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What I Wish I Knew Before Giving Birth (In A Hospital)

October 23, 2017

I’ve started to spend a lot of time thinking about giving birth again….as I watch the weeks quickly count down (we are down to 7 weeks) and can’t  but help to replay Piper’s birth over and over (read her birth story here). I was asking Austin about it the other night and it’s funny just how much I completely blacked out of my memory, just like they say. I’m anxious about what kind of experience I’ll have since I was induced last time I didn’t get to experience labor at home at all and it was all pretty drastic and quick when it finally happened. I considered myself to be pretty educated on childbirth by the time I had Piper but there were still a few things that surprised me about the whole experience of giving birth in a hospital.

The medical staff was super responsive to my wishes for a natural birth
This is something I was soooo worried about heading into my birth. All of the natural birthing books I read made it seem like when you give birth in a hospital setting that you really need to be a strong advocate for yourself if you don’t want drugs or want to have skin to skin and nurse your baby right away. I was shocked at how responsive and supportive all of my nurses and doctors were to my wishes and had I known this I would have felt much more at ease going into the situation, granted I’m sure all hospitals are different.

I was able to walk with my IV
Since I was being induced I knew I’d be hooked up to an IV immediately and was really worried about being restricted to laboring in bed. Since I wanted to try to give birth without an epidural I was so worried how I’d ever be able to do manage while lying in a bed. I was able to walk all around my room with my IV and was so relieved!

You PUSH through your contractions.
Despite all of my reading and education on childbirth I somehow didn’t comprehend this huge part of delivery. For me it was actually a relief to push through the pain of a contraction – I much preferred it to trying to manage the pain otherwise even though it was brutal. For me, pushing was better than the contractions — and it was one of the parts of childbirth I was most worried about!

You won’t get to sleep after you give birth, no matter what time it is.
I knew that I’d have to nurse my baby around the clock but I wasn’t expecting all of the checks for me too, every 45 minutes to hour during our hospital stay. Those first 48 hours were such a tired haze and one of the parts of childbirth I’m least looking forward to!

The checks on you aren’t comfortable.
No one told me about the gentle pushing I’d be receiving on my abdomen (“fundus checks”) every few hours after giving birth – despite just going through one of the most painful experiences imaginable they were super uncomfortable and made me squeamish….though I know they are necessary to ensure your uterus is shrinking back to it’s normal size properly and remove extra fluid/blood. I came to dread the nurse walking in when I knew she was going to do it!

No one is really watching your baby.
Even though you’re in the hospital it’s almost like you’re in a hotel room of sorts. For some reason I imagined our newborn being cared for by the nurses but it was all on us, we were so nervous that we took turns staying awake around the clock to watch Piper! Of course there is medical help if anything should go wrong and they are checking in frequently but if that baby cries, you need to determine why, when she needs a diaper change you better get on it!

My first shower was not ALL THAT. 
Prior to giving birth so many mamas raved about that “first shower post-birth” and for me it wasn’t great. My hospital shower didn’t have a regular shower head, but the kind you use with your hand so I didn’t bother trying to manage washing my hair. I had stitches and was so sore when the water hit. I didn’t really enjoy a shower until I got home and was looking forward to that “first shower” so much!

The cafeteria closes. 
Our cafeteria only had hot meals available for certain time periods, the hospital staff had a meal for me after giving birth but it was far from something I wanted – and by the time we got to our room it was around 10pm so options were limited. This time around I’m making a plan for a post-delivery meal to have regardless of the time.

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  1. Natalie Borton

    October 24th, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I absolutely second your thoughts on the first shower being a let down. Everyone told me how great it would be to finally shower after giving birth, and I hated it!! So sore and uncomfortable with the stitches, and generally gross feeling. I will probably skip the hospital shower this time around and wait until I’m home (and have my own fluffy towels, too)!