I didn’t understand why my friend recommended extra ice for afterward. I was eight months pregnant and the women in my office stood around discussing labor and delivery. At my blank face, they burst into laughter but no one clarified why I would need ice.
A month later, I lay spread eagle on the delivery table, fiery sensations shooting upward from my nether regions. Four and a half hours later, I pushed out a baby whale. Exhausted, I fell against the pillows as they handed me my brand new, not-so-cute, cone-headed baby. The nurse peeked over my knees and asked if I would like ice.
For what? I thought new moms fed their babies milk, not ice chips.
Turns out the ice brings relief to your vagina.
My first experience with pregnancy and labor churned out many humiliating incidents and new experiences. I wish more moms had given helpful advice to me before I delivered that first baby. Why do women scare new moms with horror stories, leaving out the practical advice? Is there some mom code that keeps the most private information secret?
Most new moms sign up for Lamaze classes, tour the hospital, visit the nursery, meet all the doctors in the OB/GYN practice, and they, like me, think that’s it. The thrilling trips to Target and Babies ‘R Us, scanning all the baby items you could ever need plus that chocolate candy bar mama needs in her hospital stash, is a blast. The hospital bag, filled to the brim with mama’s new nursing nightgown, cute (but oversized) undies, an adorable, freshly-washed outfit to bring the baby home, sits by the front door, ready to grab at a moment’s notice.
But there’s more.
There are secret things you need to know about pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Six kids later, I’m sharing 10 things no one ever tells you about delivering a baby.
- You might pee yourself. No one shares this humiliating advice, but that wet feeling falling down your leg might just be a leaky bladder. Hold off calling all the family until the doctor confirms you are indeed in labor.
- Remove the underwear. I’m not kidding. My nurse took one look at my frantic face, marched me back in the bathroom, and demanded I take off my panties to deliver this baby. Eleven years later, I still don’t know how she knew that.
- Your strong, fearless husband may faint during the epidural. To this day, my husband denies it, but during our second delivery, he passed out from seeing the anesthesiologist cram a 10” needle in my back. Just make sure the oxygen near the labor bed is ready.
- The doctor may CUT you down there. On purpose.
- Your business isn’t off limits to anyone anymore. Be prepared for doctors, nurses, interns, janitorial staff, and the registrar to see your naked self. Because apparently there’s no such thing as modesty or privacy in the hospital anymore.
- Ask for the ice. You’ll want ice to pack your nether regions after pushing out a 9 lb 10 oz baby with shoulder dystocia who resisted greeting the world. Ice packs are refreshing, soothing, and calming after the harrowing labor of pushing that baby whale out. Ask for extra ice.
- Skip the frou-frou undies. You’ll wear ugly granny panties the size of your hospital bed with super thick pads stuck all in them. Embrace it. You’ll save money and preserve your pretty panties.
- Plan for high blood pressure. The birth of a new baby brings out the best and worst in all of us. Too many crazy family members crowding around your prince or princess might result in high bp for you. The nurses will kindly request their departure and return to you the sweet bundle of joy.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. Most babies don’t fall right into the routine of sleeping at night and playing during the day so get your rest during the day when they’re sleeping because you’ll likely both be up all night long at first.
- Save the housekeeping for another time. Let your visitors switch over a load of laundry or sweep the floor. Babies don’t keep, so snuggle and love on them while you can. You’ll miss those days of pulling them to your chest, breathing in their soft, sweet scent and thanking God for another precious blessing.
Birthing babies is an incredible experience. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be for that first time in the delivery room. I hope these 10 tips help you new mamas and if you know an expectant mama, share these with her!
I know I’m not the only one who was surprised by my first experience with delivery. What was your biggest surprise delivering your babies?