Rob and I were seriously addicted to the show “Friends” when it was on, and I distinctly remember the episode when Rachel had her baby. She spent a good 30 hours lying around in a hospital bed, complaining because it was taking forever for her to dilate to 10 centimeters. Other women came and went in her shared room while Rachel lay around, bored and whining. For Rachel (and apparently all the other pregnant women who briefly shared her room), the actual pain didn’t start until it was time to push and deliver the baby.
Our last childbirth preparation class was yesterday. Now that the class is over, I have to say that the biggest thing I learned about childbirth was that movies and television have lied to me my whole life.
I’ve been led to believe that all the early labor and dilation stuff was a cakewalk – that labor doesn’t get painful until it’s actually time to deliver the baby. I was all prepared to bring a book, or even “Friends” DVDs, to the hospital to pass the time while I waited to do the real work at the end.
No such luck.
In fact, the teacher said something last night that seemed completely unfathomable to me: “Pushing doesn’t really hurt.”
What? But that’s the part where the female character always screams and crushes her coach’s hand and curses him for getting her into this situation in the first place.
According to our teacher, the really painful part is when you’re having all of those contractions to work your way up to 10 centimeters. Once it’s time to deliver the baby, pushing the kid out just comes naturally.
So, let me get this straight.
First, I go to the hospital when the contractions are three to five minutes apart, and NOT the first time I feel a uterine twinge. (TV misled me on that point, too.)
Then, after I get to the hospital, I won’t be lying around for 20 hours, calmly awaiting the moment of delivery. I’ll be walking around, sitting in a chair, maybe taking a shower, breathing my way through painful contractions every few minutes, and generally not lying around watching TV. And if I’m going to crush my husband’s hand and curse him for doing this to me, THIS is when it’ll happen.
And finally, when it comes time to deliver the baby, it’ll be a relief.
Well, then. I may bring a book with me on the off chance I actually have down time while I’m in the hospital. But I think I’ll leave the “Friends” DVDs at home.