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The Truth about Giving Birth: Expectation vs. Reality

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Giving birth is terrifying, yet satisfying. If you are a first time mother waiting to pop, here’s some reality about giving birth.

Expectation: Baby will pop around the due date.

Reality: Due date is just a general guideline that your doctor uses for antenatal check ups. The truth is, your baby chooses his / her own birthday. Hence, don’t stress. Relax and the time will come. Just make sure you prepare everything at least a month in advance. Read here to find the list of things you need to prepare prior to baby’s arrival.

Expectation: I’m mentally prepared that giving birth can take hours.

Reality: Giving birth can take days. At least, in my case. I broke my water early in the morning, and gave birth on the next day at night time. Way more than 24 hours.

Expectation: I submitted my birth plan, everything will go according to the plan.

Reality: Nothing goes according to plan. I prepared some music to help calm myself, of course that’s the last thing on my mind at that time. I honestly doubt if the nurse read my birth plan as well.

Expectation: I’m mentally ready for the pain. I don’t need an epidural, I choose nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

Reality: GIVE ME SOME EPIDURAL NOW. Nitrous oxide did next to nothing. You also need to hold the face mask and inhale deeply to get the gas. You have to time it approximately 30 seconds before your contraction. Seriously when you are in so much pain, who in their right mind can hold the face mask tightly let alone timing it correctly?

You can barely feel it when they insert the needle for epidural, honestly the pain from contraction was just overwhelming everything else.

Expectation: I’m ready, I joined all antenatal classes available. I know all about labor.

Reality: I forgot everything I ever learnt in the class. My husband tried to remind me, but the pain was so overwhelming me that I couldn’t even understand a word he’s saying.

Photo credit by Amit Gaur on Unsplash (2020)

Expectation: I want and I will have a natural birth.

Reality: Sometimes, things don’t go according to your plan. There is always a risk that complications may occur. In my case, in the end the doctor had to perform an emergency caesarean operation. Doctor will advise what’s best for you and your baby. Nobody knows how things will go until you are in labor.

Expectation: Giving birth starts with contraction.

Reality: There are three stages of labor. First part of early labor is slow contraction which will gradually grow stronger and more frequent to dilate the cervix to prepare for childbirth. Or so we thought. My water breaks and I don’t feel any contraction.

We were given a choice of inducing labor or waiting for 24 hours for contraction to start. We picked the latter choice, however if labor did not happen within 24 hours our baby will have to stay a night in the pediatric ward for monitoring.

Expectation: The pain of contraction is similar to strong period cramp.

Reality: I should’ve known better. When I was pushed inside the labor room, the lady next door screamed in pain all day long. So I thought I could relate the pain to cramps. Nothing like that at all. It’s way more painful and unbearable than the stomach cramp. There’s no words to describe it.

Expectation: I will have the opportunity to have skin to skin contact the first golden hour after birth.

Sadly, it didn’t happen. They had to induce labor by administering oxytocin to stimulate contractions as labor didn’t happen within 24 hours after my water breaks. After my baby was born, he was immediately sent to the pediatric ward to check if there is any bacterial infection.

We lost the first hour of skin to skin contact because I was shaking violently from the side effect of anesthesia. Up to this day, I still regret missing out on our golden hour after birth. My husband didn’t get to cut his son’s umbilical cord as well. We didn’t even get to take a family photo after he was born. Phones are not allowed in the operating theatre.

Expectation: He must be the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my life.

Reality: When they showed me my baby, he is covered in blood, BUT he is undoubtedly the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my life. He’s nothing like my imagination, he’s way better. He is PERFECT.

Photo credit to Jorge Dominguez on Unsplash (2019)

That sums up my own set expectation vs. the harsh reality of giving birth

The thought of giving birth can be terrifying, but giving birth to a baby is my biggest accomplishment in my life. It is truly satisfying to finally be able to hold my baby in my arm after 9 months of anticipation. And yes, I’ll do it all over again.

Last but not least, I’d like to welcome you in advance to our parent tribe. As a welcome gift, don’t miss out on this article on what I wished I knew before baby’s arrival!

Featured image photo credit by Alex Hockett on Unsplash (2017)


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