When I was pregnant and mentally preparing myself for my first experience delivering a baby, there were many things that I did not realize would happen. You can read books and go to classes (which I chose to do neither) and I feel like there are still unknowns entering the delivery room.
What I did know is that I would feel pain, I would breathe, and I would walk away with a baby boy. The reality of leaving the hospital was so surreal, I really did not care to focus on the delivery part. I am a strong-willed person, and I truly didn’t want any outside information walking into that room.
At 38 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. This is something the doctors were checking and waiting for, and with the diagnosis, I was told that I would be induced in the morning. This was definitely a shock that I was not prepared for mentally. I was expecting to naturally start labor, not get hooked up to Pitocin and have labor start suddenly. My idea of a natural birth with no drugs quickly shifted as labor started. Below is my list of unknowns and how it effected me.
- Where is the Doctor?
The doctor is not the one who checks on you or sees how you’re doing like TV shows and movies. I was surprised that I saw the doctor when I came in and then I didn’t see him for hours. The nurses do everything for you – check how far along you are, help with labor positions and pain killers, and keep up on the baby. I was blessed with an incredible nurse who acted as a doula and coached me throughout the whole labor and delivery.
- Natural vs. Unnatural?
For me, my goal was to go into labor (without Pitocin or other drugs) and not have an epidural. I am not by any means against drugs or pain killers, but I did want to try to deliver as natural as possible for both me and the baby. I was surprised that there were other types of pain killers besides the epidural and that they had so many tools to help throughout the labor. My idea of labor was first ‘ruined’ by being induced, and then again by use of pain killers.
I was a little terrified at the thought of an epidural because I thought it totally paralyzed you from the waist down. The doctor came into my room after hours of intense labor and said that he needed to give me an epidural. My blood pressure sky-rocketed to a crazy number which put me and the baby in a dangerous situation. The doctor wanted to relax my body to try and see if he could get my blood pressure to drop. I definitely agreed that this was the best option. With the epidural, I still felt the pressure and need to push when it came time to deliver. The epidural relaxed my body enough to let my body move to where it needed to be for delivery in less than an hour. Did I want an epidural? No. Was I okay with it when my body needed it? Yes. Would I make that same decision again? Yes. This was the best thing to protect me and the baby, and my whole perception of epidurals changed.
- It’s a Boy!
After the baby is born, my husband cut the cord and a beautiful baby was laid on my chest. I was a little concerned that I never heard the words “It’s a boy!” after the delivery – another movie expectation. It was like a choreographed dance in the delivery room – everyone had a part and knew what they were doing. It gave me comfort feeling like they have been through this so many times.
The baby came out and he was grey. Dark grey. Not pink and soft – grey. His head was the shape of a football from delivery and his tiny nose was squished. My husband and sister watching the delivery were shocked as he was coming out, but figured they didn’t need to be alarmed if the doctor wasn’t. The color and the shape of the head come back so quickly!
- My Responsibility
After having the baby, the nurses aren’t there to help with the child, they are there to help the mom. I was waiting for them to come in and hold the baby or let me know when it was time to feed him, but instead they came in to give me Advil and ask how I was doing. A huge responsibility was given to me in a blink of an eye, and I was prepared to have the nurses on the baby, not on me!
I wouldn’t change this experience for anything, and I would have done everything the same. The labor and delivery goal is to meet a healthy, strong baby, and if something doesn’t go “as planned,” it is not the end of the world. The doctors do know what is best in your situation.
What is your labor and delivery story? What didn’t go as planned for you?