What does a woman REALLY think while she's in active, natural labor? The thoughts women have during childbirth are unpredictable and mine was all over the place! These were my honest thoughts during labor & delivery of my first child.
It was 7 months ago today that I was lying in that hospital bed waiting for my baby boy to arrive. Only, I didn't know the gender because we waited until birth to find (and what a joy that was). Due to my struggle with Gestational Diabetes, labor had to be induced, so I knew without a doubt that my sweet little one would be making an appearance at any time.
I arrived at the hospital as prepared as any new mother could be. I had a huge hospital bag packed full of everything I could possibly need (and too many things that I didn't). After an hour of anxiously waiting to begin the induction process, it was finally time. I answered a ton of questions, changed into a hospital gown, had an IV shoved into my arm, and was given a birthing ball. My husband and I watched boring TV as nurses came in and out of the room, to up the dosage of the induction medication, and I just… waited. My contractions were very minor.
At 8:30am, after being in the hospital since midnight and just as I was finally getting some sleep, a Midwife entered the room to check my cervix. I was only 4cm dilated, so she broke my water to see if it would speed up the process a bit. Well, it definitely did. I immediately went to 5 1/2 cm and within 20 minutes I was 7 cm dilated. I was in full-on labor and it was time to deliver this baby.
How did I know it was time to deliver the baby? Other than the obvious dilating cervix, my contractions went from “no big deal” to “holy crap someone help me”. They were INTENSE and OFTEN!
After warning the nurse that I was going to push with or without the Midwife there, she finally decided to get the midwife into the room. This was it. The long 38.5 weeks, all came down to this moment. Giving birth naturally, was something I could have never prepared for even if I tried. I still remember everything I thought and felt during labor and delivery. I'm not sure that I'll ever forget it.
You'll also like: My Unfiltered Thoughts After Giving Birth
These were my totally unfiltered thoughts during labor & delivery.
Warning: Don't read this if you don't like unfiltered, blunt discussions. #SorryNotSorry
1. “This is the worst pain of my life.”
Nothing prepares you for the type of pain you'll experience with a natural birth. It doesn't matter how much you read or the number of classes you attend, you don't know it until you're experiencing it. It's unlike anything. One thing I can say is that your body will know exactly what to do during labor. You're BUILT for this. Even if you feel like you're going to pass out.
2. “Stop telling me that it's only pressure and not pain! The epidural ISN'T working.”
So, I had a failed epidural due to my scoliosis. The anesthesiologist couldn't get the epidural placed right because of my crooked spine and it probably didn't help that I didn't ask for an epidural until I was having intense contractions. Every time I told them that it wasn't working, they insisted “it's only pressure you're feeling, not pain.” BS. I know pain when I feel it. My legs were numb, but that's it.
3. “I'll be finding out the baby's gender!”
The time had finally come for me to find out if our bundle of joy was a boy or a girl! I had a feeling all along that I was having a baby boy, but my husband thought girl. Clearly, mama knows best. To be safe, we already had baby names picked out for both genders. I also want to add that husband got to announce then gender to me (per my birth plan) which was one of the most exciting moments of my life!
4. “I'm NEVER EVER doing this again!”
Two kids has always been the plan, but when I was lying on that bad feeling like my body had turned against me, I told myself that I wouldn't do it again. Nope. Never. Women are crazy. Moms of multiples are insane. Not happening. As soon as I had my baby boy, I realized that every second was worth it.
5. “I can't do this.”
There were times when I felt like I wanted to give up. I told myself that I couldn't do it. I have no shame in admitting that. It took every ounce of strength and energy I had to keep pushing.
6. “I have to do this.”
I had to give myself a pep talk. I had no choice but to get that baby out, so I did.
7. “Stop asking me questions!”
If the nurses, my husband, and midwife would stop asking me questions – that would be great. I don't want to talk, think, or be polite. I'm kind of busy here! I want to silently push this baby out. Yes, I'm a silent laborer. I didn't scream or cry. All you could hear from me was heavy breathing, asking for water, and announcing when I'm pushing again.
8. “I'm not waiting for your damn countdown to push!”
Before giving birth, I read to follow your own body's rhythm, to push when your body tells you to push – so, that's what I did. The midwife would count down or count the length of my pushes, but I just did my own thing. I announced when I was ready to push. I'd say it worked well for me because I didn't have any severe tearing and I had my son within 45 minutes of pushing.
9. “All these people are looking at my vagina and I really don't care.”
I always told myself that I wouldn't let students into the room as I was giving birth, but in that moment, I didn't give a crap. They literally took turns holding one leg as my husband held the other. By the end, there were at least 7 people in the room watching my push a baby out of my vagina. I didn't care one bit.
10. “HOLD MY LEG!”
I wouldn't recommend allowing a student to hold your leg, though. Whenever I said I was pushing, the students took way too long to grab my leg and, frankly, it pissed me off. My husband was on it, though. I said that I'm pushing and he was holding my leg up immediately. (Thanks, honey. You're the real MVP.) PS. If you need tips for pushing during labor with an epidural, here's one: have someone hold your legs because they feel like cinder blocks.
11. “I hope the baby is okay.”
Gestational Diabetes puts your baby at risk of many different health complications, so I was naturally worried about him/her. I really didn't want an emergency c-section (which is also a risk with pregnancy diabetes). Halfway through my natural labor, the midwife made me turn on my right side after every single push because the baby's heart rate was dropping every time I pushed. It was absolutely terrifying and it made me want him out of there even more. I'm pretty sure, no matter what happens, every mother has these thoughts during labor and delivery.
12. “Am I making any progress?”
Giving birth to your first child, you don't really know what's going on down there. I had no clue if I was pushing hard enough or long enough. Honestly, it felt like I wasn't making any progress. It wasn't until my husband told me that he could see the baby's hair that I knew, I was successfully pushing.
13. “I am SO thirsty!”
My mouth and throat was so dry from all the heavy breathing. This made it even more difficult for me. Fortunately, the nurses brought me water anytime I asked for it and held the cup as I took sips.
14. “I don't care what rips or how bad it hurts – I'm pushing with everything I've got.”
There came a point when I realized I could push more successfully. I put my chin down (as they say to do), grabbed my own damn legs, and pushed with all my might. Was I going to burst a blood vessel? Maybe. It felt like my vagina was surely going to rip all the way to the back – but I didn't give a damn; I just wanted the baby out and that pain to end.
15. “I might break the bed.”
The midwife constantly told me to grab my knees, but I kept grabbing the sides of the hospital bed. I was certain I was going to snap the sides right off.
16. “This monitor on my finger is the most annoying thing in life.”
The dumbest things will annoy the hell out of you when you're in pain. You know the heart rate monitor they put on your finger? I deliberately pulled it off over and over again. I wanted to throw it across the room.
17. “The midwife is doing so good at stretching everything down there. How nice of her.”
They say midwives have more compassion than doctors when it comes to delivering babies. I'd say that I completely agree. I was a little disappointed that my doctor wouldn't be delivering my child but now, I'm so thankful. With every push, she slowly stretched my vagina in a way that didn't hurt one bit. I think it's (partially) because of her that I didn't tear as bad.
18. “Inhale. Exhale.”
With every intense contraction I was reminded to inhale and exhale. So, when it came time to push and when my brain wanted to panic, I told myself to just breathe.
19. “I can't believe my baby will be here soon!”
I still couldn't believe that my baby would be here soon. I was becoming a first time mom. My husband and I would be parenting together. PARENTS. I still don't feel like it's real life.
20. “Did I poop? I think I pooped.”
For the record, I didn't poop. My husband told me a few days later, “You didn't poop!” I was ecstatic. It's probably because I didn't eat any solid food for over 12 hours prior to having the baby. My nerves got the best of me. Also, I wanted to avoid pooping during labor, so I made myself go before I left the house. That's one of the perks of an induction.
21. “My teeth hurt.”
Yep. That's right – my teeth, well my gums if you want to be technical. With every push, I clinched my jaw so tight that I could have broken a tooth. I guess I never really thought about how badly my entire body would ache after giving birth.
22. “The pain will be over soon.”
The only way to get through this was to remind myself that the contractions and pregnancy aches & pains would be over soon.
23. “I'm so glad my husband is here.”
My husband was such an incredible support. Unlike the movies, I was happy to have them there and didn't want to kill him. He really kept me going!
24. “Only a few more pushes!”
I told myself to just push a few more times and the baby would be here. I obviously had no idea how many more but thinking of a few at a time, made it more bearable.
25. “Am I okay.”
At some point, they put an oxygen mask on me which made me a little concerned for myself. I figured I'd find out afterward if something was wrong and tried to keep my mind of the goal: to get that baby out.
Full Disclosure: I had a vaginal, natural birth. I didn't take pain medication, but I did get an epidural, but it failed and I felt everything. You can read about that story here or you want to hear my full birth story, tell me in the comments below! I might write a post about it.
You'll also like: My Unfiltered Thoughts After Giving Birth
What were your thoughts during labor & delivery?
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