You’re pregnant and having a baby. For some of you, this is a dream come true and you have waited for this moment. For others, you are staring at the test in disbelief. I think I was a bit of both. I was so excited to be pregnant, but my mind was also in a million different places. What was happening next? I wish there was a “You’re pregnant - For Dummies…”. I am sure there is a book like this but I am too lazy to go searching for it and I lack the patience to fully read it to find the generic textbook pregnancy answers. If you’re like me, you want the truth and facts up front. People often sugar coat pregnancy, but if you are anything like me, you want to know what it is really like. The good, the bad, the ugly -SPILL. So buckle up and enjoy the ride! Here are a few things I didn't know . . .
- The doctors don't come in until the baby is about to crown. You and your L&D nurse do most of the work together. When she has your legs situated, you will begin to push. If it is anything like me, the practice pushes are the real deal. Those pushes are just the first couple to help you figure out what to do. So don’t panic when she says lets go and there are no doctors around. Once you baby is in a certain position, then a team of doctors will come in. *This is at least how it was for me.
- You might get stretch marks or a black line down your belly. Your body is changing rapidly and sometimes the creams and oils just don’t help.
- Don’t over pack your hospital bag. Just pack the essentials because you won’t need to much while you are there.
- Your hormones are all over the place, during pregnancy and after birth. I broke out in hives when I found out, my leg hair started growing really slowly, and my emotions were all over the place. If you have changes, its likely the hormones.
- Your birth plan might not be what happens the day of. I can attest to that - My husband and I were preparing for my labor. It happened so fast that our two friends that were visiting got stuck in the room. It is a funny story to look back on!
- You might go number 2 when in labor- LIKE I MEAN YOU MAY POOP. You practically are pushing like you are using the restroom. They know this might happen and they will quickly remove it so you don’t even know. If your husband is like mine, he will tell you if you do. Luckily I didn’t or else I wouldn't hear the end of it!
- If you get an epidural, you never see the needle. They simply put it in your back while you are staring in your partner’s eyes. There were like three vibrations with mild pressure that went up my back and that was that. It might not work at first or at all - it all just depends.
- You might wear a nursing gown, you might get naked, you might be dressed and covered. It just depends on how your labor process goes. I would wear the nursing gown the hospital provides though because it does get a little messy.
- You see all those ladies post partum - leaving the hospital and looking ADORABLE. What you do not see is what is happening underneath it all. They are probably wearing a diaper and feeling like S*@!. They have bleeding - and most likely there is a lot. If you have a vaginal delivery, there is a lot of stuff going on down there. I would bring loose clothing and make sure it is comfy because you will have either a diaper, pads, and cooling pads and you still have a tummy when you head home. Sorry, that belly doesn’t disappear overnight. I looked about 4 months pregnant when I left the hospital.
- Push time may be hours or it could be 40 minutes and 10 contractions later.
- GOODBYE TMI. Prepare to say things you would never imagine saying- like my poop comment up there. Also, prepare for everyone to be looking at your lady goods. You will not be shy and if you are - get over it. No, when the time comes, you will only be thinking about having that baby.
- The first potty time: Okay, after I had Marleigh I just wanted to shower. I quickly showered and then a nurse came in and said she needed a sample of my urine. Peeing is no joke when you just had a baby and you feel like everything is going to fall out. I was so scared to sit down. Don’t be ashamed to have the nurse help you walk to the bathroom. Also, have your nice Frida bottle with warm water ready to help ease the sting. Going #2… Yeah that is also scary and you will be uncomfortable. Like I said, you feel like everything is about to fall out. Don't worry- it doesn't. Also it is messy down there- remember that too. So the bathroom might get a little messy too.
- Baby poop: I knew the first poo was a thick, dark, poo but I did not realize it would be tough like tar to get off the babies bottom. It also lasted a few days. If you have a girl as well, she might have a “baby period” - so prepare for that. Nothing scary, just kind of weird.
- Say goodbye to a lot of cute clothes - Nursing friendly outfits can be difficult to find. I figured once I had the baby and lost the weight, I would go back to wearing my cute dresses, rompers, etc. Rain check on those outfits now sitting in the back of my closet. You will be wearing clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and that are nursing friendly. Unless you formula feed or exclusively pump, you will need easy access to your boobs.
- Breastfeeding- I don't know how to explain the feeling of a letdown when you first get your supply and go into oversupply. Mine was like a painful, but relieving feeling (Is this how It feels for everyone?). Also just be careful for clog ducts and mastitis - I haven’t had it yet but I have heard it is very common and is SO painful. If you go through your first night with baby sleeping and miss a feeding, your boobs may be lumpy, super full, or leaking like you wet the bed.
- You might get a hemmroid- before the baby or after. If you do, prepare to use the restroom for up to 30 minutes SWEATING and for some blood to be apparent. Not everything is beautiful when you are pregnant.
- Prepare to overthink and doubt yourself, and when you think you finally found a solution, prepare to doubt yourself again. I swear making decisions seems daunting and impossible when it is a decision for your child.
- This one is kind of nice: You do get some sleep with a newborn while in the hospital. You wake up quite often to feed and people coming in and out- but you can find time to sleep with the help of nurses and whoever is there to support you. What I didn't realize is that I was so lost in admiring my baby, I didn’t use that time to sleep wisely. USE IT IF YOU CAN. Once you go home, there is no help or sleep from there. I thought life would be like it was in the hospital when I went home but that was not the case. Bye bye sleep. The exhaustion is real the first few weeks. I would dream I was feeding Marleigh and then wake up and she wasn’t there. I would panic and realize she was sleeping in her crib.
- During labor and the first few weeks home, you might see a new side to your partner. I swear I fell in love with my husband all over again. He had these emotions all over his face when she was born and had her first cry and then his face changed when we drove home. Then, again his demeanor changed the first time she fell asleep in her crib and then cried at 1am. It was like each emotion was completely new and I have never seen it before. It was an experience I can’t explain, but my heart will always remember.
- When you go home, it might feel a little weird. You are happy, but its kind of like WOAH. This is real now. I kind of felt like I was sitting on the couch unsure of everything, but it will become a new norm. Your home will start to feel like your home again.
Originally written by Jeana H.
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