At one time or another, everyone in the room will annoy you.
These people will all annoy you: Your own amazing mum, who flew 4,000 kilometres to witness this joyous event, your doula with the soothing, whisper-sweet voice, and even (make that especially) your doting, brow-mopping husband - the baby’s father, for crying out loud. These folks will chatter and flip the TV channels and have the audacity to nibble on delicious-looking vending machine Doritos while you’re only allowed a few measly ice chips even though you’re the one doing all the work. “You can do it!” they’ll chant in unison as your contractions peak -and it’ll be a good thing you're strapped to machinery or someone would definitely get hurt.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Aldi Mamia Nappies. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic ad written in their own words.
Your "birth plan" will be a joke.
Pregnancy books, prenatal class instructors and helpful pregnancy websites will tell you to create one of these, so you will. "I'd like soft music playing in the background, and the opportunity to get up and walk about or bounce on my birthing ball," you'll write. "And I do not want an episiotomy!" In reality, your medical team, whose job is to do whatever is best for you and your baby, might simply make those decisions for you. While it may make you feel good to put your preferences down on paper, your birth plan won't have a whole lot of influence on what's going to go down in that delivery room.
If there's even a chance you might want an epidural, make this clear immediately.
Yes, we mean, 'Hi, my name is Sally Jane and my contractions are five minutes apart and I want an epidural!' Some hospitals only have one or two anaesthesiologists on staff (and they may not even be in the building when you arrive, but at home on call), and they generally operate on a first-come, first-served basis. You can always decide later that you want to forego the drugs, but you need to be on the list if you want to have that option.
And even if you think you won't, you may change your mind about not getting drugs.
You may think that you'd never dilute the authentic experience of your baby's birth with pain-numbing medications. But here's a secret: Getting those drugs allows you to be fully present and really enjoy your baby's birth, which is an awesome thing. Lots and lots of mums go into labour thinking they'll say no to drugs and end up changing their mind. And that's okay! Really. Nobody's giving out any pain-tolerance trophies in that hospital.
Labour is a messy endeavour.
Your mum always said “Ladies don't sweat, they perspire,” but your mum clearly wasn't including birth when she said this. Plan to sweat. And to bleed. You may even perform unthinkable bodily functions right on the delivery table without even knowing it. Everyone does and it’s nothing to be freaked out or embarrassed about. But definitely put on the icky hospital garb they give you and save the cute PJs for when you’re having visitors over in the maternity wing.
The nurses clearly run the show.
You jumped through flaming hoops to get in with the hotshot OB-GYN who wasn't even taking new patients, and planned your baby's conception around her personal vacation schedule for the year so you'd be assured she would be around for the big event. The truth is, it's the nurses who really matter and in most cases, you get who they give you. Your OB is likely to swoop in with enough time to catch the baby and oversee the cutting of the umbilical cord before she vanishes again, so don't expect a dozen or more hours together.
Speaking of nurses, it's worth sucking up to them.
As your due date approaches, bake up a few batches of cookies and pop them in the freezer. Then, and this is critical, write BRING COOKIES really big on your husband’s hospital checklist. Drop these at the nurses’ station when you check in and then bask in the extra added attention (and maybe even an occasional foot rub) the gesture buys you.
You'll check your modesty at the door.
At first, it will seem a bit awkward to have a brand new stranger getting all up in your business every four hours or so. You’ll do your best to drape whatever body parts you can and engage in uncomfortable small talk while she performs her thorough inspection. But by the time they wheel you and your baby out of that room, you’ll realize that a parade of people (possibly including an innocent flower delivery guy and a janitor or two) may have gotten a glimpse of your goods, and as inexplicable as it may sound now, you genuinely won’t care.