Labor & Delivery: Expectations vs Reality

Labor & Delivery Expectations vs Reality.jpeg

By Jillian Stacia

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. It was simultaneously the hardest and greatest thing I’ve ever done. Before I gave birth to my son, I had pictured the experience so many times. I read books, talked with friends, watched documentaries. I thought I knew exactly what to expect.

Of course, you never really know what something is like until you experience it firsthand. And my birth experience wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned. In fact, it was almost comically different in practically every aspect.

Here are some of the ways my labor differed from my picture-perfect expectations:

Expectation: I’ll wake up in the middle of the night with contractions. I’ll smile serenely and lovingly wake up my husband by whispering, “Honey, I think this is it!”

Reality: Water breaks while driving down the highway. Call my husband screaming, “OH MY GOD, I THINK THIS IS IT. WHAT DO I DO?!?”


Expectation: My water probably won’t break, but if it does, it’ll only be a trickle.

Reality: So much liquid. SO MUCH LIQUID.


Expectation: I will labor for as long as possible at home.

Reality: Water breaks, panic immediately, head straight to hospital.


Expectation: I will follow my (overly detailed and meticulously written) birth plan from start to finish. I’ll have extra copies available for any additional nurses and doctors.

Reality: Birth plan? What birth plan?! Just get this baby out of me!


Expectation: I will walk around the hospital to speed up my labor.

Reality: Walk four steps. Turn around. Get back in bed.


Expectation: My contractions will come and go in distinct waves.

Reality: A whirlwind of pain with no clear-cut start or finish.


Expectation: I am too scared of needles to get an epidural. Plus, I’d like to see what it’d be like to give birth naturally.

Reality: Bring on the epidural!


Expectation: My husband will lovingly guide me through the pain management techniques we practiced in birthing class.



Expectation: My doctor will be the real-life incarnation of the doctor from This Is Us.

Reality: My doctor is an anti-social drill sergeant.


Expectation: Dilating will be the hard part, pushing will be a breeze.

Reality: Pushing is the worst. Why doesn’t anyone tell you about the pushing?!


Expectation: I will look like a pregnancy goddess.

Reality: Hahahahahaha.


Expectation: My life will change as soon as I have a child.

Reality: My life is so much better now that I have a child.


Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here. 

Featured image via Pexels

4 thoughts on “Labor & Delivery: Expectations vs Reality

  1. sarahshealthylifeblog says:

    Another thing that no one ever mentions is that not one delivery is the same. I’ve had three amazing babies and all three were different. I thought going into my second and third deliveries I knew what to expect but I was so wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aworldadventure says:

    Haha. That walking one! I didn’t have a choice but to walk because they said they’d send me home if I wasn’t more dilated after an hour or two so off to walking I went! But man that was tough. I finally gave up and went hunch over the bed.

    Liked by 1 person

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