I was about eight months pregnant when I asked a girlfriend of mine to share a list of things she found to be essential for her delivery hospital bag. She was on her third pregnancy and seemed to be a pro at that point. She and I would meet at the gym once or twice a week to chat and waddle on treadmills next to each other. One evening before we met, she sent me this fantastic list of things to bring to the hospital for the day of my delivery. It was broken into sections and everything. "Things for you during labor," "Things for you after delivery," "Things for the baby after delivery," "Things if it's a boy and you decide to circumcise." I mean this list was thorough! At the bottom of the document, she also noted that there were a few other items I should take home from the hospital, but that we would talk about it the following morning.
The next day at the gym we were enjoying our "workout" and usual banter, when she suddenly she smiled and said "Oh! Let's talk about the things you should steal from the hospital like the mesh underwear." "What the heck is mesh underwear?" I asked. She then proceeded to tell me that after you deliver you will be bleeding heavily and will need to wear a large sanitary napkin that is held on by a giant pair of mesh underwear! I was traumatized! All I could do was stare at her with wide eyes and an open mouth, and listen intently as she described these functional granny-like panties!
That night I laid in bed thinking about the mesh underwear and wondered what other things friends were keeping from me this late in my pregnancy? I even called a different girlfriend and asked her if she had experienced these panties, and she responded "Oh yes! The mesh underwear! They are huge and start at your belly button and go all the way up to the top of your butt crack!" After hearing that description I laughed uncomfortably and decided it was best not to dig too deeply for any more information, or I might stress myself into early labor...
I definitely agree that less is more at times when you are at the end of a pregnancy, but here are a few things that I think women might want to know about childbirth, that everyone seems to leave out....
First: The mesh underwear! It provides NO support other than acting as a sling for the giant pad you have to wear after childbirth. Other than that, it's like wrapping a loose band of gauze around your butt and stomach, which by the way, will both feel like they are sagging after your baby comes out.
Second: Triage workers are awful even when you are in labor. Hollywood is full of a bunch of childless writers or sick liars. In every movie I have seen when there is a woman in labor, there is always an attentive nurse, greeting the mother to be with a wheel chair and a smile. This does not happen. Maybe it has to a few lucky moms out there, but it didn't happen to me nor did it happen to any of my friends. You will get to the hospital and the triage nurses will still be sitting there, staring at you like you have a paper cut instead of a seven pound baby that is about to come tearing out of your loins. They will ask you to fill out paperwork, and then take you into the back for a urine sample. I still don't know why they ask for a urine sample at this point? We all know the pregnancy is real and that there is fluid coming out everywhere! So, we can't be checking for clean urine! They also keep you hooked up to a monitor before taking you into a delivery room or birthing center, which is something I really wish I knew about.
Third: They might tell you that your husband can't come in with you during all of this. What!!??!? That's when you need to pull a crazy and demand he be in there by your side. Always remember that you still have rights!
Other than these few things, everything else that occurs shouldn't be too surprising if everything goes well. It will likely be somewhat painful, but your body will do some incredible things. You will require some time to get back to normal and feel comfortable, but you will be amazed at the resilience of the female body and the absolute miracle of what it can do.