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I’m a full year postpartum now with my third baby, and I find myself reminiscing on my three birthing experiences. The memories that stand out the most are the things that shocked me. The experiences I was totally unprepared for. I read all the birthing books and delivery stories (this one was my favorite!). I envisioned both natural and hospital births. I tried to squat and workout to prepare for a quick labor. I even worked on my milk supply before my first baby arrived. With all that thought and preparation, some things still happened I never expected. I have some great delivery tips over on this post, and here are the 5 things that stand out the most:
One: Back Labor
I briefly read on back labor in a few stories and books. I didn’t realize the amount of pain that comes with it. Having one labor with back labor, and the other two with normal contractions, I can tell you its worse. Back labor is incredibly painful, and it takes over your whole body. Totally unexpected because my baby was head down and facing the right way at my last ultrasound. He came outface up and an arm out. I had no idea that was possible after he was the right way so late in the game. Prepare yourself for all options on this one. You never know when a baby can turn in just a few hours leading up to delivery. If you do have to go through back labor, I actually found it more comfortable to turn on my side and lay on the hospital bed. My head was pounding, I was hyperventilating and screaming. Everything also happened very quickly, so there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to try various positions. Some moms say standing and leaning over something, while someone pushes on your back helps. If this happens to you, don’t consider yourself weak. It will be over!
Two: The Epidural Process
I was screaming for the epidural. The thought of it not working wasn’t even an idea in my head. Because my first labor was back labor, I would’ve donated an arm to get it. I also had no idea you had to hold still while getting the epidural. This was single-handedly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Mid contractions, holding still and allowing a big fat needle into my back. It didn’t work, and I had to get it again. Apparently this is fairly common. It happened again with my second delivery. I basically gave birth naturally on the second pregnancy because it was so late by the time they got it to work. Needless to say, the epidural process, if you are going to do it, is a bit more involved than just getting a shot. All the birth stories I read never really went into full detail on this, and I never thought to look it up. It is imperative that you hold still while getting the epidural, so make sure to ask for it before the contractions become unbearable.
Three: How Fast It Can Happen
I didn’t expect things to happen fast with my first. Well, it did. By the time I started contractions it was a whirlwind. My second and third were even faster. My husband didn’t even make it to see my third baby delivered. It’s amazing how barely any pain and small contractions can jump to a baby coming out. If it’s your first baby, prepare yourself for things to go fast too. Even if its your first one, you never know. If it’s your second or third baby, get ready because your body has been there done that, and it will be ready to go! It is a blessing if things go fast for you because it makes dealing with the pain much easier. With my first, I refused to be induced, even after my water had already broken. I just kept walking and walking the hospital. I believe this really helped get my body in action, and once it was, things went crazy. I literally went from walking around with minimal feelings at all, to down on my knees in the bathroom.
Four: You Don’t Have To Push
With my first labor, I got the epidural working and had to push while not feeling anything. So, I thought you have to push with every delivery. You don’t have to push at all. Your baby and body are doing it on their own. I was not prepared for this with baby #2 and #3. They were moving down and out without any of my doing, and it was the craziest experience ever. Like totally scary. The heavy, moving down feeling as the baby descends is creepy really. Like a huge weight being pushed through you. The baby also moves out without pushing. I yelled at my doctor to stop, thinking he was helping the baby out with my third baby. He wasn’t. It was my body and I was so confused!
Fifth: After Birth Pains Are Worse With More Pregnancies
The after pains of the birth process were nothing compared to my second and third. I did not expect this at all. The contractions that continued as my uterus was repairing itself were not fun, and I didn’t expect those because I didn’t feel them with my first. I felt them for a few days after delivering, so be prepared if you are going into your second or third delivery. If this is your first, it is still fairly common to experience the after-birth pains. I was able to get through them, but I didn’t like them. Think of them as intense period cramps.
Overall, if this is your first baby, the idea of giving birth is so foreign. I was curious to know everything. It’s books like this one that help a lot because they are a lot of stories. I devoured this book, and I ultimately still experienced things I had not anticipated!
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Make sure to read:
5 Foods To Scarf Down Immediately After Birth For Recovery
The Question I Wish I Knew I’d Have to Answer in The Delivery Room
What I Missed On My First Registry