Labor and Delivery: What No One Tells You

With my first baby, I had a scheduled C-Section so I never experienced labor and delivery. My second child, I was able to have a successful VBAC. I quickly learned that there are a lot of things that no one tells you about labor and delivery. There is the painful, the awkward, and the flat out embarrassing aspects that people just don’t talk about. In fact, before I was in active labor, I had no clue what labor even Β was supposed to feel like. These are the things I wish that people had told me about labor.


What you need to know about labor and deliveryThe Things No One Tells You About Labor and Delivery


Labor | Delivery | Pregnancy | First Time Mom

What Labor Feels Like

So we all know it hurts, agreed? But I had no clue what to even expect! All anyone would tell me was “you will know”. Well, while that may be true, I still wanted at least some sort of idea about labor and delivery and what I would be experiencing. Well, I am here to tell you that labor, for me, felt like 1000 knives being systematically stabbed into my back at the same time. I had terrible back labor, so it was not pleasant. Contractions were extremely strong and I could feel my stomach tightening each time. When the contraction was over, there was a feeling of relief. Mine were coming every five minutes, and getting closer together. I can’t say this will be the same for everyone, but at least now you know what you might be able to expect.

The Start of Labor

I literally had no idea what to expect when it came to labor and delivery. I remember not being able to sleep at night. Then I kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom, but I couldn’t go. At one point I was talking to my sister, and she told me that I was most likely at the start of active labor! Apparently, that “have to go” feeling is one of the signs. So yes, being in labor feels like you have to poop, extremely badly but just can’t go. If no one would have told me this, I really would have had no clue.

Lightning Crotch

Even the name makes me cringe. I would get these sharp shooting pains. They would come and go and I had no idea why. Β When I asked my doctor, she said it is commonly referred to as lightning crotch. It is common prior to labor and can be a sign of the baby getting into position and your body preparing for dilatation.

Your Mucus Plug

I had heard all about women losing their mucus plug and then labor starting. When I was pregnant, I learned this isn’t always the case. You can lose your mucus plug early, and it can grow back! I did not lose mine until I was already 4 CM and in active labor. It is gross, and it will probably freak you out. The “plug” looks like a giant snot bugger and there will likely be blood, hence “bloody show”. I was in the hospital, a little freaked out by the blood. Thankfully the nurses were able to explain things to me better.

Breaking Your Water

I always imagined this giant rush of water, and then hurrying to the hospital. For most women though, this isn’t the case. When I was in labor with my son, I was about 5 CM along and the doctor had to break my water for me. Β From what I was told, a large majority of women do not get that cinematic water breaking moment we all have seen in the movies. So just because your water hasn’t broke, does not mean you aren’t in labor.

Dying of Heat Stroke

So dying of heat stoke may be a little dramatic, but I did not realize howΒ HOT you feel when in labor. Hospitals are typically cold, but when you are in labor you will be begging them for ice to cool you down. Don’t panic, it is totally normal to feel like you are sitting in a sauna.

The Epidural

Ahhh, the almighty epidural. Sweet relief from the pain of labor. For me personally, it worked pretty great. Initially, it did make me sick. Like sick to the point that I actually threw up, but that went away rather quickly. I was able to take a nap for a while, but when I woke up I could feel on one side again. I had slept on my side, and all of the medication was on one side of my body. Great. Once it was time to push, my drip had run out and I was regaining feeling once again. I could feel the pressure (totally normal), as well as the contractions.


Labor | Delivery | Pregnancy

Who Are All Of These People?

I had my husband and sister in law in the room with me, along with a plethora of hospital staff. At one point I remember wondering who all of these people were. In a way, it felt like I was on some strange reality show about women birthing. There were nurses for me, one at each leg, a pediatric nurse, the doctor, and a few other nurses that I am not sure about.


The idea of pushing was foreign to me. As a former C-section mom all I had to do was lay still and get surgery, those doctors did the hard part. Now it was my turn. I learned quickly that you push when you feel your contraction, and let up when it stops. I was told to “push like you have to poop” by one of the nurses. My knees pushed up to my chest,don’t breathe and just push with all your mite!

Sweet Relief….Sort Of

Then you get it, that final moment when you feel the pressure alleviate and hear that first cry. It really is a magical feeling, but as soon as you think it is over you realize you have to deliver the placenta. Now, this isn’t as bad as delivering the baby, but it still is uncomfortable.

Did You Rip?

I spent my first moments cuddling my messy newborn while the doctor proceeded to sew up my nether regions. Thankfully, the epidural was still somewhat in effect but it was not the most pleasant of experiences. The tiny innocent human on my chest did make everything seem completely worth it though.

NOW You Are Cold!

After delivery, it is highly likely that you will start to shiver. No longer dying of heat stroke, you are now in a frozen tundra. Even if you don’f FEEL cold, your body will start to uncontrollably shake. This happens after a C-section as well, so it is not exclusive to a vaginal birth.

Hospital Recovery

The worst is over. You have your sweet bundle of joy and it is off to your room to recover for a few days. Honestly, I think the worst part was AFTER the labor and delivery. You will end up in a mommy diaper for a while due to the loss of blood. It will be like all of the periods that you missed during those 9 months put together. Also, the contractions don’t completely end. Your uterus will continue to contract while it goes back to its normal size. Nurses will come in and push on your stomach, and yes that hurts! If you are breastfeeding, that will stimulate further contractions AND your nipples might feel like they are going to fall off (I promise this gets MUCH better). Oh, and did I mention the hemorrhoids? From all of that pushing and straining, these little guys might just pop up to say hello! Don’t worry, the hospital will give you tucks pads and some ointment to make it all feel better. Your nether regions will probably feel like a war zone, and that is okay. Use this time to recover and take it as easy as you can.


In the end, it is worth it. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Personally, I would take the labor and delivery over a c-section any day. While parts of it kind of were terrible, my C-section recovery was much worse. Keep in mind that every woman’s labor and deliver will be different. It is useless trying to compare yourself to other women, so just don’t do it. Listen to your body and go with the flow. If you want an epidural, get it with no guilt. Don’t want one? Then don’t let anyone pressure you into it. Hopefully this can help out some of you first time mothers who want to know what to expect. Best thing I can say, is to expect the unexpected and do what feels right!




  1. robin masshole mommy says:

    Everyone has a completely different experience and I loved reading about yours. My epidural was like magic. I never even felt the baby come out πŸ™‚

  2. Shobika says:

    Oh my, I literally cringed while I read your post. I don’t have kids yet, but this made me frightened more than ever haha. I guess everyone has their own story and experience. You are definitely a heroine in my eyes haha πŸ™‚

  3. Alicia Nicole says:

    These were thing types of posts I was reading last year while I was pregnant, and I was so glad I did because for the most part there were no surprises when I gave birth to my daughter in October. She was my first and I was definitely freaking out. Thanks for sharing these experiences for the newbies haha πŸ™‚

    Alicia Nicole xo

  4. Ashley @ Spit Up and Sit Ups says:

    I am laughing at “feeling like you have to go.” I actually DID have to go! They kept telling me I was only dilated one cm. I went, bam, 5cm. Trust your body, ha! I ended up with a c-section, but you give me hope for a VBAC!

    • Jessi says:

      Girl yes. Lol my first was frank breech and wasn’t going anywhere … So c section it was. But my boy was all on his own….at 41 weeks lol

  5. Dawn says:

    This is all great to know info! I often wonder what the experience will be like, and appreciate the first hand account. I like to be really prepared, once this day comes πŸ™‚

  6. Alissa says:

    Thanks for being open with your birth experience. Before I had my first, I was totally lost as to what to expect. After I had her, I wanted to stop every pregnant person I saw and let them know just what they were up against!

  7. Rachel says:

    OMG hahaha! This post is PERFECT!!!!

    No one told me what to expect AT ALL. I had super intense pain in my crotch. It was horrific. I had no relief from contractions. I felt like I was having an out of body experience.

    How does no one warn us?! Great post, mama. πŸ™‚

  8. catchingupwithclaireelizabeth says:

    I like being prepared and knowing what to expect so although I have never been pregnant, I love reading things like this! (Because I plan to be someday). I like that you were honest and blunt about the things that really happen during labor, it is something every future mom should know!

    • Jessi says:

      I feel like there’s a lot out there that sugar coat it..m everyone has a different experience and this was mine lol

  9. fashionphases says:

    I wish this post was around the first time I gave birth. Jessi not only did I ripped I also pooped the first time I gave birth. I learned my lesson not to eat anything the second and third time around LOL.

    • Jessi says:

      I was attmepting to eat chili before I went to the hospital… I was starving and that’s what my husband had made, but the back labor was too intense for me to even get more than a few bites.

  10. Allison says:

    It’s all so true. Although, some times I’m glad people didn’t tell me too much. Knowing me, I would have been terrified and stressed out for weeks had I known the truth!

  11. David Elliott says:

    I know that I never personally experienced all of this but I watched all of the things my ex went through with our daughter. Unfortunately we had to do a cesarean as my daughter wasn’t coming. Fortunately we could out that it was better we didn’t try to push her out but she had wrapped the cord around her neck five times. Was crazy.

      • David Elliott says:

        I was just grateful because we didn’t know until they had already done the C-Section. I am just thankful we had a good doctor who told us that we were probably going to have one now or later. We chose now and it was a good thing.

    • Jessi says:

      Oh no. Well hopefully it’ll have you more prepared πŸ™‚ I labored at home in my tub for a good 5 hours probably before I even went to the hospital… And it all went fast after that πŸ™‚

  12. Jessica Harlow says:

    This sounds like such valuable info for women who are getting ready to go through child birth. I had 3 c-sections despite hoping? for a vaginal birth. I’ve always felt like I missed out on something but it sounds like I may have avoided some pretty tough stuff! lol

  13. Author Brandi Kennedy says:

    As a young mother, I would really have loved to see something like this in the weeks leading up to my first daughter’s birth. She was born by c-section too, because she was breech and simply would not turn. I remember being terrified and convinced that I was going to die in the surgery – but everyone I knew just blew it off like, “Oh, pshh. You’ll be fine!” It was very frustrating – having a guide like this to read through just to let me know what to expect would have been amazing!

    • Jessi says:

      I was thinking of doing a similar post but focused on c sections… Since I have done both it might be fun to share that perspective

  14. Jessica Hughes says:

    This all sounds so familiar and it really is a very true to life breakdown of what you go through in labor and delivery. I’m not sure why people are so hesitant to actually tell women these things, but I love that you have put it all out there. I think it’s much better to have some idea of what to expect instead of fearing the unknown.

  15. justine says:

    wow what an awesome experience! i’ve had two c sections with another one scheduled in May. I wanted a VBAC with my second born but i wasn’t even close to being ready. While I will never have the VBAC or L&D experience, i loved reading about your journey. and I agree, you should do one on c sections!

  16. jessi says:

    I agree, I had 2 C-sections but it wasn’t by choice. I had huge babies that were both stuck. I’ll always wonder what a vaginal birth would’ve been like….instead of surgery! You’re experiences were much more natural! πŸ™‚

  17. Nicole McClean says:

    Why is there so much hush hush about the truth? During labour with my second I was shocked at what actually happened. First time round I had a Caesarean also so that was very different. What I didn’t expect was the 10 Drs all coming to have a look because I stupidly agreed to let training happen! It is true that when the pain hits you you honestly don’t care who is there aftrwards j just wanted leave asap.

  18. Divya says:

    Oh gosh, these are all things I fear about having a child. I want the end product – not all this other stuff that comes along with it! EEK! Sounds so scary.

  19. Tatum Skipper says:

    Lightning crotch haha that would scare me too! I have always wondered about the steps of pregnancy because I tend to get freaked out about that stuff. Love how you broke it down step by step!

  20. Amy says:

    What a great article! The more you know about the process, it’s a lot less stressful. During my hospital visit, they showed us where the cups were for women throwing up. So when I started barfing during labor, I didn’t freak out since I knew it was common.

    Anyone expecting a baby should read this article. Labor is so much easier when you recognize common labor situations.

  21. Richard_eCoursesXYZ (@Richard_eCourse) says:

    Lots of info to digest here and so thankful I will never have to experience it. I was a medic in the Army and was fortunate enough to help in the delivery of 2 babies during my hospital rotation. At one of the deliveries there were like 5 other people in there (non-medical staff) and I wondered why anyone would allow that many people observe the birth. But, it wasn’t my place to say anything.

  22. Deimarys says:

    On my C-section all I wanted to do was throw up and breath, I remember I couldn’t breath. I had my tubes tied, lasered, ripped, burn, whatever they call it. I didn’t want anymore kids, 2 are ok for me. So they did that the same day of the C-section and the smell of burn and blood was KILLING ME.

  23. Kiwi says:

    One of the realest blogs on labor and delivery. I dont have kids but I used to want to be an obstetrician as a child so I learned about many of these. The last part about after birthing its still more stuff like the extra periods and them pushing on your stomach really freaks me out…oh the joys of being a woman.

  24. Hey Sharonoox says:

    My first was a normal delivery while my second was a c-sec. I had contraction for 4 hours without any epidural and was rush to the hospital where my daughter was born about an hour later. I didn’t expect it to be that quick but was relief with the last push. I remembered going through what you experienced after delivery. The joy though!

  25. Mandy @ A Cupful of Carters says:

    I had all natural, no meds for both my labors and they went so quick. Plus I went home the next day so I feel like my labor process was lightning fast.

  26. shannon says:

    So this is all bringing back memories of my son’s birth. I hated, and i mean hated, the fact I couldn’t drink any water except chew on ice chips. I was in labor for almost 24 hours! How is that even ok? It’s the race of a lifetime and you don’t even get water??!! I think that was the worst part! LOL

    • Jessi says:

      I labored for most of my time at home. I tried to eat but couldn’t lol . They did give me water at the hospital, but all I wanted was the ice…probably because it was so hot, and they had the good ice lol that’s really soft …mmmm lol

  27. blair villanueva says:

    You wont believe that am all eyes reading this word by word! We are into making one this year, and this situation fears AF. But I will keep believing that I can do it. Because I want it.

    Congratulations for having your angels!

    • Jessi says:

      I know it sounds terrible, but every labor is different. Most people don’t get the back labor like I did, so that’s a plus πŸ™‚ I think if it wouldn’t have been in my back I could have done it all med free.. But that epidural was my god send lol

  28. Jeanine says:

    I gave birth 7 times and all 7 times it was so very different. It was pretty awesome. A lot of these I felt through most of them! Especially the who are all these people.. every time!

  29. Wanderlust Vegans says:

    That was all pretty graphic and stuff people don’t usually mention. I do think that this stuff is important for people to hear to prepare them for what is coming. The movies make it all seem neat and tidy.

  30. Anna says:

    When i gave birth to my little girl i was induce since I was not dilated. And boy did hurt, giving birth was the best experienced in my life. And thank God for the Epidural, it was my life saver. After getting Epidural the pain was gone. Even when they injected the Epidural on me I didn’t even feel the pain that everyone was telling me. One thing for sure giving birthday is painful but definitely worth it because you are giving birth to the most precious gift in life.

  31. Heather says:

    I was induced past my due date with both my daughters so I never experienced most of the things women do when going into labor naturally. With my first I was almost a week past my due date and my second I was 10 days. MISERABLE experience but once we got to the actual deliveries it wasn’t awful.

  32. Heather says:

    I was in labor for way too long with my first one (giving it the ol’ college try with natural) and ended up having an emergency c-section. My subsequent two were scheduled c-sections and much better experiences.

  33. asseenonjean says:

    As someone trying for a baby, I’ve thought quite a bit about what delivery may be like. The thought of it completely scares me but I know it has to be done to have the baby I’ve always wanted! Thanks for such an honest piece about what to expect. Of course every woman is different, but it’s good to hear what exactly goes on!

  34. Allison says:

    I have to admit I don’t ever want children. My mom scared it out of me haha. But from reading this I can tell it’s very informative to those expecting. Well done/.

  35. Caitlin says:

    I haven’t had children, but I appreciate how honest you are about the labor and delivery process! I’d rather know what I’m getting into πŸ™‚

  36. Lyd says:

    This was such a fascinating read, you went into serious description and I’m sure it was SO great for expecting mothers. Love how honest you are too πŸ™‚

  37. Amrita says:

    Very nicely written about the birthing experience. But honestly your situation is at its best.Normal labour without epidural (which is more likely in Indian Government hospital )can get very painful .But this again is better to be a choice than anything else

  38. Molly Kumar says:

    These are such great tips and so much in details. I’ve heard different things from all mothers but one thing which is constant is how high everyone talks about Epidural πŸ™‚

  39. Ashleigh says:

    Oddly enough, I was FREEZING throughout labor and delivery (even after 2.5 hours of pushing). Hormones are weird. Other than that though, this was spot on for me.

  40. Krystle Cook says:

    All of this is so great. No one tells you about what labor is really like. There is so much that is both beautiful and gross and unexpected about it.

  41. Paula says:

    Intense flashbacks right now! I wonder if we had read this before hand if we would have been anymore prepared! It’s amazing what moms go through to bring their littles into the world.

  42. Caroline musgrove says:

    Every birth is different and if you prepare yourself through positive thinking and relaxation you can teach your body to relax and labour just happens. That was my experience and I did not feel pain, use any pain relief or tear. I am currently 1 week postpartum and feeling great. I will be writing my account of my experience as I believe we need to overcome this belief that birth is a painful experience to be feared and realise that our body is designed for childbirth and if we overcome our fears and let it work how it should then we can have a natural and positive experience 😊

  43. Mary says:

    I appreciate this, and I would like to add that the part I was not expecting was to feel nauseous during active labor withOUT an epidural! Back labor, I’d heard about, so yep – no surprise, and labor pains, obviously, but to couple that with wanting to throw up…ugh, miserable. I did not have any pain relief/epidural, so it can’t be attributed to that. Also, some things that helped – an ice pack applied with pressure (like someone pushing it HARD) on my back when the contractions hit. A nurse suggested it, and that was surprisingly helpful for a bit. Tip #2: SQUATS. During early labor, sure, do squats while you walk up and down the halls if you can. But ladies, in the months/weeks leading up to the birth, strengthen the hell outta those muscles with squats. I’m talking like 200-300 a DAY – and deep squats too – break it up so that you do 20 every time you take a potty break or something. I only pushed for 12 minutes, which I was told was pretty impressive. Kegels are probably as important as they say too (I did a lot of those too), but I think the squats were key. Hey, no harm in it, right?

  44. Savannah says:

    Such a great read!!! I didn’t get the after-delivery shakes at all, but that sounds so uncomfortable – definitely something to keep in mind this time around!! I didn’t get the epidural, but the nausea and vomiting…yay! It was absolutely BRUTAL to be dry heaving and having a contraction at the same time…no fun! One thing they do tell you though, it always seems worth it when holding that brand new little baby <3

  45. Leah says:

    Honestly, labor is so different for every woman – I could barely relate to any of this. I’ve had 4 natural homebirths – didn’t have that need to pee or lightning crotch but did have lots of Braxton hicks in the days/weeks leading up to labor. No back labor so my contractions were more like intense cramps that wrapped around my back but weren’t too intense until right before pushing. Didn’t experience the hot flashes or being cold after delivery. Didn’t have an epidural and never tore… so while it might be best to be prepared for the worst, lots of people will have a totally different experience!

  46. Hot Mess says:

    I will never forget s******* on the floor. All I heard was “thump”, “thump” and I’m like, “Oh my God, did I just crap on the floor?” And the nurse who was roughly 6″ from the baby portal nonchalantly said, “It happens all the time.” Yeah, but it’s sincerely mortifying!!!

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