What do you wish you had known before giving birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It can be anything, major or minor.

For first-time moms, what questions do you have about giving birth?

For me, I wish I had known that I have choices in birthing. When I gave birth to my first baby, there were a number of things done to me during the labor and birth that I didn't like, but I didn't know I could say "no thanks" or that I should be asking questions.

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#2 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 11:51 AM
 
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I wish I would have known that squatting increases your pelvic opening by 30%.
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#3 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 12:31 PM
 
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I just bumped this thread

I wish I'd known that hospitals were not a safe place for *me* to birth!

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#4 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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I wish I would have know that "feeling a bit pushy" and being fully dilated does not mean it's time to push! After #2, I realized that I started pushing too soon with #1, and that's why it took so long (and why my uterus got boggy). DON'T PUSH! Your body will do the work
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#5 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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I wish I would've known just how many contractions it takes to fully dilate. I was in labor for 40 hours, so maybe I'm on the extreme end of normal, but they just kept coming and coming! I wasn't really prepared for the sheer number and intensity of them. In hindsight, I wish I'd take a hypnobirthing class.

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#6 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 03:09 PM
 
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OK I've got the giggles now because I just figured out who you are.
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#7 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 03:10 PM
 
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I wish I'd known that my baby had flipped breech, that the doctors would in fact do a c-section for that, even after I'd said "no"...and that there actually were midwives in my city, even though they weren't licensed...

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#8 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 03:13 PM
 
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That normal birth has NO place in a hospital.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#9 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 03:21 PM
 
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I wish I would have known that going into labor is far more complex than just getting contractions. I wish I would have understood that alot of "information" out there about how "normal" labor progresses is based on "managed" births and does not adequately describe the progression of many truly natural labors.
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#10 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 03:29 PM
 
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I wish I'd known that I should have a back up plan. When I got into trouble and got the epidural DF didn't know what to do! We hadn't discussed it because I wasn't going to get one. Medical interventions do have their place, and for me that place was after 36 hours of labour, 4cm dilated and with a baby in a strange position that was making me push and swelling my cervix shut. Expect the unexpected!

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#11 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 04:52 PM
 
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I wish I had known to turn off the analytical portions of my brain, and to stop trying to analyze my labor while I was in the midst of it. I wish I had given more credence to letting my instincts take me through it. Once I did, with the second - oh, what a difference.

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and Brigid Eleanor (11/20/08)
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#12 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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I wish that I had known to seek more support. DH is great but he really couldn't give me the kind of support that I needed then. My midwife was horrible and didn't show up at the hospital until after I gave into the pain for an epidural. I wish that I had hired a doula and birthed at home. :

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#13 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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I wish I had known that it would take more than 2-3 weeks to get my body back. It came back great . . . by 6-7 mos pp. It was kind of scary and disheartening and depressing at the beginning. If I'd just realized it wasn't going to be permanent, I would have felt better.

I wish I had really listened to myself earlier in the pregnancy when the doctor we were seeing sent up red flags/alarm bells. I was so desperate for my homebirth that I was willing to disregard those alarms . . . but I really needed to listen and find a different HCP sooner. Trying to switch at 37+wks (and going into labor at 38 wks) is not an easy thing.

I wish I had known that you could do everything "right" and be unafraid and still have an extremely painful/difficult/complicated birth.

I wish I had really understood that basic logic/lore/knowledge of childbirth is just that - general knowledge. That common assumptions can always be trumped in birth by mother nature's quirks. That nothing is guaranteed (for me, this most particularly referred to "everyone having an uninhibited birth will have a pushing urge if she just waits long enough" and "even if you never have a pushing urge, your body will just push the baby out on its own"). I have a greater and deeper respect for birth now that I really understand, through experience, that what is *usually* or *almost always* true in birth will not necessarily be so for me.
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#14 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 07:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patchfire View Post
I wish I had known to turn off the analytical portions of my brain, and to stop trying to analyze my labor while I was in the midst of it. I wish I had given more credence to letting my instincts take me through it. Once I did, with the second - oh, what a difference.
Sound advice!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#15 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 07:14 PM
 
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That's it's okay for a placenta to take a long time coming out and not to let the midwife scare you into forcing it out. I now have prolapse
I looked up just about everything else and just assumed the placenta would just come right out in 20 minutes.
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#16 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 07:18 PM
 
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I wish I would have know that getting to the part where you actually "get to give birth" was not as easy as one might expect...that being able to go into labor isn't something that one gets to do automatically and that there are providers who would rather you didn't for one reason or another.

That there are choices and that you don't have to take your care providers word for it (and probably shouldn't just take their word for it). That you really should double check what they're telling you and even possibly consider getting a second opinion.
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#17 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
That normal birth has NO place in a hospital.
Yeah, it may sound a little snooty or whatever but I've realized just how true this is. I really thought that I could have the birth that I wanted in a hospital with a midwife and that if I told them what I did/didn't want they would listen.

I work in L&D and newborn now and see how much happens that the patient doesn't know about, isn't informed about, isn't included in the care. A thousand little things that add up to a VERY unnatural birth process for mom and baby.

I had dd in a hospital and went into working in L&D with a very open mind, but there is no way I would choose to birth in a hospital again. It's great when it is truly necessary, but apart from necessity it isn't a good place for mom and baby.

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#18 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 09:26 PM
 
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That even if you go into labor naturally and everything is progressing as it should, if u are in a hospital they will try to get you on pitocin at some point (probably purely for their own convenience), then you will most likely need an epidural and so much for your natural birth. Like stated in a pp normal birth has no place in a hospital.

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#19 of 69 Old 11-01-2007, 10:27 PM
 
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This may seem small and petty compared to some of the other things in this thread... but here goes anyway. The bleeding is not that bad. I was dreading all of the pp bleeding. It wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. This time around I will use mama cloth instead of disposable items, but even with nasty Always pads, it wasn't nearly as annoying as I thought it would be.

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#20 of 69 Old 11-02-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cheeseRjedi View Post
I wish I would have known that squatting increases your pelvic opening by 30%.
wow really!!?? I will def. keep that in mind in a few months!

Mom of 3 sons and one daughter
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#21 of 69 Old 11-02-2007, 11:01 AM
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I wish I had known that everyone thinks "My birth with the ob in the hospital will be different" because I am low risk, believe in natural birth, etc.. Hire a midwife. Do not go to the hospital unless you have a medical reason to be there.

I wish I had known that there were midwives in my city who would catch a breech baby. We had the c-section because we were told that there was no choice.

I wish I had someone to stick up for DH and I in the hospital. A doula or midwife, maybe. I wish someone had found DH a cot to sleep on, and I wish I had never been left alone in the hospital.

I wish I knew that just because birth is normal and everything ususlly works out just fine doesn't mean that your doctor will think so.

I wish I knew what to tell first-time moms to help them keep their power.

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#22 of 69 Old 11-02-2007, 12:43 PM
 
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I just realized I didn't actually answer the question.

The main thing that I wish I had known is that you get exactly the birth that your caregiver believes you should have. Having a midwife is not necessarily an opt-out; it's not automatic protection against c/s for breech, twins, or vbac. If your trusted caregiver is scared, you will end up scared, and you will end up doing what s/he suggests, because it's very hard to have more faith in a piece of paper representing research than it is to have faith in your trusted, beloved MW who is looking you in the face saying, "it's your choice, but..." Having a MW is not enough; you need a MW who has the same priorities as you do or else you end up having HER birth - not your own.
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#23 of 69 Old 11-02-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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That I had choices, that I could refuse certain things and insist on others, and

that birthing felt like a huge bowel movement that was going to explode out my butt, not my vagina.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#24 of 69 Old 11-02-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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It just speaks volumes, doesn't it, that so many of us don't know that we can say NO. How sad

I wish I'd known that regardless of the model of care, women must always be consumers and put their own needs and experience ahead of everyone else's when decisions are made. I'd be minus a scar if I'd known that.
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#25 of 69 Old 11-02-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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I REALLY wish I had taken the advice to REST! I was so annoyed by my stalling labour that I didn't rest at all, and boy did I pay for it:

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#26 of 69 Old 11-02-2007, 08:43 PM
 
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I wish that I had seriously considered/learned more about c-section. Everything about my pregnancy and birth preparation "assured" me that I'd be able to have a normal, vaginal birth. So, when my c-section became imminent, I was totally lost.
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#27 of 69 Old 11-03-2007, 05:41 PM
 
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I wish I had known to keep my fingers out of my vagina as I was pushing in transition. I got a nasty labial tear...still have it 3 + months after birth. Ouch!

Circ doesn't work! Stop the violence of circumcison. Had another UP/UC/HB in August!
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#28 of 69 Old 11-03-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post

that birthing felt like a huge bowel movement that was going to explode out my butt, not my vagina.
That is SO TRUE! I felt like I was trying to push out 30 lbs of hardened concrete!! Much different than I expected!

Circ doesn't work! Stop the violence of circumcison. Had another UP/UC/HB in August!
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#29 of 69 Old 11-03-2007, 05:46 PM
 
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It just speaks volumes, doesn't it, that so many of us don't know that we can say NO. How sad

I wish I'd known that regardless of the model of care, women must always be consumers and put their own needs and experience ahead of everyone else's when decisions are made. I'd be minus a scar if I'd known that.
Yes, yes, yes.

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#30 of 69 Old 11-03-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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I wish I had known that I was going to have to work a lot harder to have things the way I wanted them *after* the birth (while still in the hospital) than *during*. My care providers were remarkably hands-off and completely respectful of my birth plan during labor and delivery. After that, though, it was all "her temp is down, we HAVE to take her and warm her up" and "we are just going to take her for ONE MINUTE to weigh her" and crazy confusing breastfeeding info when I asked for help...that was really awful. The birth did not go how I planned but I felt empowered by it and in control. Afterwards I felt totally out of control and I regret the way things happened (not saying "NO, YOU WILL WEIGH HER LATER, GO AWAY" or "I DO NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO TAKE HER TO BE WARMED", etc.) - even though these were very small things in comparison to what many people go through, they still bother me a little.
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