Ok a real post about giving birth is about to go down. If you are in any way squeamish (perhaps pregnant?) then maybe you should look away and go shop on Rebel Muse instead.
It’s Yads here BTW. I have a one year old now, but I’m still haunted by my birth. In a good way…but also in an incredibly “WTF birth is horrific and women all over the world do it all the time!” kind of way too.
Leading up to giving birth to my baby, I was in the zone. I had read nothing negative about It, I bought aromatherapy ‘labour easing’ sprays (idiot) and my husband and I attended calm birthing classes too. I was totally ready.
But then birth happened and I don’t think I have ever been the same. And since I am probably one of the most open and honest people you will ever meet I have no issues telling anybody about my birth in major details. Cab drivers beware! HA.
However, I do have a bit of an issue telling pregnant people – because it’s just something I ignored while I was pregnant and something that no pregnant lady ever wants to hear. I can attest though, that no matter what your birth experience is like you will forget about it and want to do it again… like a bonafide crazy person. Anyway, this is my experience.
I have spoken about my birth to the girls at Rebel Muse so many times before. Often while I let my babe run wild in the store and try on clothes in 15 seconds flat. Which is why we thought, why not go a bit further and do some real talk about birth on the RM blog.
Now every person’s experience is different and when you speak to women about their own births, you'll soon realise no two births are ever the same. In fact, what could be described as horrific for one person could also be described as a super fun time for another – so don’t take this to heart.
Also; don’t let what I’m about to tell you scare you off falling pregnant and giving birth. Because no matter how bad it is. It’s still in fact, hands down the most amazing experience you will ever have in your life.
To prove my point, if I were to re-live any day of my life it would be the day that I gave birth. Plus, no matter what else you go through in life, you will forever feel like a wonder woman and NOTHING will be able to hold you down. Because you gave birth to a human person.
So let’s begin.
When (and if) your water breaks there will be no mistaking it for having peed your gigantic mega pregnant undies because it will gush out of you like a waterfall. Mine broke at 2am in the morning, and kept gushing out of me for the next half hour. So weird. On the floor, on the bed, next to my sleeping husband and all over the mega pregnant undies I was wearing. Romance factor: 0 (so it is kind of like the movies.)
Then once your labour begins, the pain will initially feel like really bad period pains. Eventually though this pain will escalate to feel like somebody axing you in the back with a machete. Or the front. Actually, all over your body really. I also had a mum describe labour pain to me as akin to having all of the bones being crushed in her body at the one time. Which I can totally agree with.
Giving birth will also make you look and act demonic. It’s a very primal experience and no matter what you do or say you won’t be embarrassed at all. My husband left me at one point, screaming like a wild banshee in the shower, totally naked with my midwife and I could’ve had all of my ex boyfriends walk in for an awkward encounter and I wouldn’t’ve cared. When you go through labour you go so within your own body and mind, nothing else really exists.
Having the epidural will stop the pain, but it can still feel scary AF. I had an epidural after eight hours because (see above LOL) but as soon as I came back to reality and couldn’t feel the bottom half of my body I had a violent shaking episode which is a very common side effect of an epidural - although I had no idea that this could happen so it scared the shiz out of me! I’m pretty sure it’s just because your body has an issue regulating your body temperature because of the drugs, but when you can’t feel your legs and your laying in a room shaking like you’re an extra in Titanic, with everything out of your control, it's not super fun times. It’s totally normal though and the shakes will pass.
When you have an epidural and a natural birth the way I did, the nurses will pop up a mirror so that you can see your baby coming out of your lady parts. It helps with your pushing. Plus, with minimal feeling in your lower half you need this mirror. It helps your brain concentrate on the area you need to be exerting force out of HA. (Ps. You will never look at your lady parts in the same way again.)
Also, an episiotomy (a surgical incision of the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall to help the baby out) will be painless when you have an epidural. Getting stitched back up will be too. Again, you can’t feel the lower half of your body! (Not so sure what this feels like without drugs though, I’ve heard it can be ouchy.) My recovery however, was so quick, like ten days! Then everything looked brand new again. Maybe even better. (The silver lining you guys!)
Ummm… after you give birth you will also give birth to your placenta – which in comparison to your baby will feel like a wonderful stroll in the park. (In my case I didn’t feel it at all.)
Now let’s get on to a few post birth thingys:
Post birth it is very common to bleed a lot as soon as you get up and have a shower. Like your period x one million – remember you haven’t had your period for over a year. Also; the first time you get up can be pretty scary. Giving birth kind of feels like running a marathon so you’ll need a little help.
In my case my midwife showered me while I sat on a chair trying to figure out WTF just happened. Then I ate a muesli bar (while continuing to sit on my chair) in the shower because a FULL ON HUMAN had just come out of my body – I also packed SO MANY snacks for my birth HAHAHA...and never ate them. Lesson learnt: you don’t really get that hungry during labour. (Not sure what I was thinking!)
Post birth you will also need to take a stool softener or some sort of laxative. Your nurses or midwives should give them to you. My midwife carried extras around like an accessory but might be safe to buy some before baby comes too. (Just file that under 'stuff nobody tells you, but you really need to know').
On that note, doing a number two post birth will be one of the scariest moment of your life. Maybe more so than giving birth. This is when sh!t gets real in any relationship – HAHA don’t mind the pun. I was so scared I NEEDED to talk about my fears with my husband – also; you kind of give zero F’s by this point. What has been seen will never be unseen etc...
Also; you won’t be able to sit down for at least a week, maybe two. If you’re breastfeeding like I was, you will breastfeed lying on your side like a beached whale. Might be mindful to let your guests know. Not that they’ll really care, although you might need extra chairs because you'll be lying on your side for most of the visits HA. You will also have to sleep on your side with your baby attached to you somehow – seems hard, but it’s doable.
Anyway, to conclude: giving birth is amazing. You shouldn’t be scared of it. Your body was made to grow and give birth to a human. It’s hard to compare it to anything. It might seem horrific when you hear bad stories but realistically it’s only 24 hours of your life (or 48 OUCH.)
Anyway, it's a small period of time compared to having a real life baby who will be with you forever... and there's no epidural for motherhood.
Images and words: Yadira Galarza Cauchi
Tell us, are you a mum? What was your birth like?