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…