Surprises during labor — The Bump
April 2018 Moms

Surprises during labor

STM and TTM, what surprised you the most about:

- going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled csection)
- the laboring process
- the delivery itself
- recovery

Any tips for getting through any of the above surprises?

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Re: Surprises during labor

  • I was lucky and had a great experience with an epidural, I was surprised at how easy my first delivery was (I realize my experience isn’t everyone’s, I feel very fortunate to have had a great delivery experience).

    What surprised me came afterwards. I was GBS+ and received antibiotics/IV fluids during labor, I was so puffy/swollen afterwards for a long time, 1-2 weeks. Also my OB said that passing large clots would be normal and not to be concerned unless they were larger than a golf ball. Let’s just say I’m  glad she warned me. 
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    lindsyebtm013
  • - going into labor 
    - I always worried I wouldn’t know the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and ‘real’ contractions. Everyone would say “oh don’t worry, you’ll know!” They were right. You WILL KNOW!
    - the drive to the hospital was much more relaxed than I thought it would be.
    - i didn’t realize how annoying water breaking would be. Mine didn’t gush in one shot. It was mini gushes for hours! That was almost worse.

    - the laboring process 
    the amount of blood beforehand. I kept asking if it was normal! It is so don’t worry!
    - the difference in strength between regular contractions and pitocin induced contractions. Hold off if you can on pitocin. It’s a whole other ballgame.
    - how NOT scared I was during the epidural. You are in so much pain, the thought of a needle in your back is preferable if you know the pain will stop shortly thereafter.

    - the delivery itself
    - I ended up needing a cesarean. The doctors, anesthesiologist and nurses were so calm and prepared. It wasn’t an emergency which I’m sure made all the difference but everyone was just so excited for us and were taking bets on if it was a girl or boy (we were team green!) it made the whole process almost fun in a way.

    - recovery
    - the difficulty recovering from a csection. So many people get them and I didn’t realize how major a surgery it really is. I was completely naive. 
    - the blood clots the day after delivery.
    - how weepy I was! I kept my emotions in check throughout the entire pregnancy but hormones are no joke afterwards.
    lindsyeklburke88
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  • going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled csection)
    The induction process wasn't that bad.  Although the night before after I was given cervidil I was in horrible pain it was such a relief to get the epi in the morning
    - the laboring process
    Didn't seem to bad with the epi I wasn't feeling anything and I progressed quite well.  The epi was slowly wearing off by the time I was ready to push and even that pain wasn't bad but I feel it helped with the pushing because I could tell how I was progressing through the pushing.
    Also I relaxed a little to well after the epi so I had to have oxygen through most of the process and during pushing.  
    - the delivery itself
    They are not lying when they say your emotions will come flooding out of you.  It's like as soon as she was out I got hit with so many different feelings relief, happiness, tired, hungry I couldn't stop crying.  It was a very surreal moment.
    - recovery
    I had a 2nd degree tear so I had to have stitches.  Didn't really feel any of that pain until after the epi completely wore off.  It hurt going from a standing to sitting and sitting to standing position.  So I was pretty slow moving plus it helped to be slow moving because when I walked to fast I felt light headed from all the bleeding.  It took a couple of weeks to start to feel back to normal. 

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  • I figured this might be a good place since it has a little bit to do with recovery

    https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/postpartum-depression-may-influenced-give-birth-175926135.html

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  • going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled csection): Contractions don't follow the rules! Mine didn't follow that nice pattern they tell you to watch for. 

    - the laboring process: 
    - I threw up on my nurse. I definitely wasn't expecting that to happen.
    - @btm013 +1 to the epidural not being scary! I got mine at 7cm and they could have put that needle just about anywhere they wanted and I don't think I would have cared. My epidural only really worked on the one side. I was surprised that the epidural didn't take away all the pain, it just made my contractions feel like they did a few hours earlier.
    - it went fairly fast for me. Only about 12 hours from when we got to the hospital and he was born

    - the delivery itself
    - This was the easy part! I had zero self-consciousness about the dozen people who were in the room seeing my lady bits. 
    - @btm013 we were team green too and the nurses and doctors made bets! There was only one person who said he was a boy :)

    - recovery
    - This is the part I was the least prepared for. I did not expect to feel so terrible. I could barely walk for like a week, everyone was teasing me that I looked like a cowboy. I felt like I got shot by a cannonball in the crotch haha. Granted, DS had a 99%tile head so I don't know what all this bs about "shoulders being the hardest part" is. I didn't do steps for 2 weeks.
    - The contractions when you breastfeed are no joke.
    - I didn't stop bleeding for 6+ weeks, and didn't feel recovered until around 8 weeks.

    Any tips for getting through any of the above surprises?
    - Make freezer meals. I did not do this and it's one thing that I am planning on doing this time to make recovery easier
    - Take some of those heating pads, mesh undies, and the freezer pack pads home. The hospital also gave me numbing spray and witch hazel wipe things that were great.
    - Remember lots of people do this more than once so eventually you'll forget all the bad stuff!
    Me (28) + DH (28) = August 2016
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    Dumbgurl04lindsyeekendall09
  • First labor was long, at about 18 hours.  I tried IV pain meds, but that did nothing to touch the pain so I used some breathing techniques to help, but ultimately went the epi route. I ended up pushing for about 15 minutes and luckily the doc caught her because she just flew right out!  I was sore from the tear and stitching, but it wasn't that bad of a recovery. 

    Second labor was QUICK.  2 hours, contractions coming every minute, lasting a full minute.  There was simply no breathing through these....I just moaned and cried until I FINALLY got an epidural, but I was literally 10cm and ready to push at that point.  The only reason I got the epi was because I had group beta strep and they needed to allow me to get the antibiotics through the IV before delivering, so I got a 45 minute rest period before pushing 3 times and delivering.  I also tore the second time and was sore, but recovery was easy.

    No clue what the third time holds for me.....I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.  
    Me: 32 DH: 38 || Married 9.2008 || DD born 12.2009 || DD born 10.2012 || DD #3 due 4.2018

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  • @peppersmith22 that numbing spray was a life saver!!!!  

    Also forgot to add SITZ BATHS!!!!!!  They are best and help sooooooooo much with recovery especially if you had to have stitches.  

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  • Oh wow I can reply now!  Lots of surprises to me.

    going into labor
        I was just on a 24 hr observation at the hospital and my water broke.  That's one thing I had no clue about...like someone else said, it came out in gushes for a while. Definitely annoying!  All I had that day was Braxton Hicks.  No actual contractions, which makes me nervous about this time around because I don't actually know what "going into labor" feels like.  

    - the laboring process
        I was surprised how long it was taking.  I had a painful, 30 hr labor.  I was on oxytocin and I was hurting forever until they gave me an epidural, which had to be overriden 2-3x.

    I never got to walk around like most people do. I was in a bed the entire time.

    - recovery
         I did not expect to get hemorrhoids, but I guess 4 hours of pushing will do that.  2nd degree tear with stitches.   What surprised me was that my V didn't hurt and I never felt the stitches.  It was my bum that bothered me alllllll the time!  

    Swelling worse than pregnancy for a week.

    People coming and pushing on your already bruised stomach every night...very painful to me.

    Bleeding for 5 weeks, got a half week off and got my first PP period, which are pretty heavy the first few times.

    I don't know how people go for walks etc, I was basically in a wheelchair for a week after bc it hurt too much to walk or even be in a car.
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    lindsyepeppersmith22
  • I was actually surprised to learn that quite a large number of people don't have their water break on their own.  Mine did in the middle of the night.

    Also, I was surprised that the epidural helped me to not feel any contractions, but I did feel all the pushing.  I thought the epidural was supposed to eliminate both of those!

    Other than that, labor was pretty much what I expected.  
    lindsyepeppersmith22
  • Lots of great answers, and I don't have a ton to add.
     
    -definitely agree that although I was so worried about the epidural beforehand, I could have cared less when I was getting it each three times. 

    -I went into labor once on my own and was induced the other two times. Honestly, getting induced was much harder (even though my inductions went smoothly) just because there's so much worry and anxiety leading up to it; going into labor on your own there's really no chance to feel much worry and anxiety because you are too busy feeling all the feels of labor.

    -when I hit about 6 or 7 CM each time I gave birth, I started shaking uncontrollably- like teeth chattering, etc. I know now it's my body dealing with transition but my first labor the nurses were afraid I was spiking a fever/had an infection. Totally normal for me.

    -my second baby there was an area where the cord narrowed so my doctor couldn't use the cord to remove the placenta and had to remove it manually. I had no idea this was even possibly a thing, but thank goodness I had an epidural because even with one it wasn't like  :#
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    peppersmith22Dumbgurl04BarefootContessa
  • I was going to comment on the other labor thread but if you are petite your contractions may read stronger than they are. If this happens, they stick a monitor up your vagina into your uterus.  It was pretty uncomfortable and just strange.  
    I was the 10% whose water broke without being in active labor, so I had to get pitocin.  
    You may throw up during labor ( it was the only time I threw up in my first pregnancy). 
    peppersmith22
  • @lindsye I totally forgot about the shaking. I didn't shake until after I gave birth, it was so uncontrollable. I think that was my biggest surprise.

    lindsyebtm013atreestump86
  • You ladies covered a lot of what I was surprised by, just wanted to add a couple:

    -The uncontrollable shaking after the epidural! It was like intense, all over body shivers but I didn't feel cold. The nurses did give me some warm blankets which helped a ton.

    -When it was time to push, I knew immediately. The urge to push was extremely strong and I felt a sense of relief while pushing. It felt good. 

    -I was totally unprepared for how painful engorged breasts would be. I did not breastfeed with my first and the pain from my breasts was awful. 

    Me: 29 DH: 35

    Married 5/3/14, TTC ever since

    DX: Lean PCOS, Clomid resistant

    Femara 7.5 + Ovidrel = BFP! Due 4/15/18

    Dumbgurl04danjoly
  • @rklinge0 I was in the same boat.  Water broke, but not in active labor.  My labor stalled out and I had to have pitocin as well.
    rklinge0atreestump86

  • going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled csection)
    definitely knew when labor was real, but surprised at how long it took to really get going. 
    - the laboring process
    -once my water broke I broke down and asked for the epidural around 7cm.  I was most surprised that whatever drink they gave me prior to them sticking me in the back made me throw up immediately
    -that I still felt most of my contractions following the epi except of course when I went to push-I couldn't even feel my legs at that point but I had a sore arm from gripping the rail of the bed to work through contractions even after the epi leading up to pushing

    - the delivery itself
    --how long two doctors could stay down under following the baby coming out to stitch me up (it seriously felt like an hour)
    - recovery
    -how much blood came out post delivery
    -how long I bled the following 6+ weeks (i think I finally stopped completely around 7-8 weeks post)
    -how long each poop took post delivery, I swear I sat on the toilet just hoping not to rip anything open for an hour just to get a poop out
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    lindsyeirenejeanklburke88peppersmith22
  • @mispanda I was a bad patient who knew how to unhook myself so I could go to the bathroom and get to stuff around the room. They yelled at me but I didn't care. 
    stalkinghorse
  • rmmorrisrmmorris member
    edited October 2017
    -going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled c-section)
    My induction was scheduled for Saturday evening, but I guess my OB had another patient go in on Friday evening so he called me and asked if I could come in the next 30 minutes for my induction. I was totally not expecting it and we had an I Love Lucy-esque  scramble and rush to the hospital.

    - the laboring process
    I was surprised that getting checked and having my water broken was incredibly painful during labor.

    - the delivery itself
    I knew going in that you’ll know it’s time to push when you feel like you have to poop, but it still surprised me. I had just been checked and was only 6cm, but I thought I needed to use the restroom. I buzzed the nurse and embarrassingly asked what I should do if I need to poop and she rushed in. She checked me again I was fully dilated (it had been maybe 15 since the last check at 6cm).

    - recovery
    This was the worst part for me. I was more comfortable at 41 weeks pregnant than I was 1 week post partum. I felt so winded, my ribs were sore and achy, my hip seemed so wide. I was very weepy for about two weeks. I was expecting to be uncomfortable but nothing like it was.  
    peppersmith22
  • @rmmorris my water broke twice on its own (after I was in active labor) and was broken once. When the doctor broke my water, it was quite painful! After that experience I want to get an epidural first before my water is broken (if necessary).
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  • going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled csection)
    That I could go 10 days past my due date. Of course I knew, intellectually, that I could go to 42 weeks but emotionally my due date came and I was like, great, here we go.... Going that late was really hard on my mental state. Once my contractions actually started I was SO happy and excited.
    - the laboring process
    That I would prefer to lay still on my side almost the whole time. I had taken a child birth class and thought I would want to move around, use the yoga ball, get in the bath, etc. Nope. I wanted to be still on my side with nobody talking to me or touching me so I could focus on each contraction and my hypnosis tapes.
    That I would throw up so much, starting pretty early on.
    - the delivery itself
    My birth got kind of crazy so the whole delivery was surprising. I went from 2 to 10 cm very fast at home and realized I needed to push at home - 40 mins from the hospital in rush hour traffic. I was just happy to make it there in time. Once we got there, I was surprised that they offered no coaching or counting or anything - my MW just said "push your baby out" and I did. It went really fast. I also thought I would be pushing as hard as possible, but I was actually holding back because I was afraid of tearing. I was able to go slowly enough and ended up with no stitches. I hope to god I can do that again.
    - recovery
    Even with no epidural I got the shakes pretty bad post-labor too. I was not prepared for the size of clots that come out! Or how painful the freaking fundal "massage" is. Worse than pushing!
  • Question for the moms who have been through labor more than once.  Did your 2nd come out earlier or later your first?  Like I mean by number of weeks.  I have heard that 2nd babies usually come a bit earlier, but I know that isn't always the case.
  • Not for me, @sparklingdiamond:/ First came at exactly 41 weeks, was induced with #2 for medical reasons at 40 weeks, induced for dates with baby #3 at 41 weeks even. All were very well developed and healthy, though, so no (serious) complaints!
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    sparklingdiamond
  • @sparklingdiamond nope, not here either. I went into labor at 40+5 with my first, then was induced for medical reasons at 40+5 with my second as labor was clearly not imminent. 
    sparklingdiamondstalkinghorse
  • My first came naturally at 39w2d, so I was just wondering what my chances were of this one coming earlier or later.  Guess it just depends!
    lindsye
  • going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled csection)
    How different hospital policies can be. With my first my water broke before labor and they made it sound like if I wasn’t there in an hour they were sending an ambulance after me.  
    With my second they flat it said if my water breaks but no labor feel free to stay home up to 24 hours but if I wasn’t having contractions after I 12 hours to come in. 
    - the laboring process
    how boring laboring in the hospital is. Labor went much faster the second time at home with lots of things to keep me distracted. 
    That epidurals can fail. I totally wasn’t prepared for that and not being able to move around 
    How painful laboring on your back is!
    - the delivery itself
    how much better it feels once the head is out!  
    - recovery
    how empty and lonely it felt without the baby moving inside me. I felt incomplete, it was eerie. 
    peppersmith22
  • A lot of what surprised me was already said so I'll just add a piece about post-delivery/recovery: bonding w your baby may not happen immediately. I felt strangely disconnected after i gave birth both times. Almost like it wasn't real. Anyway, those feelings will come.  :)
    Proud mama-llama of 2

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    danjolylindsyepetethecatBarefootContessa
  • @beach_mama yes!!! All I had heard/read was oh the love at first sight. I was more "omg who are you!?!" It took time to really feel the unconditional love. 

    I forgot one thing in the PP "surprises" the baby blues that comes on day 4-5. Not talking PPD but the random uncontrollable crying that last 24h. I'm not one who cry a lot usually so I was like wtf is going on!!
    beach_mamarmmorrispeppersmith22
  • - going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled csection)
    • I agree with the others- you'll know when the contractions are real. However, I, too, took a long time to figure it out. There I was sitting in my husband's t shirt eating a baconator, feeling sorry for myself while he was at a colleague's wedding (that I had refused to go to because I was a whale). I thought I had gas pains, it took an hour or so to realize they were timeable!
    • I was intrigued by how my instincts took over. Labor started for me at 8pm. I swayed and walked and took about 97 showers before heading to the hospital at 4am. It wasn't anything I did intentionally, I just let my body take over and do the "talking".
    • Also, this is going to make DH look like a real jerk, but don't always expect rely so heavily on your SO/DH for support. As I said, DH had gone to a wedding and was tired, so he kept telling me to try to go back to sleep and get some rest (while he dozed). In his defense, our birth class had told us early labor could last up to 36 hours so I don't think he really knew how serious I was about the pain.
    - the laboring process
    • Just as every pregnancy is different, every labor is different too. I was expecting so much the same and with my second I was induced. It was rather "dull" compared to going into labor spontaneously.
    • Both times I went in with the goal of no drugs. I caved both times. I can remember saying both times after the epidural, that was the best decision I could have made. I felt like I was present again for the process, felt in control (though that was definitely a farce), and was able to enjoy the experience. I had decided to get the epi with DS (#1) because I started vomiting from the pain, and with DD (#2), I was on all fours braying like a beast with no end in sight. Pitocin is NO JOKE.
    - the delivery itself
    • Pure magic. I can remember when they lifted DS up and handed him to me I shouted "This is the most surreal thing I've ever done!" I didn't expect the rush of intense emotions all at once.
    - recovery
    • With DS, they cut me, so I was not expecting the kind of recovery I had. It was rough. I could barely walk, had to sit on a donut. And if we're being honest- I had epic hemorrhoids. DH really made up for being a cruddy labor coach by taking excellent care of me post partum.
    • I was shocked about how emotional those first few weeks are. I can remember feeling seething anger, sadness, and such gratefulness all within a five minute period. It's a wild ride.
    • With my second, those uterine contractions after having the baby are NO JOKE. The nurse told me they get stronger/more painful with each birth. It literally felt like labor all over again. I dread those this time.

    Any tips for getting through any of the above surprises?

    Keep an open mind. It's a wild ride.

    Married: 11/2011
    DS-9/2012
    DD-7/2015
    Sweet Angel Boy born too soon 12/17/17
    EDD-4/2019

    lindsyepeppersmith22
  • Oh! And the sweating after delivery. Your body is trying to get rid of fluid. I had no idea I would be wet with sweat and shivering!

    Married: 11/2011
    DS-9/2012
    DD-7/2015
    Sweet Angel Boy born too soon 12/17/17
    EDD-4/2019

    danjoly
  • A lot of what surprised me was already said so I'll just add a piece about post-delivery/recovery: bonding w your baby may not happen immediately. I felt strangely disconnected after i gave birth both times. Almost like it wasn't real. Anyway, those feelings will come.  :)
    Yes very true. I immediately was bonded to my son. My relationship with DD was completely different. I took care of her because I needed to, but I didn't feel that special connection for months. I still took tons of photos and gushed on her, all while feeling a fraud, but I'm so glad I did. When I look at those photos now I feel nothing but deep love.

    Married: 11/2011
    DS-9/2012
    DD-7/2015
    Sweet Angel Boy born too soon 12/17/17
    EDD-4/2019

    beach_mamahedgepigatreestump86
  • going into labor (or the process of induction or scheduled Csection)
    So I have never actually gone into labor. I was induced with my first because I was 37 weeks, and my OB said “if you blood pressure is anywhere *near* this high at your next appointment, I am sending you straight to the hospital. No joke, have your bag packed”. And it was super high, and he did. 
    For my second, it was a scheduled C-section, because of some of the bladder damage that’s had happened during my vaginal delivery with my daughter. We didn’t want to make the damage worse, so he was a c-section. It was earlier than I had expected though because of preeclampsia.
    - the laboring process
    With my daughter, I knew my own pain tolerance and it is not high. So I got an epidural pretty much right away. I never really felt a whole lot of pain, and the labor was easy with only a few stitches afterward. 

    HOWEVER, I didn’t get off Scott free. When I got the epidural, they put in a catheter. They didn’t deflate the balloon in the catheter while I was pushing, and I ended up pushing the balloon out with the baby. My bladder never recovered. I have since had two bladder surgeries and I will likely wear a pad for the rest of my life. I leak constantly.

    - recovery
    I did NOT know that much stuff would just “fall” out of my body after my first. I stood up and it just kept coming. It was like peeing myself but I wasn’t! 
    atreestump86
  • @mikkimikey you aren't kidding about all the stuff you lose!

    You know, that surprised me about during the delivery too.  After my water broke, I was like "Cool, that grossness is done".  Nope, your amniotic sack constantly tries to refresh itself, even after you break it. I would stand up and have another gush like once every hour and a half.  So frickin gross.
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