Thursday, 4 June 2015

Home Truths: Labour

-You most likely won't rush to the hospital straight away. 
I don't know about you, but I grew up believing the second your waters broke, you rushed straight to the hospital.
In Look Who's Talking I watched John Travolta  frantically driving through red lights and over barricades to get to the hospital, and Hugh Grant in 'Nine Months' fighting with the medical staff on arrival for an epidural for his missus.
Unfortunately things don't really tend to move quite this quickly.
(Don't get me wrong, there will always be some exceptions)
But generally speaking, the drive to the hospital is usually less of a Hollywood affair.
After my 41 week appointment I was told that our baby was on her way, but to head home for some dinner and some rest before going to the hospital.
Sorry?, dinner?, what?

-I was also led to believe from various TV shows over the years that my waters would inevitably break at home.

Every time I would  phone the midwife unit for advice they'd ask 'Any signs of your waters breaking?'
If the answer was no (which it always was), I felt like i'd been verbally slapped 'round the face with that dreaded response no ready to pop, mother-to-be wants to hear.
"Try taking some paracetamol, run a bath and phone us again in a few hours"
I recently watched a video were Charlotte Louise Taylor said it's like being told to take parcetemol for a lost limb. 
So hilariously true.
 I was a bit of a  self confessed hermit from 40 weeks on  living with the fear I would end up delivering in  the frozen aisle in Tescos or under a tree in my local park, but I had no reason to fear, they were broken for me, in hospital.

-While we're on the subject of TV, it is without a doubt, solely to blame for my naivety on all things regarding childbirth. How come these soap characters give birth in pubs and on living room floors with not a ounce of blood to be seen?! 

Who could possibly forget  big Mo sticking sheets of newspaper under a bewildered Sonya giving birth to her 'surprise' baby on the sofa in Eastenders?!
There's never any mention of the placenta, the cord remains uncut and the baby  looks a good, sturdy three months + old on arrival!

-It's an Olympic-style physical event, but one that Mother Nature has you facing when you're not feeling 100%. The last few weeks your organs are so tightly compressed up in your chest you can barely make it to the top of the stairs without feeling like you've summited the top of Everest, you may as well set up camp in the bathroom as soon as you flush, you need to pee again, and even eating dinner can leave you feeling exasperated (but still ready for dessert- Ben & Jerry's, anyone?)

Somehow, (God only knows how), we just grin and bear it and adrenaline  helps keeps us going until we complete the biggest physical task most of us will ever do in our lives. 
If you're smart, you'd buy shares in Lucozade Sport.

Gas and air- Old faithful, Gas and Air. 

Without sounding like a closet junkie, if only it were legal to have canisters of the stuff in the home for recreational use. Saturday nights would get a lot more interesting than watching dogs agility courses on Britain's Got Talent.
Of course, I still felt pain (It's called labour for a reason)  and was completely aware of what was happening around me, but it definitely took the edge off the pain. A LOT. 
The side effects were that I talked pure nonsense,  was utterly convinced I could hear rave music and when I spoke I heard myself talking with the deepest and most manly of voices.

-Coming from the most self aware/ paranoid wreck there ever was, I can hands on my heart tell you that you will not care who see's you  in what state/shape/angle, whether it be the Queen Of England or Ryan Gosling.

I honestly thought i'd be a nervous wreck having my nether regions on display for all to see, but like so many people assured me, between the physical discomfort and the thought that very soon your baby will be in your arms, you don't care. You truly, utterly just don't care.
It's definitely a case of leave your dignity at the door and pick it up on the way out.

-Yep,  lets just put it out there. 

Some women poo.
If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, there really isn't a lot you can do about it. 
And hey, it's a good sign that babys arrival is imminent, (baby's weight  is bearing down on your back passage. as he/she descents) Lovely
The midwives deal with it daily, and honestly the chances of you knowing it even happened are extremely'll be far too distracted with all the other sensations going on.
And realistically, what are you going to remember more? the day you met your baby or the fact you and your bowel movements had an audience?
To this day I honestly don't know if I did, or I didn't
but I like to live by the mantra that if I didn't see or feel it,  it didn't happen. 

Swiftly moving on....

- There is nothing worse than 'well meaning' people retelling horror stories while your pregnant, but

realistically,childbirth is nothing to fear. 
I read an amazing quote that really sums it up
'It's like stressing about the wedding, instead of thinking about the marriage'
Giving birth is a pretty damn great achievement. It'll leave you feeling prouder than any degree, job promotion or pay rise ever could. You realise  just how amazing the human body is and  how extremely strong and capable you are.
I run the risk of sounding like a broken record, but i've yet to hear from any mum that wouldn't do it over again if they had to, no matter what the circumstances of the birth were; at home, the operating table, with all the drugs going or none at all..

And isn't that the beauty of it all?



  1. love this! I realised a little too late that movie births are like movie sex - highly edited.


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