The Truth about . . . Labor

Two weeks later, my doctor had to go in and all but pull the baby out of me. Clearly comfortable and seeing no desire to switch residence, my son had to be induced into being born. And by induced, I mean my doctor had to break my water with some tool that looked like a fireplace stoker. I spent the next 12-hours getting a steady drip of Pitocin. None of this was in the plan.

Since kid #1 was two weeks late, I figured his younger sibling would be tardy as well. By Baby #2’s due date, I still hadn’t bought one single thing for the baby. This was a very bad idea since Baby #2 wasn’t terribly interested in my birth plan either.  Seeing my due date as merely a suggestion, #2 arrived two weeks early. On the way to the hospital, I stopped for diapers and onesies since I hadn’t bought either.

This brings us to the first thing you need to know about labor: birth plans are B.S. Babies come when and how they want to and don’t really care that Mom wants Dave Matthews playing in the background and Dad prefers the baby arrive mid-day because the light will be best for the video.

Labor is like sex, you don’t really know what it’s like until you’re in it. And no one can really prepare you for it in advance.  But there are some things that are true about labor and some things that are purely myths.  Is there such a thing as childbirth-induced orgasms?  Can your vagenius really tear when the baby makes its debut?  Who’s in the delivery room? Are there such things as water births? And WTF is up with water births?

So here’s what’s true about labor. You’re welcome.

1) Labor Isn’t “When Harry Met Sally.” You won’t have an orgasm. Yes, some women do report a euphoric feeling similar to an orgasm when in labor.  Some experts think the body releases this sensation to mask the pain of childbirth.  But the truth is, what most women will feel while in labor is pain. So there’s no need to say, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Unless what “she’s” having is a baby.

2) Don’t Ask And The Hubs Won’t Tell. You May Poop On The Table. Sadly friends, during labor a baby isn’t the only thing that comes out of a lady’s body. There’s’ also..shall we say…human waste that sometimes escapes due to all the pushing and lack of body sensation and pain and stuff.  It’s best to make a deal with the hubs ahead of time that involves him never ever telling you the truth. You may have had a baby, but you also had an accident. Some things are better left unsaid.

3) Strangers Will See Your Vagenius. Labor is not the time to be shy. That’s because you will find everyone but the UPS Man is in the room during your labor. You’ll be in the stirrups, but your lady biz will be on full display. Don’t worry, your vagenius may be special to you but it’s just one of many that intern, resident, doctor, nurse or UPS Man has seen that day.

4) You Can’t Feel Your Legs. If you’re like me, you’ll go into labor thinking you can get through it without an epidural. Ten seconds in to your first contraction (or hang nail) you’ll be begging for drugs.  And while the epidoral will help you not to feel your contractions, it’ll also make it so you can’t feel your legs. 

5) Unless You’re In An Episode Of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Labor Isn’t That Dramatic. Sure, it’d be nice of McDreamy was your doctor, but life isn’t a Shonda Rhimes show and your baby will not be born to a Coldplay soundtrack. This also means that you will probably (and ideally) never hear the words, “Intubate!”, “STAT!”, “She’s crashing!” or, “Wait a second, she’s having twins!” Your labor won’t be that dramatic. In fact, it’ll be kinda boring. So bring an iPad. You may have hours to catch up on those episodes you missed of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

6) Babies Don’t Really Care If They’re Born In Water. Proponents of water births believe that labor is more relaxing in water. Some even believe babies should be born in water since they are coming from a womb of water. They may be right. Who knows? Your baby won’t be able to talk at birth. So he or she won’t be able to say if he liked the pool or has had enough of swimming all day.

7) Everyone Who Comes To Visit Will Annoy You. We all have this image of Grandma and Grandpa and 57 siblings, cousins and friends standing outside the delivery room waiting to hear if it’s a boy or girl. WIthin moments of that baby’s arrival, they’ll come running in with pink or blue cigars, champagne, and gifts galore. This would be lovely if childbirth came with a conga line. But it doesn’t. It comes with hormones, sore lady parts and a baby, whose too young to smoke that pink or blue cigar.

8) You’ll Pose For A “Is That Her Boob?” Photo. You’ve seen countless post-birth photos with the Mom in the world’s ugliest hospital gown holding her baby uncomfortably close to her nearly exposed breast. Up until now, you’ve sworn you’d never let the hubs take a photo like that of you. And you certainly wouldn’t let him post it. But here you are, ten minutes into being a Mom and all you can do is smiles and say, “Cheeeese!”

9) You’ll Swear Your Baby Is The Best Looking Baby Ever Born. And he or she will be.  To you. Which is all that matters. So even though you may crap on the table or have an unwanted party in your hospital room, you’ll also get the cutest, sweetest baby ever for. Really, ever!

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