It’s been just three weeks since I gave birth to our second daughter.
You might say I’m living in a bit of a haze.
An interrupted sleeping pattern at night and an energetic toddler will do that to you.
But even through the haze I can still remember a lot about my latest labour and birthing experience, as quick as it all was.
Don’t hate me but yes, I’m one of those “lucky” women who has gone through a fairly quick labour and birth, not once but twice.
Looking back on both my experiences it made me start thinking about all the things no one tells you about giving birth.
-So you’ve spent the better part of nine months going to all your appointments, attending classes, reading books, scouring the internet and listening to everyone’s advice.
You can go into it feeling armed with all the information in the world and promptly forget a big chunk of it as soon as you feel the first pull of pain across your belly.
Let’s face it, they don’t call it labour because it’s a walk in the park, far from it.
-Check your modesty at the door otherwise don't bother having a baby
You will spend a lot of time naked and constantly being poked and prodded by medical professionals and honestly up until and after you have a baby you just don’t care.
-Everyone has a different experience
No two labours are the same! It can be easy for some women (me, haha!) and absolute hell for others, always expect the unexpected when it comes to labour and giving birth.
If you thought you left the spew bucket back at the end of the first trimester, think again!
Labour is quite an intense process and puts a lot of strain on your body, so don’t go eating a ten-course meal in the early stages of labour, it’s highly likely you’ll see it come up again.
-Babies don’t come out looking perfect
You are not from Hollywood and this is not a movie. Babies can come out looking a bit different to what you expected. They will be covered in blood, a white substance called vernix, some will have a thin layer of hair over their bodies and others will even have odd shaped heads if assistance is required during delivery.
Rest assured all this doesn’t last forever!
-Hormones can be wonderful
They’re not kidding when they say it usually doesn’t take long to forget about the pain (unless you've had a particularly dramatic and/or traumatic birth) and consider the prospect of doing it all again.
After you have delivered your adorable offspring, your body is kind enough to release some feel good hormones and for a split second you even think you can run a marathon!
For some women their birth plans are guidelines they follow perfectly but don’t be surprised if your plan doesn’t come to fruition.
Babies have their own agenda and may not like your ideas so be prepared to forget about your soft music and dimmed lights and just go with the flow.
-You may still look pregnant for months afterwards
The growth of your belly over nine months will cause big changes to your muscles particularly in the abdominal region. Many women will experience muscle separation and it’s likely to take months if not years of hard work to recover properly.
So prepare yourself for the mummy belly and no matter what keep doing your pelvic floor exercises.
-Bleeding can and will last for weeks
It’s blissful to not have a period for a whole nine months!
But all that changes once you have that baby. Maternity pads will become your friends, possibly for several weeks and prepare to hold yourself if you sneeze or cough!
It’s a complicated process and not easy for everyone!
You can read all the books in the world and still have no idea what to do. Midwives are amazing people and will help you through the early difficult stages and yes they will all see your breasts so don’t be afraid to have the girls out at all times.
-Emotions run high
It’s not just you as the expectant mum that gets a bit teary over the birth of your child, men can and do cry in the delivery room especially after watching their partner go through an extremely painful experience.
No matter what you have been through, once you hold your baby for the first time, you will more than likely be filled with a love you never knew existed and would do it all over again in a split second.