The Pregnancy Diaries: Week 37 – Labour Day Anxiety
Now that I’m on maternity leave and have some more time to myself, I find that I’m thinking more and more about the actual labour.
By now, I must have heard at least 50 stories from well-meaning mothers about their experiences and it only serves to cement one fact, which is that no two births are exactly the same. From one lady who gave birth to her first in 20 minutes to the other that toiled for over 30 hours with her fourth, I have come to the realisation that you can’t have too many expectations of how labour will proceed.
With the hindsight of antenatal classes, I’ve learned that there are a number of things you should plan for to avoid stress when baby announces his arrival. This involves having your bags packed for the hospital – I’ve prepared one for me and one for the baby. You should also have the number of the antenatal ward on your phone so they can advise you on when to come in. If your contractions have started, they will ask you how far apart they are and offer some advice on what to do.
Labour – which is, let’s face it, aptly named – is divided into three stages:
- The first part involves the thinning out and opening up of the womb to allow the baby’s head to pass into the birth canal. This stage normally takes the longest as as the womb needs to open up to 10 centimeters (eek!).
- The next part is the birth. The baby will travel into the birth canal and then into the world to meet his excited and exhausted mum. This stage usually takes around an hour but can be the most challenging as the contractions are stronger and you will probably be more fatigued than you’ve ever felt in your entire life.
- The final part is the delivery of the placenta.
So, it all looks fine in black and white, but what I’m dreading most is the labour pains I will have to endure until our little man arrives. I’ve been told to think of the midwife as my best friend and do everything she/he tells me.
In the interim, I’m going to try and focus on the end result. I’m already head over heels in love with the bump and can’t wait to meet him!
Stay with us every week for more from 'Big Belly' as she continues her pregnancy adventure.