Growing up, or while trying to conceive, we all have this picture in our mind about how beautiful pregnancy will be, and tend to neglect thinking about the ‘ugly.’ Pregnancy, delivery (be it a vaginal birth or c-section), postpartum, and motherhood aren’t as smooth and picture-perfect as you may think.
In some ways I was lucky – not only was I one of the last of my friends to get pregnant, but I also have a background in the medical field. But sometimes that extra knowledge can be dangerous…
1. Smells – The smells. All of them, to be exact. I’d heard that your sense of smell is heightened, but I didn’t expect it to be as incredibly sensitive as it was. There were days that I couldn’t walk through a grocery store. Driving by KFC, Cane’s, or Popeyes would have me heaving. And cooking?! Forget about it. Be prepared to have the least intrusive scents become repulsive.
2. Body Fluids – I’m sure it’s well known that you pee more frequently during pregnancy, right? Well, you may not know that although you may not have a period (Hooray!), pantiliners will be your best friend. That’s right, the Honest Abe truth. Pantiliners. For some, it starts early on, but during your first pregnancy, you’ll wonder if your water broke a handful of times.
3. Poop. Enough said.
1. See number 3 above. Plus some.
2. Breaking of the waters – This is certainly one of my favorite moments during my delivery. If your water doesn’t rupture naturally, it will be done for you. It will feel weird, and will likely gush everywhere. My husband was sitting, completely clueless, at the end of the bed when my OB ruptured my water. The look on his face was priceless, which led me to giggle and laugh pretty hard, which only made the gushing. Priceless…
3. Your OB – Every doctor does this differently, but most have the nurse call them when you’re close to delivering. Even with laboring down, my OB barely made it in time – my daughter was just that anxious to meet us. Another thing to know is that you’ll see a completely different side of your doctor in the delivery room. My OB is a very calm, quiet natured person – until he was in that delivery room. HOLY COW! The energy coming out of him was intense! He was definitely my personal cheerleader.
1. Nausea – Holy nausea, Batman! I was induced for my first and had an emergency C-section with my twins. Just as they were closing me up, nausea hit hard. I have heard stories of people vomiting through their entire section, and those that vomit at various times. Helpful hint – my anesthesiologist had me smell an alcohol swab when I got nauseated, he said he’d done a study and found that it helped patients with nausea!
2. Food – This was something I wasn’t expecting at all.I’d never heard of such a thing. I wasn’t allowed to eat for 24 hours after my C-Section. This was a not good situation for me. I was ravenous after almost 34 weeks of horrendous nausea. It varies by facility and doctors, but apparently, it’s the “gold standard” in care these days. I was ill prepared, but my family snuck food in for me.
3. Walk – This really isn’t all that astonishing, but as soon as you’re allowed to get out of bed and move around start walking! The sooner you start walking, the better you will feel. The on-call OB the day after my twins were born did a double take during rounds because I was up and moving well. Apparently, people don’t always do that, but I truly believe it helped in my recovery.
1. More body fluids – Remember how you went nine months without a period? Well, all that built up lining has to get out of your body. It’s not pretty. Take all the mesh panties and hospital pads you can get your hands on. You will most certainly need them. But, I do recommend you buy your brand of choice prior to delivery. Personally, I thought the hospital pads were the best because they were soft and non-irritating. I also highly recommend buying Depends for overnight. How long will it last? It varies by person and delivery. I didn’t even bleed for a week with my first, with my twins I never stopped bleeding.
2. See number 3 in pregnancy. Yes, again.
3. Even more body fluids – You thought you had to pee a lot while pregnant?! Oh, it’s worse now. Even after just one child, your pelvic floor isn’t what it once was. Running? Plan ahead and know you’ll likely leak. Laughing hysterically? Yup, it’s possible you’ll pee yourself then too. And, my personal favorite – peeing when you yell. That’s when you know Mommy is serious!
1. Guess what?! More body fluids! – Babies poop a lot. Some throw up a lot. Mine all suffered from severe reflux so there were many days I smelled of vomit all day long. Be prepared. Make sure that you not only have a change of clothes for baby in the diaper bag but you as well. And don’t worry too much if you are terrified of vomit like I am, for some reason you forget about it all when you’re a mom. You’ll run and catch vomit in your hands to spare the couch instead of hiding.
2. Illness – Kids get sick. I’ve been fortunate that my children haven’t caught many bugs, but I will tell you this – there is absolutely NOTHING in the world worse than seeing your
child sick. It’s more painful than you can ever imagine.
3. They grow up too fast – One day they’ll be babies, dependent on you for absolutely everything. Then, next thing you know, they’ll be walking, talking and telling you no. It happens far too quickly, so be sure to soak in every last minute.
Through all of the good, bad, ugly, and embarrassing having a baby is truly the most amazing experience you’ll ever have. Sure, it’s stressful and being a Mommy is utterly exhausting. There are days that you can’t get enough caffeine or wine and days you just want to run away from your daily life – but through all of it, you have those awesome moments. The moments that you want to relive over and over again, like a baby doing dolphin flips in your belly (just without extreme nausea). And the birth of your child, regardless of how it happens, is nothing short of magical. My best advice to expecting mothers is to set your expectations low (because, let’s face it, sometimes everything is what I call a dumpster fire), because then when things don’t go as planned it’s okay – just never let your crown fall, because it’s totally worth it in the end.