My dear Pregnant Friend,
I am just so pleased to see that this “mommy-to-be” shit hasn’t changed you in the least. It is one of the many things I have always loved about you. You have successfully put on your Prada, rose-colored glasses & soared through this pregnancy with your usual dose of ignorance, humility, grace & laughter. Only difference I can see in you, are those humongous boobs. Wowsers. Oh ya, and by the way, they’ll get bigger. And sore. Like really sore. When your milk comes in? um, ouch. When the little beast starts sucking the tip of your nipple and making them bleed? Mother of GOD!
So, first bits of advice? Lanolin cream for the raw nipples; and a warm shower feels amazing on engorged boobs. Tip: lock the bathroom door or hubs WILL stand outside the shower door with the crying baby. This does NOT result in an enjoyable shower, as your boobs hurt more because they can hear the baby crying & you may just want to kill hubs because you can hear the baby crying. You think ignorance is bliss now? Just wait until you learn to convince yourself you actually CANNOT hear the baby crying.
Which leads me to my next tip: Babies cry. You will not have to start a therapy fund for your baby if they are left to cry for 5 minutes without intervention. Same goes for moms. Moms also cry. And often without intervention or sometimes, with very unhelpful intervention – kinda like this, “I’ll go to the store & buy something”. No, you will sit your ass down with this baby & give me 5 minutes to myself to shower, sleep or just brush my gnarly teeth. To summarize: your boobs will hurt (warm showers for engorgement & lanolin cream for raw nipples), men are clueless (try to give clear instruction on what you need), and babies & moms cry. A lot. (let it out, then sleep)
But let me go backwards, back to – “I think I just peed the bed”. Yep, that’s what I said to my hubs at 2 am, 10 days before my son was due. And surprisingly, he said, “Oh, ya, I think you did.” Really? A nurse & physician? Um, excuse me? Are you two idiots in denial? Apparently. Because it was not pee. It was, in fact, my “water”. So, quit mulling over (ie. sniffing the bed linens) whether this is pee or not & get your asses to the hospital. Now, that said, I would NOT rush to the hospital if you’re close to your due date. I WOULD, however, get yourselves to the hospital quickly – like no shower & a few gallons of water because you think you’re just dehydrated – if you’re not even close to your due date – like 8 weeks away. Yes, our #2, was born 8 weeks early. And even after being through labor once before, I was certain my back pains & frequent urination was due to a self-diagnosed urinary tract infection. It is amazing what can be done to stop babies from making an early appearance if you get yourself to the hospital asap. So don’t let the grouchy nurse at triage scare you from going back to the hospital again and again if you’re not feeling quite right.
Next step – you’re in the hospital and baby is on the way. Sleep as much as you can. Accept laughing gas when offered. Perhaps like me, you will also ask the nurse, “How do I get a canister of this for home use?” It is really special stuff. Next, get an epidural. Now, in my humble opinion, there is a perfect & not so perfect time for the epidural. I feel like the epidural slowed down the dilating process. However, if you wait too long, a few things can happen – anaesthetists start in the OR around 8 am – and the OR will always get preferential treatment over a prego. This means you will sometimes have to wait until they’re done in the OR, before they get to you. And if they don’t get to you before you’re 9 cm dilated, you may be shit out of luck. Oh, & speaking of shit. Yes, you will poop while pushing. But I guarantee, you really won’t “give a shit”. (-:
Next, do NOT push for a thousand hours. Just do NOT do it. Its exhausting for you, and hard on babe. Once Critter has started to drop down into that teeny, weeny birth canal, its best to get them out. Now, that said, PUSH!!!!!!!!! And when I say PUSH!!!! I mean, PUSH!!!!!! EFFING HARD!!!!!!! My first was born by C-section, after pushing for a thousand hours & the recovery was brutal. It was like finishing a half-marathon & then someone saying, “Now you must run a 10K”. Fuck off, comes to mind. My second was born after 16 minutes of pushing & yes, my whoo hoo was bruised, stitched & sore, but recovery was NOTHING like with the first. You & hubs must be your own advocates. Looking back, my hubs & I both wish we had asked for a C-section long before it came to be. Some things will just not fit. No matter how hard you push. So if Babe is stuck, stop pushing and get a section. Period. End of story.
Once baby has arrived, sleep every chance you get and go home as soon as you can. Nothing feels as good as your own bed, your own shower & the ability to walk around naked. Accept help. Don’t be a hero. It really does take a village to raise a child. Drink lots of water, a bit of booze and eat. Babies suck the life out of you. Literally & figuratively. But really give breastfeeding a good ol’ college try. Its one of the most difficult, painful learning curves I’ve ever faced. But once you and babe get the hang of it, nursing your shortie is the most satisfying, relaxing, loving things you will ever experience. To date, its the best thing I’ve ever done.
Perhaps this point would best be shown with a little game called, “Would you rather?” You may be familiar with it. Here it goes…Would you rather? Be standing frozen, at the kitchen counter, trying to remember how many fucking scoops of formula to put in the bottle – which still needs to be washed & steralized – but don’t worry, you have time because you also need to boil the water & then let it cool before you really need to commit to 2 or 3 scoops VS oh, baby is crying, let me reach into the bassinet beside the bed, lift this little creature out and attach him/her to my already naked boob and then fall asleep. Now, I am completely prepared, that somewhere around 2 weeks after bringing this baby home, you will hate me for pushing you towards breastfeeding. And I know this because around the same time after I delivered my baby, a few huge breastfeding advocates were sitting beside me in our living room gushing about the lovelies of nursing your baby, as I struggled to get mine latched on to my bleeding nipple. I looked at them both, and said, “Listen bitches, you’d better not be lying or I’ll mess you up. Bad. Got it?” My mom simply smiled at me and said, “Yes dear, we’ve got it.”
So there’s the truth. The not so glamorous truth. But as I type this, I am getting teary thinking about how wonderful it is to grow these little beings in your tummy. To see their sweet little faces for the very first time. To feed them. To love them. And to watch them grow into themselves. To see their personalities come to life. So my last bit of advice? Enjoy every moment. I know everyone always say that, but from one mom to a “soon-to-be” other, its just simply a “truth”.
I love you; and cannot wait to hear your story & meet your sweet Critter.
XO – Jill
Oh, & PS: Yes, you will love your baby as much as you love your dog. I know its incredibly difficult to imagine that, but again, its true. Someone told me recently that apparently, I have a cat, named Puppy. I guess it sounds mildly familiar. Oh shit, there he is now. Sure hope the boys have been feeding him. Poor guy.