Most mothers, especially those having their first child, instantly run for a book as soon as they find out a little one is on the way. That is what I did. I devoured everything I could find that described what happened during labor and delivery, watched as many shows as possible, confident that if I only knew what was going to happen I wouldn't be scared.
Well I was right, I wasn't scared. In fact I was eerily calm. Where I was wrong was thinking that the books mentioned everything that happened. Here are things you should know that the books leave out
1. Early labor pains can actually be quite tolerable. Forget what your mother, friends and every other woman has told you, for some reason women like to scare each other. It is probably some unconscious thing.
2. You won't use half the crap you brought with you but you will leave with lots more so be prepared.
3. If you get the epidural (and it works as it should which is usually the case) labor and delivery will be painless. Seriously! None of that sweating, scrunching stuff. Up until the final pushing it can be a breeze.
4. The nurse may let you rest during some contractions instead of pushing every single one. We had a nice rhythm, push 3-5 times in a row then rest 1 or two contractions.
5. More than likely you won't be screaming and cursing. Pushing takes a lot of focus and energy and since you have to hold your breath while you do it, well there isn't a lot of energy to waste on useless fussing.
6. Sometimes the doctor lets you push with just a nurse present and then the nurse calls the doctor when it is down to the last few pushes.
7. When the nurse calls the doctor to come in, an entourage will also come. The room will be full. This is something I was not prepared for. Nurses for the baby, doctor, the nurse who I was pushing with, doctor's assistant and a few other people I didn't really figure out why there were there.
8. Your husband will not be looking at the table to find out you just pooped while pushing. Trust me, he will be focused on you, and a little freaked out by what is going on.
9. For some time after you deliver and have been stitched up a nurse will come in and regularly push on your stomach. Now while you may think it is just to be evil, there is a purpose. They are trying to get any blood clots out or extra things that are left. This does help your stomach shrink. Also it can be quite painful and they don't give an epidural for this. This is where cursing helps.
10. For two to three days afterward you may not be tired or able to sleep. Labor brings out some crazy amounts of adrenaline in some people. Have you seen Over the Hedge? Imagine you are the squirrel on an energy drink.
But the most important thing they don't tell you, and this is because if you knew it, well, they wouldn't make any money, is you WILL know exactly what to do. Even if you don't take a class, read a book or even catch a TV show you will know what to do. Women have been doing this since the dawn of time,many of them all alone and got through, you will too.