Childbirth: Fantasy vs. Reality (PHOTOS)

delivery roomAh childbirth, it's never quite how we think it's going to be, especially for first-timers. I remember my pregnant self fantasizing about the glorious labor I was going to have. I would focus on my breath, I would surround myself with pillows and candles, I would remember to bring my soothing labor soundtrack, I would ride those contractions like a surfer. I was so deluded.

We all have those friends with beautiful birth stories. And yeah, we're envious of them. But I think for most of us, childbirth is a little more like a marathon through the mud than a day-long yoga retreat. Here's the labor fantasy -- and the labor reality -- as I see it.

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kelry23 kelry23

Maybe I am a freak of nature or just extremely fortunate, but I seriously had the world's easist delivery, it wasn't stressful, painful or any of the above. I was only in labor for 8 hours, and in delivery for a little under 10 minutes. A family made a joke, I hysterically started laughing and in less than 10 minutes, my son was in my arms. Not every woman has this crazy, terrifying experience. toddler boy

miche... micheledo

I feel like I have just about done it all (not a c-section though). First was induced with no pain meds, second was induced with an epidural that didn't work well. Third wasninduced with an epidural. Fourth was natural i nthe hospital. Fifth was at home with a midwife. Sixth was at home, almost with just my husband. Midwife walked in the room as I caught the bab

The first was the absolute worst experience of my life. The second and third were an improvement. But my natural births, by far, were the easiest, quickest recovery, and I DID feel like a warrior goddess and so powerful. That glow afterwards? Amazing!!!! I never experienced a high like that when I was induced. And I truly forgot any pain with my natural births!

N_mar... N_maricle

Homebirth is so much better...as long as I stay low risk I will never go back to the hospital to give birth again.

Craft... CraftyJenna

Avoid hospitals and it solves these "realities" home births or birth center births are done in a relaxing enviorment, with no beeping and no one screaming at you. 

fave82 fave82

I hate when people complain about hospitals. Just because YOU had a crappy hospital experience doesnt mean they're all that way. I loved my hospital and all the nurses and doctors. They were all calm and helpful and had great attitudes. My epidurals were smooth and labor and deliverys were short (8 hrs and 4 hrs). I had zero complaints and never felt anything from them but positive support.

Haley Maya Unger

I didn't have the best birth experience but I was pretty prepared for just about any scenario from reading up on it all while pregnant. The one thing that caught me unawares? How much blood there was! How I would have to strap three pad sandwiches in my panties to help with the leaking water and blood that started when dialtion started. I was glad I was in a hospital for that, I could ask a nurse if it was normal but none of the books I came across prepared me for that bit and if I didn't have someone I could ask I would have freaked thinking my daughter and I were dying.

Dani Madden

Minus the part where I had a birthing tub & all the rest is all true for me. I had like the worst birth story possible minus any serious complications. I was in active labor on pict for a WHOLE week no joke. I even regressed & dilated less at one point. (Did you know that was possible? I didn't) When things picked up baby flipped to back labor HORRIBLE pain ended up with the Epi not doing my water birth bummer. Epi worked too good I pushed for 3hrs. But worth it!

But man I was such a hot mess this was totally me. I am laughing so hard. 

nonmember avatar LEB

I had a 4-day long induction that ended in a c-section, and 2 days later almost died from flash pulmonary edema caused by PPCM (peripartum cardiomyopathy -- a pregnancy-specific form of heart failure). We were literally 10 minutes from heading home from the hospital when I suddenly started struggling to breathe because my lungs were filling up with liquid. I'm LUCKY we were still in the hospital, or I could very well have died from this rare complication. Believe me, coughing up pink foamy liquid while you're struggling for air is a very scary thing!

So while I fully respect mothers who choose to have home births, it's not something I felt comfortable with risking, and that choice is literally why I'm alive today. The truly frightening thing about PPCM is that it can happen to anyone of any age who previously was completely healthy and had no history of heart problems. Because it's so rare not many expectant moms have heard of it (and not all OBs or midwives are familiar enough with it to diagnose it early), but it's something that far more people need to be aware of.

Movie... Moviebuff

@Leb Thank you for sharing and showing that having a baby in a hospital is not a bad place and showing that a complication like that could happened and a home birth can turn tragic.

Evelyn D Hettle

I loved being pregnant and giving birth, my friends call me a freak of nature because all 4 children were delivered naturally with no pain medication, labor and delivery for all 4 combined was about 6 hours and 8 pushes... I didn't yell or scream I was texting on my cellphone the whole time until I had to push lol.

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