Hi Mamas! Are you wondering what to expect during labor as a first-time mom? Today, (September 3rd, 2018) is Labor Day here in the United States. Labor Day literally has nothing to do with LABOR AND DELIVERY but come on it’s labor day…I gotta publish a post about some LABOR AND DELIVERY FACTS, right?
If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know that I’m a labor and delivery nurse! I’ve been an L&D nurse for over 4 years now, and pregnancy/birth is something that I absolutely adore.
That’s why I started this blog!
I wanted to share my knowledge as an L&D nurse to pregnant women all over the world. I think it’s pretty darn important to be informed in this day in age, and if I can even help ONE pregnant lady have a more informed birth…I’m happy!
With that said…
Here are ten things I think you should know before you set foot in the delivery room!
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING LABOR FOR FIRST-TIME MOMS
LABOR AND DELIVERY IS LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER QUITE EXPERIENCED BEFORE.
Try to think of the worst period cramps you’ve ever had.
Now times that by about 100. That’s sort of what labor feels like (in my opinion). Add pelvic pressure, the urge to push, vomiting, pooping, sweating, tearing…and voila…labor and delivery in a nutshell.
Unfortunately, I try to write these articles as honest as possible, and I try to do my best to describe exactly what labor’s like…BUT…you just don’t know what labor contractions really feel like until you go through it yourself.
I had my son about 18 months ago, and I thought I was prepared as I could be! I thought I totally had it all figured out and under control. But nope! It was way more crazy, intense than I ever could imagine.
That’s not to scare you though! It’s more to help you prep.
I DID IT, MILLIONS OF WOMEN HAVE DONE IT, AND YOU CAN TOO!
LABOR AND DELIVERY FACTS: MOST NURSES ARE ON YOUR SIDE!
We are advocating for you! Most labor and delivery nurses are really trying to give you the best birth possible and honor your wishes 100% (there are a few bad apples here and there, though, and I can’t speak for them.)
My job as a labor and delivery nurse is to be your coach, your advocate your teacher, your partner, your doula, your voice, and someone who can help save you and your baby’s life if need be!
We are totally not trying to kill your vibe or your birth plan.
I promise I don’t wake up in the morning and plot against your birth plan…for the most part, I try to follow birth plans as best I can. Unfortunately, sometimes safety gets in the way of a wish you have on your birth plan, and it’s my duty to inform you this.
Of course, I cannot do anything against your will, but it’s my job to do the best I can to inform you about what’s going on!
I promise, we are here to help you!
Which brings me to my next point…
THINGS MIGHT NOT GO QUITE AS PLANNED
Sometimes babies like to act like babies and drop their heart rates and make all the nurses go crazy. Sometimes women need c-sections regardless of if they are having the most natural birth possible.
Sometimes…birth just isn’t going to go the way you’ve envisioned it as…
BUT IT’S ALL GOOD!
Remember, I’m your advocate. It’s my job to inform you and be your guide throughout all this. If something isn’t going to plan, I’m totally going to do my best to explain!
I’M GOING TO TRY AND TELL YOU EVERYTHING I’M DOING AS I DO IT, BUT SOMETIMES EMERGENCIES HAPPEN, AND I’M SORRY, BUT I JUST HAVE TO DO!
I’m all about informed consent. I am going to do my absolute best to give you forewarning if I see something isn’t going as planned…
But, sometimes real emergencies happen and we have to perform emergency C-sections without much talk. We WILL consent you, and NO…you cannot have a c-section performed on you without your consent. That’s completely against the law.
But, unfortunately when an emergency C-section is going on, I do not have very much time to help get baby out safely, so sometimes normal day-to-day tasks that I would ALWAYS take the time to talk to you about, do not get extensively talked to you about.
They just get done, so we can bring baby into the world safely.
I will, however, ALWAYS go over everything that happened AFTER it’s happened. My goal in an emergency setting is safety.
Other examples of emergencies include…
Resuscitating a newborn
MY #1 GOAL IS SAFETY
I’ve already touched on this a bit…BUT YES! Safety is always going to be my number one priority when caring for you and baby!
And, being safe and being happy can absolutely co-exist 😊
It’s all about positive, clear communication between you, me, and all members of your healthcare team.
MODESTY IS A BIT OUT THE WINDOW…
Yeah…so…I’m going to see your vagina.
And your butt, and your boobs.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a way to help deliver a baby vaginally without being able to see a woman’s vagina.
It’s all good though! We’ve got the same parts, and I promise not to judge you down there.
Also, let’s talk about PUBIC HAIR for a sec…
I find that nowadays some women feel as if they need to wax/shave down there before birth…
(It was just brought up in my local city’s mom group as a question)
GURRL…NO NEED TO DO THIS!
WE DON’T CARE HOW LONG OR CRAZY YOUR PUBIC HAIR IS….and it’s not going to get in the way of anything! (We will shave it a bit down if we need to for a C-Section)
If you’ve been getting waxed regularly, and you decide to get waxed before birth that’s totally fine.
If you’ve never been waxed down there before, and you save your very first wax session to be right before you give birth…
First time getting waxed + 9 months pregnant + Super vascular down there (which means you’re extra sensitive from the extra blood flow)
So, take my advice…just don’t save your first wax session for when you are 9 months pregnant…
Related: What Is Hypnobirthing?
IF YOU’RE IN ACTIVE LABOR…YOU’RE PROBABLY MY ONLY PATIENT
Unless it’s CRAZY BUSY…most L&D units nowadays follow a 1:1 ratio once a woman gets into active labor.
SO, don’t be surprised if I’m in your room for almost the whole time once you get active!
I’M GOING TO TREAT YOU THE SAME WAY AS I WOULD ANYONE
Totally! I treat all my patients with the same respect regardless of if they come from a prison or live in a million-dollar house…
I assure that you’re going to get the absolute best treatment possible regardless of your background, health history, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.
And, if you ever feel you’re being treated unfairly (because that DOES happen), speak up!
It’s absolutely unacceptable for any woman to be looked down upon, or mistreated during labor.
YOU MIGHT CURSE AT ME, OR GET ANGRY WITH ME BECAUSE YOU ARE IN PAIN…BUT I TOTALLY DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY!
I just had a woman a few weeks ago scream at me while she was pushing and call me a F*CKING B*TCH…
She was very frustrated that she was in so much pain and that she progressed much too quickly for her much-wanted epidural. She took this frustration out on me…
But it’s all good! She pushed a baby out about 30 seconds later, and about 15 minutes after that she profusely apologized in tears and told me she couldn’t believe she said.
Labor pain is no joke, and sometimes the pain turns you into a crazy lady that wants to scream at your nurse.
We get it!! And, we totally don’t take it personally!
I CARE ABOUT YOUR PARTNER, TOO.
This one doesn’t get said enough! I experienced this first-hand with my husband during the birth of our son.
I was so concerned about preparing myself for natural labor, I completely neglected to prepare my husband for what it was going to be like watching me go through so much pain…
Sure, I taught him how to support ME…but I didn’t even think to really sit him down and tell him to mentally prepare himself for watching me labor naturally…
Luckily, I had a really wonderful nurse (and doula-friend) during my labor who was not only looking out for me but doing a wonderful job at supporting my husband through labor as well.
As much as we drill labor preparation into pregnant ladies, we need to do just as good of a job drilling it into our partners.
It’s incredibly hard to watch your loved one go through immense pain, and support people need support, too!
I 100% learned this AFTER giving birth and pay attention to this much more now in my practice.
So, I truly care about your partner, too!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my list! What are some tips you’d give a first-time-mom going through labor?