We’ve finally completed our two weekend ante-natal classes and I can finally (somewhat) say now; that I have a safe grasp on what exactly is going to happen to me and my lady parts for when that jubilant yet terrifying due date approaches. I should start off by saying that Hollywood movies are full of shite and anything you’ve seen in the movies is horribly inaccurate and misleading. Between incessant agonizing screaming and mums casually being pushed out on wheelchairs glowing with their newborn cradled in their arms, I had never really understood what goes on in that mysterious period in between.
Until just a fortnight ago, I had refused to watch a single birthing video because I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to un-see what was happening to the poor unsuspecting mother’s lady parts. Think of Chandler when he innocently begins watching this R-rated video that Monica graciously purchased as a Valentines Day surprise, only to find a hairy head crowning out of a woman’s lady part. I’m not sure what I was doing during health classes in high school – I may or may not have had a stint of absenteeism – but it seems that everyone around me has watched a birthing video, except me.
To really add fuel to my anxiety; my grandmother – who was a midwife for 27 years of her life – consistently torments with comments like “the pain of labour will be so excruciating that when they cut your perineum (more on that later) with a pair of scissors, you won’t feel a thing.” I don’t know about you but hearing that makes me want to tell my unborn child to get comfortable because he ain’t ever coming out.
After the longest six hours of my life sitting in a room with 20 other couples all expecting to welcome their firstborns in the New Year, I thought I’d share with you all the things that I thought I knew about labour but was completely wrong about. This would be particularly useful for those new mums in this generation who are completely clueless to what their bodies actually undergo during birth.
- Your waters breaking won’t be as ceremonious as you think
I can’t count how many times I’ve watched movies where you see women standing in pools of fluids as water comes gushing out like a burst water pipe. Truth is you may experience just a trickle that may gradually increase or if in the case with some women, your waters don’t break then your doctor will have to do it for you.
- A birth plan is useless most of the time
Let’s face it, life never really goes to plan and why should childbirth be any different? I’ve read countless blogs on what to pack for the hospital and in each they will highlight the importance of bringing your birth plan along (multiple copies in case the entire hospital needs to be clued in on it) as if it was a life-saving manual that needs to be followed to a tee. After speaking to numerous mums, the birth plans never go to plan so I’ve decided to wing it. My only plan is to last as long as I possibly can without an epidural.
- You’re not constantly in pain during labour
It’s the contractions that hurt and as you progress through the phases of dilation they gradually become longer in duration with shorter intervals. During these intervals between contractions, you generally won’t feel much until the next one is upon you. I was under the misguided perception that you would be in constant and unrelenting pain for hours but as our midwife corrected, this isn’t actually the case.
- Transition phase will be your worst nightmare
The way the midwife described this was that everything you felt up until the 7 centimetres of dilation is nothing compared to the last 3 centimetres known as the transition phase. You’ll feel like strangling your own mother if she was in arms reach – I’ll settle for Chris because I’ll hate the fact that he won’t EVER have to experience this pain. If you manage to survive through this without pain relief then the last stage is to push the football out of you and from what I’ve heard, that’s the easy part.
- An epidural can make the birthing process euphoric – if it works.
In a small percentage of cases (5-8%) the epidural may not spread to the entire area symmetrically, which means the pain relief will only be limited to certain areas.
- A cut down there is always better than a tear
Your doctor may need to do the occasional snip down there to allow your baby safe passage out – also known as an episiotomy. For the love of God don’t Google it. You’ve been warned. What you need to know and what I have taken solace in is that you’ll more than likely be delirious from the pain earlier that you won’t even feel it. The perineum is that soft tissue between your vagina and anus and the idea is to protect this from ever tearing all the way through which is why doctors may cut from a 45 degree angle into the area to control the tearing and give the baby more space to get its head out.
I’m sure there are many more horrifically wonderful elements to childbirth that I haven’t included here but I’m doing my best not to freak myself out that I only have six weeks left before having to endure this.
If I had a meme to sum up how I feel right now this delightful creature would be it.
If you haven’t read it already then check out the reasons why I don’t enjoy being pregnant.
>>P.S Net-a-Porter started their 50% off sale today and I’ve already racked up a hefty credit card bill and wanted to share with you my favourite moo-moos for summer 😉 Thank me later peeps xx<<