There are so many unknowns when it comes to labor and delivery it can definitely be hard to remain calm. As first-time moms, it can be so much harder because everything is unknown. You may have seen someone give birth before, but you do not truly know until you’ve done it yourself.
I hate to break it to you but it’s not necessarily easier the second time around. It may be different but not necessarily easier.
I have two children. When I was pregnant with my oldest, my daughter, I was reading article after article about what to expect. I read about what contractions felt like when to go to the hospital, when to worry, when not to. I read so much, but you know what, it really never ended. There was always something new to look up, worry about, or educate myself on. When I was pregnant with my second, my son, there were so many things that were different.
One thing I learned while in labor with my son is when you just need to speak up for yourself.
I went into labor with my son late on a Friday night. My husband and I were actually out to see a movie when I started feeling very faint contractions. Saturday came, and I was feeling contractions, but they were still very light. By Saturday night they were getting worse, so we called my parents, my father came and stayed with my daughter. Then my husband, mom and I headed down to the hospital.
You’ll hear in pregnancy classes when to go to the hospital. They do not want you there until you are in hard labor or close to it.
My suggestion, go to the hospital as soon as you feel you need to.
I am not going to sugar coat it, the pain can be excruciating while you’re only dilated slightly, and you may not be effaced at all. We went to the hospital while I was pregnant with my son and I was in excruciating pain from the contractions. It was late on a Saturday night and because I was not very dilated they sent me home. THEY SENT ME HOME. I was so annoyed. My husband was angry. We asked the nurses “when should we head back” and they had the nerve to tell us “When your pain is getting much worse.” Um, my pain was excruciating.
Now here’s a slight disclaimer.
When we arrived I described my pain as a 6. By the time they were sending me home it was a 9 but, they never asked me a second time where my pain was. I have a high pain tolerance and I am able to have excruciating pain but still talk. I can still be clear. I can still be calm. So, I give them that, I did not LOOK like I was in the amount of pain I was.
Tell your nurses your pain level with any change, do not wait for them to ask.
We drove all the way home at midnight, even though I knew it was a bad idea. I knew we should just stay but they would not admit me, so we went home.
We had a very short trip home. By 1am I was in tears and we headed back down to the hospital.
If you can, if you feel it’s necessary, do not actually go home, if they send you. You can walk the hallways, sit in the cafeteria, sit in the lobby, stay close.
The same nurse greeted us as we went to triage. My husband and I were very short and livid. Finally, after a call to our doctor they admitted me.
Do what you need to stay calm through contractions.
Contractions can be different for everyone. I was in a lot of pain. I know a lovely 70-year-old woman who likes to tell me she had no pain throughout labor. I could write another page and a half on how annoying it is to hear how easy others have it through pregnancy and labor. When you’re in the middle of labor you don’t want to hear this. You really don’t want to talk at all. I laid on my side in the bed gritting my teeth through contractions. I was quiet. Apparently, this made it seem like I wasn’t in much pain.
Do not wait on your nurses.
If you feel like they should check you. Ask. If you feel like they need to call the doctor. Then ask. If you feel like you need to push. Yell it until they hear you.
There’s a fine line between remaining calm and making sure you are heard. Sometimes you may not be truly heard until you’re irate but try to remain calm. I finally realized, after a couple hours of the nurse not having checked me since 1am when we were finally admitted, I should probably ask.
I was 9.5 cm dilated. I should have asked sooner.
It was now 5am and my doctor, who was on call, had not been called yet. Within 5 minutes of her checking me, my water broke, and I needed to push. I was irate by this time. I was yelling at my nurse that I needed to push. She had barely called my doctor and I was being told “don’t push, if you push when you’re not 10cm dilated you could hurt yourself and the baby.” I was yelling “I’m pretty sure the last half cm has happened, I NEED TO PUSH”