Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Things They Don't Tell You, part 4

Continuing the series, here's another ten things about the end of pregnancy, labor & delivery and postpartum that don't always get talked about.

31) You won't necessarily get to have your doctor deliver your baby. Generally, their goal is to deliver their own patients, but if your doctor's not on call and you deliver at a non-business hour time or if someone else is delivering at the same time as you, you may get the on-call doctor. Trust me, by the time you're ready to deliver, you won't care!

32) All epidurals don't work. Some people have wonderful experiences where they feel little to no pain. For others, the epidural doesn't work at all or only works on one particular side or the other. Many people recommend doing at least some form of birthing class, even if you're choosing an epidural, so that you'll be better prepared to deal with the pain if pain control isn't effective for you.

33) If you're being induced, it doesn't always work. Some mothers end up requiring a C-section after hours and hours of labor that proves ineffective.

34) If you're being induced or in labor without an epidural, getting up to go to the bathroom is quite a chore. For me, it involved throwing something at my husband to wake him up, unhooking the baby monitors, unplugging the IV unit from the wall so it could be wheeled, taking off the pulse/ox monitor and taking off the blood pressure cuff. Once the deed is done, everything has to be plugged back in or put back on. We could never successfully put the blood pressure cuff where it needed to be, so I also had to call a nurse.

35) Some women feel lots of pressure when it's time to push. My epidural was very successful, however, so I was completely surprised when my nurse told me I was completely dilated, the baby's head was very well descended and I was ready to push. I had no idea.

36) Pushing doesn't always come naturally. I've heard it referred to as a "learned process" many times. Some women are great at it right off the bat, others take a lot more guidance. Don't be frustrated if you don't get it right away. You're new at this!

37) Pushing out the baby can lead to pushing out bowel movements. Yes, it's disgusting, but it happens all the time. When you're induced, they don't let you eat and you've had time to clean out your system. If you go into labor on your own and it progresses quickly, fate is in the hands of your digestive system. You can, however, very specifically ask for the doctor or nurses to not tell you if this happens.

38) Pushing is very strenuous work and will leave you exhausted. If you need to take a break and get a drink, ask! You've got to keep up your strength until the baby is delivered.

39) The placenta is generally not difficult to deliver. It is, however, nasty to look at. If you don't want to see it, don't look. They're probably not going to shield you from it.

40) Once they take the baby away to clean it off and weigh it, etc, it can take a while to get the baby back. I sent my husband with the baby because I couldn't stand the thought of her being "by herself." By the time they were done with her, I was completely stitched up and the doctor was gone.

Next? The final post in the series, which will focus on the postpartum recovery period.


  1. along with #35, if your epidural works pushing is very weird when you can't feel anything below your rib cage!

  2. agreed!! I was a great pusher, but I couldn't feel any of it. They just had to tell me when to push based on the contraction monitor. Good times!