Things They Didn't Tell Me About Having a Baby

labor and delivery

When I had my son Noah, there were several surprises that no one warned me about that I would have felt much more comfortable knowing ahead of time. For example, no one told me that when I got home with my new baby and looked in the mirror, I would look almost as pregnant as I did with the baby inside of my belly. I thought for sure something was wrong. I had read that nursing my baby would shrink my uterus, but I never gave it much thought. I didn’t realize just how much actual space my uterus was taking up inside of me.

No one told me that if I had an IV, my face and hands would swell up and I would look far more chubby during the first day or so after delivery than I did before delivery.

No one told me that after birth pains would hurt so much. No one told me that they would hurt more with each subsequent child either.

No one told me that my afterbirth bleeding would look like a murder scene. No one explained that sometimes it pools around in a woman’s uterus until she moves just the right way, resulting in a massive gush of blood all over the floor. No one told me to buy some Depends.

No one told me that they wouldn’t let me go home from the hospital until after I pooped, had they, I would have been eating more fiber and drinking more water when I could see labor was near.

No one told me that I wouldn’t be able to pee without using a sitz bath to sooth the burning of urine passing over my perinea tear. No one told me that to attempt to pee without my sitz bath would result in agonizing pain.

No one told me that cloth pads would be so much softer on my traumatized area than disposable pads. I never even thought to think about it.

No one told me that I wouldn’t be able to sit right for a few days after delivery. No one warned me I should buy one of those donut shaped tush cushions for the car ride home if I didn’t want to have to sit on my hands.

No one mentioned that there would be people taking pictures of me right after the baby was born. Had they, I would have been more careful to remember my good shampoo, my cute jammies and my make-up. It never occurred to me. I knew there’d be pictures of my baby, but now, for all eternity, there are pictures of me looking my very worst on one of my very happiest days ever.

No one showed me the circumcision video. No one explained what was actually going to happen to my son when they whisked him away in the middle of the night.

No one told me to bring extra hair ties to my labor. No one explained that one second I would need one and the next, I would throw it away from my body in a fit of irritation, only to want it back a couple of seconds later.

No one told me I could tell visitors they couldn’t come and talk to me during labor. No one asked me my preferences.

No one ever explained I didn’t have to push until I felt the urge. No one explained that the urge would be so overwhelming I could not miss it, and no one warned me the trauma pushing before that time would inflict on my vagina.

No one told me not to look at the clock. No one explained that looking at a clock flips a switch in women’s brains that makes their labor not progress.

No one told me that if I delivered my baby at a hospital, I could and should order my breakfast a head of time because if I didn’t, Dietary wouldn’t interrupt my delivery to ask my preferences; they would just send me Canadian bacon, coffee and boxed cereal with whole milk. (Only the healthiest foods for a new mom! )

What did no one tell you?

Come on ladies, let’s help these newbies out. Let’s make their deliveries be filled with fewer surprises.

What did no one tell you?

18 Comments

  1. No one told me that my legs would be strapped to a bed with compression cuffs on them for 24 hours and that if I got 5 minutes of sleep at a time I’d be lucky.

    No one told me that they were going to give me morphine in my spinal for my scheduled c-section.

    No one told me that no matter how much I wanted something and spoke up about it, without an advocate of some sort (like a doula), my wishes would be undermined by my doctor.

    No one told me that going pee would take real effort the first day or so after removing the catheter.

    No one told me how good it would feel to not pee every 5 minutes without a baby pressing on the bladder.

    No one told me how much going poo would hurt.

    No one told me that I would still think the baby was moving in me when I had gas bubbles.

    No one told me that the uterine cramping would hurt so much worse than the labor pains.

    No one told me how uncomfortable the hospital bed would be.

  2. Mandy

    No one told me that just because I had the baby that it meant I could wear my cute underwear again…just days following delivery. Well, my cute underwear didn’t fit, nor are they cute anymore! Buy cheap undies that you don’t intend on keeping… in black!

  3. Sara Smith

    No one told me to bring a little fish tank net, and a rubber tub mat for my tub labor. (HILLARIOUS to slip mid contraction as a whale of a prenant lady, thank you mom for fishing me out before I slipped under water!)

    No one told me babies can obliterate your tailbone.

    No one told me to clean the car out before so the nurses didn’t see all my CRAP!

    No one told me how great a birthing ball was for my 1st delivery, HEAVEN during my second!

    HOWEVER, I was prepared to not poo during delivery. (Thanks Liz!) Also, that in said sitz bath, a nice herbal concoction makes it heal faster!

  4. Zinnia Dwyer

    No one told me my husband would have sympathy labor along w/me and I’d be the one helping him in the car to get to the hospital!

    No one told me how heavy carseat carriers+babies were

    no one told me how important it was to get your legs moving after c-section in the recovery area order to see your baby

    no one told me how hungry you get from nursing! I would cry thinking I would never lose the weight at the rate i was eating…

    no one told me how much food affected your babies’ colic or else i would have been eating white rice all along lol

    and NO ONE TOLD ME how much yellow mustard like substance a breastfed baby could dispose of out of their rear end!

  5. Elisebeth

    No one told me….EVERYTHING Dawn said…..and

    I WAS told by my lamaze teacher that birth is not as painful as the media portrays it and that no one screams and cries. I believe with my first son that I scared the other mommies….

    No one told me that my private parts would be on public display.

    No one told me that once I had dilated up I could dilate down again.

    No one told me that I would be hyper sensitive to smells and sounds.

    No one told me that “feeling like I had to poop” meant the baby was comming.

    No one told me that my placenta might not break on its own and it would have to be done for me.

    No one told me that once I started to push I might have to stop in the middle of birth to save my son’s life.

    No one told me that he wouldn’t be able to stay with me thru the night and that the nurses would feed him.

    No one told me that my legs would shake and tremor uncontrollably for hours.

    No one told me I would have to wear a pad the size of texas with a belt.

    No one told me that after I gave birth I wouldn’t be able to stand without feeling like I had the weight of a bowling ball hanging from my nether regions.

    No one told me that my child might not like nursing.

    No one told me how much letting my milk dry up would hurt.

    and last but not least……..

    No one told me that 2 week old boys can get a stiff one !! Imagine my shock and suprise!!

  6. Keico

    No one told me that even though I had a c-section, I’d still be bleeding from my nether regions for weeks on end.

    No one told me that my baby just might not want to come out.

    No one told me that I would grow to love those mesh panties and that when my supply from the hospital ran out that I would send my husband on a wild goose chase all over town looking for more.

    No one told me the I.V. would hurt more then the actual labor pains

    No one told me that they actually remove uterus in order to get the baby out during a c-section.

    No one told me that they remove alot of other stuff during a c-section either.

    No one told me that when they put the previously mentioned stuff back that there isn’t a designated place for each thing. They just dump it all back in, like they’re sweeping a bunch of junk into a kitchen drawer.

    No one told me that nurses would be pushing pharmaceuticals on me like some back alley drug dealers.

  7. Christina

    No one told me that I could choose to birth my baby at home…
    I could choose my favorite smelly candles, my most soothing music and even enjoy a glass of wine as I labored in my hot tub.

    No one told me I could have a whole team of professionals at my beck and call, who had MY best interests at heart, with no worries about malpractice suits, whether or not I filmed the experience, who I chose to allow in my birthing room and how old they were, and what the rest of the legal team’s “rules” were.

    No one told me that my baby wouldn’t be whisked away by strangers who would poke her with needles and perform unnamed tests in cold aniseptic rooms.

    No one told me of the incredible and empowering bond I would feel, being totally at one with my family and my new baby princess in the comfort of my own bed.

    And no one told me about the amazing morphine-like feeling of nursing. : )

  8. HelenS

    No one told me that the hospital wouldn’t really enforce visiting hours and my mom didn’t have enough common sense to leave or stop talking at any time so that I could nap.

    No one told me that while I let my BFF walk the baby around for a few minutes, a volunteer would try to perform a hearing screening on her without me present, without my permission, and would try to give my already-not-bfing-well newborn a pacifier and then the hospital would refuse to do anything about it because she’s just a volunteer.

    No one told me that women with PCOS only have 1 in 3 chance of having a normal milk supply until AFTER my baby was already starving. 🙁

    No one told me how much I could pee all at once in the first few days after child birth- 48 ounces in one trip to the potty!

    No one told me that it was actually possible to be allergic to the stitches used in my c-section incision.

    No one told me that even hospital food would taste soooooooo good after 9 months of queasiness was finally over.

    No one told me about the extremely unlikely possiblity of having a true knot in the umbilical cord until my baby was born with one. That was when I knew that my scheduled c-section had saved her life and it was all worth it!

  9. Rachel

    I just found this blog and was avidly reading the posts…As a 32-week pregnant first-time mom, though, I have to say that this one rubbed me the wrong way. I think it’s great to help first-time moms get an idea of what to expect, to hear what could possibly go wrong, so that they can take steps to avoid it. Many of the things Dawn mentioned were helpful to hear because she illustrated ways other moms could be better prepared.

    Rereading Dawn’s post, it actually is OK most of the time in how she contextualizes things. But some of the comments have crossed the line into sharing those all-too-familiar birth horror stories that just scare and don’t help first-timers–even people like me who are not really nervous or scared at all.

    It’s one thing to say “I wish I had known…BECAUSE I would have done X differently, coped differently, etc.” It’s another thing to say “I wish I had known X was going to happen to me [because it really totally sucked–and it probably will for you, too].”

    We all hear enough birth horror stories, and we all know that horror stories alone don’t help, and usually hurt, making it more difficult for moms to even consider natural childbirth. So why do we keep telling them?

    • dawn

      Can you share with me specifically what you wish I would have kept to myself? I was trying really hard not to just complain, but rather prepare people so they are not as scared or disturbed as I was when it happened. I will gladly remove something that I wrote that was not productive.

  10. pveil00@gmail.com

    When I had my baby, I experienced things that I had no idea were possible. Much of those things you have listed. The weeks following the birth, I looked back on it as somewhat traumatic (because of my ignorance). I believe that women should discuss things more openly. It would have benefited me to be prepared.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It was/is healing to see that I was/am most definitely not the only one. We ALL go through it.

    (On a side note, I have heard that constipation is a result of the epidural. I did not have one. I was the opposite of constipated! No one told me that neither sphincter would work, and I would have to “run” to the bathroom to save myself.)

    And please don’t remove anything from your post.

  11. Kristen

    No one told me there was a possibility my baby would not be going home from the hospital with me. No one ever mentioned stillbirths or other complications that could happen. I was sent home from the hospital with no baby, only a cardboard box of his things…

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