Unrealistic Labor?

So yesterday I was messing around and decided to read some fanfic. I stumbled across a pretty decent fic that ended up on my fav list. Normally I don’t read author notes but after a while I started noticing a recurring theme where she kept mentioning that the main character’s labor in the fic was realistic and please stop arguing with her. Now I hadn’t noticed anything odd about her version of the labor.

Apparently people thought it was ‘unrealistic’ that the main character didn’t realize that her labor had started; she thought she was having Braxton Hicks. Then her whole labor only lasted a handful of hours once it started. The poor author was getting some rather nasty reviews based on this. To her credit she did explain that it was based off her own personal experience from her 1st pregnancy.

Now like I said it didn’t seem odd to me. I realized that while it was an uncommon labor it wasn’t unrealistic. I know a lot of people from a varity of medical fields, I used to work as a medical clerk as well, combine that with my own experience in pregnancy and it really didn’t seem odd.

What was concerning to me however wasn’t what she wrote but how people responded to it. They truly didn’t believe it was possible. Do we have an entire group of women who don’t understand the variances of pregnancy?

If these women are making their assumptions based off of personal experience, pregnancy books and what doctors tell them they might not understand. Anyone who’s had more than one child understands that each pregnancy is different. A problem however arises with pregnancy books. A book can only be so long, not because there is a limit to the information but because they want to give the most information that is pertinent to the most people. So a book on pregnancy can’t have every scenario. Likewise the doctors and nurses will normally only tell you about the most common cases they see. Why worry you about the baby’s shoulders getting stuck during labor if it rarely happens?

In the interest of entertainment and education I’m going to give you two examples of uncommon pregnancies and labor.

This one was given to me by an Army Nurse I was swapping stories with. He was working in the ER when a morbidly obese woman walks in complaining about abdominal pain. They figure it was a case of possible gastritis. While running tests they discover the woman was pregnant. They asked the woman why she didn’t tell them she was pregnant and asked how far along she was. Her response was to tell them that she wasn’t. No, they reassured her she was pregnant and in labor. She insisted she wasn’t and began to get rather hysterical. Finally they decided to move her to L&D and pass on the responsibility. Not only did this poor woman not realize she was pregnant and full term but was able to walk in to the ER under her own power while in active labor. According to my friend she denied being pregnant until the baby was placed in her arms.

Needless to say that wasn’t a normal pregnancy or labor.

My personal experience went like this:

(It’s long so get some popcorn.)

On my 21st birthday I had surgery and was told that the likelihood of me getting pregnant without assistance was slim to impossible. If I could get pregnant it should take only a year of not being on birth control. After discussing it with my husband of 2yrs we decided that due to the risk of multiples from in vitro fertilization and the fact that my maternal grandmother miscarried twins we didn’t want to risk it. We tried for 11 months before I went back on birth control due to medical reasons. The way I took birth control was not normal but recommended for my situation; I never had periods as a result.

Times passes and one day I notice that the skin on my areola was… pebbled. It kinda reminded me of a rash. I had all these little bumps. I remembered talking to my mom on the phone and mentioning it. It didn’t itch but hey it could be a rash and probably should go the doctor eventually. She was instantly convinced I was pregnant. I explained no, I was back on birth control. My husband and I had already agreed that when we were ready we’d look into adoption. We both had adopted family members so it wasn’t a big deal for us.

After doing what mom’s do best she convinced me to go to the doctor. So I walked across the hall one day at work and talked to my doctor. We talked and she did a pregnancy test. I was pregnant! I had no idea how far along I was, but surely I couldn’t be too far along, so she decided that I needed an ultrasound. She was did the ultrasound herself. What she found and what we were thinking was off… by several months. We were thinking 6-8wks she was looking at about 14-16wks.

Yeah, a 2 month difference.

So she lied to radiology and said that we needed an ultrasound done by them to check the viability. Radiology confirmed me at 16weeks.

People, often ask me how I didn’t notice I was pregnant for four months. I was in my 2nd trimester before I found out! I try to explain that I didn’t have periods at the time. I’d had lots of medical problems concerning those particular bits and pieces of me. I’d been on birth control since I was 17 just trying to regulate my bleeding, I’d had a cancer scare at 20, surgery at 21, combine that with absolutely no morning sickness and it’s amazing I caught it as early as I did. I hadn’t even really gained weight either I was only a 145lbs at 5ft 8.

The rest of my pregnancy was almost text book. I had tons of energy. My doctor vetoed the idea of me taking up kayaking while pregnant. My blood pressure did raise enough for me to quite my job as a precaution but the doctor thought it was not serious. The only thing that was odd was at the end my heart started to race even when I was laying down. After a 24hr EKG they proclaimed me at a high risk of tachycardia during labor but that was it.

My labor however was not textbook.

It started at 8am. I woke up planning to take my mother to a festival since she was visiting hoping my son would be born while she was there. I noticed that there was something wet in my undies. I figured my son was sitting on my bladder; he was a day overdue and already in position. So we headed to the commissary. Two hours later I noticed it was still there. It didn’t look like urine. So I smelled it and got no odor. Mentioning it to my mom she convinced me to call L&D. I talked to the nurse and remember saying, “Okay, this is going to sound nasty but I smelled it and it doesn’t have a smell.” Her response was to laugh and say, “I was just about to ask you to smell it.”

Yeah, pregnancy is nasty.

Turned out the nurse wanted me to come in. I figured okay, no problem, I’d go in get check and head to the festival.

Wishful thinking.

I get checked out and told I have a ‘high break’. Basically what happened is my water broke but it broke high and it was trickling down not gushing. I had been walking around with broken water for hours. I was furious. I had asked previously how I’d know if my water broke and I was told ‘you’ll know’. Obviously not. I was told it wasn’t a big deal and that I should go into labor soon and if I didn’t they’d just break the water at the bottom in an attempt to induce labor.

It’s about noon by then and I was told to stay put. Apparently wondering around with broken water wasn’t a good idea. Something about the risk of infections or something or other. I wasn’t really paying attention I was more focused on missing the festival and more importantly I was told I couldn’t eat and I was craving a damn Caesar Salad.

I was given a private room to wait in. For hours. We watched Rocket Man. My husband had stayed home and had told my mom to call him when if I was actually in labor.

That night was insane. L&D got so busy that night that they were turning people away unless they couldn’t make it to the next hospital… like the poor girl who’s baby’s head was already between her legs when she got there.

Eventually they broke my water and had to give me the meds to induce me.

Hours after that since the docs were so busy they took me off the meds to induce me… and then the contractions started. It was actually very funny… after the fact. The nurse had just check me and said I wasn’t ready yet. Not five minutes later I’m ordering my mom to get the ‘damn doctor the baby’s coming NOW’.

And of course the guy who was supposed to give me my epidural was busy. It took an hour for him to get to me. The next hour was pain free. The two hours after that I felt ‘pressure’. If anyone tells you pressure doesn’t hurt shoot them in the stomach with an air cannon… okay lets not but you get the point.

Then it was blessedly over.

My labor took 4 hours.

I was very thankful that we decided to only have one child. If your 1st labor is the longest and the 2nd about half that due to muscle memory that’d put my 2nd labor at about 2hrs or less baring complications.

So no you don’t always know when you’re pregnant. No, you don’t always get morning sickness. And no you don’t always go through hours upon hours of hard labor to bring forth life. (my neighbor did 48hrs of hard labor)

Pregnancies vary.

It’s rather sad and quite a bit scary to think that there are women out there who insist that it can’t happen the way mine did. Pregnancy can be scary and there’s a lot of info out there, too much to give to you.

The chances of it happening like mine are slim. The chances of you birthing into a toilet are slim. It did however happen to my friend’s sister-in-law while she was at home.

 

 

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About Marcia Young

I’m the wife of an NCO and the mother of one, home schooled, special needs child. I have won several people’s choice awards for my fanfiction under the moniker MLMonty. All of my current published works can be found via Smashwords and other retailers under my nom de plume Marcia Young. I am currently open to finding a new literary agent and publisher.
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2 Responses to Unrealistic Labor?

  1. rowdyjaner says:

    When my mother had her first, my older brother, she didn’t know she was in labor, she thought she was constipated. She waited until my dad got home that evening and they walked up to the hospital. Her water broke in the elevator on the way up to the maternity ward (this was nearly 70 years ago). She barely laid on the gurney and he was on his way out and didn’t waste a minute letting them know how he felt about the whole situation.

    I was her third baby and the most memorable thing about my birth was I made her miss breakfast!

    My brother, who used to work for child welfare in Dallas, Chicago and Middletown, OH, told us about a young woman who had no idea she was pregnant, had her baby in the toilet and thought she’d just had a large bowel movement, flushed and walked away without even looking. Her father found the baby 45 minutes later. The most amazing part was the baby survived.

  2. marciayoung says:

    LOL Those are all unusual L&D’s. But obviously you get my point; just because you don’t spend hours upon hours in labor doesn’t mean it’s not realistic. I’m rather concerned about the women who felt it was appropriate to leave rude remarks to an author because of their ignorance.

    As for the toilet one: my friend’s sister-in-law went to the bathroom and she DID look down to find her baby. She freaked, my friend was a freshman and had to help her sister fish the baby out of the toilet and call someone to get them. She got a reward from the Fire Department I think.

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