Welcome to The Delivery Room Dish—a place for new moms to spill on the highs, lows, and nitty gritty of giving birth. What you’ll learn: there’s no one ‘right’ way to have a baby, the delivery room is full of choices (even when labor doesn’t go as planned), and every mom’s got a birth story worth sharing. Up next: Forbes.com journalist and new mom Vivienne Decker, who gave birth to five-month-old Arthur late last year.
I realized labor was starting when: I woke up at 4am feeling slight cramps. I was a week late, and I was going to be induced that evening, so I went to repack my hospital bag for the tenth time. As I bent down to stuff my favorite pillow into a pillowcase, my water broke!
We headed to the hospital after: I called my doctor, and he said in the calmest voice that it was time to get myself to the hospital. I woke my husband up from deep sleep, my voice was shaking with excitement when I told him my water broke.
The drive was: At 5am, we called an Uber. I wrapped blankets around my body, afraid my water would get in the Lincoln Town Car! Thankfully it didn’t, but I was more nervous about that than giving birth on my way to the hospital.
My contractions felt like: Initially, I had very baby contractions, so they just felt like cramps.
After checking in, I: was placed in a delivery room right away, because my water had broke. I was excited to get going and ready for a fast and smooth delivery.
Then I: was shocked to learn I was only 1cm dilated, and that it was going to be a long day!
What surprised me the most is: How calm and incredible delivery nurses are—seems to me like it would be the most stressful job!
Pushing is: So hard! Like the hardest workout class of your life!
The craziest part of delivery is: That the whole process is so unfamiliar to you, even with all the classes and prep work you can do ahead of time! There is no way to prepare for what will happen, you just have to trust your doctor, their team, and yourself to stay positive.
The best advice I received was: When it was taking a long time for me to dilate, I kept envisioning things that opened, like different kinds of flowers opening and blossoming. It sounds a little crazy, but my doctor and I think it really helped!
The plans that went out the window were to: I didn’t make a birth plan, because I am not a medical expert and I wanted to trust my doctor. I knew I wanted to avoid a C-section if possible, and there were times during the delivery that it came close to needing one, but luckily we were able to get my baby out.
The most painful part for me was: Recovery! I’m a very positive person, and I thought I would be back up and running quickly, but childbirth really knocked me out in a way I wasn’t prepared for. It took me a good 8 weeks to start to feel better. It was frustrating but it’s been a lesson in patience, and every time I would get down on myself, I just cuddle my little nugget and remember why it’s all worth it.
I’m so happy I: Have a supportive partner! My husband is in love with being a father, and sharing this with him has been one of my favorite parts of becoming a mother.
The best question I asked was: Ask for help! Lots of help from anyone who offers, you need all the support you can get.
I was so relieved I brought: My favorite black Eberjey robe, slippers and flip-flops for the shower!
What I wish I had packed in my bag is: Honestly, I didn’t use 80% of what I brought, the hospital has everything you need. Next time I’m packing light!