What NOT To Do During Labor and Delivery

‘They’ say women forget all about the pain of labor after you go through a pregnancy and delivery. I am not convinced that is true, because I am 7 months post-delivery and still remember the pain like it was yesterday. But, the physical pain wasn’t actually the worst of it for me. It was the anxiety that I remember most vividly. Psychological pain is actually a thing, I guess.

When I do it all again, if I do it all again, I would do so many things differently! Here is a list of every mistake I made that I can think of – and what I wish I did differently:

I chose an OB-GYN that wouldn’t actually be at my delivery

This was just dumb of me, but there was reason for it.

I found out I was pregnant while my husband and I were still living in a pricey one bedroom apartment. We knew we wanted to be in a house before we had a baby. There wasn’t space for a bassinet, never-mind a crib. Soon after my 12th week of pregnancy, we hit the ground running and started looking for houses. We found a home 1.5 hours away, but much closer to my parents. But, you guessed it, now I needed a new OB-GYN!

It was in the middle of my second trimester that we moved and I transferred OBGYNs. Apparently, not many will take you in the middle of pregnancy. The doctor I ended up with was Ivy educated and an excellent doctor, but she only delivered on call a couple times a week. Basically, if I didn’t deliver my baby on a Wednesday or Saturday, I would be delivering my baby with a doctor I had never met before. I was in the Labor & Delivery for 4 days and every single doctor and nurse that worked at that hospital has seen my vagina. I didn’t see my own doctor once! Guys – the anxiety was REAL.

I waited until the day before delivery to write a birth plan

I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and needed to deliver my baby as soon as I hit my 37th week of pregnancy. This meant that I knew exactly what day I would enter the hospital. Happy Gina! I could plan!

Unfortunately, I was so nervous about the act of giving birth and worried for my baby and her impending doom if I didn’t get her out of me. So nervous that I couldn’t even pay attention to the pen and paper in hand. I checked off a few things and circled “no” to epidural, but I left off so many important things! Also, I didn’t follow one thing that was written on my birth plan. So, really my mistake was making a birth plan to begin with.

I didn’t take a birthing class

My friends suggested Ina May’s book which walks you through a natural birth. I bought it and didn’t even pick up the book! I did, however, watch the “Business of Being Born” on Netflix and it actually just scared me. If you haven’t seen it, the documentary starts off by showing you how horrible the Labor and Delivery doctors are in the USA. According to this film, delivery mortality rates are among the highest in USA right now.

Then, they start talking about the different drugs and chemicals that are given during labor actually create a vicious cycle, all of which eventually lead to a Cesarean Section. And apparently, 30% of births in the US result in said C-Section. They talk about Pitocin and Epidurals like there is nothing worse for you and your baby. I forced my husband to watch it with me and I asked what he thought. He said “Well, they aren’t giving you Pitocin, that’s all I know.”

It didn’t teach me about what I should do during Labor and Delivery, but what I should not do. It only increased my fears and anxiety. I did look into classes after I watched that, because I was so freaked out, but there are cut-offs. Wish I knew!

My husband wasn’t prepared

My poor husband didn’t know what to expect any more than I did.

He had never seen me so exhausted and helpless. I should have made him read some articles or watch some birthing videos (other than The Business of Being Born). I should have at least packed him a 5-hour energy because he slept the entire time I was in active labor. He did wake up in time for the pushing though. And he actually watched the baby come out, which is something he will never un-see. Moms-to-be, you know your partner well enough to know if they can handle watching a newborn wriggle out of your hole. Please plan accordingly!

I let everyone walk all over me

This actually, surprised me. I usually shut things down quickly if I am the least bit uncomfortable.

I would hold my pee as long as I could before I got up the guts to press the call button and “bother” the nurses to help me to the bathroom. I was hooked up to a bunch of monitors because of my preeclampsia and a heavy drip of Pitocin that refused to work.

I watched my husband sleeping peacefully for hours as I was shaking like a leaf in pain because the epidural I was given also didn’t work. On the off-chance he would wake up when I whispered his name, he would go and retrieve my coveted ice chips, only plop them on a table next to me and fall back asleep in his cot. Normally, I would demand that he feed them to me and give him a good earful about how to be a good husband. But laboring Gina was meek.

Finally, the baby was born and I was trying to sleep. Then my step-dad, his mother, and my mom’s sister waltz through the door firing questions at me from all angles, just hours after birth. I hadn’t even tried to nurse her yet. I still had the needle in my spine from my epidural. For some reason, my husband thought it would be a good time for them to come visit my zombie a**. My well-rested husband was excited to show baby Z off to the world! Again, this goes back to preparing your husband but the nurses as well. Tell them ahead of time that visitors are off limits until you’ve had some rest. I will never have visitors in the labor & delivery room again.

I guess the lesson I took away with me here is, a women pre/during/post delivery will NOT be herself. Moms-to-be, find someone who will advocate for you. Whether it is your partner, your mother or your doula. You will be a different person, for better or worse. Dads-to-be, I hope you’re taking notes.

I didn’t eat anything

I take that back, I didn’t eat anything with substance. I did have more than enough Jolly Ranchers (which I highly recommend adding to your hospital bag checklist). This would have been easier if the process of birthing my daughter didn’t span 4 days. While I hallucinated in bed, my husband enjoyed his Burger King. By day 3, he enjoyed his Burger King in his car.

The nurses and doctors want to prevent you from eating, especially if being induced, because of the high chance of a c-section. There are a few nice nurses who will look the other way. Most midwives and doulas allow you to eat. Do your research and weigh the risk/benefit, but remember that calories = strength.

I packed incorrectly

I packed twice as much as I should have for myself and not enough for the baby! Rookie mistake.

I think I opened my suitcase probably twice. I lived in my (stylish) Gownies hospital gown for almost the entire time, even after I delivered. The items that I used the most were my Alba Botanica shampoo/conditioner, soap and hairbrush/toothbrush. Think you are going to put on makeup? You won’t. Think you are going to moisturize? You probably won’t. You won’t wear perfume, you won’t shave your legs, you won’t read books.

 

What were your delivery room regrets, if any? Share below in the comments.

48 Comment

  1. OMG I would have killed my husband if he even tried to nap ha! My birthing experience wasn’t as hard as yours (c-section after 14 hours, 2 pushing) but I concur on the birth plan (forget it), the packing for the hospital (oh ladies, you won’t have energy or time to do your hair), and eating! I didn’t get to eat for like 16 hours after birth because of the surgery! Awesome post, us ladies are warriors!

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Clare! I agree, it always amazes me, what women can get through.And my husband still hasn’t heard the end of it πŸ˜‰

  2. I love the layout of your blog and your post kept me captivated until the very end! I don’t have children, but I do like apple-flavored Jolly Ranchers, so I got to remember to pack those if I ever do. Awesome job! I enjoyed this. xo

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you, Victoria! Yes, the apple Jolly Ranchers are the most important thing you can pack!

  3. I can relate so much to your experience … feels nice that knowing I’m not alone

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you! I’m glad it wasn’t just me who felt this way πŸ™‚

  4. megha sethi says: Reply

    It will be going to a helpful article to the millions of the pregnant women out there. They will be aware of do’s and don’t’s when they are pregnant. great article!

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you!

  5. Great tips, especially for first time moms!
    Every birth and pregnancy is different. I had the same wonderful doctor for the first 3 and had to switch doctors because of insurance when we had our 4th. It was an awful experience and I wish I would have changed doctors again, mid pregnancy!
    I totally agree about no visitors until after mom gets some rest!!!! With our 4th, we finally got that from family.

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you! Wow, four babies?! Oh gosh, I would hope by the fourth baby your family members would learn to let you rest.

  6. I like your style! Nice easy read, thanks for sharing it.

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you! And thanks for reading!

  7. You have such great information! Thanks for sharing with a future mama πŸ˜‰

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you for reading and congratulations! I hope it’s of use to you when the time comes 😊

  8. This is interesting, I am not a mom so it’s not really relatable yet, but good tips to remember for the future!

    1. Definitely something I recommend pinning for later if you decide to have babies! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  9. Great article! Sending to my sister now. Feel like she’ll appreciate this info too.

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  10. amazing post, keep up the good work and thank you

    1. Hey, thank you for reading!

  11. Sorry you had to learn all of this through personal experience. Must have been tough. Wishing you a better experience next time around (if the memory ever fades enough for you to contemplate it).

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thanks for the kind words – it means a lot!

  12. Well written blog post, really enjoyed reading it.

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you, Cecil!

  13. I actually don’t regret anything! We didn’t have a birth plan. There was zero reason for it in my mind because you really don’t know how your delivery is going to end up going. We had the basics and went by it as best we could. My doctor wasn’t the one who delivered our daughter. It was actually his birthday so he was out of the hospital that night lol but his staff was all completely up to date with our pregnancy and they were absolutely fantastic! My doctor ten visited us the following afternoon to check in and see how everything went. We also didn’t take birthing classes. Again, I felt zero need. There was no way any class could have prepared me for labor. I learned a ton of great breathing techniques and birthing positions through my prenatal yoga class and all of that went out the door the moment I was in the hospital. I had back labor and it all progressed way too quickly for any of that to matter lol and I absolutely showered, dressed, shaved, put on makeup, etc once I was out of the delivery room. It helped a ton in making me feel human again. There was no way I could have sat there in a hospital room for two days looking and feeling the way I felt after labor. Not a chance.

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Ouch, back Labor is the worst! I’m glad you had a good experience with your doctors though. Thanks for your comment!

  14. I love your tips…. If I ever have another child, the one thing I would do differently is to have a home birth with a midwife… I had hospital births with my first two.

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you! You should totally do it! I want so badly to do a home birth. I look at the moms who do it in complete envy. With my preeclampsia that dream flew out the window.

  15. I didnt have a birth plan because my OB believed that if you do, 90% chance it’ll change. I didnt do birthing classes either. But I still had a great birth experience

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      You’re a lucky mama!

  16. Oy. You poor momma. I took birthing classes just to feel a little more prepared. The only thing I remembered was the breathing, which actually did help at some points. I remember while I was in the throes of painful contractions and trying to focus, a couple of my husbands family members came in the room. I could not focus at all and evil whispered to my husband, tell them to leave. Needless to say, I had an uneventful birth (sorry!) but the after was hell. Turns out they didn’t remove the whole placenta! (I swore I wouldn’t have anymore kids!) So with #2 I asked the dr. 10 times if he got the whole thing, he even did an ultra sound for me to make sure. & no plan because plans never seem to work out when it comes to having babies!!!

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Oh my god, I would have lost it at my husband if he had let anyone in!

      And there was placenta left over, too? You poor thing! I don’t blame you for quadruple checking with the doctor for that on the second one.

      And that’s so true! I am learning that as a first time mom. Planning doesn’t work with babies at all. I’m definitely kept on my toes!

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment 😊

  17. Really good list all expecting mother’s should be aware of. I actually loved the Business of Being Born, but I also haven’t given birth yet πŸ™‚ Have you seen the movie Babies? It’s great!

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you! I haven’t seen Babies. I will have to find it and watch it to prepare for my next one!

  18. Soo spot on! Pinning for reference – pregnant (especially first-time mums) can benefit from reading this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for reading!

  19. Really enjoyed this list and you admissions to the mistakes that you made, it must have been quite difficult xx

    1. Thanks, Marina! My mistakes will hopefully help others so I’m happy to share. πŸ™‚

  20. Love this post. Tbh I was pregnant a few years ago and I have fogotten the pain! Continuity of care is soo important so sad that you didn’ t have your obgyn present…obviously nobody’ s fault! Love how nobody ever understands we do NOT want visitors after delivering a baby!

    1. That’s so true! Between raging hormones and utter exhaustion, visitors are a horrible idea! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

  21. Wow, I’m sorry you had such a horrible time! After our eldest son was born my hubby had the cheek to mention how he was upset he didn’t get to finish his lunch (which they’d told us to order as we had ‘lots of time’, ha!). I just shot him a look and he was pretty quiet after that. It’s easier here in Australia as they let you eat – although once labour hits it’s the last thing I wanted to do, both times!

    I was the same with my first hospital bag too – the makeup I packed to ‘look nice for photos’ never got used, so I happily left that out the second time, and used more of what I brought πŸ™‚

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Guys will be guys haha.

      I will do the same next time. Not even thinking about bringing my makeup bag!

  22. This sounds like a really rough birthing experience. It’s hard when your partner isn’t completely there for you. I couldn’t imagine what that would have been like.

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Thank you! It was challenging for sure.

  23. Thanks for being so honest with your story! I haven’t gone through it yet, but it certainly gives me a lot to think about for when I do. Thanks!

    1. My pleasure! I am glad I can help even just one person through my experience. It makes it worth it! x

  24. I’m 37 weeks in my second pregnancy, I’m so sorry to hear you had so many things go wrong with your first one. I was lucky that my husband was even more scared than I when our daughter was coming there was no way he would’ve been able to sleep even if he tried! And believe me, hes the kinda guy that only needs to rest his head on a pillow ( or any other object) and falls within 2 min or lessπŸ˜‚. I really don’t regret much aside from the fact that we didn’t pack any snacks or foodπŸ˜‚ and that i didn’t ask him to have my chapstick ON him before we got to the hospital. By the end of my delivery maybe two hours passed and it had been prob close to 12 hr since either of us had food so we were STARVING!! The nurse was nice enough (eventually) to offer us food and of course I looked away for a few minutes and he ate it allπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ (most of it) and this happened during breakfast and lunchπŸ˜’ Also i knew i was gonna need chapstick and he left pur bag in the car , labor started and my goodness it came to the point that i started crying over chapstick begging his to go get it for meπŸ˜‚ Not that he didn’t care, he just didn’t want to leave my side . Lol. We’ll see how it goes this time around, he’s been warned though… snacks and chapstick and a chocolate cake for after the baby is born since I have gestational diabetes and I’ve been craving it for months😭Awesome article and better luck next time!! 😍

    1. MommaMusing says: Reply

      Omg you didn’t have it much easier girl! Thanks for your comment! Xo

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