As I sit here ogling my oh-so-fresh, two-day-old bundle of all things good and wonderful in the world, I can’t help but reflect on what labor was like the second time around. Without any true intention on my part, expectations had been set regarding my sweet boy’s impending arrival based solely on his big brother’s entrance into the world. (If you’ve had more than one child, this is where you start laughing maniacally at my naivete). So, after spending time in deep, gritty thought, I determined my absolute favorite surprises I encountered during the birth of my second. Enjoy.
Krista’s Top Ten Favorite Things She Apparently Forgot About Childbirth (Yet Swiftly Recalled)
1. Due Dates Are a Bunch of Lies
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Well, I propose a new, but similar sentiment: “If you want to make a pregnant lady laugh, tell her her due date.”
2. “I Think He Might Just Fall Out”
Sometimes you go right up to the birth of your child barely dilated, and sometimes you’re halfway there. When you’re halfway there, it’s awesome—you’re halfway there! But when you’re halfway there, you’ve likely also felt that your child will fall out of your body at any given point, which makes the lower half of your body feel about exactly the way it sounds.
Maybe you didn’t forget that specific pain like my apparently crazy self, but contractions don’t feel good. And you will undoubtedly remember them as soon as they rear their ugly head. Oh, you will remember.
4. Just Let Me Give Birth!
When your water breaks, you know you need to giddy on up to the hospital. But when contractions are making you feel like you might die from the inside yet are still eight minutes apart, you call the hospital twice thinking maybe they’ll take pity on you this time and tell you to come have your baby. Spoiler alert: they won’t.
5. Being Induced Be Crazy
I had to be induced with both of my little dudes, but the second time around, already halfway there (refer to: #2 I Think He Might Just Fall Out), it gets way more intense, way faster. Needless to say, the anesthesiologist who made all of that disappear is my new best friend.
6. I Can Hear You
Blessed woman in the next room over who clearly chose natural birth—I don’t know if you know this, and I’m certain that you don’t care right now, but I can hear you. And all that I can say is: “You are amazing.” You’re also scaring me a bit with those noises, to be completely honest. But you’re my hero (next in line only to the aforementioned anesthesiologist).
7. When It’s Time, It’s Time
Once baby is finally ready to arrive, you know it. Even if you don’t feel that urge to push quite yet, your mommy senses kick into gear. It’s time to get this show on the road. And that shot of adrenaline when the nurse confirms your mommy-intuition, that’s truly extraordinary.
8. It’s Not Over Yet
Your bundle of joy has officially arrived! You’re head over heels in love believing that the pain has concluded and it’s bliss from here on out. Lies. Don’t believe it. Because remember those contractions you had before? Oh, they’ll be back to haunt you as your body works to shrink your uterus down to a not-so-gargantuan size. I know we’re all thankful for this in the end, but couldn’t that part feel like rainbows and butterflies instead? (Oh, and this one also gets worse the more children you have. Blessings.)
9. But There’s More…
Because the contractions weren’t enough, if you are able and choose to breastfeed, that one still hurts at first. Apparently, I thought I’d built up nipples of steel the first time around, so all subsequent children’s nursing sessions would be filled with only glorious, painless moments. I was wrong. It’s definitely better than the first time, but I also told my husband that it felt like a bunch of LEGO people were stabbing tiny swords into my nipples. So there’s that.
10. In the End, Only One Thing Matters
When it’s all said and done, the only thing that matters is that precious, vulnerable, miraculous life you get to hold in your hands. And if you decide to bring another human into this world, don’t be surprised when you’re absolutely surprised by all of these things the second (or third, or seventh) time around. You’ll undoubtedly forget all of it, too, as you’re overcome by the sheer beauty of welcoming a child into your family. Then you’ll sign yourself up to endure it all over again.