You can read every book, pin all of things, and download every maternity app there is. But why does so much of the experience you’re actually going to have go unsaid?
Here’s a list of things that no one actually talks about when it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery:
1. Instead of constantly being hungry, you might actually have a lack of appetite and lose weight throughout your entire pregnancy.
This situation truly baffled me. I was prepared to have all of the cravings and eat all of the things. I ended up having terrible nausea my first trimester, then never got my appetite back throughout the rest of my pregnancy. I had to force myself to eat my 3 meals a day. Apparently this is relatively common. Who knew?
2. Flying can make you swell… like bad.
If you’re fortunate enough to not swell during pregnancy, don’t risk it by flying at 36 weeks or later (guilty).
I know they say flying is technically safe to do while pregnant, but I’m just going to recommend you don’t. I don’t know if it’s the pressure of going in the air and then coming back down or what… but oh-my-goodness did it result in me looking like a balloon. (And let’s not even talk about the headaches.)
3. You might think you’re getting off easy by having a doctor that doesn’t examine you each week, but you’re not. Insist upon it.
My OB literally didn’t “check” me until I was in my Labor & Delivery room. The only reason I knew I was even dilated at a 4 for a few weeks prior was because I had went into the hospital prior thinking my water had broke. (It didn’t. We think I had just peed myself. Yeah… prepare yourself for that too.)
I had thought this was normal, but it’s not you guys. You need to make sure your OB is making sure baby is alright as often as you feel comfortable with! You’re going to know if something is off. You’ll learn baby’s behaviors and kicks before they even enter this world. If you get that vibe, let your OB know!
4. Don’t even try to be modest during labor. It’s impossible.
Sorry to rain on your parade, but everyone you approve of being in that room is going to see far more than you want them too. And I mean FAR more. You can’t avoid it, trust me I tried. Just accept it now.
5. Be ready to feel alone.
As strange as it is, I wasn’t mentally prepared for everyone to rush away from me as soon as my nugget was born. I felt like I was just legs spread… laying on a cold table… alone. As soon as baby enters the world, you are no longer what everyone came to see. You just worked your butt off, but your baby is the new star of the show. Get used to it. If your little lemon is anything like mine, that’s not going to change! 🙂
You may get to hold your baby for a minute or two, but they’ll likely take him/her to get tests done right away and you won’t see them for a few hours. Once my nugget left the room, everyone else left too. I was left with one (mean) nurse who insisted I stand up (prior to my epidural wearing off) to go and shower.
[More importantly than feeling alone on that table is the potential Postpartum Depression. You just gave birth to a human. You know you’re supposed to love this little lemon with all of your heart. But you don’t quite feel that way (yet). Everything just feels like it’s happening, but you’re not sure you have the feelings everyone says you’re supposed to have.
Tell someone. Seriously. If anything feels the slightest bit off, say something. Personally, I felt emotionless for a few days. They’ll say it’s just hormones. They may be right. It’s still worth mentioning. Looking back, it’s hard to come to terms with my lack of feelings when that baby makes every day so incredibly perfect.]
6. The shower after labor and delivery.
Be prepared for your insides to fall out. Literally. You’ve been laying ALL day and you just HAD A HUMAN BEING. Mentally prepare yourself now for the unexpected when your feet hit the floor.
7. Expect to feel like an idiot.
If you’re a first time parent, and God forbid you have to spend that first night in the hospital alone, be prepared to feel so insanely dumb. They’re going to leave you alone with your new little lemon and you’re going to just be expected to know what to do with her. Her cry will make you cry. How is her bum seriously SO small? Wait, did I make sure the nursery was stocked with diapers THIS FREAKING SMALL? The baby won’t eat… wait, when is the last time I ate? You guys, you’re going to feel all of the things… so fully expect for one of those to be stupidity.
You’re going to breastfeed your baby. Great. You’ve read all of the books. You’ve taken the classes. Then your newborn doesn’t latch, she’s losing weight more than is normal, your nurse has zero patience and tells you just to pump and feed her with a bottle… but wait, she hasn’t eaten in 12 hours now… we have to give her formula.
Everything I was not expecting to happen, happened. My nugget lost far too much weight those first two days. We had to go back to the hospital daily for almost a week until she passed her weight test. I had to syringe feed her breast milk I had pumped for the first two weeks before we were finally able to move up to a bottle. I was NOT prepared for that, but you should be.
9. The first poop.
They mention that it’s tar-like – and that it smells. What they don’t mention is that it’s likely going to happen when you and baby are alone. You’re honestly going to forget it’s even a thing because you’ve had such an exciting day and you’re exhausted. That stuff is going to STICK to her bum. It’ll take so many wipes. So. Many. Wipes. It only happens once though. Phew.
Oh, but honey… that’s nothing. The next several months have diapers filled with sooooo much worse.
10. The post-baby cramps.
For me, this was the worst of it.
You and baby will be bonding, cuddling and napping. Then you’re nurse will come and check both of your vitals. Except you get an extra dose of fun. She’s going to “massage” your uterus. When I say massage, I mean deep tissue the heck out of that bad boy. You’re going to hate her for it.
What I don’t remember reading about anywhere is that your uterus will cramp…. and cramp…. and cramp for the first day or so while it starts going back to normal size. Oh, it’s going to cramp… and cramp… and cramp every time you pump or breastfeed as well for the first several days. It’s delightful. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
More importantly than prepping yourself for all of the not-so-fun things listed above, prep yourself for the good.
Let people know if you don’t want visitors in the hospital or at your house when you arrive home. It’s okay to say “no.” Do whatever is best for you and baby!
Make sure you have a solid, supportive group of family and friends. Your spouse will truly be your best friend through all of this.
You’re a first time prego? Get ready to understand all of the cliche mommy quotes. I cannot even describe how much my relationship with my own mom has developed and grown since having Charli. You start to understand all of the things she’s been talking about and telling you for years.
That baby is going to be your entire world.
Welcome to mommyhood.