Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. If only I’d known…
1. Put down the chocolate. You will put on more weight than you imagine and it will be unbelievably hard work to shift it. Put it down. Put it down now! You’ll thank yourself when you step on those scales later!
2. Don’t judge people too hard when they tell you to sleep while you can. In a few months time you’ll be a sleep-deprived zombie and you will wish you had revelled in every single second of sleep you got before baby came along. That is why they keep ramming this irritating cliche down your throat!
3. Don’t finish work too early. This baby is going to keep you waiting. And waiting! You are going to get so bored. On the plus side you will more than get your money’s worth out of your Netflix subscription while you’re waiting.
4. The majority of stuff you are planning to pack in your hospital bag is entirely unnecessary. Sack most of that crap off and just keep the absolute essentials. You will not have the energy, inclination or mental capacity to read or do activities of any kind so get rid of all your ‘entertainment’ for starters. You should take more Snickers bars and more cans of Red Bull than you are planning to though – they will be a godsend when you find yourself completely devoid of energy, and when you can’t bring yourself to eat any other more substantial food.
5. Prepare yourself for a day and half of relentless contractions before you even get close to the labour ward. They are going to hurt much more than you expect. 12 hours in you will naively think to yourself, ‘The midwives must be wrong, it can’t get much worse than this. I must be close now.’ They aren’t wrong; it’s you that’s misguided. It will get worse and you will be NOWHERE near 10cms for quite some time.
6. Put a bowl by the bed to be sick in when the pain of the contractions is so bad it makes you ill. If you forget the bowl and throw up in the ensuite it will block the sink and Hubs will have to spend time unblocking it while you writhe around on the bed in pain shouting that you need to go back to hospital NOW because you can’t go on like this ANY LONGER. The vomit-blocked plughole is an unnecessary complication that you won’t be thankful of in this situation.
7. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the possibility of drugs. Right now you think epidurals and pethidine are the work of the devil but when the very nice midwife at the hospital offers you pethidine at 3 in the morning you will take it in an instant and you will love her more than life itself for having given it to you. (You will also tell her several times how much you love her for giving you the drugs. You will be her new number one fan until the next contracting zombie arrives to be drugged up just like you were.)
8. Pushing actually won’t be as bad as you imagine. Especially in comparison to what you’ll have already been through by the time you get to the pushing stage.
9. Avert your eyes when they bring out the forceps. They are big and scary and look strikingly like a medieval torture device. Look away because once you have seen them the image will be forever ingrained in your memory!
10. When you feel at your absolute lowest and you think you can’t physically do it just remember that you CAN and you WILL! And it will all be so worth it in the end.