When I got pregnant (and again many times during my pregnancy) I had the realisation that I would actually have to give birth to this baby! Here are a few things I learnt whilst in labour and at the hospital…
#1 Everyone says, “when labour starts, you’ll know”. This is incredibly frustrating when you’re waiting and hoping and you think everything is a sign of labour starting.
#2 When labour started, I knew.
#3 Sheer determination not to go in and get sent home (and a TENS machine) will enable you to bear the pain at home for far longer than you imagined possible.
#4 If the person giving you a lift to the hospital has never seen someone in labour before it may freak them out (thanks bro!)
#5 The Muppets movie was an excellent distraction. Hunger Games was not.
#6 When you get to the hospital you may have to sit in a waiting room for ages. The midwives may not believe you are as far along as you think. You will feel triumphant when they discover you are.
#7 Before labour starts you will pack and repack your hospital bag, most of it will end up being unnecessary.
#8 Apart from juice cartons and a water bottle!
#9 You won’t have time to read the magazine you packed.
#10 You needn’t bother packing an outfit for labour. Once you’re in the hospital in full labour you really don’t care who sees you naked!
#11 If you have food intolerances take loads of snacks/send your husband out for food. Every staff member taking meal orders had limited English and when I said I was gluten free and couldn’t have much milk I got wheat toast and cereal drowned in milk.
#12 Gas and air doesn’t take away the pain of contractions, but it makes you feel able to push through them.
#13 Being on gas and air feels like being back at Uni on a night out.
#14 Time stops during labour. You will ask your husband to take a song off repeat because you think it’s been on 5 times but it will have only just started.
#15 You will not instantly forget about the pain of labour as soon as you hold your baby. Particularly if you are then getting stitches!
#16 There will be midwives you’d like to punch in the face! Particularly if they’re calling your little boy a ‘she’ in the middle of the night and not listening as you correct them.
#17 There will also be midwives you’d like to kiss. They are highly skilled, incredible people and you will trust them implicitly to guide you through labour.
#18 Once you’ve had the baby the midwives will leave you to it and you will be expected to care for the tiny human on your own!
#19 If you stay on a maternity ward you might have to listen to (incredibly loud) sniffing, singing in another language and loud Skype conversations!
#20 Then, when you get your baby to sleep and lie down to try and sleep the three other babies on your ward will start to scream. As soon as they stop, your baby will wake up.
#21 If you spill lucozade on yourself, your bed and your baby whilst you are breastfeeding in the middle of the night, that’s ok.
#22 You will get ready to be discharged and then spend absolutely ages sat waiting whilst paperwork is completed.
#23 You will go home tired and sore but it will feel so worth it as you look at your gorgeous baby all snuggled up in his carseat ready for the journey home!