There are a million posts telling you what to expect about giving birth. Here’s my

  • You. Get. An. Enema.: I have to admit I probably read that you get an
    enema
    Trust me, its worse than this… Image: thefreedictionary.com

    enema pre-push time somewhere. It was probably said in passing, akin to make sure you have enough wipes for your new born. NO! Be better than I was, learn what an enema is. I am here to say it as it should have been said to me. The nurse is going to assault your anus before you give birth. This will be followed by the grossest “I need to go the the bathroom to do a big, wet number two” moment of your entire life. If you are given the option to do this at home, jump on that chance. That is, once your mamma, who saw that bum from creation and knows all it is capable of, is around to insert said enema and not tell a soul about what happened after.

  • Soaking the punky: I never heard of a sitz bath until the
    Sitz-bath-300x203
    Sitz baths do NOT feel like this

    day before I gave birth. The morning after delivering my son, I called the friend that offered to get me one to ask that it be delivered to the hospital. They are sold at most large drug stores like Starlight Trinidad and Tobago or, of course, from medical suppliers like A.A. Laquis. Soaking your lady parts in warm salty water for 15 minutes a few times a day is recommended by most doctors. If you have not given birth yet, this probably sounds like a low brow spa experience that won’t be so bad. Trust me, its gross. Understand that post delivery it may hurt to even wipe after urination, and that gets worse if you have had an episiotomy (click  that link – get familiar). Once you actually get into position (above a toilet no less), for the first few times the water is either going to seem too cold or too hot. It will feel like you will never get it right.

  • You MAY be able to hear others in labour: Trinidad is not the first world. Now, I’m not saying that our hospitals are completely backwards but I am saying that our way
    article-2480170-1915333B00000578-407_634x355
    Be prepared to share and hear others in labour. Image: Dailymail

    of building is not always sound proof. I would imagine that no hospital is completely silent but as ours lack the heavy doors and seals of hospitals abroad, our hospitals are not whisper quiet – and thus, you will hear a LOT of noise that can be unnerving. If your room is adjacent or across the hall from the delivery room as mine was, hell yes you will hear another woman in some type of agony as she goes through the miracle of birth. Same if you have a shared room or are at an open ward. Screams aside, if you go to the hospital to deliver and it is busy, you will hear: nurses talking – to patients next to you or to each other in the hallways, orderlies pushing beds/ trolleys in the hallways, clanging of food carts and utensils.

  • You will barely see your doctor: Maybe you are like me and you LOVE your obstetrician gynecologist. That’s awesome. You will only see your doctor when you go When-Cristina-Shuts-Down-Mere-Momentinto ACTIVE labour – meaning, after you dilate more than 10 cm.. In my case that took over 10 hours. My doctor was fairly present – I saw her about 4 times during that period. From talking to other moms in T&T, that’s way above average. Doctors have office hours, charts to write, other patients in the hospital (sometimes patients at other hospitals  too) and, of course, personal lives. In short, your personal baby doctor is not going to be there to hold your hand as you go through the stages of labour.  This is why it is really important to have someone to spend the entire process with you – a loving, caring and patient labour partner. Don’t expect this person to be the hospital midwife. This is NOT Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Post Pregnancy “Massage”: You read that subtitle and you may picture some type of calming or relaxing type of rub down by a loving nurse. WRONG. To test to see where your uterus is and to check its size, the nurse will come and literally press down on your already swollen, sore and jub-jub looking, dhaal like, post birth belly. This also helps the nurse/ caregiver gauge whether or not your uterus is doing what it’s supposed to do after giving birth. The very painful massages is a post birth requirement apparently. As the old people say, ban ya belly fuh dat! Here is a demo video: 
  • A Month of Pads: So you are expecting some blood post labour. You are not an idiot right? By the way,that massage I spoke about is going to help push some out for sure so expect that also. This said, whatever amount of blood you expect, its too little and not gory enough. Sorry ladies. We are talking up to three overnight pads a day. By the way YOU CAN ONLY USE PADS – no tampons post delivery. This starts the same day as giving birth so be sure you pack lots of them in your hospital labour/ delivery bag. 
  • Alien Love: From the moment your little one is placed onto you, you will fall in love. Babies come out looking pale, covered in bodily fluids etc and, to  those who have not 200_sexperienced the miracle of birth, I’m sure they look alien like. But guess what?  You WILL fall in love immediately. So much so that when your little baba is taken to be measured and weighed, you will fight the urge to try to go with the doctor to do same. You won’t be able to sleep until you see them again and, if you are like me, as soon as you wake up the first night you have given birth, you will want to go see them again to ensure the who process of birth, pain now somewhat forgotten, was real. I’m sure you have read this somewhere else, I read that in every prenatal blog I read but NOTHING prepared me for the feeling that took over me after giving birth – LOVE conquers all indeed.

Scared ya? Did not really mean to. Trust me when I say the entire process is worth it. For all the accomplishments of women around the world, those lucky enough to be moms will all tell you, being a mommy is awesome – at least 75% of the time…especially in the beginning – the other 25% is all poop and vomit and fear. 🙂

What were some of your labour and post pregnancy surprises?