Are you still reading this? If you keep reading, then that means you really are okay with reading about the real stuff that comes with pregnancy and birth.
Okay, this is absolutely your last chance. Like, for real. Don't come back complaining that I didn't warn ya.
Well, now that we're here, and everyone who is here is here because they want to, I'm going to tell you why I'm writing this post.
I'm writing this because I'm going to address some things that I wish someone had told ME before I gave birth. I don't know how many times I've talked to other moms, and we've thrown up our hands and said, "WHY did no one ever tell us this?" I believe that in certain situations, I feel so much more comfortable if I know what to expect. Now, I'm sure I will probably leave something out, and if I do, please let me know and I'll try to add it.
Okay, without further ado...
Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had My First Baby
+ This could just be me, but I get SO RAVENOUS in the beginning. I could be in the middle of a pleasant conversation about a show on Netflix with my husband, when all of a sudden it's like, "OH MY GOSH IF I DON'T HAVE A BURGER IN MY HANDS IN THE NEXT .00003 SECONDS SOMETHING VERY BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO EVERY PERSON IN THIS ROOM." I don't even like cereal, and I used to keep cereal right next to my bed. I remember waking my husband up a few times in the middle of the night asking him to go get me some crackers because I felt like I was SO hungry, and if I were to get up, I would surely perish.
+ People LOVE pregnant women. One of the perks I wasn't expecting was that people just will smile at you when you pass by them and it totally makes you feel like a million bucks. They are kinder and will totally let you cut in front of them. And being pregnant totally gets you further up the bathroom line.
+ You've heard about postpartum depression, right? Well, you can also get it DURING pregnancy. I had it with my last two pregnancies, and the first time, it totally knocked me off my feet. The second time, I was able to recognize the feelings I was having, so I was able to tell my husband right away, "Hey, this is happening to me and I need your help." I was very very very fortunate both times because I was able identify it, vocalize my feelings, and it was pretty much gone by around 16 weeks. I am normally a super upbeat and cheerful person, so as soon as I felt that "fog," I knew something was different.
At the Hospital
+ Getting the IV in the hospital is no fun at all. This last time with O, it took the nurse close to twenty minutes to get my IV put in and I was silently praying that for the love of all that was good and holy, that it would just be done with. I was having really strong contractions at that point and just wanted that part to be over with.
+ Okay, so this is MY personal opinion. IF you go the epidural route, I was actually *pleasantly* surprised that the epidural was not very painful. It really feels like a pinch and a slight burning sensation. Granted, I've never had any adverse reactions to the epidural, so again, I'm speaking from my own experience. I think the reason the epidural doesn't seem to bad, however, is because theres a good chance you're already in a good deal amount of pain and discomfort, that the pain from the epidural has always just seemed so small in comparison. Again, with my last birth, I was close to being dilated to 8cm when I received my epidural, and I was in so much pain, that I was about ready to stab myself in the spine with that thing.
+ Be prepared to bleed. A lot. There's no sugar coating it. After you give birth, you start to wonder how you're still alive because there's no way there could be any blood left in your body. During this time, your husband is no longer your best friend. Your squirt bottle is. I would say before you give birth, stock up on all sorts of pads so you can decide which works best for you. I always opt for the long overnight ones. (Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm really writing about this.)
Additionally, the hospital will provide you with insanely large pads, special ice packs for your nether-regions, and MAGIC underwear. TAKE. ALL. OF. IT. And when you've put all of it in your bag to go home, ASK FOR MORE. The magic underwear I'm telling you about? They are probably the most comfortable things on earth. Look, I've made quite a few exaggerations in my lifetime, but this is not one of them. Take as many pairs of underwear as they will allow you to. (And I don't advocate theft, but...ya know. Jk! Jk!)
+ So, you've had the baby and now you're done, right? Wrong. I don't know if it's because I'm totally clueless (might be) or I just hadn't even thought of it, but hello! You also have to deliver the placenta. Which is not a small thing. This happens after the baby comes out, and by that time you're jello anyway. I was able to go through my first birth without even seeing the placenta, but the second time, my doctor held it up like it was some kind of trophy and at first, I literally had NO idea what he was holding up. (Okay, since I'm being super honest here....oh my gosh really why am I telling you this...but when he held it up I remember thinking, "Why on EARTH is he holding up a piece of steak when I just had a baby?? Who the crap is going around the maternity wing handing out steaks?")
+ After the placenta is out, there's the whole business of trying to get your uterus to shrink back down to normal. This is also not pleasant. They push down on your belly (every few hours) to get it to squeeze down, and this last time with O, I remember asking the nurse one of the times to please please just skip it. No dice. Also, your uterus contracts when you nurse, and it feels like just that: contractions. They're not AS bad as the really bad labor contractions though, so, I guess that's the silver lining.
+ Someone actually reminded me about this next one and I laughed out loud because I had totally forgotten! She mentioned that she "...didn't poop for three days because it hurt so bad." That one's pretty self-explanatory.
After the Hospital
+ When you leave, you still look pregnant. Embrace your softness.
+ When your milk comes in, it really hurts. I can't speak for every single woman who has breastfed, but I was FLOORED by how painful it was. I vividly recall the first day I came home from the hospital with my first and laying in bed with these huge rocks attached to my chest. It hurt to even rest my arms to my side. I felt totally blindsided. My mom came into my room and I said, "Mom! This really really really hurts!" To which she replied, "I know." Dear, Mom. I LOVE you. But, you KNOW??? You mean people KNEW this already?
So, I'm telling you right now in case there's no one else to tell you this. It. Hurts. BUT, and the big BUT is, it gets better. You can look up all sorts of remedies online, but what worked best for me was expressing a little bit of milk to relieve some of the pressure, and I apply a warm towel to them. Also, massaging them in the shower also eased the pain.
+ Going back to the boobs. Once you've gotten into your nursing groove (go you!) you might realize that your breasts leak milk. Sometimes quite often. I was totally floored when after having my first, I realized that my breasts would leak when I even just thought of my baby. Other things that would make me leak milk: other babies crying, when I hadn't nursed for a couple of hours (it's amazing- your breasts are so great at letting you know what it's time for you baby to eat again), and nursing. To this day, whenever I nurse O, I usually always start with my right breast, and without fail, my left always leaks a little bit.
OKAY! PHEW! Did you make it to the end of this?? Now that I've throughly scared you??
I want to end with this.
ALL of the things I wrote about are real things. This is just what pregnancy and labor and recovery are like.
Yes, there is pain, yes there are discomforts, and yes there are tears. BUT, it is all fleeting, and once you meet that baby and think, "Oh! There you are!" nothing else matters.
And after you've endured all that stuff, you'll realize that you are a freaking superwoman, and who knows, you might choose to do it all over again.
I know I do :)