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Friday, July 20, 2012

What your friends {will} tell you about birth

I have 3 friends (well, one’s a cousin too) that are due in the next month or few with their first babies!  Since friends were VITAL to me in learning what really happens in and after birth, I thought I'd write them a little letter since these thoughts are still pretty fresh in my mind. .  If you don't plan on having children any time soon, you might not want to read this. :)
Ellison Jakeh - Jenna

My dear Audra, Laura, and Lindsey,

I was just thinking about you three and those cute baby bumps today and thought I'd say hello.  I'm so excited for these journeys you're on and am so thrilled to see you all become mommas.  As I think back over the births of Owen and Ellie, I just thought I'd share a few things with you that have been passed down to me from my friends.  It's not the glowing, you're gonna love being a mom stuff.  Which is true.  It's great.  Fabulous.  Hard.  The best thing ever.  But this is the ‘you're gonna pee your pants every time you laugh for a year’ kinda stuff.  Mostly a few details about birth that aren't in the books.  Not all of it will ring true for you. But it's always better to be warned. :)

    1. There will come a time in your pregnancy when you are DONE.  Even those women who adore being pregnant reach this stage.  And you will start searching Google for things like "how to get this baby out."  And you'll start taking long walks, and eating pineapple, shrimp, and spicy food and you may even resort to doing the thing that got you in this mess in the first place. :)  But I'm a firm believer in the fact that your body will do it when it's time.  I think these things work in hindsight because you're doing them at a time when your body was already ready to give birth.  But you'll still do them (all).  And don't worry.  The baby will come out one way or another.  The last few weeks of pregnancy drag by slowly and then you blink and your baby will be a month old.
    2. Losing your mucus plug does not mean that labor is close.  You can lose it up to a month before you actually meet your babe.  I did lose mine in labor with Owen but have NO idea when I lost it with Ellie.
    3. When you do start labor, sometimes you'll have vomiting and diarrhea.  Really, it just adds insult to injury at this point, but sometimes your body cleans itself out before the more intense part of labor comes which can be a good thing (see #5).
    4. You will NOT get through childbirth with your modestly intact.  There's just no way about it.  From the minute you get there, someone will be looking and checking and sticking their hand up your vajayjay.  During your birth there will be a number of people in your delivery depending on the setting and circumstances of how you deliver. After birth, and during your stay in the hospital the nurses will have to evaluate your perineum and bleeding; even more strangers looking at your "private parts". Not so private anymore... and there goes your modesty.
    5. And speaking of modesty, in all honesty you will likely poop when you push. The muscles you're using are the same ones you do on the toilet.  So if you're pushing correctly, you will poop.  Yes, it was slightly embarrassing, but trust me you'll get over it.  And the nurses/doctors/midwives don't bat an eye (well, your photographer might).  They've seen it all.
    6. Babies aren't always pretty when they're born.  They're usually pale blue or gray and sometimes have misshapen heads from their exit.  Poor Owen was so purple.  Sometimes their sweet little faces are swollen or bruised.  They're covered in blood, amniotic fluid, and vernix.  But don't worry.  You'll think they are the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.
    7. You will use about 1/10th of what you pack for the hospital.  There are tons of lists out there, but all I really used were my boppy pillow, a comfy outfit to go home in, 2 outfits for the baby, my toiletries and my camera.  Oh and chapstick for your dry lips and lanolin for the sore nipples.  If you have a baby book, pack it for them to put their little foot prints in!  But really, you don't even need to pack underwear because you'll be wearing these fabulous mesh granny pants.  Speaking of those, steal everything you can from your room.  It's already on your bill, trust me.  Every diaper, paci, huge pads, and those great underwear.  Take it all. 
    8. Unfortunately, once your sweet baby is born, the poking, prodding, and pain is not quite done.  You still have to push out the placenta, which while annoying, is nothing compared to what you just pushed out. Once the placenta comes out, any tears that you may have will need to be repaired. After the delivery of the placenta, the nurse will need to evaluate your bleeding closely. Every so often a "fundal massage" will be performed to push out any blood clots that remain in your uterus and prevent excessive bleeding. I put this term in quotations because the word massage implies that this is a comfortable thing. In fact, a fundal massage is when the nurse, midwife or doctor basically jump on your uterus to get it to contract. Ouch!  And that first week of nursing will also cause some painful uterus contractions.  But just remember it’s helping everything tighten up.  Bwhahaha, tighten up.  I mean yes, it’s all going to go back the way it was.  Hahahahaha.  Sorry, let’s move on.
    9. May God bless you to be one of the ladies that doesn't get hemorrhoids.  I wasn't so lucky in this department.  I actually had them through most of my pregnancy and for about a month after birth.  Stool softeners, tucks pads, preparation H, and the good stuff they give you at the hospital will be your friend.  Even peeing can be a bit 'stingy' after birth!
    10. Speaking of pee, expect to do it for months following birth after you laugh or cough.  Those muscles just aren't the same any more!
    11. And while we're talking pee/poop, just in general it will take a good ten minutes to use the restroom.  You'll have to go ever so slow, change those monster pads, hold yourself up while praying you don't poop, apply your various creams, and then spraying yourself down with your little squirt bottle.  It will feel like you're in there for an hour. :)
    12. Nursing is hard.  I’m sure if you’ve done any reading, you know this.  But really, it hurts and it’s not just second nature.  You have to work at it.   Your boobs will become about the size of footballs around a couple days after birth (different for everyone).  Warm showers and cool washcloths are a big help.  Don’t worry, the crazy porn star boobs will settle down in a couple days.  Just keep nursing.   Tickle their upper lip with your nipple and then when they open, shove your boob in.  Yes, it seems like your suffocating your baby, but that’s how you do it.  Keep at it.  Ask for help.  It gets easier.  And while not everyone likes it, there are those of us who really LOVE breastfeeding.  It’s one of my favorite things ever! 
    13. Ok other mommies, what I am forgetting to tell them? Share away in the comments!

    I love you ladies and cannot wait to meet Baby W, Baby P, and Ellery!  You are all going to make awesome moms and these babies are so lucky!



    1. This was pretty hilarious to read, Emily. :) Yes on all of the above! Here are my additions:

      When learning to breastfeed, definitely definitely have a lactation consultant come visit you in the hospital. They're included in insurance and help so much--even if you think you're off to a great start. Dr. Sears' "The Breastfeeding Book" was also key to have on hand for various troubleshooting.

      I recommend starting pelvic floor repair type exercises the day after birth, aka Kegel exercises. Do them constantly, contract when you lift something, when you're going up the stairs, when out for a walk. Probably the last thing you'll want to think about it, but it will save you the headache that've I've been dealing with--hip pain due to lack of pelvic floor muscle. Been to the physical therapist for this... So be proactive here, ladies. ;)

      And, remember that you will sleep again one day, you will feel like yourself again one day, and you will get along with your hubby again one day. Having a newborn is stressful, but it will pass, and you will be a rockin' mama.


      1. These are awesome! :) praying for you guys during this season of homesickness and praying Auggie's croup is gone for good!

    2. I 2nd the kegels...I did them while pg and I don't "leak." =D And definitely seek out LC's for breastfeeding! If something doesn't feel right or you're not sure about what you're doing, get help immediately. Your baby (and your boobies) will thank you. =) And this blog post is along the lines of the one above: (it is hilarious!)

    3. Love the post! So many memories... haha.

      I think you forgot to mention that first poop after delivery. It will feel like you're giving birth all over again. Take it slowly...

      Also, do NOT use the nipple shield when you are trying to breastfeed! I swear it was the demise of our breastfeeding. The LC gave it to us so I had no idea, but trust me do NOT use them or your baby will never learn to latch correctly. :(

    4. OMG-for-Goodness, Joanna, that link is hilarious. I was definitely laughing out loud. ;) ... And thanks for the prayers, Emily. Much appreciated!

    5. Love this list!

      I always like to warn future mama's about postpartum hormones. My pregnancy hormones were NOTHING compared to the crazy emotional mess I was after having the baby! I was not prepared at all for that! (also, along those similar lines, if you're feeling more emotional than you think might be normal, please talk to your doctor about it, postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety are way more common than you would think)


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