As many of you know, I recently became a mom to our beautiful baby boy, Gavin Michael. He was born in June and has been an absolute doll.
When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately picked up What to Expect When Expecting, Moms On Call and frantically read those along with several other books and articles hoping to be prepared for motherhood. But what I didn’t read was a one stop shop for the sh*t people don’t tell you about when becoming a mom.
I’m going to do my best to make this as factual and PG13 as possible, but to be honest, it’s going to be pretty unfiltered. If you don’t want to know some of the ugly truths, then I’d probably stop reading now.
Disclosure: I am not a nurse or a doctor. This information is based off of my experiences only and pregnancy/motherhood is different for every woman.
Your body is going to change. Yes, people tell you that, but they don’t tell you about the things your body is going to do to you like lie. Braxton Hicks contractions for example…I swear I thought I was in labor a month before our baby arrived. It was horrible and I was terrified of having our son on the kitchen floor (as if that would actually happen). The funny thing? They are TOTALLY different than the real deal. Trust me, you will know when actual contractions have arrived, especially because they are here to stay until baby comes out…and you can’t stand.
Anything can happen. I can’t begin to explain how many women told me their horror stories about delivery and how long and painful it was. I went the epidural route, but was still scared to death about the delivery process. To be truthful, I had a relatively quick experience pushing for less than 15 minutes. I wasn’t expecting the process to be the way it was, in fact I had no idea what to expect, so I thought I’d share.
I walked into triage (for the third time that week) and they monitored my contractions. Once they confirmed I was actually in labor, they admitted me, which essentially meant I walked down the hallway to my own room to get ready for delivery. They wasted no time and within an hour gave me an epidural and a movie. From there it was a waiting game, yet pretty smooth sailing. You essentially just watch your contractions on a machine with the nurse checking in on you, waiting for you to dilate enough for pushing (10cm). Yes, that’s the size of a bagel and I will never look at one the same.
Note: In my experience contractions were the worst part of it all. Mine lasted two days and were 10 minutes apart. They want them 2-3 minutes apart. So like I said, you’ll know the different between Braxton Hicks and the real deal. You literally will not be able to stand.
Once you push baby out, they will take him/her and make sure everything is OK, checking for various things. What I didn’t know? After they bring you your baby, the nurse will visit you every 30 minutes or so to push on your abdomen for about a minute to prevent blood clotting. She did this four times before we were moved to the baby suite for the next 48 hours. That was a major surprise to me! I’d like to have been prepared for that one to say the least.
You will walk out of the hospital wearing matching diapers with your newborn …. Ok maybe not an exact match, but be prepared to stash up on feminine care for a good six weeks. Tip: have these things at home prior to being released from the hospital. Check out the great collage from Momma Society.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the ugly truth. It is not easy. It hurts, but has a benefit to your newborn that money can’t buy. Some babies take to your breast right away, while others take some time and patience. I was fortunate enough for our baby to take right to it, but I struggled after a few weeks with shooting pains and even got an infection. Just know that it’s OK if you’ve tried everything and cannot make it work. Formula has MANY benefits and is there for a reason.
The First Weeks
You probably aren’t going to want lots of visitors. I thought as soon as I had our son, I’d bounce right back and be full of energy. Remember to take the time your body needs to rest and be with your baby and significant other.
Don’t be afraid to get out of the house with your baby. I was under the impression it was unacceptable to take a baby anywhere for at least the first six weeks, but that’s not true. After conversations with several doctors, it is OK to take your baby out of the house. Trust me, your sanity will thank you. The biggest thing is to keep your baby in the carrier away from people touching them and directly exposing them to germs. Otherwise, walking around the grocery store is completely acceptable. Even go for an early dinner out with your significant other because it is totally OK for your baby to tag along.
Overall, there is no better feeling in the world than becoming a mom. Nothing will prepare your heart to feel the way it does when you hold your child. Anything that is scary or painful totally falls off the face of the earth when your baby is born. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride because it’s the best one you’ll ever be on. Enjoy!