Well, well, you are pregnant! Congrats!! It will be a journey in your life you will never forget. When I found out I was pregnant, I was coming back from a last minute getaway vacation with my husband. We went to the coast and enjoyed sunshine, margaritas, live music and of course, each other. We had been married for 5 years and took these kind of trips often. I was scheduled to have my period during the vacation, but Mother Nature always ran late with me, so I was just happy Aunt Flow didn’t make an appearance . No biggie, I’ll deal with it when we got back.
Monday morning rolled around and I thought just as a precaution I’d take a pregnancy test. BOOM! There I saw those two pink lines looking right back at me. Just to be sure I took another test at work and the same result happened again. On top of finding out I was pregnant, there was an actual fire at my work about ten minutes later, so I spent the morning hours leading up to lunchtime in a shock. I knew my world would change.
Fast forward to pregnancy and delivery. I was always the friend that didn’t have kids, never babysat, never held a baby and never ever changed a diaper! Knowing I was about to have a baby, I Google searched everything I could think of, downloaded at least 10 apps on my phone and figured I would educate myself along the way. Well, there are some things that no one wrote about that I dealt with. So here you are, what I wish I knew!
- Forget about “the glow”. I didn’t feel it. I wasn’t fitting into my clothes, this new belly that was growing was hard on my back, my nipples were changing color, I was not feeling it. At all. I really mean, AT ALL. Maybe for some magical mothers who just are lucky and walk around pregnant with flowers and unicorns they just love being pregnant, but for me, yeah….not so much. It was so physically uncomfortable! I felt like Violet, the little girl that turned into the blueberry in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I wore this pregnancy belt under my clothes at work everyday and it saved my back. I strapped that sucker on everyday past 6 months to walk. The belly will be heavy. You are going to feel the weight and it’s not going to be pretty. Strap yourself in!
- Your OBGYN and you are going to get a whole lot closer. So when I found out I was pregnant, I scheduled an appointment and I really didn’t know what to expect. Well low and behold, when it was time to check my situation out, this huge wand like tool came out that made a dildo look like a French fry. After that initial visit, prepare for long fingers and other things to be put up there. You are about to be poked and prodded almost all the time. You will go from monthly appointmets to biweekly to weekly to every other day. Blood tests, sonograms, lab work, you might as well stick a cot in the waiting area because you will be there quite often, and most likely during work hours so make sure your work knows way ahead of time of your appointments bc your feet in stirrups isn’t exactly an in and out thing (pun intended). I was told early on to “pick up your dignity in the exit area of the hospital”. That is a true statement. Everyone will see everything, get used to it.
- Use Social Media!! I can’t tell you how much I learned on the daily here. For example, I used Facebook and found two groups that were made up of expectant mothers who had the same due date as me. Here, I learned about products, first hand reviews, what works and what doesn’t, what to expect at your next doctor appointment, and questions other group members had. It was truly a wonderful, valuable learning experience. I am still a group member of these two groups. I think I actually learned the most with social media groups than any other source. Truly priceless.
- The pregnancy waddle walk. There’s no avoiding it. It’s gonna happen. Your center of gravity gets thrown off balance in a major way and it just happens. I thought “there’s no way I’m going to be walking with that waddle walk going on.” HA!…Bahaha!! Yeah, it’s going to happen, and you will find out when people tell you. So for me and my pregnancy, I developed SPD as soon as I hit the third trimester. The pain was excruciating! It felt horrible to walk 3 steps, a stabbing pain literally. Word of advice, use the motorized carts at the store. The first time I did I was so embarrassed! It was at Home Depot and when I had to sit down and back that thing up the first time ever, the loud “beep, beep, beep” while in reverse made me want to crawl under a rock! Lol, I got over that really quick when I could finally get around the store with no pain. It was awesome. Get over it and use it! It’s heaven sent, and when else can you get away with that?
- The last couple weeks you are going to want the baby OUT. You will be miserable. You will be waking up at all hours of the night to go pee, repeatedly. I really think this is your body’s way to prepare yourself to get up at all hours of the night when the baby arrives, because it is true, you will get ZERO sleep, but that’s another story. The pregnancy body pillow was a miracle for me, and the only way I could sleep comfortably. I also bounced on a yoga ball because I had read in several articles it helps with starting delivery. I also drank all those teas you hear about too. Like I said, I wanted the baby out. Looking back, it probably didn’t make a difference, but you will seriously be desperate for that eviction notice and meet this little person who has been living inside you for the past 9 months.
- You will submerge yourself in the world of “nesting”. Even though you might not think you are, you are. So here I was pregnant and in denial. I thought “I’m not nesting! But hey, wonderful husband of mine, we have got to paint his room two different hues of blue, because we need an accent wall. We need to go to the craft store because he needs a theme for his new room, we need the best crib ever, he needs a full wardrobe from NB-12 months, so let’s get on it! Chop chop!” Lol, yes, you will be nesting. It’s only natural. Embrace it, it’s part of the journey.
- Lists!! Lists are what saved our behind. So here I say that I did a lot of research on what we needed, and it was worth it. Like I mentioned earlier, we were the couple with no kids and we really had no clue what to get. Many nights were spent on Google and Pinterest. We compiled a list of everything we needed and researched how much each item cost. We then totaled that number and divided it by the months we had left. That was our budget each month. The high priced ticket items were the first to purchase. Crib, camera monitor, Baby Bjorn Sakura Ring Sling, glider, car seat and a high chair were some of our high ticket items. Lists and budgeting saved our financial behinds.
- Labor! Oh yeah, the big day. The day it’s all about. So have a game plan, aka a birth plan printed and filled out way before its time. Also, accept the fact that it’s not all going to go that way, ok? There are tons of printable birth plans online if you do a search. Personally, my labor was 24 hours. Yes, TWENTY-FOUR. An entire day in labor! My mother always bragged she had me in only four. HA! Not here. So my water broke Thursday at 9:00am and he was born Friday at 9:08am. Long story short, my plan was to have my husband by my head the entire time and I didn’t want him to see me from the neck below. HA! That didn’t happen. In the middle of who knows what hour from those lovely 24, the nurse said, “are you ready dad? Grab a leg!” and he had to grab my left leg while the nurse grabbed my right and together they were pushing my knees to my chest while I pushed a human being from my lady bits. THAT was not in my birth plan! Lol, looking back it is pretty funny though. Speaking of another thing, you will shit during the process. Plain and simple. When you push with all your strength humanly imaginable to get an 8 pound being our of your vagina, you will shit as well. My husband saw me shit myself, lol. Let’s just say we are a lot closer now! On the epidural debate, yes I did have one and yes I loved it and no, I don’t regret it and it was a vaginal delivery. I say that because you will get asked that non stop. So, make your own birth plan and determine what is right for you.
- The After Labor. Hemorrhoids, Sitz bath and bleeding, oh my! So at the hospital after delivery, I was asked to roll over (I was still out of it) and was told I had a hemorrhoid! What?! Me? Lol, yes ma’am that’s what happens when you push and push and push. You get them, end of story. You are only human. No one told you that when you were pregnant? LOL. Don’t worry, they will give you meds for that. Now on to the sitz bath. It’s like a warm soak for your vagina. I had no idea what that contraption was when I came home with it. It sits on the toilet and you sit on that. Thankfully, my husband set that all up for me. Again, I was so out of it. I think about 2 weeks went by before I was even with it completley again. Within those two weeks you will also bleed non stop. Its pretty much like a super heavy period but you cant wear tampons. Also, if anyone wants to help you, swing by and bring food, just let them. Don’t say no. Seriously, let people help. Because the truth is, you are going to need some recovery time for yourself. 6 months in, you will wish that help was still pouring in! Haha.
- Take it one day at a time and everyone’s advice and/or criticism with a grain of salt. So here you finally not pregnant and with a newborn. You have done your prep work, have a new nursery, you may co-sleep, you may not, you may breast feed you may not. There is no handbook on this. Apps help, groups help, unwanted and wanted advice helps, but ultimately at the end of the day you are in the driver’s seat. Trust your gut and trust your instincts. Every mother is different and everyone is going to do the same thing 100 different ways. What matters the most is your little one and your family. You got this!
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