Things I Wish I Knew Before and Hope I Can Remember The Next Time

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for awhile.  Partly for anyone who may stumble upon it in searching for information, and partly for myself so I can read this again when I am expecting another baby.

I was crazy for most of my pregnancy.  I was constantly worried and it changed my experience.  I’d like to be able to do things differently the next time.

1. Pregnancy is hard.  Bottom line is that being pregnant takes a toll on you physically and mentally.  Mentally, I was a mess.  My worry exceeded what would probably be considered “normal.”  One thing that would have helped me was to be able to do weekly heartbeat checks until frequent movement occurred.  I will request this the next time I am pregnant, even if it makes me seem like a crazy person.  Because, technically, I am a little crazy when I am pregnant.  The other thing I will do is talk to M more so he can understand why I was acting so odd.  I tried to hide what I was feeling because I didn’t want him to pity me or worry about me.  Plus, I felt like we were so lucky to have fallen pregnant and I felt like I didn’t have the right to be so worried and miserable.  I kind of thought I should just be grateful I was pregnant.

Physically, I want to remind myself that my body was a series of pains, scary twinges, and swelling.  So much swelling.  Every weird pain I got scared the shit out of me.  I am very glad that the second time around, I will be able to remember the small pains as normal rather than the scariest moment ever.  I will also remember that I swelled up SO much.  By the third trimester, my legs were ridiculously swollen.  I never considered the possibility that it was swelling, and instead thought it was weight gain.  About three days after giving birth, my ankles miraculously reappeared.  I will also remember to have a few pairs of flip flops and slip on shoes to wear towards the end of the pregnancy.  Putting on shoes and trying to tie shoe laces was nearly impossible and having new easy to put on shoes were the greatest thing ever.

2. I felt movement at 13 weeks.  I need to remember this because I doubted that that was what had happened.  But I know now that that was what happened.

3. Just because this pregnancy had complications and incredibly scary moments, it doesn’t mean that the next one will too.  I need to truly remember this so that I can go into all ultrasounds, and especially the 20 week one, without excessive fear and trepidation.

4. Trying to get pregnant again is going to be hard.  Bottom line is, it will probably take some time and I will need patience and hope.  I think Arlie will help with this because she is the answer to months of trying and hoping.

5. Two or three days after giving birth, I will lose my fucking mind.  I was not prepared at all for this and it ruined me a little.  I felt helpless and crazy and nobody could make me feel better.  It was awful.

6. There are going to be many days during pregnancy and after giving birth that I will full on hate M.  There will also be a million other days where I will love M more than I ever could have expected.  The good days will far outnumber the bad.

7. M needs to be asked to help.  This is an especially hard thing to remember because I expected him to see what was happening and know what to do and what I needed.  This was not the case.  He needed help too and he needed me to tell him what I needed.  This took a lot of conscious effort for me.  I will try really hard to remember that he is willing to help and needs to be asked otherwise we will both be cranky and lose precious moments being pissed off at each other.

8. Labor is hard and it will NOT go the way I expect it.  It will be more painful than I can expect and literally nothing I planned to do to for pain management will be what I need on the day of.  I also want to remember that my labor was induced, so it is entirely possible that the next time around I will experience many things for the first time.  This scares me, but it is a reality I need to be prepared for.  I also want to remember how fucking amazing it was to push Arlie out and how quickly the pain was forgotten afterwards.  Don’t get me wrong, I still remember, but it doesn’t seem as impossible as it did during it.

9.  Pooping after birth was awful.  I was terrified to do it and the first 6 weeks or so were completely awful.  Stool softeners are the only way to survive.

10.  Breastfeeding was way herder than I thought it was going to be.  My milk didn’t come in for three days after giving birth.  And then my nipples were literally bleeding.  Cracked, sore, so incredibly uncomfortable.  After about 8 days, it started getting significantly easier.  I used lanolin religiously starting at day 4, but I should have brought it to the hospital to use it there.  And I should have been prepared for it being difficult.  I honestly thought it would just happen for me, and when it didn’t, it broke my spirit pretty hard core.  This definitely contributed to my mental breakdown at 3 days after birth.  Also, I need to remember to start pumping earlier.  I have a pretty sweet stockpile of milk right now, but I think if I had started earlier, I would have avoided a lot of worry every time we left the house.  Plus, a routine getting established is never a bad thing.

11.  Speaking of routines…  We started Arlie on a bedtime routine at around three weeks.  I think this was really helpful because now she is ready for bed at 7 every night.  Plus, I think she actually likes having a routine, which is kind of nice.  In the beginning, the routine was really more for me and M, but it turned into something that helped us all.

12. Adding to this list will be necessary.  I’ll need to revisit it over and over it again and revise it and add to it.  My life is going to continue to change a lot over the next few months and I will need to revise the list to reflect that.

13. Being a parent is hard and it is so awesome.  I don’t think I’ll need a reminder on this one, but just in case…

This life is amazing.  And this baby is everything I’ve ever wanted…

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3 Months Old

Arlie turned three months old last week and in looking back it has been so fast and also so slow.  She is growing ridiculously fast.  There are days when I look at her and I am shocked at how big she is.  And how much she is learning.  But other times, I look at her and I can’t believe how tiny she is.  I love that she is still completely dependent on me and she needs me all the time.  I also like that we can put her in her activity chair for 15 minutes and she is completely content occupying herself.  There are so many contradictions in a baby’s life.  On the one hand, I want her to grow up and learn new things and be her own person, but on the other hand, I want her to stay tiny forever.  I want her to need me like this forever.

Up until now in my life, I’ve never really had anyone depend solely on me.  Even M would probably be ok without me if he had to.  But Arlie, she truly needs me.  I love that.  I love her interaction with me.  I love that she searches a room to see if I am there.  And I love that when she finds me, she lights up.  I am completely smitten with her and it surprises and exhilarates me.

M and I have discussed the things that are going to be important to us in the near future and that includes me changing jobs… AGAIN.  Ugh.  I am a candidate for a job that I have coveted for years.  And in fact, two of the positions are open, which increases my chances immensely.  I’m trying to be realistic that it might not happen, but for now I am hopeful and excited.  This is a job I could do for the rest of my life and it will allow for a lot more time with Arlie and M and any other children we add to our family.  Hope for me, you guys…  I’ll take all the positive vibes I can get.

Clothes, supplies, etc

Yesterday M and Arlie and I went to a huge clothing sale in a nearby town. I feel good about buying consignment clothing, especially when it has only been worn a couple of times. We’ve been trying to stay a few months ahead of Arlie’s age/size range, so we were primarily looking for 9-12 month clothing. We found some pretty awesome stuff and it was all weather appropriate too. We also have a friend who has a one year old girl and she gave us a huge box of clothes too. I’m pretty jazzed about the amount of stuff we ended up with. I’ll still need to pick up a few things like sleepers and some sweatshirts but we have a really great start. This also prevents me from spending a bunch of money on new clothing. Believe me, I would love to go crazy and buy a whole brand new wardrobe for her every few months but that would be incredibly expensive and we just don’t have the finances for that.

The other fun part about yesterday was that the drive was about 45 minutes and we haven’t gone that far with Arlie yet. But she did great. She slept both ways and was a happy baby for pretty much the whole day. Overall it was a fantastic day.

So Ashamed

Remember when I got on here a month ago and said I would be blogging more?  I am a liar.  I have had so much stuff going on and I can barely keep myself on schedule as it is so blogging has taken a bit of a backseat to the entire rest of my life for now.

Some updates:

Arlie is 12 weeks this week and she is getting so big.  She does this funny thing where she will get longer one week and look kind of skinnier, then the next week she will plump out again.  Its sort of hilarious because on her plumpy weeks she has an enormous double chin.  She is starting to hold onto everything, she’s trying with all her might to sit up on her own.  She can roll onto her sides, but hasn’t mastered rolling all the way over yet.  She loves to have help going from laying down into a sitting position, then into standing.  She never lets her head fall anymore and loves looking at everything around her.  Her smiles are more frequent and she is quite a funny baby when she wants to be.  Just a little charmer in every way.  Her tongue is constantly out of her mouth and she does “kisses”, which basically means that she opens her mouth and you are expected to give her a big smooch, with a smacking noise included, of course.  Shes just a joy all around.  I love spending time with her and I love how much she interacts with us now.

Breastfeeding is going AMAZING!  I am loving how easy it is now and how much milk I can pump during the day.  I am getting about 7-9 ounces in the morning and another 4ish in the afternoon.  When I go back to work full time I would guess that I will probably get another 4-6 ounces at lunch time as well.  My body has let me down in so many ways over the span of my life but this is one thing that is really kicks ass at and I am so glad.  I had a goal of 6 months, but I am now thinking I will just go until Arlie wants to stop or until I get pregnant again and my milk lessens. 

See how I subtly mentioned getting pregnant again???  M and I had a few heart to hearts and we decided that in December/January we will start trying again.  I’m turning 31 in a week and I don’t want to wait too long to try again, especially with how long it took us the first time.  I feel so calm about this and that is very unusual for me, the perpetual worrier.  During my pregnancy with Arlie I just wasn’t sure I ever wanted to try again.  But having her has changed everything.  She is so awesome that I want to experience it all again, preferably without the scary cord issues this time.

Something weird that has been happening lately that I did not expect is that I feel nostalgic and kind of sad that around this time last year, M and I were in the throws of trying to get pregnant again and we had no idea that this was the month we would fall pregnant again.  Last April was such a good month for us too.  I turned 30 in Disneyland because of the amazing trip that M planned and I got to meet my nephew for the first time.  We just had so much fun last year and it makes me so nostalgic.  It weird to miss a time that was so hard and so amazing, you know?  I expect all Aprils from this point forward to be amazing too because now I have a little girl to share them with.  Life is so weird that way.  I honestly never thought I would look back at our trying to get pregnant phase with good memories.

Thats all for today.  I swear I will try to write more.  I miss it, I just need to carve out the time.  Hope all of you are doing well!