by Jovanna Acevedo Quesada
Does Hollywood have you convinced that after an unpleasant and sweaty five minutes you'll be rewarded by a clean, fragrant, smiling three-month-old all swaddled in fluffy white blankets, and placed into your arms by your beaming partner?
While the on-screen scenario might sound and look picture perfect, we've found the reality to be a wee bit different! To help you avoid feeling disillusioned with your experience, we've gathered together information about childbirth that surprised even our best-prepared moms!
Breaking Water Might Not Resemble Niagara Falls
Some moms-to-be do experience a deluge when their waters break, but most pregnant women notice only a slow trickle. The baby's head (yes, the same reason you've been waddling like a duck for a few weeks) prevents most of the amniotic fluid from escaping in one gush.
Another fallacy:Your waters can break at any stage of labor. Just like those first mild contractions, it doesn't mean the birth is imminent.
Labor Can Last a Long Time
We can almost guarantee your labor will be longer than five minutes. From the first early twinges to active labor can be hours, even days. Here's what you can expect during early labor. Guys, birthing a baby takes time. The last thing mom needs to hear is the labor room equivalent of "are we there yet?"
As you're grunting your baby down the birth channel, you might push something else out. Passing an 8-pound baby through your body compresses the intestines and tends to push any fecal material inside of it out. We know, yuck right? There will probably be at least 10 people in the room watching it happen, too. Oddly, you may not even know and those who witnessed it will probably be too polite to say anything.
That tight trip through the birth canal often encourages your baby to poop as well, a substance with the consistency of fresh roofing tar. At least you know the wee intestines are working!
Unless you're anticipating a cone head covered with white stuff, your newborn's appearance might not be quite what you expected. Just after birth, many babies are bluish or purplish. They may be covered in blood and vernix (that white, cheesy stuff). Some babies are born wrinkled or with swollen, bruised or discolored faces. That's what others see.
There's something about looking into the eyes of your own baby, hearing those first whimpers and seeing arms and legs move that melts your heart.
Here Comes the Placenta
Yes, the placenta does look a bit like liver. However, if you're not too squeamish and examine it closely, you'll see the veins form a pattern almost like the tree of life. Quite appropriate, since this organ has been nourishing your baby for months.
Cutting the cord? It's not some simple string you cut, like at the grand opening of a deli. It's up to half-an-inch thick, with a large artery and a large vein. Cutting it requires "chewing" through it with a pair of scissors. Nobody told me that!
Disappearing Baby Bump
Baby's snoozing contentedly in the bedside crib. You catch a glimpse of your profile on the way to the bathroom. Yikes! You expected to wake up flat and trim. Ha! The "baby bump" doesn't magically disappear when the baby arrives.
No one tells you mothers suffer from a very specific form of memory loss. Because of this malady, you'll hear moms holding a newborn talking about their next baby. Amnesia!
What's surprised you? Tell us in the comments!
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