Let’s get real for a moment. NCT classes are nice for meeting people (if you’re lucky) but it doesn’t prepare you for the major life event that you’re about to go through. We both went into the whole labour thing without having the slightest clue what to expect. Funnily enough, as we didn’t know each other back then, we had very similar labours. We think we possibly even gave birth in the same room at University College Hospital, London, in the Natural Birth Centre.
Sam packed her hospital bag(s) as if she was off on a weekend away. She used two things from the bag: bottled water and a fan. A normally very organised Gemma ended up in hospital and had forgotten her headphones which were vital so that she could zone out to music. She thought it would be a good idea to pop to Currys on Tottenham Court Road to get a pair between contractions. While paying for the headphones her contractions suddenly went to 3 minutes apart so she found herself crawling on the floor in Currys in agony trying to get back to UCH. NB: once you are in hospital – DON’T LEAVE!
Here are five things that we wish someone would have told us beforehand:
1. Your lips get really really dry. Like the, ‘use a whole pot of Carmex’ kind of dry.
2. It’s OK to put on mascara when you first go into labour (as long as it’s waterproof).
3. Everything leaks. And bleeds. For a good few weeks. Grab a stash of the hospital grade sanitary towels from the hospital before you leave. Your nipples may bleed if you breastfeed but if you can get through the pain (one of us did, one of us didn’t) then it’s absolutely worth it.
4. The first shower after labour will be one of the best (and weirdest) experiences of your life.
5. One of us packed red lipstick. You will not wear it. All you’ll want to do is kiss, snuggle and sniff into your lovely newborns soft skin forever. You won’t want anything getting in the way.
Sam with Leo Jay Silver 17.05.15 Gemma with Belle Sydney Breger 29.07.15