The TWENTY Things I Wish I Knew Before Labour!!!!!
So here we are. Nine months later. NINE MONTHS!!!
Teddy has been out just as long as he was in, and my gaddddd what a hella of a ride it has been.
Think Nemisis Inferno and Oblivion times twenty thousand. That kinda ride.
What makes me do a little wee now, is when I think about that Saturday afternoon in March, when I strolled into the hospital ward, with fresh, newly washed hair and a full face of makeup thinking I was TOTALLY ready for my induction. Totally in control.
’Ive learnt how to breathe for eight seconds. I’ve totally got this. It’s not even going to hurt. I’ll prob be home tomorrow guys, so come straight over. Shall we get a takeaway?”
WHAT. A. MUG.
I didn’t have a bloody clue. Not even an ounce of it.
But what about all the pregnancy and labour books I devoured and poured over night after night???? The NCT course I had to take a mortgage out to pay for?????? The Pregnancy Yoga I practiced through gritted teeth???? The Hypnobirthing course I revised that took me nearly a year to complete??? The three suitcases filled with products that were meant to help me through it and the aftermath ….I hear you cry????
Nope. NONE of it worked. Not a single little thing could have prepared me for the shit show that I call LABOUR.
So as a little Christmas present from me to you, here are the TWENTY things I WISH I knew before giving birth.
(I know, here she goes again).
And I promise that I am not trying to scare you, I’m honestly not. In fact the opposite…
I’m just trying to keep it totally real for you all. Because I majorly believe that in labour knowledge is power and although the books tell you that by counting to eight you will be okay, let’s be real for a minute, labour hurts, its painful, its messy, you will scream, you will cry, you will moo ffs?!?! you won’t be wearing your cute fancy loungewear you spent £1000 pounds on.
And the quicker you know this. The less shocked you will be.
Because I was that silly old fool who hoped Teddy would slide out whilst I was splashing around in a Jacuzzi Bath wearing a gold studded cute lil bikini. But instead… I was ripped to pieces (soz huns) totally and utterly traumatised, looked like a pile of s**** and had MANY a meltdown. I mean let’s cut to the chase. There’s a reason you haven’t seen any photos of me in March 2020. No tired, frazzled but glowing pic of me holding my baby. No standing outside the hospital showing my new born bundle off to the world.
But why I hear you ask?
Because I was a hot f***ing mess.
So it’s my duty to you to make sure that you know EVERY THING I didn’t. If I knew all of this before, maybe I only would have had five breakdowns instead of five hundred. And if I can help at least one person who reads this, then my job is done.
So here we bloody go… lets count to eight (I joke) take a deep breath…and begin…..
The Twenty Things I Wish I Knew Before Labour.
- After spending, what can be up to 72 hours in labour. 72 hours of pain, of no sleep, of sweating more than you have ever sweated in your life, of pushing A HUMAN OUT OF YOUR BODY…, you will not be given a full nights sleep to recover… I’M SORRY YOU WHAT I HEAR YOU SCREAM??? Ladies, I am afraid it’s true. In this current climate it is more than likely that your other half, who didn’t push a human out, and got to watch you endure hell on earth, probably whilst stuffing their face with Haribo Starmix will be sent home… sent home to sleep. How absolutely wonderful for them. They get to recover. FROM SITTING ON A CHAIR FOR 72 HOURS. Whilst you my friend, will be struggling to walk, but are made to endure ANOTHER SLEEPLESS night, whilst dealing with a new screaming baby you have no idea how to hold, let alone change its poo explosions. The hospital buzzer above your bed will be your new best friend. And yes, by the time you get home from hospital you will be on day six of no sleep. Fun isn’t it.
- Speaking of sleep. Its really f******* annoying when you spend four hours trying to get your new born to sleep, then five minutes later a screaming baby from the other side of the ward sets your little one off again. And this will go on alllllll night long. Your migraine will be hell but I promise you it gets your little ones used to noise. (When I finally got home I used to be able to hoover around Teddy without him waking. Those were the bloody days).
- You know all those books that tell you that the tea and toast you get given after labour is THE BEST THING YOU WILL EVER TASTE. Well, IGNORE IT. The tea and toast I got given was bloody vile. Soggy and cold. An absolute disaster. So I am writing to tell you to be prepared. Have a McDonalds meal waiting for you in a brown bag. Even if it is three days old. Those soggy chips and melted Mcflurry will make you sob with happiness.
- Even though you know you have to give birth to your placenta. YOU WILL LITERALLY FORGET ABOUT IT. And after the shock of pushing a human out of you has passed, try not to sob when your midwife tells you to get ready to push again and stabs a needle in your thigh. It will all be over quickly. Oh one more note… shut your eyes, it aint pretty.
- Your other half will look at you like you are an ACTUAL SUPERHERO after giving birth. They insist they will literally do anything for you and will act like your slave for a few weeks. Please all take note at what I am about to say THIS DOES NOT LAST. So soak it up and take every single bit of advantage. You grew a human, you deserve it. P.S Give it three weeks you will be screaming in others face (by whisper) during the 5am night feed so just enjoy it whilst it lasts.
- You truly are not going to wear nice clothes during labour and the few days after. So pleasssseeee don’t waste £300 buying cute new lounge wear. Just enjoy the hospital rags, and wearing the same pyjamas for three weeks in a row when you come home. Trust me. Speaking of which, please don’t bother wasting even five minutes of your precious pre baby time by writing out a birth plan and revising it. It’s all gonna go to absolute shit the second your waters explode out of you. My laminated birth plan never got to see day light. I think I will keep it forever just so I can scream of laughter whilst reading it.
- A few hours after labour you will begin to have throbbing contractions again. I know. Life is a bitch. I freaked daaa f**** out when this was happening to me, had no bloody idea what was going on (am I having another baby?!?!) and was in absolute agony. But please don’t stress, this is actually your uterus shrinking back to its normal size. How ridics are our bodies?!?!?! Us women are superheroes!!!!
- Please also don’t be alarmed at the amount of blood that will be coming out of you. You are about to endure the worst six week period of your life. Just stock up on 100 maternity pads, do NOT even bother buying adult nappies and you will be absolutely perfect. (P.S if you feel extremely weak to the point that you are near fainting every five minutes and cant even stand up, please don’t ignore it and tell a doctor, they will most likely need to give you a blood transfusion. Don’t be a Sammy Summers who ignored it until it got serious and then told the doctors she was discharging herself if they brought one more needle near her again. It was a low moment. Lets move on.)
- Whilst we are talking about down there. If you give birth naturally and endure a tear (don’t worry you won’t feel this happen during labour) the aftermath is, I’m sorry to say, hell. The stinging, OH THE STINGING. The not being able to sit down without actually sobbing. I genuinely wondered if I would ever feel normal again or be able to walk without sobbing. One of my best friends kindly let me have her support pillow so I could sit on that rather than a hard chair. I would also advise to buy a rubber ring to sit on too so you’re not leaning on anything. I promise you this pain will eventually disappear even though you may never believe it at the time.
- Babys first poo is an actual EVENT. You will remember it for the rest of your life. (Am I right mummies?!?! …when you know you know. Pregnant girlies.. just you bloody wait) You will look at your sweet innocent little bundle of sleeping joy and think to yourself.. HOW DA HELLLLL DID YOU PRODUCE THIS MONSTROSITY???
- Whilst leads me on nicely to your first poo after giving birth. Yes I really did just write that. We are alllllll friends here and cmon we have all been there. Because your first poo after giving birth is also an event. A day you will never forget. The day you stopped breathing as you tried to hold in every single stitch whilst tears roll down your cheek. The day you will literally scream out to your partner ‘ITS HAPPENING….I’M POOOOOOOINGGG OHHH MY GOOOOOOOD”. (I promise there is no going back after labour, they will never unsee what they saw). Nope? Just me? Kl……
- During pregnancy you are treated like a precious piece of cargo. Then once baby arrives NO-ONE GIVES A FLYING F**** ABOUT YOU. The only thing your midwife will tell you on repeat, a few hours after giving birth and for the next few months is that you are extremely fertile and to use contraception. CONTRACEPTION??!?!?! ARE YOU HAVING A LAUGH BARBARA. No-one is going near me for the next 1500 hundred years don’t be a joker. AND WILL YOU CHECK MY STITCHES FFS.
- Right lets discuss your tummies. Because if we didn’t already have quite enough to deal with, after giving birth you will also have a big old empty space where baby once lived. I knew I wouldn’t go back to how was I straight away but I also didn’t quite expect to be left with a GIGANTIC JELLY BELLY. It was enormous, it wobbled, it quite frankly made me feel utterly sick. If you can picture the character Fat B****d from Austin Powers that will give you a cute lil insight into how your tummy will be for a long while. Please also note that this is totally NORMAL. You have just given birth, please please please don’t put any pressure on yourself to lose weight, you already have enough to deal with and you are beautiful. I absolutely grew to adore my bump with no baby in it, and it wasn’t until six months after giving birth that I could genuinely fit into any of my clothes again.
- Breastfeeding v’s forumla. It’s a very very personal decision as to whether you breastfeed or not. And let me start here by saying no matter what choice you make you are an amazing mum and there is no right or wrong. I tried to breastfeed Teddy for the first few days of being in hospital. I was weak, could barely walk without collapsing and was a shell of myself. I was also alone without any family support for the majority of the time. And I have to be totally honest, I found the midwifes very intimidating and forceful when it came to breastfeeding. Like if I didn’t do it I would be letting Teddy down. Because I was so exhausted and could barely function I tried to perservere in fear they would shout at me. Utter the word ‘formula’ on a hospital ward and it is if you have spoken the worst swear word known to man kind. After two days of struggling, on my third night of being in hospital I had to have an eight hour blood transfusion and without being able to hold Teddy for that time I made my decision. I was giving him a bottle of formula and it was MY CHOICE. My decision. Well he devoured it in 30 seconds after two days of hardly drinking a thing apart from colustrom. I was over the moon. And knew there and then that I would not be bullied into one more decision over Teddy for the rest of my life. He was my son and I shouldn’t have to feel any pressure from anyone. So that was that and nine months later he has grown into a beautiful, cheeky, chubby little ray of sunshine who is now talking all day long and rolling around everywhere. In other words- he is doing just lovely on formula. So for anyone in a panic about giving formula PLEASE DON’T feel any guilt or stress, you are a super mumma. And to all the mums breast feeding whether it was for a day or a year I absolutely salute you!!
- Which leads me swiftly onto my next topic. BOOBIES. AKA. DAY THREE. *Shudders* Now what is day three I hear you ask???? Day three is the day when formula mummies discover that they have HARD ROCKS in place of their boobies. The day said boobies understand that “okay no-one wants my milk- that’s cool, but because you haven’t suffered at all the last few days I’m just going to make you feel like you have been punched in the chest fifty times. Oh and your hormones are going to turn upside down. But don’t worry hun, the pain will be gone in a few days so suck it uppppp”. So how to get through this?…. A lot of tears, a lot of wearing your bra to sleep, a lot of going ow ow ow ow ow owwwwwwwww every five seconds. And then two days later you will wake up, your boobies will be back to being as bouncy as ever, and you will wonder if it was all a bad dream. (I mean nightmare)
- Nothing, and I mean NOTHING you learnt in the £360 birth class will help you during labour. You basically just paid for friends. Friends who after knowing them for a few hours will know more about your labour and baby than a friend that you have had for twenty years. Who you will be texting EVERY day at 2/3/4/5 am asking if green poo is normal. Worth every bloody penny.
- There is no such thing as oxy bloody tocin in labour. The end.
- Before having Teddy I always thought I would want my house to be inundated with visitors once he arrived. I had all the biscuit tins ready and the tea bags stacked up. Then labour happened. And when I arrived home five days later I had around 43049373 texts from friends and family asking when they could come over. I had hair that hadn’t been washed/brushed in six days, the same outfit on from six days ago, and hadn’t slept in probably over 100 hours. I turned my phone off, chucked it out the window and slept for a million years. (Just joking, I’m not that popular. And I haven’t been to sleep since hehehehe HELP ME). My point is, don’t be afraid to ask your friends/family for a few days to get your shit together before everyone comes over. You need that quality time to bond with baby, get your sh** together and just take it all in. There will be a queue outside the door whenever YOU are ready.
- Despite you potentially not wanting a herd of people in your house, if your friends or family offer you help… don’t be a martyr… ACCEPT THE HELP. Labour and the newborn days are overwhelming. You deserve all the help you can get. Let people cook you dinners, wash all your pjs, and the 5000 dirty muslins you have accumulated in 24 hours. After being awake for 120 hours in hospital (yep I just worked it out, that’s actually true vom) my mum offered to look after Teddy the first night I got home so I could sleep. But I stupidly had too much pride and thought that as his mum it should be me up with him all night. If only I had bloody known we were going into lockdown and I wouldn’t see my family for ten weeks. I should have swallowed my pride, got a good nights sleep, recovered and excepted the help whilst I could!!!
- Last and forthmost… always trust yourself. Listen to your body and never ever be afraid to speak up for yourself. If you read my birth story you will know exactly what I mean. Sometimes the midwifes speak in statistics (e.g. most girls take 12 hours to dilate), which is great, but every Labour is unique and if you don’t feel like something is right please please speak out. Never be nervous to call for a midwife, or refuse something that doesn’t feel right. You and your baby are the most important things in the world.
Okay WOW. There we have it. You can breathe again.
I honestly can’t thank you all enough for reading my blog and I hope that whoever reads this knows that this has all come straight from the heart, and completely out of my real experience. No formal text book chat or online tutorial. Just silly old me and my ridic o clock labour. There certainly isn’t any instagram filters here- I will always keep it completely real for you all, however much I embarrass myself in the process!!
I honestly walked into labour totally blind, naive and was like a rabbit in head lights. So if someone had told me to except at least half of all of the above I wouldn’t have been totally shell shocked. Remember none of this is anything to be embarrassed about….we ALL go through it. I truly think things like this should be spoken abut more openly so no-one ever feels alone, or feels as shocked as I did. So if this blog can help any of you even to slightly prepare for labour I will be the happiest girl in the whole world! Remember I am always an inbox away if any one needs a chat.
And finally. To anyone going though this or about to go through it, you are a super hero. If I can do it, trust me you can do it ten times over.
Us girls, we rule the world!!!!!!!
Love you lots,