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I am the proud mama to three little ones…. but each pregnancy, labor, and delivery, has been very different!
I guess that is good for memories sake, and boy do I have some stories! But when I reflect back on everything, I have realized these 4 things:
- Every birth is completely unique – My husband and I are the pair that conceived each of our children. We delivered at the exact same hospital for all three deliveries. And yet, each of our three deliveries, were extremely different!
With my first pregnancy I had developed gestational diabetes, and had the worst labor experience! After over a month of inconsistent and painful contractions, several false labor starts, I finally went into full force labor. Over 15+ hours of relentless pain, and contractions that barely gave me a full minute in between to catch my breath. The actual delivery itself was also pure chaos as our little princess entered the world completely blue and unresponsive, with dozens of medical personnel running around us.
I have had three truly terrifying moments in my life, and this was one of them. Thankfully it eventually took a positive turn, and our baby girl was eventually handed to me. I truly feel she was a miracle and placed on this earth for a very special reason. And eight years later, she continues to bring so much joy and amazement to our family!
Our second child came into this world after a difficult pregnancy, but a smooth labor and delivery.
However, he ended up spending months on medications, and spent days filled with doctor appointments. By his first birthday we were making progress, but he has been through a lot! He is our little stud that has already conquered more than most other 5-year-olds, and he is the one that challenges me to be a better mother. This son of ours has taught us more about life in the past couple of years, and pushes me everyday to want to be a better person.
And then there is our last. I arrived at the hospital for an induction only to find out I was already in labor and dilated. After progress, stand-stills, and repeats, I finally delivered my baby when no doctor was expecting or ready…. truly eventful! Four years later he keeps us laughing and always guessing what will happen next. He was the perfect addition to our family, and nicely rounded out our family of five 🙂
What I have learned from all of this is that you can do your research, you can poll your earlier generation ladies for their stories, you can check family genetics, statistics, watch hours of birth stories, and soak up as much information as possible, but when it comes down to it – Each and Every time, it will be different.
2. Leave your expectations at the door – While pregnant with our first child, I had planned out in my mind how I wanted the entire labor and delivery process to go.
However, when you are in the moment, and you are watching your little one’s heart rate drop on the monitor, all plans go out the window. My only thought and focus became delivering a healthy baby! When she entered the world not making a single sound, all I wanted was for her to be alive. Thankfully she was, but we were only moments away from having a different outcome.
In this case I think expectations are best kept low. Go into it all with an open mind, and keep your focus on just delivering your baby. However that happens, whatever needs to happen in between, please do not stress or get sidetracked. Keep the focus on your baby and the rest will play out the way it needs to. Either way, you will be delivering your baby in way or another, and you will be delivering…..eventually. But remember that at the end of this, the most important thing is that you have a baby to take home with you. And a bonus is if they are healthy.
3. Trust your instincts – a mother’s intuition is something not to be ignored.
While pregnant with my daughter, I had a strong feeling that the umbilical cord was around her neck. I brought this up at every single doctor appointment, and yet they always dismissed it. I was terrified to give birth, and often begged for a c-section. I even tried to find another doctor that would give me an elected c-section, but no one in my area would. Turns out, the cord was around her neck and literally almost hung her. My instincts were real. They were accurate. And time and time again, my instincts have been proven to be right.
The interesting thing was each of my boys were also born with the cords (more loosely) around their necks. But it never was a problem, and I never was concerned during my pregnancies. You would think after our first experience that I would have been terrified to deliver again, but I wasn’t. I had such peace that they were going to be born without the same complications, and again I was right.
4. Every AFTER delivery experience is completely unique – No one seems to discuss the after delivery part. Maybe because there is not much nice to say about it, or maybe because looking back those moments become a bit hazy. Either way, I learned that just as every delivery can be so incredibly different, after the delivery can be just as unique.
After delivering our first, I could barely move. I had to be assisted every time I needed to get out of bed. For three days I needed help for everything! I could not get up to use the bathroom, I could not get up to change our baby’s diaper, and I definitely could not get up to go for any strolls around the hospital. For three days I literally laid in bed. Thankfully I have an incredible husband, and had a very responsive nurse on the other end of my call button. But I was helplessly limited by immense pain, stitches, and physical limitations for weeks.
However, after both of my boys, I was much better. The second delivery took me a couple of days to heal, but within a week I was at my daughter’s preschool orientation.
After my third delivery, I was up and walking within a couple of hours. I felt like I had barely given birth! Had that been my only experience, I would never believe the stories that woman tell – the kind like my first delivery…….
From all of this my advice is this: do your research, know your options, but keep your expectations and plans in check. Also, no matter your experience, remember to have compassion for the other moms out there! They will not all be as lucky as you. They will not all have smooth natural deliveries with healthy babies, beautiful photographs, and their pre-pregnancy jeans on when leaving the hospital, so please be kind!
Labor and Delivery is truly an incredible achievement, no matter how it happens!
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