't change a thing.
My boss was the only one available to help me deliver and she held my legs while I pushed. Awkward! She is so sweet, but there are just some things I don't want my boss to know about me.
I only pushed for five minutes! I expected that part to last much longer, so when the doctor said she was crowning after four pushes, I was completely shocked.
I dilated from 2 centimeters to the full 10 centimeters in less than an hour. I had only been in the hospital for five hours and the doctor said, "We'll be pushing in 20 minutes!" I couldn't believe it. I thought I'd still have another 15 hours of labor! I was terrified after he said that, but it was easy.
Our big surprise was that he came so quickly. After literally five minutes of pushing, he was out. And with no pain!
A long time coming
The nurse started my induction at 9 p.m. I dilated to 3 centimeters and they gave me something to try and help me sleep and told me they would start the Pitocin in the morning. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much, since the contractions were still about seven to ten minutes apart. Around 7 a.m. they started me on Pitocin hoping to really get things going. It made the contractions stronger and I dilated quickly. At 3 p.m. I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. Around 5 I was still pushing. Then, 7:15 found me still pushing and my room suddenly flooded with people. At 7:45, with a vacuum assist, my daughter was born. She was perfectly healthy and didn't even have a cone head after all that time in the birth canal.
My little guy was so stubborn! I had to be induced, and when I checked in, I was at zero centimeters dilated. After almost 20 hours of labor and only dilating to 3 centimeters, my doctor decided I needed a c-section.
Not according to plan
I was induced and had no idea what a wuss I was about pain! I was only at 3 centimeters and as soon as the Pitocin kicked my contractions into high gear, that was it. Bring on that epidural!
I had every intention of having natural childbirth. I considered myself to have a pretty high tolerance for pain. Unfortunately, back labor wasn't in my game plan. I ended up needing a couple of extra shots of whatever miracle drug they were giving me in that IV. By the time Ethan was born, I had absolutely no feeling in my legs, nor could I move them at all. So I went from my plan of a natural, no drugs birth, to being shot up three times with drugs so good they took hours to wear off. I wouldn't trade it for the world!
Every single thing on my "birth wish list" went wrong. My plan was to have a natural, unmedicated birth with no IV, and in the event of a c-section, I wanted to have a free hand to touch the baby.
I went into labor at 2:30 a.m., and at 2 p.m., I gave in and got an epidural. I was really surprised by the relief and felt stupid for not doing it sooner. My next surprise was learning how to push. I tried for an hour and a half and made no progress. After an hour break I started pushing again and this time I got the hang of it. Unfortunately, the baby didn't move, no matter what, and they decided to do a c-section. I had so many tubes in my arms that I wasn't able to touch my baby after he came out. I was sad at the time, but he's a healthy baby boy and I couldn't be happier.
The next time I won't even consider writing a birth plan. Even though my doctor did everything he could to make my birth wishes come true, in the end the baby had a lot of say as well.
After I labored for two hours, our little guy made his grand entrance, weighing 11 pounds, 3 ounces! The doctor estimated he would be around 8 1/2 pounds, so we were all a bit shocked. The doctor said I was his largest natural delivery ever.
– Lucky and in Love
I was told by all the doctors who saw me that my baby would weigh 7 pounds. He ended up being 9 pounds, 9 ounces. I told them I knew he was going to be big. I gained 51 lbs and was two weeks late – there was no way he was going to be 7 pounds.
I was screaming and swearing at the top of my lungs. Apparently everyone in labor and delivery could hear my obscenities. I also begged them to just put me under and give me a c-section.
I said "I can't do this" a couple of times after I told myself I wouldn't say that. But I didn't tell my boyfriend "I hate you" and "You did this to me" or cuss at him, like in all the movies.
The big shocker was that my baby got stuck at the shoulders (shoulder dystocia) with the cord wrapped around his neck twice. There was a mad rush of people dashing into my room, all trying to get this baby out. The obstetrician on call finally managed to get him out after what felt like an eternity. He didn't cry right away as he had to be worked on, but finally he did cry. I held him for a few minutes before he was whisked away to the NICU. He spent ten hours there because he had used up all his blood sugar stores during the traumatic delivery. It was pretty scary, but thankfully, my little monkey was fine.
I wasn't the first one to hold my baby! There was meconium and our baby had to be taken away to be cleaned and checked. Then, because I was being stitched up by the doctor, they handed her to my husband. I said to the nurse, "Are you kidding me? I carried her for 40 weeks and delivered her and he gets to hold her first?" I'm sure she thought I was a jerk, but I was disappointed.
It's all about the gear
I was surprised by the gear my doctor put on right before the birth. She even had boots that looked like galoshes! My husband joked with her, but it was a good thing she had all that stuff. When our baby came out, so did a huge burst of fluid. I couldn't believe there was that much in there after my water had broken.
My obstetrician came in wearing a gown, gloves, and a plastic face shield! I thought, "Oh, my God! How messy is this going to be?"
A happy ending
When I first saw my son, it felt like I had known him my entire life. I recognized him, like I had seen him before in a dream.
When I met my daughter for the first time, everything was right in the world. It was a crazy ride, filled with surprises around every corner, but I wouldn't have changed my experience for anything in the world.
My husband surprised me the most. He was by my side 100 percent of the time and was an amazing coach. The way he handled himself really made me proud.
It was instant love between me and my daughter. It's so primal and natural. I thought it would take at least a few hours, but my love for my daughter has been fiercer than I ever thought it would be from the second she was placed on my chest.