After sitting through high school health-class videos and, more recently, new-parent birthing classes, many expecting parents will feel well prepared for the excitement of the delivery room. One unexpected aspect of the birthing process, curiously absent from all preparedness materials, is the Mother Load, also known as the Special Delivery Poo.
The escape of stool from Mom is inevitable during the pushing phase of delivery, especially if an epidural has numbed the entire pelvic area. With little sensation in the anal region, it can be impossible to sense an impending bowel movement (think about the uncontrollable drooling that occurs after getting numbed for dental work).
In addition to poo, several other not-so-savory items may come squirting out of women in the throes of labor. Frequent passage of flatulence and eruption of the amniotic fluid geyser are virtual delivery certainties, rendering the path to childbirth a messy one indeed.
First-time parents can be blindsided by these unpleasant aspects of delivery. Nurses and doctors, not so much. These trained professionals are clearly aware of the Mother Load. They arrive in the delivery room armed for combat, wearing protective gowns, face masks, even shoe covers. They have even been known to encourage mothers in labor by saying, “Push out your baby like you need to have a massive bowel movement!” (We are not sure this is the best way to motivate women to push forcibly, but, somehow, it works.)
Survival Tip (For Fathers-to-Be)
Stay at the head of the bed (if your wife will have you) and resist the urge to gaze downtown until the baby’s head starts showing (we also would keep the video camera pointed elsewhere). Nothing good can come from peeking too soon. Most important, remain positive regardless of what kinds of bodily waste may escape. She WILL remember everything you did and didn’t do during the agony of labor.