I have been meaning and wanting to write this post for weeks now, but I haven’t actually had time to sit down and write it until just now! Baby girl is sleeping peacefully in her nap nanny (which she loves—worth every penny!), so I’m taking advantage! I guess what I want to write about is more of a “things I learned” as well as a “things I wish someone would have told me” post on both the pregnancy and birth. I have quite a few friends who are pregnant now, and I know that when I was still pregnant I would have loved to have read something like this from someone who had just been through it, so hopefully it is helpful… and of course I guess I better add a disclaimer that I do realize everyone’s pregnancy/birth is different, but these are things I learned during mine!
- Take advantage of people (husbands, parents, friends, strangers, whoever) waiting on you hand and foot. A friend of mine told me that after she had her baby, she was like “d*mn, I have to get up and get my own water now?!”. It is true… so when people say “oh you’re pregnant, let me get that for you”, let them. After all, it won’t last forever, so why not enjoy it?!
- Do what you think is best…not what everyone (and trust, everyone has an opinion) else tells you is ok. I briefly blogged about this during my pregnancy in a “things not to say to a pregnant woman” post, but it seems that everyone has their own opinions about what you should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. Here is the truth about me: during my pregnancy, I drank
plenty ofcaffeine and diet sodas, occasionally ate (raw) sushi, ate (gasp!) cold lunch meat quite a few times (because who likes warm lunch meat? Gross!), drank wine (when it didn’t give me uncontrollable heartburn), ate plenty of hot dogs….I could go on and on. And guess what? Baby girl is 100% healthy and perfect, and so was I during my pregnancy. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I tried to keep in mind that back when our moms were pregnant with us and for the hundreds of years before that, none of these “rules” existed, and they ate and drank whatever they wanted…and we all turned out just fine. So, I never went overboard (all things in moderation), but I did not completely deprive myself of the things I loved!
- Rest while you can. This kind of goes along with the first one, but seriously… sleep will not be the same after the baby comes. So any chance you get to nap, sleep in, etc—take it.
- Relax. You will learn as you go. Now, I’ve said it before, but I am 100% not a worrier, so I didn’t have much trouble doing this, but I will admit that there were times when I thought, “holy crap, I have no idea what to do with a baby”! Guess what? No one does, at first. You learn as you go. So during those last few weeks of pregnancy, don’t let that be something you worry about. You will figure it out, just like everyone else does… and it doesn’t take long before you feel like a pro. ;)
- Trust your doctor. There is a reason that you chose him or her to be your doctor… so trust that they know best. I trusted my doctor so much that when he said he didn’t like the way my fluids looked and that he thought we should deliver that day, I never had a second thought. He made me feel so comfortable that I wasn’t even the least bit scared when he told me that the cord was wrapped around her neck—I trusted that he would do everything in his power to ensure a safe delivery.
- EPIDURAL. Really, enough said. I have an admittedly extremely low pain tolerance, so this was really never even a question for me, but seriously. It was the best decision I could have made. I enjoyed every second of my labor and delivery, and I do not think that would have been the case at all without my friend, the epidural.
- Don’t be afraid to tell the nurse/doctor if you are still feeling pain. After I got the epidural, I was still in quite a bit of discomfort, and I was a little bit nervous to tell the nurse that I was still in pain…I thought that maybe I was just even more of a wuss than I originally thought and that the amount of pain I was feeling was normal, even after the epidural. I finally spoke up, and the nurse told me that I should not be feeling that much pain at that point, and she bumped up the pain meds… and it was smooth sailing from there on out. Thank goodness I said something!
- Be prepared for the bleeding. I mean a LOT of blood. Sorry to any boys who may be reading, because this may be TMI—but I’m serious, y’all. No one told me how much bleeding there would be after the birth… and it lasts for weeks after the birth, not just for a few days. The doctor told me to expect the bleeding for 4-6 weeks afterwards and I was shocked!
- The pain doesn’t end after the birth. This is perhaps the thing I was the least prepared for…the pain afterwards. After Hadley was born, the nurse came in about every 30 minutes to an hour and pressed (hard) on my stomach to (again, sorry if it’s TMI) push out any additional fluid/blood/I’m not sure what else. It hurt one million times worse than the actual delivery did. Every time they would push on my stomach, the nurses would apologize…and I had to do everything I could to hold back the tears, it really did hurt THAT bad. The good news is, they didn’t have to do it too many times…probably 10 or less, but still. I just really was not prepared for that. And after that part was over—the pain was still not over. I did have to have an episiotomy, so I expected to be a little bit sore for a few days, but I don’t think I was quite prepared for exactly how sore I would be and how much I really had to take it easy for the days following the delivery. I would say it was probably a full two weeks before I could sit down/get up without a decent amount of pain. It was nothing excruciating, but it was definitely more than I expected. Obviously, I had a natural (vaginal) delivery, so I can’t speak for a c-section, but I can imagine that the pain level after that is much worse!
- Enjoy every minute. The birth experience for me was all very surreal—and it went by SO fast! Sometimes I still can’t believe that I did it… and not only did I do it, it all felt so easy! I know that I was very blessed to have such a smooth, fast labor and delivery, but I will say that any nervousness/anxiety I felt about the whole labor and delivery process was way worse than the real thing. It was one of the best experiences of my whole life!
That is all I can think of for now, though I know I will probably think of 10 more things I should have added once I post this. I hope this is somewhat helpful for those who may be reading and are currently pregnant or may be soon—like I said, I would have loved for someone to tell me all this before I went through it all! Seriously, though, my first pregnancy and birth experience was inexplicably amazing—and I can’t wait to do it all again… not quite yet, though! ;)