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The Baby's Coming, What's Next: Hospital Delivery Explained in 25 Steps

The waiting game is harder than anticipated, and all these months have officially lead to the big day: It’s baby time! As first time mothers, nerves and anxiety may be contributing factors to the already nerve-wracking event that’s about to happen. And, even for experienced mothers, the same nerves and anxiety fall into place. It happens regardless of how many times she has been admitted to the delivery ward to meet her new baby.

From the time her water breaks, or her contractions commence, or simply her doctors saw fit to schedule her to be induced, it all begins to set in. This is the reality- a baby is coming- now what on earth will she do? Those same fears are also installed in daddy-to-be. He walks through the automatic doors, hand in hand (or maybe there are contractions, so dad’s hand are on mom’s waist,) and the non-stop action will begin. Between the paperwork, the sleep deprivation, the painful contractions, the sweaty palms while waiting for the epidural, it’s understandable that women will be stressed out.

Luckily, we are here to help guide the way of what will happen on the big day and, hopefully, ease some of those worried minds. Here are 25 things that will happen throughout delivery.

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25 Where Did All This Water Come From?

The thought of your water breaking may be really scary to think, especially for first-time mothers, but it’s not all theatrical like Hollywood makes it out to be. Though there are some women who will experience the mega gush in public places, there are a lot of women who will feel a few drips or a slow leak spread out between hours.

Typically, when a woman’s water breaks, labour is usually nearby. If the bags aren’t packed and in the car yet, now would be a great time to find that duffel bag in the back of the closet.

24 Labor Back Pain Is No Joke

If you think third trimester back pain was something to complain about, you’re a first-time mother. And it’s cute- but sister, you haven’t felt anything yet. Back pain during labour is brought on by your baby’s head on your lower back.

Unfortunately for those who naturally suffer from menstrual cramps, according to BabyCenter, those who suffer from cramps will more likely experience labor back pains.

Luckily, there are a few tricks in order to survive the L.B.P’s, such as getting onto all-fours in order to ease the baby off your spine. Taking a warm bath, pelvic tilts and even a gently-pressured massage may also help alleviate your pain.

23 Call A Boyfriend Or A Best Gal Pal Because It’s Time

By this stage, her water may or may not have broken, but other signs may tell her that it’s time to go, and go right now! Some women may see a pink discharge, and if this happens, it’s important to remember that you must leave for the hospital immediately. It may be nothing, but it’s extremely important to make sure.

Other women will begin experiencing contractions and they will intensify with pressure, pain, and proximity as time goes on. However, some mamas-to-be may begin feeling contractions but labor will only begin 48 hours later!

You don’t want to be one of those women.

22 Pack the Bag and Start the Car. There's No Turning Back Now!

Her contractions are now minutes apart and she’s unable to properly form sentences, let alone sit at home waiting for them to get worse. She may even be at the point where she’s sweating and wishing she got the epidural 15 minutes ago.

Though technically 9 months ago was the no-turning-back point, now it’s really no-turning-back. Now is the time to call your best friend, call your mother, call your boyfriend and wait at the door for them to pull the car around. If you’re comfortable and not in a huge amount of pain, you may want to call the hospital ahead of arriving so that they can prepare your labour and delivery room. If you’re in an unbearable amount of pain, get your man to do it before he pulls off.

21 Enough Paperwork To Ruin A Rain Forest

In some hospitals, they are complete saints and they will give you a ton of paperwork to fill out prior to arriving at your final visit. But, as always, there are others that will not. Having the paperwork ahead of time allows for a smoother transition from the birth of your child to the forever cuddles, as opposed to the birth, paperwork, and then cuddles.

On the flip side, when you go to the hospital prepared, it also allows you to go straight to your birth plan so that the hospital staff can understand what you want. It doesn’t always mean that your birthing plan will go according to your plan, however, it’s great to have an idea in mind as to what’s to come.

I’m not entirely sure why the hospitals haven’t invented PDF formats that can be sent and returned electronically in order to save paper consumption. But I’m sure one day they just might!

20 Welcoming The New 48-Hour Family

As mom enters the maternity ward, she will be greeted and welcomed with an entire team that will be with her throughout the labour and delivery. More often than none, the soon-to-be parents will meet two or even three different teams, depending on how long her labor lasts and how many shifts have gone by. 

Depending on mom’s or baby’s medical needs, there will be a labour and delivery nurse, doctor or a midwife, anesthesiologist, an OB tech, other nurses and specialists and, of course, the interns.

19 Checking To See If Dilation Has Started

Around her 38th or 39th checkup, mom's doctor or midwife will verify if dilation has begun and if she’s effaced. However, when she arrives at the hospital, it will be way more frequent. There are some doctors who feel more comfortable being over cautious or have a larger group of interns to teach, but there are some that will check her every two hours.

Closer towards delivery time, they may want to check more often just to make sure that all the needed staff and equipment is in place.

18 Time For The Liquid Gold

Is there is such a thing as being too early or too late to request the epidural?

Though some women may opt out of the epidural, there are others who will wait until the last minute and there are also others who will ask for an anesthesiologist as soon as possible.

However, most anesthesiologist won’t perform an epidural without her being at a minimum of four or five centimeters. More so, it’s technically never too late to receive an epidural, unless the baby has started crowning.

17 All-You-Can-Eat Jello And Ice Chips

There was a time when all expecting mothers could eat before, during and after labor was jello and ice chips. Hospitals have slowly started allowing easily digestible snacks, such as applesauce and soft crackers. Though some hospitals still believe in this method, there are others that have adopted a new set of food rules in the delivery room.

The newest set of food rules for expecting mothers include toast with jam, plain pasta, and popsicles or sorbet. The reasons for these food choices are because they offer a few carbohydrates and a touch of sugar to give you energy for the day.

16 Monitoring The Baby’s Heartbeat

Once the expecting parents arrive at admissions, they will be ushered to a room where they will later deliver their baby. The moment she settles into her bed, nurses will immediately wrap her stomach in fetal heart rate monitor straps and the thumping of her baby’s heart and the beeping of the machines will soon begin until she delivers her baby.

The fetal heart rate monitor will allow doctors to monitor the baby’s health and condition. It also allows doctors to see how the baby deals with each contraction that the mother will have. There will be two belts placed around her abdomen; one that monitors the baby’s heart rate and the other will monitor her contractions and how far they are in between.

15 3 A.M Birthing Options

Mom may have spent months researching different birthing options and sat down to create a beautiful birthing plan for the nurse. Decorated with intricate flowers and even labeled by the hour, her birthing plan is no longer going as planned.

There could be a variety of different reasons as to why it’s not going as perfectly. She may have wanted an undisturbed, natural birth but the baby may be breached, or there could be a medical emergency for her or the bab- and that’s just to name a few.

We are here to tell all mothers who will experience this: It’s okay if your baby’s birth doesn’t go according to plan. As long as the baby arrives in perfect condition, that’s all that matters.

14 If Your Water Hasn't Broken Yet, It's About To

If her labour is taking a little longer than anticipated, the labour and delivery nurses will decide to break her water. Using a tiny hook called an amnihook, they will go in and break the water, allowing for labour to either speed up or just to help ease the induction.

Often times, when an L&D nurse decides to break her water, it will also come with an IV of pitocin. For all first-time mothers, this process doesn’t hurt. If she’s already had the epidural, she’s golden. If not, it’s a small pressure, followed by either a large gush or trickling.

13 A Different Type Of Netflix And Chill

Some mothers expect labour to be quick and there are other mindsets that believe it will be an all-week event, but everyone is different. However, active labor does normally last around eight or so hours. For those who exceed those hours, we sympathize with you. The actual delivery portion (pushing the baby out) should last five to ten minutes.

Most delivery rooms don’t supply televisions.  However, there is generally free WIFI, which allows for parents-to-be to bring their iPads and laptops. Netflix and chill may have given you this end result, but now is the time to actually relax and enjoy a show before you don’t get a moment’s peace for a long time.

12 Understanding The Hospital Room

From the moment the parents enter the hospital, they will start hearing different medical terms over the PA system, said between the nurses and the doctors, and even written across the hospital.

There are a few dozen words that she will hear in the labour and delivery ward, such as crowning, fontanelles, forceps, hemorrhage, meconium and that’s just to name a few. Understanding these keywords will give you a helpful insight as to how your baby’s doing and what you can expect.

11 Watching Him Eat In The Corner

Some men are a little sneakier when they hide from their wives to eat, but others are clueless when it comes to hangry cues from a contracting expectant mother.

Her hormones will be raging, and if she’s going with a natural birth, it’s best to just not eat at all, dads. She will be in pain, she will be tired, maybe hot, maybe cold or a little mix of both, and she’ll just “want this baby to come out now!” But, most of all, she will be HUNGRY.

For what it’s worth, cafeteria food isn’t that good anyways.

10 Yep, They're Here To Check You Again

It doesn’t matter if she’s sleeping or if she’s in the middle of an excruciating contraction, the doctors, nurses, and interns are all here to check her again.

It’s going to happen a million times more until she’s delivered the baby, but it’s all to make sure she and the baby are alright. This to ensure that the baby is descending well and in proper form. But it’s also to assure that her cervix is opening and ripening as needed.

Better get used to all of this attention, mama!

9 Start The Pitocin!

Labour may be taking a little longer than expected, so the doctors will want to help speed it along. They may want to try to begin labor with Pitocin before discussing the possibility of a caesarian. Pitocin may be another reason why her birthing plan doesn’t go according to her plan, but it’s a way to ensure the safe delivery of her child. Pitocin runs through an IV and will be increased slowly, every few hours, as needed.

8 Welcoming The Family That Decided To Show Up

Unless she has an understanding family, it’s most likely that some of her family will just show up. Luckily there are some hospitals that will allow more than two visitors until it’s time to push.

However, it’s important to know that mom will be tired and will be in discomfort, maybe even pain, Give her time to rest and try to understand the emotional roller coaster that she’s currently experiencing. Put yourself in her shoes! 

Fathers, be strong for her and tell her it’s okay to ask friends and family to wait outside. Her mental health, emotional well-being and physical needs are the priority.

7 The Last Nap You Will Ever Have

Labour may be taking a longer time than expected and the exhaustion is starting to set into place, but she will need to recuperate in order to have the right amount of energy to push out a watermelon. Knowing what the current birthing plan is with the nurses and doctors will allow her to plan when she can take a little nap to refresh.

There will be times when the contractions are much more painful than they have been, and when she closes her eyes….  nothing, the pain’s still there. Take a nap and get your mind off of it- that is if you can manage to fall asleep.

6 The Contractions Are Strong Enough To Make You Feel Nothing - Yep, That's Real

The contraction pains may be coming at such a fast pace and a high intensity, closing her eyes may help her mind to go into a euphoric stage. Really, mom will be able to zone herself out of the painful situation, until another contraction comes waving around. How cool is that? 

However, zoning out into this state also allows her to zone out her husband, which could be a good suggestion for this current stage of events. But, by far, this meditative state also helps mom-to-be throughout the delivery process.

5 It’s Showtime Baby!

At this time, she will be in a great amount of pain and she will be at the full 10 centimeters, which tells the nurses and doctors that it’s time to push. The baby is now on the way!

By now, contractions are now two to five minutes apart and can range from low to high intensity. Women may also feel a need to push and may even feel like a bowel movement right about now. Women have also described a burst of energy or a second wave of fatigue.

During the initial pushing, women have expressed a tingling or burning sensation, followed by the feeling of being wet. Lastly, the cry of a newborn baby.

4 Meeting Baby Through The Waterworks

Whether it’s through induction, natural birth or a caesarian section, the baby is now here! All the pain and discomfort, pressure, and physical checks will all come to an end soon. The first twelve hours after birth are the more important, as the baby adjusts to the world outside of the womb.

First, they will place the baby on his or her mother’s chest to have skin-to-skin contact which has had a magnitude of benefits, such as improving baby's breathing, stabilizing temperatures, and also stabilizing glucose levels. Skin-to-skin contact will also create a bond between parents and child.

3 Taking The First Baby Picture

Giving birth is the most beautiful experience of a woman’s life. And most parents will start their journey into parenthood with a beautiful family photo.

This moment is going to be raw, it’s real and it captures the beautiful moment a baby is presented to her parents for the first time. After long hours of painful contractions, the sleeping impossibilities, having nurses and doctors visit frequently... it’s all finally over.

It will show against her skin, sweat and tears skimming her face. Her hair will be a complete mess and her makeup won’t be “camera ready,” but who in the world cares? Be you, mama. You just delivered a miracle.

2 Home Away From Home

After the joyous birth of a beautiful baby, mom and dad will be expecting to leave. Unfortunately, most hospitals require mom and baby to stay for just a little while longer. Generally speaking, their stay is anywhere from 24 to 72 hours. Once the baby has been thoroughly checked by the nursing staff and, possibly, the NICU staff, they will wheel the mother and her baby into the maternity ward.

The maternity ward is glorious. This is the floor with a private shower and a television! Although her family will have to ask the nurses to activate the television and it will cost a small penny, it’ll definitely give her something to do while the baby sleeps and until she goes home!

1 Bringing Home Baby

It’s the moment mom and dad have been waiting for - the baby is coming home! Anxiously, mom will wait outside her door until a nurse to arrive and discharge them.

However, she may be there well into the afternoon, depending on how busy the nurses and doctors are and how many tests need to be done on the baby. To start, the Apgar test will be conducted and the NICU may want to run a few more tests to make sure everything is perfect for her new life at home.

Before heading home, the nurses will give mom some brochures and even a small video about parenting and discipline. Lastly, the nurses will adjust the car seat straps as needed, and then mom and baby are on their way to their forever home!

References: mayoclinic.org, babycenter.com, parents.com, parents.com, blog.allstate.com, thebump.com

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