There will always be certain aspects in a person's life that they will never forget, not even the smallest details like when he graduated school when she fell in love for the first time when they find "the one", their wedding day and many more. One life journey that will probably stand out more than the rest, will be when a couple introduces a human into this world. Being proud to say that producing a tiny human for nine months, whether the pregnancy was easy or difficult, is one thing. Experiencing giving life to a baby is on an entirely different level.
Though for some women, the joys of giving birth hang only in the outcome, there are other women out there who live for the birthing process. Giving birth is literally magical. It's having endured 9 long months, and to see what kind of creation a man and a woman have made. The tiny gasping of air and little cries is undeniably the most powerful moment of a parents' (or witnesses') lives. Unless they have more children, this will be the only time that they will remember the pain, the numbing, the chaotic hospital room, the trays full of medical equipment, and the miracle that she - and she alone - managed to expel a human from her own body. Then, he is placed on her chest for her to admire and completely melt over, forgetting the pain, forgetting the stress and sweat it caused. But what happens after women give birth, do they remember the real juicy story of delivery and labor? Or do they remember the sugar-coated version of the epidural talking?
“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” - Osho.
20 Mirror Mirror On The Wall
While some moms-to-be don't want to consider the option of watching their lady bits open widely enough to push out a tiny human, there are others who relish the idea. Having someone hold a handheld mirror in a woman's personal bubble space is quickly becoming a new trend in hospitals.
"With my first, I thought no way! And when I was pushing, they asked if I wanted the mirror, and to my surprise, I said yes! I wanted to see my baby boy. I honestly thought it was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen, watching my children being born." said one mom on Netmums.
Some mothers are using mirrors as encouragement to help them through the delivery process.
Other mothers enjoy the sight and the excitement as they witness their newborn's progress of being born.
When I was giving birth, the hospital staff made it a point to advise my husband not to watch the progress below the waistline, as it would change his view of my lady parts. For this reason, I don't think I would use a mirror for future births. If his views about me would change when I'm giving birth to his children, then mine sure would change as well. And, I'm not sure I would be able to overcome that self-conscious feeling. But, hey, to each their own.
19 The Anxious Feelings Of Giving Birth Prematurely
When the doctor gives you a date of when you can expect to hold your newborn for the first time, it really makes the whole experience feel real. Different types of parties are planned, the couple starts organizing the nursery and stocking up on baby necessities and then the countdown to the due date begins.
A premature baby or "preemie" is born at less than 37 weeks. When an expecting mother goes into preterm labor much earlier than her expected due date, panic starts to rise. What's happening to my baby? Is he/she okay? It's way too early to feel like this.
"On November 1st, 2012, our 2-pound baby boy arrived at 26 weeks. Ethan spent 99 days in the Mount Sinai NICU in New York City on every level of life-saving respiratory support. He underwent [...] invasive tests. There are no words to describe the fear we felt and on many days we thought he would never make it out. But because of the amazing nurses and doctors who saved his life, and because of his incredible and endless strength, Ethan came home. He is now the happiest and sweetest boy we know and has taught us so much about hope and love." —Johanna M, What To Expect When You're Expecting.
18 Bring Out The Bingo Cards And Settle In For Those Long Labors
Going into labor is one of the most anticipated moments in one's life. Knowing that all the uncomfortable nights, weird cravings, the poking and prodding during doctor's visits are all about to come to an end, is like a large sigh of relief.
And then your child decides they aren't ready to face the world yet.
Prolonged labor lasts for approximately more than 20 hours for first-time mothers and 14 hours or more for women who have previously given birth.
Long labors can occur for many reasons such as the baby is too large, the birthing canal can be too small or the woman's pelvis is too small, among others.
I was in labor for 12 hours, an hour and a half of hard pushing and I thought that was long! Mothers, like the one below, are soldiers!
"With my first, it was 48 hours. With the second it was about 16 hours. The major difference have I had a home birth with my second child and was completely relaxed the entire labor and feel that was instrumental in my progression. With the first child, I was doing fine and the moment I got to the hospital and they started in with their invasions (painful and frequent exams, recommendations of medicines that I clearly said I didn't want, telling me I wasn't progressing fast enough, etc.). This stressed me out so much that my labor completely stopped and it then became a battle of me vs. the hospital to try and be left alone to have a natural birth." -Annonymous, Facebook.
17 Hush Little... Daddy?!
Going into labor can be really exhausting and granted the labor process can stretch over many hours. But, can you really ever forgive your husband for falling asleep while your body is open for all to see, and you're working hard to push a tiny human out? His tiny human?!
"My baby is two days old. I got induced exactly a week after my due date. I started active labor around 4 in the afternoon. My husband went to sleep at 7 pm and refused to wake up or be supportive in any way until I started pushing at 530am. Our daughter was born at 552am. After she was born and we went to recovery, he said he was going back to sleep because he's exhausted because he had a "broken" nights sleep." - Glowing.com
I remember my husband did roughly the same type of thing. I went into labor when he working until about 2 am. After he got home from work, he took a shower and went to bed. Around 4 am, my contractions started. I wasn't due for another month so I tried to wait it out, thinking it was just Braxton Hicks contractions. At 6 am, I woke him up and told him to bring me to the hospital just to be sure everything was okay with the baby. When we arrived at the hospital, I was already 5 cm dilated. They set me up in a room right away and we called our friends and family. Around 2 pm, I started pushing and that's the time that my husband decided he needed a nap. My sister was also in the room with me and we couldn't believe our eyes, I was doing all the work and he was the one tired? I understood because I knew after working a full night and barely getting any rest after work that he would be tired, but the hospital staff shook their head in disapproval. He woke up just in time to see our son being born, for me that's all that counts.
16 You Can Always Count On A Family And Friends Support System
While some women want to have their room filled with family and friends while they're in labor, others prefer to have visitors after the baby is born or even when they're back home and settled in. The decision made by a mom-to-be and her husband can create some family drama but, in the end, it is what the couple decides is best for them.
This future grandmother describes how hurt she felt when her son and daughter-in-law decided that she would not be allowed to assist in the delivery room. Meanwhile, her son's mother-in-law would be allowed to witness the birth of her grandchild.
“I’m being treated like a second-class grandmother even though I’ve never been anything but supportive and helpful. How can I get them to see how unfair and cruel their decision is?” Annonymous via The Digg.
When I was admitted to the hospital, we took the time to call our friends and family to let them know that I was in labor, a month earlier than expected. As it was Christmas Eve morning, they all had time to come to the hospital. My husband and I hadn't really spoken about who would be invited to the hospital or if we wanted anyone there while I was in labor. In the end, my room was full of visitors and I was okay with that. It helped take my mind off the pain and gave our families an opportunity to bond.
15 Women Need To Learn The Signs Of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. It usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy, in women whose blood pressure have been normal. Even a slight rise in blood pressure may be a sign of preeclampsia.
Although most women with preeclampsia will deliver healthy babies and fully recover, there are some women, if diagnosed too late, can lose their life and/or the life of the baby before, during or after birth.
My sister and her husband had to cope with the heartbreak of losing their first child to the effects of preeclampsia. My sister was closely monitored all throughout her pregnancy but just a day after one of her appointments, in the final weeks before her due date, her blood pressure spiked. It took a large emotional toll on both sides of the family, but it also brought us closer as we helped each other, and more importantly, my sister and brother-in-law to heal.
14 Help Me, I Have Momnesia!
As if being pregnant doesn't mangle a woman's body enough, the brain and memory of a pregnant woman also become affected. While others around you will find it funny, it can be frustrating to go into a room and completely forget why you were in there or to use your car keys to try unlocking your front door, go searching for your phone while it's in your hand, and that's just some of the things I remember doing 3 years later.
"Grocery shopping….got my daughter out of the cart and all buckled in the car… and drove off with the groceries and my purse sitting in the cart. Had to drive back when I could not find my purse. Grocery store management was looking at video to see if I was kidnapped! Talk about embarrassed." -Annonymous via Tickled.com
I remember while I was pregnant, my work office was plastered with Post-Its notes so that I could do my job correctly. I had everything written down on these little sticky papers from office phone numbers, my daily tasks, my lunch hour, what time I had to leave and even my own cell phone number!
There are studies that suggest that pregnancy brain can last up to two years after giving birth. So, to all the moms reading this, if you still feel like a foggy after you've had your baby, it's okay, you're not alone.
13 The Magic Of The Epidural Button
I know my tolerance for pain is incredibly low and I needed to be given the epidural. Once I was given the epidural, I did not feel any pain from my contractions (it was obviously a good epidural), so much so that my sister and I were cracking jokes while I was delivering. The staff members were thoroughly amused at how much I was laughing while giving birth to my newborn. My sister and I making jokes is nothing compared to the mother below that missed the whole experience of giving birth while she was napping.
Active labor is extremely painful, so it's important to know your options to ease the pain.
The most common practice is to receive an epidural, which is a numbing medication that is administered through the back and sent to the area around your spinal cord.
“I was at 5 cm when the doctor broke my water. Contractions immediately became much more intense and painful, so I asked for my epidural. The nurse checked me about an hour later and I was 7 cm, 100 percent effaced and the baby was at +1. I commented to the nurse at that time that I couldn't feel anything during the internal she performed, and she said that the epidural was obviously a good one! Then she left us alone. An hour and a half later, I kept waking up because the blood pressure cuff was inflating and deflating over and over. I was super annoyed and happened to notice that the baby seemed to be having hiccups and that they felt really low. Then I heard a gurgling sound. I reached underneath the covers and THE BABY WAS LAYING ON THE BED! I screamed for my husband to get help (he ran into the hallway yelling,) and immediately, our room was flooded with nurses. They came in and started checking the baby. The doctor arrived a few minutes later and seemed to be really mad at the nurse (she was laughing at how crazy it was and he said, "No, it's embarrassing!"). … I was apparently the talk of L & D for the next few days.” —Monchichi, The Bump.
12 Discounts Should Be Offered If You Deliver Your Own Baby
Some women are blessed with the ability to have quick labors, where they begin pushing and 10 minutes later, out pops a baby! While other women aren't so lucky and have to push for hours before delivering their newborn or be rushed off for an emergency C-section.
“At 10 centimeters, the nurse told me to call her if I felt ‘a ton of pain.’ But I was fine, just chilling out, texting people and talking to my sister on the phone. I started feeling more pressure and jokingly put my hand down there, and—OMG—I touched the baby’s head! I immediately called the nurse, and all of a sudden his entire head popped right out and his body followed! I caught him myself. There was nothing set up, no bulb, no suction, no chord clamps, no scissors, not a thing! I told my OB he owes me a refund!” —Makclair, The Bump.
And we agree with her.
When it was my time to push, the nurse had told me because my son was very low, I would only have to push for about 20 minutes. What a relief! I had asked my husband (remember the one that fell asleep?) and my sister to be in the room with me to assist in the birthing process. Well, 20 minutes turned into 45 minutes, which turned into an hour. Finally, an hour and a half later, my son decided to grace us with his gorgeous curly haired presence.
I remember asking my sister for updates the entire time that I was pushing and her only response was "I see hair." I continued to get frustrated and told the nurses that it was unfair that they got my hopes up about pushing for only 20 minutes.
11 To Gush Or To Trickle, Now That's The Real Question
During pregnancy, your baby is enveloped and protected by a fluid-filled bubble called the amniotic sac. While some women experience the movie-like gush when their water breaks, most women experience what they think is a little trickle that they couldn't control. They may wonder, Did I laugh too hard? Did I hit a pothole? But no, ladies, it's your water.
"My water broke at home, in the bathroom. Since the childbirth teacher suggested smelling [...] to make sure it's not my own bodily liquids, I went in to get my husband who was sleeping, put my underwear in his face, and said, 'Smell this.' And he said, 'Get out of my face.' I stood in awe for a moment until he sat up and said panicked, 'Is it time?!'" -Kristen, The Bump.
Once a woman's water breaks, however, labor is soon to follow (if it hasn't already begun.)
Experts aren't sure why for some women's water will break before labor starts (giving them an indication to get to the hospital), while other women's waters will break after the contractions have already started. Then there are others who need assistance, at the hospital, to break their water.
10 No Gush, No Trickle, Where's The Water At?
It is possible to become dilated and have contractions start without your water breaking. A woman's water can be broken by a professional at the hospital to start the labor process or in hopes of speeding up the process (if labor has already started). Fewer than 1 in 80,000 births will result in a baby being born in the amniotic bubble. This occurrence indicates a very strong sac, as in most births, the power of the contractions or the baby's movements will cause the sac to break.
"I was so nervous it would break in public, but it broke when I was in labor. I had an epidural already, so I said, 'I either wet the bed, or my water broke ...' Turns out I did not wet the bed." - Maggie, SSI Schaefer
As my son was a month early, we hadn't had the chance to prepare his nursery. My husband and I had decided we were going to get his room ready while we were on our work Christmas break. When my contractions started, I wasn't sure if I was going into labor because my water did not break. I tried to wait it out, thinking I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. Once we were set up in the hospital room, I explained to the doctor that we still had to get the nursery ready. Luckily, my water hadn't broken on its' on and the doctor agreed to wait a couple of hours, to give my husband and his friends a chance to run back home and set up the basics in the nursery, before he felt it was necessary to break my water. Once the doctor broke my water, I called my husband who rushed over to the hospital just in time for me to start pushing. Talk about being right on time!
9 Opting For Natural Birth
Giving birth "naturally" is a fast, highly supported and non-medicated form of delivering a baby. It can be done in the comfort of your own home, at a birthing center or at the hospital, without the relief of an epidural. A birthing center is a room in a midwife's office (or someone from the prenatal classes' home,) that will welcome you with all the amenities that remind you the comforts of home. For example, if you wanted to give birth surrounded by the smell of lavender and vanilla candles, letting your doula or midwife know will increases your chances of that happening.
"I opted for a natural childbirth at home because it was important for me to feel fully in control. The overall experience was quite wonderful. I was lucky enough to have a relatively short first birth of 10 hours from the first contraction to birth. My midwife was impressed. I was very focused on doing things that would help me during labor. I did prenatal yoga, acupuncture every week of pregnancy, a labor-stimulating massage, walked 10,000 steps nearly every day after the nausea of the first trimester lessened, and ate healthy foods. My midwife thinks that my practicing yoga for 15 years really helped a lot. During labor, I meditated on the image of myself floating in the ocean. I also did some hypnotherapy. I really feel like I was able to sit back and allow my baby to do her work to enter the world. I can't think of any downsides to a natural childbirth. I have a sense of pride I carry around with me every day because of it, and I love inspiring others." - Nikki, Self.com
While many women do not consider giving birth naturally, others find it very empowering. Have you ever heard of the woman who gave birth by a creek, last summer? Now, that's impressive. As for me, could I get another dose of this liquid gold, please?
8 C-Section Is A Real Form Of Giving Birth
A cesarean section, or C-section, is considered to be major surgery that is performed to deliver one or more babies. This method is used if a v-birth would put a mother or the unborn baby at risk or if prolonged labor occurs. The procedure can either be scheduled or unplanned.
“My first C-section was an emergency C-section. I was 11 days late, so they induced me. They were estimating the baby was large. I was also super uncomfortable so I was ready for him to be out. After 18 hours, he ended up getting stuck and both of us went under stress. I remember everything beeping and the doctor saying 'We need to take this baby out within seven minutes.' I told the nurse I was going to be sick. She went to hand me a bedpan and I was sick in her hands instead. I was not at all prepared emotionally or mentally for a C-section the first time around. I assumed I did everything during the pregnancy so that I could have a v-birth. The second time, we went in at 41 weeks. It was super easy. It was really laid back; we were talking about the summer Olympics. The second one, I was much more at peace with." - Cait, Self.com
Women who have a surgical birth are more likely to experience feelings of loss, grief, personal failure, and lower self-esteem.
It is important to give the women who are feeling this way time to heal emotionally, mentally and physically and show support during their time of healing.
And yes, Barb, a C-Section IS still a real birth!
7 Painful Contractions Are On Another Level
Pain tolerance varies from person to person. The pain of childbirth is no different. Every woman is different, just like how every pregnancy is different and how women handle the pain, that's right, differently.
While some women say they're contractions felt like nothing more than cramps, other women feel like their insides are on fire.
“Early labor felt like severe stomach pains like I had eaten something bad and it made my stomach cramp and need to go to the bathroom (I got up twice to try before I realized this was labor). Mine pretty much started and stayed 2 mins apart and I never had a break, so it was an intense 13 hours. Late labor just left like my whole stomach area seizing up with stomach pain. It was difficult to describe right after and looking back, it’s still hard to describe.” – Rachel, Clarks Condensed.
I remember my contractions were very painful. When we finally got to the hospital, I sounded like Linda Blair from The Exorcist. I wanted nothing more than to be given something to relieve the pain. I kept telling my husband that I never wanted to feel like this again. This is it, we're not having any more kids. And my favorite line of the day, this was the way I was going to leave this planet. I may have been a tad dramatic but I had never experienced such pain.
6 The Magical Moments Of Skin-To-Skin
The first skin to skin contact is essential for a variety of reasons. A newborn is usually more content as they will feel safe and can hear their mother's heartbeat (which is a familiar sound for them.) Skin-to-skin helps strengthen the maternal bond. Also, babies, who are kept in a skin-to-skin concept for an hour after birth, are more likely to latch on to his mother's lady bits without help etc.
It is also important for fathers to bond with their newborn using the skin to skin method.
When my son was born, my husband cut the cord and my son was placed directly on my skin. It was the most amazing feeling in the world. This defenseless human curdled up on me and fell right to sleep with his mouth slightly open. "He's definitely your son," my husband said. I felt the connection right away, his breathing was relaxed and he didn't even wail like I expected. For the first couple of months after birth, the only way our son would fall asleep was during some skin-to-skin with one of us.
This type of contact causes a release in Oxytocin (love hormone), in a mother. It aids the stomach to contract for the birthing process, which reduces bleeding. In addition, the hormones warm up the mother’s body, which then comforts the baby. The results in babies range from less crying and lower rates of hypoglycaemia, according to Dr. Susan Crowe, at Stanford Children's Hospital.
5 Knowing Ways To Reduce Stillbirths Is Important
Stillbirths are defined as fetal death at or after 20 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. They differ from miscarriages, that occur in the earlier pregnancy and live births that occur when the baby is born alive and passes away shortly after.
One mother's heartbreaking story went viral, as she reminds parents to cherish their kids.
“They offered me an epidural, but I couldn't do it. I needed to own it. I needed the pain, the agony, and misery to mirror what I felt in my heart. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. Ever. Dealing with the unbearable contractions, the ring of fire, the tearing... knowing that all of it was for nothing. I was delivering a lifeless child. There would be no happiness at the end of it to help me forget the pain. The pain, unlike my baby girl, would live on forever,” she wrote.
“There will be times your child will scream and cry any time you try to put him or her down. Or they'll cry even as they're in your arms and you've done everything you can possibly think of to get them to stop. There will be sleepless nights, multiple diaper changes in a matter of minutes, spit-up in your hair, [...] on your shirt, and [...] in your hands, and again — so much screaming from the baby, and probably from you as well. Every time that happens, every time you feel frustrated and want to run away, please remember my story,” - Natalie Morgan.
There are many reasons as to why stillbirths happen from preeclampsia, problems with the after birth or the cord, poor health in the mother, etc. Stillborn babies need to be delivered naturally, and in some cases by C-section.
4 Time To Come Out, Baby
It is possible for a baby to get stuck in the birth canal. You can push as hard as possible but if he or she isn't ready, he/she just won't budge. The baby can get stuck due to its' position, the position the mother is in while in labor and giving birth, the baby can be too big, dystocia (when the should become stuck along the way out), and problems with the mother's pelvis (it can be the wrong shape or isn't big enough).
"Many babies will not descend into the birth canal and despite hours of pushing, still the baby’s head will be found to not be fully in the pelvis," adds Dr. Sasha Davidson, MD, OB-GYN, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist and high-risk pregnancy expert.
She continues, "This is a situation that requires delivery by C-section. At other times, babies do descend into the birth canal, however, due to the distribution of body fat (in the arms and trunk), the body of the baby can get stuck even after the head comes out," Davidson tells the Romper. "This is a true emergency and is referred to as "shoulder dystocia. The delivering doctor or midwife then has to perform certain maneuvers to release the arm that is stuck."
While I experiencing the "joys" of giving birth, my son got stuck. The doctors refused to make a slight cut, explaining that if they just put some oil, he would slide out. That didn't work out as planned either. They used more than enough oil, but yet, they kept to their methods until finally, he slipped right out... after about a half of a bottle of oil (and an hour and a half of pushing.)
3 Watch Mom's Heart Melt When Dad Cuts The Cord
In most cases, the cord is cut immediately after birth, however, it can be kept attached for more than one minute. Studies show that babies' cords who were cut later had a greater birth weight, had greater iron storage 3-6 months after birth, and had a higher initial hemoglobin concentration, according to American Pregnancy.
The cord is what provides your baby with food and nutrients before being born
My husband, as many husbands do, was the one to cut our son's cord. It was an emotional bonding experience to be able to cut the cord. One father explains how he felt when he cut the cord,
"The whole laboring experience was long and stressful and at times boring. We had waited for what seemed like forever for our little miracle and for me, it wasn't going to really set in until I got to see him and hold him. I was unsure of how to help because I was hung up on the literal 'cutting the cord' and what it felt like, which I compare to an octopus at a Chinese buffet. But, it meant so much more than just cutting that ridiculously tough octopus tentacle. I was able to hold my son and hear him cry and see the miracle we made together. It was a humbling and relaxing feeling." -Josh, Romper
2 It's A Party In Here!
During a normal delivery, there should be a handful of hospital staff in your room, at any given time, to aid in the process.
There will be nurses, a doctor, and an anesthesiologist and you may opt to have a doula present.
When my son was ready to be welcomed into the world and into our family, I started out with a "normal" amount of staff in the room. I had my husband and sister there for support, a nurse to ensure everything was running smoothly, an anesthesiologist to monitor the levels of epidural and a doctor. I had a ton of people waiting patiently outside of the delivery room. The basics.
My son was born on Christmas Eve, he got stuck which led to a longer birth then initially planned by the hospital staff. My sister and I were HILARIOUS! Because he got stuck, I was in the process of delivering during a hospital staff shift change, they also requested a second doctor to get an opinion on how they could help me to have him move along, as pushing alone was getting me nowhere. And, of course, they all stayed in the hospital room to watch the Mahon Sister standup comedy act. Nearing the end of it all, I had 9 hospital staff in my room, my two supporters and a dozen people waiting in the hall.
Though I had a large number of hospital staff, friends and family to support, not all women are that lucky. Some women have experienced feeling lonely, and even at times, abandoned.
"I had been pushing for about 15 minutes and my daughter was crowning, but apparently I was a little too numb because I was having a hard time pushing her past that point. So my doctor told me we were going to take a break and she'd be back in about 5 or 10 minutes. So I'm just hanging out in my hospital bed, legs wide open with my daughter's head poking out, when, after 30 MINUTES, my doctor finally came back." -Carmen, Buzz Taboo.
1 Thanks For The Food, Dear
Husbands have a history of not always doing the right thing at the right time. Although most men usually mean well, they do some pretty ridiculous things in the heat of the moment.
"My husband took so many pictures of himself in the scrubs and mask (obviously super important to document) the camera battery was almost dead when we actually had the baby! I have pictures to prove it." -Stephanie, Mommy Shorts.
Having a Christmas Eve baby also means that while your family is enjoying turkey, mashed potatoes, meat pie, and pickled beets, you get to eat... hospital food. If you get any food at all, for that matter. While the hospital served up some kind of meat pie and green beans, the wish that someone would bring me leftovers lingered.
My husband had made the decision that he was going to go his mother's house for supper as previously planned, and was supposed to bring back any leftovers. He, unfortunately, didn't make it back to the hospital until the next day, as he was too tired and went home to sleep after supper instead of bringing me food. At least I got to enjoy Christmas lunch, better late than never I guess.
References: romper.com, americanpregnancy.org, romper.com, bellybelly.com.au, standfordchildrens.org, vbac.com, self.com, thestir.cafemom.com, thebump.com, danoah.com, babycenter.com, preeclampsia.org, mayoclinic.org, globalnews.com, glowing.com, whattoexpect.com, netmums.com, self.com
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