Like every pregnancy, every labor and delivery experience is different. Your birth story may be very different from your best friend’s or your mom’s. That uniqueness is one of the reasons we KB Moms love hearing and sharing birth stories. (In fact, we adore birth stories so much we created this super cute, printable form so moms can record some memories from their labor and delivery.)
As we KB Moms thought about our own birth stories, we realized that there were a lot of things we wish we had known on that journey to meet our babies. We figured a lot of expectant moms would want to know everything they could, so we decided to ask our favorite source, other moms, about their experiences and what they wish they had known about labor and delivery. Followers of our Facebook page provided so many brave and honest answers that it was hard to choose just 30.
Since every birth story is so different, we wanted to show a range of experiences (the good, the bad, and the funny), and we wanted to be real; we all need a little bit of real talk from other mamas to know what to expect--or to realize we’ll need to expect the unexpected. But as moms soon learn, we have untold and sometimes surprising strength to handle everything that comes our way, starting with that first contraction.
What You Need to Know About Contractions
1. “The contractions are the hardest part and hurt more than actually pushing the baby out.” A.L.
2. “…Warm baths actually do help with contraction pains. I can’t believe I never did it until my third.” G.L.
3. “That the contraction timing for before you come in is a guideline... Nearly a minute long counts as a minute. I couldn't even breathe through those suckers by the time I got to the hospital!” L.A.
What You Need to Know About Birth Plans
4. “You actually have options and can make decisions!! You DON'T have to do everything your doctor says…” B.S.
5. “That there is no such thing as a birth plan because your baby does not care about your birth plan.” C.B.
6. “I'm a mama of three AND an OB nurse! …The biggest piece of advice I can give anyone is to not get completely hung up on a birth plan. Things might not go exactly the way you had planned and that's perfectly fine as long as you and your baby are safe! My fellow nurses and I are your advocates. We truly do want to do things the way you want.” L.M.
7. “It’s ok if your birth plan doesn’t go as planned. That you know your body better than any nurse or doctor and to speak up sooner when you know something isn’t right! Next time will be different!” S.B.
What You Need to Know About Epidurals
8. “That not everyone loves the feeling of the epidural. Talk about major panic attack not being able to move half my body!” H.B.
9. “That epidurals are not always able to be placed on the first or even second try… and that epidurals can wear off.” M.S.
10. “I wanted to avoid the epidural but tapped out at 6 cm thinking I was several hours away from delivery and my contractions were SUPER intense. What I now know is that that was TRANSITION! I could have held out on the epidural, and my boy would have been born an hour later! 6cm is closer to 10 cm than you might think in active labor!” R.W.
What You Need to Know About Pushing
11. “That I had to hold my own legs and push.” A.S.
12. “You won’t be like the Instagram stories where they only had to push three times. I only pushed for 45 minutes (I know some women do much longer), but I didn’t realize how long it’d take, and I was super annoyed the nurses wouldn’t call for my doctor when I started pushing.” D.W.
13. “That pushing with a stuffy allergy nose is incredibly difficult. Also, that you should really keep your eyes open when you make the final push (my nurses held a mirror during my LD for motivation)…. Try to take it all in as you’re pushing OUT!” G.E.
14. “Music can make labor & delivery a lot easier. I enjoyed instrumental for labor. My nurses, midwife & doula were singing along to my delivery playlist. Plus, I’ll always have the song my daughter was born to in my heart to cherish and tell her about when she’s older (‘I’m Coming Out’ by Diana Ross).” K.B.
15. “That you may not always have the urge to push. My first two natural births I had to ‘gut’ out. I never felt that urge. With the last two vaginal births I did, and it made pushing SO much easier!!!” S.B.
16. “That when I had to REALLLLYY go to the bathroom, it was time. But you know what? My hospital bed was saved because of that.” Z.A.
What You Need to Know About
How Long It Can Take
17. “The second baby comes quicker once contractions start!!! We almost had the baby in the truck!” B.R.
18. “That it might be way longer than expected (days and days) but also that you are way stronger than you think!” H.D.
19. “After three days of labor, four hours of pushing, our daughter was born via C-section... But even after ALL that, it went by too fast. You can’t get them back inside… Treasure the pregnancy, labor, delivery and moments just after they’re born!” H.S.
20. “How exhausting it is!!! 27 hours of labor with my first daughter and I was completely exhausted!” L.B.
What You Need to Know About
After Your Baby Arrives
21. “Maybe TMI but I wish I would have had them give me one more catheter before the epidural wore off. Going to the bathroom afterward was not so fun!” A.C.
22. “Have someone hold your hand during that first shower! After labor jelly legs almost made me bust it in the hospital shower!” A.O.
23. “I wish I would’ve known how great skin to skin with my baby (for almost two hours) immediately after birth was for the both of us! With my first three babies, that wasn’t something the hospital did; with my fourth it was a priority. It made such a huge difference in his transition to ‘the outside.’” C.C.
24. “That you still look eight months pregnant after baby is born. (In my head my belly was supposed to magically disappear.) ...” C.F.
25. “Surprised me that the uterus checks afterward hurt worse than the labor itself...” C.R.
26. “When they push on your stomach after... Good Lord!” K.H.
27. “You shake like mad afterward from all the adrenaline. No one told me, and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't control my movements from all the shaking. It was so scary.” S.G.
28. “That baby must poop at least once before the hospital will discharge.” R.R.
29. “How beautiful and magical it would be. Not to be so scared.” V.A.
And One All-star Recap
30. “1) Birth plans are nice but can be tossed out the window at a moment’s notice.
2) You can never have access to too many snacks.
3) You will say/do crazy things thanks to a lack of sleep and a big bowl of hormonal soup. These will make for interesting stories later on.
4) Cherish the middle of the night activity. It goes by too fast.” M.H.
What’s your birth story? We’d love to hear it. Comment below or share with us in our Facebook group, KindredMamas. Check out more labor and delivery tips, including what to bring to the hospital and what not to bring to the hospital. Don’t forget to pack our award-winning labor and delivery gown!