Surprises When Delivering a Baby
Most women research their childbirth options. They know about making a birth plan, should they want to do so; they know about hiring a doula and about the basics of delivery. There are many other events that can occur during delivery, however. Many of these are not discussed. It is important to be as informed as possible before going into your delivery so that you will be prepared for what might happen. Here is a discussion of delivery issues that people don't like to discuss.
Surprises Before Delivery
There are a number of things that might surprise you during labor. First of all, you may go into your delivery assuming that you'll have an epidural. If you've progressed quickly, however, you may be too far along by the time the anesthesiologist arrives. It's important to understand this and to be prepared for the off-chance that you end up delivering with no medication, even when you fully intended to take something. While you are in labor, you may be surprised by how you react to pain. Many women find that they need the room to be quiet. They don't want the nurse asking them a lot of questions and they don't want idle chit chat. A friend of mine was shocked when a medical clown came into her delivery room while she was in labor. While the clown was trying to entertain her, she almost bit off his head. You don't know what you'll need until you are in labor; once you know what you want, however, make your wishes known and make your partner or doula be in charge of carrying out your needs.
Surprises During Delivery
Another problem that people rarely discuss is bowel movements during delivery. When the doctor tells you to push, you're asked to use the same muscles that you use for a bowel movement. Doctors used to prescribe enemas before childbirth to avoid this situation, but there is no evidence that it's necessary, and doctors rarely do this anymore. You can certainly try to avoid this situation by keeping up with your fluids and fiber intake during the end of your pregnancy and by going to the bathroom while you are in labor. If this does happen, however, don't sweat it. Doctors see everything, and they are not surprised by this, or by most other things during delivery.
Surprises After Delivery
While you should try to nurse right after delivery, don't be surprised if the baby is not interested. If the baby has medicine in his system from the medicine that you took, he may be quite sleepy. He may not really latch on for a number of hours. This is alright! While you'll want to hold the baby immediately after delivery, if this is possible, and put him to the breast, he may not suck or take anything. Don't get discouraged. Also, it's important to know that you aren't finished once the baby is delivered. You will also need to deliver the placenta. Obviously, this doesn't hurt as much as delivering the baby, but it does take a bit of time and pushing for the placenta to come out. You will have to interrupt your time with the baby in order to do this, and the doctor will then check that the entire placenta has come out. They will also check to see if you've torn and if you need to be stitched up. Finally, you may find yourself having the chills after delivering, or you may find yourself switching from being cold to being hot quickly. Your body has just been through a major event, and it's important to give yourself time to calm down and to regulate your system. Have some warm tea or water, stay in the bed until the doctors tell you that you can get up and relax.
Every delivery is different and every woman will experience things in her own way. Be prepared that everything may not go exactly as you've planned when you deliver. The more flexible that you can be, and the more that you can adapt, the easier the experience will be for you and your partner. Good luck and get ready to welcome a wonderful new person into the world!