Well, it’s been two weeks and I’ve managed to keep Banana alive. This is a big win for us. (I kid, I kid).
I survived the first week mostly by myself. We came home late Saturday night and Sunday/Monday night, Phil was still on night shift (so he was basically useless), and then Tuesday-Saturday he left for Florida and Washington. I did it though. With the help of my mother in law, a few friends here and there, I finally got the swing of things. I also became incredibly overwhelmed with all of the help, to the point that I had to say stop. So..my 100% honest advice is to just dive right in there. Don’t get help from people until week three. Establish routines. The hustle and bustle of people makes you feel like you need to be “on” and causes you to be even more tired. Tell people thanks for the help, but I’ll see you in a month. The baby will still be a baby in a month.
Anyway–on to the point of this post.
There were things about labor I knew (it hurt), and things about labor that I didn’t know. I’m sure I read about it, but it wasn’t until I actually experienced it that it made sense.
1). When your water breaks you don’t have to go in right away. I’m so grateful I asked how soon I had to go in. The sooner you go in, the higher the chances that you won’t progress naturally. If your water breaks and you don’t have contractions, hang out for a while. I told my story to my girlfriend who delivered at an inferior hospital in Richmond, and she was told to come right in, hooked up to pitocin right away, and was confined to her bed her entire delivery. And this was just two years ago. Also, don’t get antsy like we did. Take a nap. Relax. It will happen in due time. If we had taken a nap we might not have been so exhausted.
2) When they check to see how far you have progressed, it hurts. A LOT. This is a great time to practice your breathing and relaxing techniques. Because they will come in handy for when the real “trouble” begins. It’s not like a regular pap smear exam. This is like a whole hand in their jabbing around, I actually don’t even know what’s going on in there. A finger puppet show?
3) Moan with your contractions. I don’t even know how I knew how to do this, but good golly. Think of going into a man’s voice and repeating “low” like “looooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww”, over and over and over again. I don’t think I ever did any lamaze breathing. The moaning was more helpful.
4). Labor on the toilet. I know. Weird. But when you are sitting on the toilet, your body relaxes more and the contractions aren’t as painful (hahahahha). But seriously, they aren’t. I guess it’s just a natural thing to relax when you’re on the toilet. Whatever it is, it works. At one point I was just begging to go sit on the toilet.
5) You will try to bite your partner’s hand off. Don’t do it.
6) You will want to give up. You will curse the world. You will wish you weren’t pregnant.
7) More painful than birthing the child, is birthing the placenta. The doctors or midwives will push down very hard on your stomach. They call this a “massage”, I called this the death of me. I ended up having to do more moaning and breathing just to get through this part. It doesn’t last very long, but you feel like there is no end in sight. I had no idea about this. Silly old me just thought the placenta kinda..fell right out. Nope. It is forced out.
8) They really need to provide women who birth children with those silver blankets that marathon runners get. Within 20 minutes of delivery you will be shaking all over. Convulsing. Uncontrollably. Motrin doesn’t help. You just shake. And there is no solution. Except to keep shaking.
9) You might need a catheter to go to the bathroom the first time. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just weird seeing all that pee inside of you in a bucket/bag.
10) The next day you will be sore. Like physically uncontrollably sore. Not just your lady bits, but your whole body. For me it was my arms. I couldn’t lift them up at all. I had to have Phil brush my hair because I psychically could not.
Anyway, those are the highlights. Be prepared.