There are a lot of things that really surprise patients in labor and delivery. Today I’m going to share five of them, so you can be a bit more prepared for labor day!
Before we get started, grab my labor bag packing list because it’s going to make sure you have the stuff you need in your labor bag!
Surprises in Labor and Delivery
First off, how do I know these things? It’s not just having my own kids. I’ve been a nurse since 1997 and I’ve worked 20 years in labor and delivery. A lot of people know me as the pregnancy nurse. I’ve seen thousands of patients confused and I love helping get you prepared.
In fact, I love it so much I created the best prenatal class on the internet. It’s for couples, it includes engaging videos, quizzes and text — plus the cliff notes to review before the big day. AND, it can get you prepared in under three hours. Way better than those forever-long hospital classes (which you can’t even find right now). Right? There’s three price points to fit every couple’s budget!
Ok, let’s jump into the surprises!
The Hospital is a SLOW Pace
I think we all envision crazy times in the hospital. You come in, and baby’s out within a few minutes. It just isn’t that way.
Yes, the hospital staff is very busy but as a patient it’s going to be a LOT of waiting.
There will be moments that the nurse comes in and asks 1,000 questions (only a mild over-exaggeration), and puts in your IV, but after that you wait.
So, just be prepared with something to help you pass the time. Load up that ipad with some movies, bring some cards or some games you love. Of course, we have TV’s and you can totally sleep if you can/want — but it’s often a slow boat.
This is true for all areas of the hospital, btw. You wait for doctor’s orders, and then you wait for things to improve or go downhill and then there are new doctor’s orders…. zzz….
Doctor’s Orders Rule the Roost
I know that people think nurses can do whatever the heck they want — but the reality is that we can only do the things that the doctor orders (for the most part). Yes, we can often fudge or slide things a little bit here or there (experienced nurses get great at that).
If your doctor says you can’t get an epidural — I can’t give you one.
If he/she says you can’t eat, I can’t give you food.
I am bound by what your provider orders.
You, on the other hand are not — but we’ll get to that, so keep reading!
It’s A Place You Can Prepare
Most places in the hospital are places that people end up unprepared. Heart surgery, cancer — they’re just not things that people can (or possibly should) prepare for.
However, you’ve had MONTHS to realize that you would be culminating in a visit to labor and delivery.
So, take this chance to get prepared. I have a way you can do it, there are lots of other ways out there.
I even have a free beginning class to see if I’m the best fit for you:
You can also create a birth plan — which allows you to think about what you’d prefer at each step of the way. This doesn’t mean these choices are set in stone — in fact, I have a little series on birth plans to to help you make one in a healthy way:
You Won’t See Your Doctor Much
I think people think their doctor will be with them quite a bit along the way.
But they likely won’t be.
If you would prefer to see your provider a lot during the process, I recommend using a certified nurse midwife. They tend to be there for encouragement and help more.
Your doctor tends to still be seeing patients in the office or living his life while you are in labor.
Yes, they might pop in to break your water, or if they have another delivery they might say hello (and honestly, they might not).
You will likely start pushing without them (although some providers do like to be there during pushing, although they most often don’t stay in the room the whole time). All of that is fine.
Remember that average pushing time on your first baby is two hours — so, they likely can’t just hang out in L&D for all of that time.
ALSO, labor nurses are trained and skilled in all of these areas. We are the eyes and ears of providers, so they can come should anything be wrong.
Nurses are MOST trained to know when something isn’t right and to call the provider. We are also better at pushing, and repositioning and all the things you’ll need during and after labor. So don’t worry! 🙂
You Call the Shots
You can always, always, always say no.
In fact, I have a whole podcast on how/when to say no:
Don’t want an IV — say no.
Want to eat, even if the doctor says no — go ahead!
You are truly in charge.
Now, if you choose to do those things there will likely be a lot of education.
You have come to the hospital for the safest situation for your birth. Most of that safety is due to our policies and procedures that we plan to help you stay healthy and well.
If you don’t want an IV, or you want to eat in labor — talk with your provider about those things in advance. After all, it truly is THEM that is ordering it, not me.
For instance, they will likely tell you options like just a saline lock (where you’re not hooked up to the IV but it is still in your arm should we need one for you bleeding a lot). They might also be able to talk through snacks you could safely eat in labor (or why you shouldn’t eat).
If you come to me, and just say no to those things, I will also go over why those items are the safest, but because I am not in charge of your doctor’s orders I don’t have as much flexibility and leeway.
Never think you can’t refuse or ask for more info. I love how in that podcast, Mandy mentions that if you feel like you need more time, say you need to use the restroom. No one argues with a pregnant woman about that!
It’s your provider’s job to give informed consent, and it’s your job to make the choices. Surprise!
So, those are five things that surprise people in labor and delivery. I truly would get prepared in advance, and I’d love to help you do it. TENS of THOUSANDS of couples have taken my class and just love their outcomes. JOIN THE CLASS TODAY!