Things they don’t tell you when you’re pregnant!

1: You know that lovely midwife that booked you in & sees you every visit at the doctors' surgery? She won't be at your baby's birth. It's not like 'Portland Babies', you won't have the same midwife all the way through your pregnancy, she won't be at your labour. Breaking news, you probably won't even have the same midwife throughout the labour. I had two. Shift changed at 7am, and a new one walked in to see me through the most stressful and traumatic experience of my life with only two hours to go. That's the NHS for you, not complaining here but you need to lose the rose-tinted spectacles before you read on any further.

2: Birth-plan. Really? Really? Really! No, no, no! Forget the whale music and candles; bring on the drugs! That's a bit harsh probably, and yes there are some lovely births that happen all the time (that stunning girl on 'One Born Every Minute' with her water-birth in the bikini with her hair artistically styled, pah!) but the vast majority just don't happen like that, from what I've heard. I went in saying "Whatever, give me drugs but no pethidine whatsoever!" I went 3/4 of the way with nowt whatsoever, 0-7cm in a matter of hours. Then I thought yep, let's try that gas and air stuff. I got high on it, ended up agreeing to whatever the midwife said and she stabbed my leg with pethidine! I then blacked out/vomited for two hours and had to be given reversal drugs. I blame it for The Boy's fluctuating heart-rate, ensuing  epidural and spinal-block, and being prepped for a c-section. So please, be open-minded; lavender oil is chuff all use when a water-melon is trying to come out of your vagina.

3: Waters breaking is the most bizarre feeling ever. I was naive and thought that 'Always' would stem the flow. Do not laugh! The only way I can describe it is as if you are about to wet yourself and you have no pelvic floor muscle control. Oh and they like to weigh the maternity towel to monitor how much amniotic fluid you're losing. This is the first step to a lack of dignity. One pack of maternity towels will not be enough, I was in for 5 days and used probably 8 packs? Luckily they're quite cheap. Oh and paper knickers (not towels like I originally wrote!) are grim and rustle when you move, buy cheap normal ones that you can bin after.

4: It is actually a hell of a shock when the baby comes out, especially if you've had an epidural. This is mainly because you can't feel anything! I remember being told to push and thinking "I can't feel anything, I'll pull a face that makes it look like I'm pushing, if I'm doing it wrong, they'll tell me!" When The Boy was presented to me, I was quite surprised because I'd had no sensational build-up.

5: Post-partum hormones are a bitch. 6 days after The Boy arrived into our lives, I stood in the hallway asking hubby where my grey cardigan was. He said he'd put it in the wash. I burst into tears and stamped my foot because I wanted to wear it. He looked at me absolutely flabbergasted and open-mouthed, my mum looked at him, he looked at her, I sobbed hysterically a bit more, she hugged me and he went and hid. We laugh about it now, but for a while there we weren't allowed to mention the grey cardigan incident.

6: Breast-feeding burns up shedloads of calories a day. You must eat and drink loads to produce good-quality milk. And actually drink while feeding. Straws are good. I may have only breast-fed for 3 weeks (see here for the saga) but my milk was good stuff and I produced loads of it. A fortnight post-partum I was back in pre-pregnancy jeans, three weeks after and I was wearing jeans I'd not worn in two years. It all went back on again afterwards though. Which is a bit of a bugger quite frankly. [Forgot to add this bit when I originally posted: it bloody hurts, it's difficult to get right & after 3 weeks it all went ahem, tits-up for us but that was my experience]

7: Having a baby kills your sex-life. Once you've done your job in continuing the human race, rumpy-pumpy will never be the same again. It's a hard memory for both of you to shake, especially if like me you fall down the stairs after a week and rip out all the stitches in your episiotomy (oh sorry, did you wince then?). Like Mammywoo says "I can’t even enjoy sex anymore. You ruined that too. I know how it ends". Asides from that, sleep is so much more of an appealing option, for both of you.

8: When your newborn baby is held by women of a certain age, they will come back stinking of Ysatis or 4711. It will taint the smell of your little one. I don't know how to prevent this from happening, but it will upset you.

9: Having a baby will be the most amazing experience of your life; life will never be the same again and it is absolutely phenomenal!


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  1. Misslexywoo says

    Hahahahahahaha oh my god!!!! Brilliant! Had to leave the bedroom for laughing!!! So bloody true!!!
    Especially love the baby coming back smelling weird!! I hate that!!! Great post!!

  2. Jenny Paulin says

    Very true! My waters never broke on their own so don't know how that feels. Breast feeding didn't help me to shed my weight that fast! It's funny about the smell thing, even now after B has visited his paternal grandma he reeks of her perfume!
    Great funny and true post x

  3. Hannah says

    hahah so so true. Completely agree on the sex life, although my OH never lost his pre-baby randiness, which pisses me off quite frankly.

    My waters popped and gushed all over my bed – how the hell would you weigh that?!

    And yep to the none existent birth plan. I went in wanted to be that wonderfully gorgeous bikini-d woman in a birth pool, came out high on gas and air with a consultant manually removing my placenta.

  4. says

    So true about the waters – I thought it would be a little trickle on my manolos!!! Pah indeed! Wish number 6 had been true for me – still waiting for the weight loss even though I have finished BF-ing :)

  5. Alysonsblog says

    Brilliant however can I add the indignity of aiming into a pregnant person pisspot, how with a bump the size of a small continent you are supposed to aim and fire urine into an orifice the size of a test tube? How many times have you faced the fact that you are seeing on your own hand and can't do anything about it… I'm sure they do this stuff just for a laugh, sat in their offices laughing at us coming out of loos, with wet hands… Note to self… always make sure to shake their hands when I arrive!

  6. Johanna says

    With my second, my waters didn't 'go' they exploded! I'd been in labour for about 11 hours by then, there was an almighty 'bang' and fluids everywhere! I'd really wanted a home birth, but was very thankful that I was in hospital, because they had to wash the walls. Baby was born about half an hour later (no drugs, just a TENS, squatting on a birthing stool. Then an epidural for stitches as I had 3rd deg tears.)

  7. Whimsical Wife says

    Oh such truth you've spoken!

    Could you add the 3 week permanent headache, nipples which produce blood, the shock of post-birth stomach….

  8. Msissa says

    Ha ha, brilliant! Especially the waters and the old lady smell ;)
    Can I suggest pre-birth boobs that squirt out milk when you're frisky, the agony of soap on your stitches (OWWW! Thank the lord for Femfresh), and oh! The night sweats! And yet I can't wait to do it all again ;)

  9. says

    Hey, thanks for your comment on my Gallery post!

    I loved this post. I am a health visitor (I am dreading you giving HVs the "what they never told you about" treatment you've just done for giving birth here!) (maybe you already did?) and sadly where I work I'm not able to do antenatal work because of the way things are organised up here, but if I did I would stick this post on the clinic wall :

  10. says

    I was stunned when I suffered the after pains, nobody told me that was coming, I thought Iwas going to have another baby and panicked like mad till the nurse finally answered my buzzer and told me it was normal!
    Great post, all first time expectant mums should read it.

  11. Mammy woo says

    I had to come back.
    Was telling The Irish one about this post and he asked to read it. (BE HONOURED he doesnt even read mine! which is why i get away with so much!)

    After he read and laughed (ALOT!) he reminded me of the time i threw a remote control at his head full force after he dared ask me if i wanted to go for a walk. (I hadnt been out of the house in five days.) I think i was well within my rights. I couldnt understand why he wouldnt let me do it at my own pace. Should have thrown it harder… anyways…

    oh and his words…

    'why do you all think that tall woman on ONE BORN was glamarous? She had a face like a horse…'

    Spoken like a well trained man…

  12. The Real Supermum says

    I have no idea how I managed 6 pregnancies to be honest such a very honest and TRUE post. I suffered with a failed kidney in my last pregnancy and the care given to a heavily pregnant mum during my stay in hospital was disgusting, other than being jabbed with needles every few hours I was basically left in a room days on end.
    Thankfully my midwife was fantastic and even asked if she deliver my baby for me but as shes a community midwife she was denied the request.
    Ruined sex life – I have 3 under the age of 3 so wont comment

  13. says

    My waters broke so enthusiastically with my second pregnancy they practically splattered the wall from my bed. No weighing that one!!

    I've had pethedine with both mine and just got a bit more dopey than I already was on G&A. From reading other people's posts I'm beginning to think I'm an unusual case on that front!!

    Fab post!!!!

  14. says

    I remember reading this at the time you posted, and I love it as much now as I did then.

    I know exactly what you mean about middle aged women, but to be fair, it's better than when my dad used to hold Sausage and she'd come back stinking of roll-ups and bicycle grease!

  15. Kathleen says

    Amazing post. It's easier now for me to look back with a sense of humour over my birth experiences because if I didn't I think I would be in a permanent state of PND.

    Gas and air made me away with the fairies. We were alone in the birthing pool having been awake for over 24 hours. I drifted off, my OH started to drift off and I caught myself sinking into the water. After that we stayed away from the pool for fear of drowning. My waters then broke but again I was so out of it I kept crying because I thought I was continually wetting myself. Things got out of control and I ended up with a c section. Not the calm birth my yoga teacher had persuaded me I was bound to have. Pah!

    Number 2 wasn't much better as an elective section. Not nice to hear 'we've cut his head' and whispers of 'hysterectomy' (they didn't need to in the end) as they're delivering your child. Maybe I need a cathartic birth story post!

  16. says

    Oh so true. Love it.
    I remember nearly crying when my lovely Johnsons-y smelling newborn came back from a cuddle with his grandmother smelling like Dior Poison. I was disgusted and complained to my hubby about his horrible smelly mother for days after.
    I think the thing I really wish I had been told, is how much and how long you will hurt for after labour. I'd prepared myself for the fact that labour would be painful, but not for the fact that it would still hurt to sit or stand three weeks after.

  17. twopointfourchildren says

    Love this, sometime I need to go back and read all the missing posts on your blog! I have never and will never write a birth plan, have never felt a contraction, have never bought maternity pads or paper knickers, have had an epidural- what a strange feeling! and have gone back and had more children!
    They are so worth it all x

  18. says

    Oh – I don't know whether to laugh or cry

    "lavender oil is chuff all use when a water-melon is trying to come out of your vagina."

    Best line I've seen for ages…..I must be bloody mad – I've got to do that again!


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