Here are some things I learned throughout my first and second pregnancies that nobody explained to me when I got pregnant. Everyone is so busy being happy for you that they forget to tell you the big important stuff. Or maybe they don't tell you because they are worried about scaring you. Pregnancy has it's ups and downs but is still well worth it in the end.
1. Labor hurts, and so does post labor!
The birth of a baby is a beautiful thing don't get me wrong, but the truth is labor hurts! Most women will tell you that yes it's painful but don't worry, once you see that little baby you will forget all about it.
When I had my first daughter and she was placed in my arms for a split second I forgot about the pain and nothing else existed then except for her and I but once that moment was over I can't say that I had forgotten all about the pain.
After you've given birth you still have to deal with the pain of not being able to sit properly for weeks especially if you've torn during delivery. Would I do it again? Of course and I can say that since I am 8 months pregnant with my second child as I write this, but this time I know what to expect.
2. It's OKAY to have an epidural.
This one is a follow up from the first point I posted. The big thing lately is that epidurals come with risks and you should do everything possible to avoid them and have a natural birth. The fact that epidurals have risks is not shocking. Everything we do has risks...taking medication, driving a car, crossing the street etc. The idea is to weigh how severe the risks are before you go ahead.
When I was pregnant with my first I decided I didn't want an epidural. I told my husband that no matter what I said do not let me get one. I was convinced that if I couldn't handle the pain of labor without drugs then in some way that meant I was weak.
I went through a 26 hour labor almost entirely without pain relief. Finally it was my husband that convinced me to get the epidural. I gave in after 23 hours of no sleep and constant contractions. After the pain subsided I was finally able to get some rest while waiting for my cervix to dilate enough to start delivery. Nothing bad happened, my daughter did not have any issues or birth defects and I actually believe that without the epidural I would not have had the energy to push her out myself, which would definitely have result in a cesarean.
Moral of the story, if you feel you need it there is nothing embarrassing or shameful about asking for pain relief.
If you want to learn more about epidurals you can read more about it on Baby Centre. This is a website that I frequently visit and find their advise is very practical and well written.
3. Morning sickness doesn't just happen in the morning.
Don't let the name morning sickness fool you! Morning sickness can happen at anytime of day or night and for some of us unlucky Mama-to-Be's it can last all day.
I had morning sickness all day long with my first pregnancy up until 8 weeks. With my second I had it all day and all night right up to almost 16 weeks. During my second pregnancy I was prescribed a medication call Diclectin to help alleviate the symptoms since I was not able to eat or do anything except lay on the couch which is not conducive to having a 2 year old toddler running around. On the other hand some women experience none to very little morning sickness.
4. The big "Gush" of your water breaking mostly just happens in the movies.
Only 1 in 10 women experience their waters breaking before contractions and labor begins. Most of the time your waters will break towards the end of the first stage of labor.
It is also normal to have to have your waters broken manually by the doctor in the delivery room. This is something that happened to me during my first pregnancy. You may not feel that "gushing" feeling that is often shown in the movies, it might just be a slow trickling feeling.
If you think that your waters may have broken before labor begins there are steps to take. Baby Centre has a great post explaining what happens if your waters break and what to do if they break early. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1053562/when-your-waters-break