Here are 10 things I learned about childbirth.
1. A friend congratulated me on the "baby explosion." There was, quite literally, an explosion in the moment of childbirth. It's really a very messy experience.
2. There are a lot of bodily fluids you may not be aware of. I think I counted at least 8 of them which have become a part of my life since the onset of labor, previously unknown to me.
3. If you ever want to get stitches in your va-jay-jay . . . don't. It's just not as fun as it sounds.
4. Sometimes, your boobs feel like they are full of rocks. And other times, they leak like crazy. But at least you have a nice rack.
5. Natural childbirth (by the way, did yinz know I did this thing without drugs??) is cool, because you can impress people the day after just by walking around and not being a drugged-up zombie.
6. Natural childbirth is not cool, because IT HURTS LIKE BLOODY HELL. But whatever. It's possible. If you like pain. And bragging rights.
7. After labor, a cherry Italian ice might taste really, really, REALLY good.
8. The first poop after delivery isn't as bad as everyone says. But it will feel like an accomplishment. And stool softener is a beautiful thing.
9. This is actual advice: eat something before you go to the hospital. You need your strength, and you won't be allowed anything to eat or drink (ice chips only) during labor.
10. It's all worth it.
I feel like through the whole experience, I've learned to have greater respect for this body of mine. I've spent the better part of my 28 years hating it for various reasons, and only in the past couple of years or so have I even begun to accept that it is a strong and good body, capable of doing lots of things. Childbirth has made me even more aware of this fact.
Since I had only a vague idea that I wanted to go natural "as long as I could stand it," I was surprised to learn that my breaking point came very near the end, anyway. And had I known that fact, I certainly could have withstood the pain. Knowing that the end is near makes all the difference, when you're talking about pain.
It turns out that my ability exceeded my will-- something that I'm very sure is true of a lot of things in my life. I came out of my childbirth experience feeling like I'm much, much stronger than I ever thought.