When I fell pregnant with Alice, I couldn’t wait to start my antenatal classes, read lots of baby books and find out everything there was to know about giving birth to my baby girl… however they seem to miss out a few bits!!
A few things I wish I knew beforehand…
- First babies are not always late…Everyone tells you and all the books warn you, that generally first babies are late and not to get to hung up on the due date. So, Alice caught us by surprise, when she arrived 10 days early…Be prepared!
- Trust your instincts…It can feel a bit scary when you are in labour, you don’t really know what is going to happen next, your mind goes completely blank about everything you’ve been told or read. Just listen to your body, it does know what to do and trust it. If you think you need to get to hospital, then just go to the hospital. (oh how I wish I followed my own advice!).
- Things don’t always go the way you will have been told or read about…In the antenatal classes, they talked us through the different steps. Step one is this…step two is this…etc. which is great to know and some people do have textbook births. But be prepared that your labour may take a different path. You may miss out step three altogether and that’s ok.
- Let your birthing partner know your birth plan…There maybe no time for the midwife to read your birth plan and they will be firing questions at you and trust me, trying to talk and think, when you are at the pushing stage is difficult. But you want to make sure you have what you planned for and this is when you need your birthing partner to step in.
- The pushing part isn’t the bit that hurts the most…It’s the contractions leading up to it that really hurt. When they tell you to start pushing, it’s almost a relief to be able to use the contraction to push your little one out. Then right at the end when the head pops out and they tell you to stop pushing and wait for the next contraction. This really really hurts, and feels like forever. Also, if your birthing partner is down that end, they will be screaming at you ‘I can see the head’…Really, I hadn’t noticed!!
- The amount of blood…Honestly I couldn’t believe it, it was everywhere. I was covered…it’s not like the movies. So, pop a towel in your hospital bag that you will you immediately put in the bin after your first shower.
- Don’t look down there…If you have a vaginal delivery, don’t get a mirror to have a look down below!! It’s not a pretty sight and one that you don’t need stored in your memory forever…(honestly I didn’t do this…ok I did!)
- Millions of woman have given birth…If I heard this one more time, during my pregnancy!! Yes, this is factually correct, but it doesn’t make it any less scary. It’s ok to be scared, worried, along with feeling excited about meeting your little person. When you haven’t done something before, it’s natural to have all these feeling.
I hope this hasn’t put you off, there really is no better feeling than when you get to hold your little one for the first time…whatever your birth journey is.