I am an enthusiastic reader. I am a research-a-topic-until-exhaustion-and-take-extensive-notes, type of girl. I was researching pregnancy and parenting two days after we had decided to try to have a baby. 🙂
Even after all of my research, there were many things that I was completely unprepared for. Because I also try to be a helpful type of girl, I thought I would share a few of our experiences with all of you parents-to-be:
- Your newborn will most likely never wear all of those adorable clothes that you got at your shower. All we needed was Sleep and Play’s (pajama type things with feet) and a few “going out” outfits, for the early stages of growth.My suggestion is to keep the tags on all but about 3-4 changes (per day) of whatever type of clothes you choose to dress your little one in, plus some nice outfits for going out or having visitors. If/when they outgrow the rest, exchange them for another size.
- Some people will feel the need to bring your child something every time they come over. It’s not that we didn’t appreciate their well intended gifts but we had nowhere to put all of it! We by no means had a small house but we didn’t live in a palatial estate either.Eventually we had to ask people to stop bringing gifts. It was an uncomfortable conversation but one that had to be had.
- You really do forget the pain of childbirth. Within days it was just a vague memory and I had 6 hours of intense back labor, Pitocin, and an Epidural that only partially worked, so that’s really saying something!I can remember sounds, sights, smells, and emotions from the moment when I held Wyatt for the first time and yet, much like my wedding, labor and delivery is just a blur.
- If you’re not careful, in no time flat, you will become one of those blithering parents who never shuts their pie holes about how amazing their baby is. Your baby simply must be a prodigy. Tread carefully friend – no one wants to hear about your kid 24/7.
- The saying, “Time flies” is a saying for a reason. When you are operating on 2 hours of fitful sleep, it may seem like the day is never going to end but I promise, it will. As that beautiful baby grows (so fast it makes you dizzy), you will wish that you could pause time.“The days are long but the years are short” is so very true. My son is now 5 and I wish I could go back to those sleepless nights and giggle filled days.
- This one is super embarrassing to talk about but I sure wish someone had told me, so now I am going to lay it all out there for you. Warning – this is a bit graphic:
When you have tears or abrasions after giving birth, it is possible for you to develop a condition called Labial Adhesion, where all or part of your labia can actually fuse together. Yep. I’ll just let that sink in for a minute….In all the reading and research I had done, I had never, not once, read anything about this. Yet, my doctor and a specialist both said, “It’s not uncommon”. Well, Einstein, if it’s not uncommon, why the hell wasn’t I warned about it when you all knew that I had tears and abrasions?! Ugh.After 6 weeks of recovering from childbirth (To a child that was 9 ½ pounds and 22 ½ inches long), I then had to have a minor surgery on my labia. This. Sucked. Ass.
While the anxiety leading up to the surgery was overwhelming for me, the actual procedure was quick and the recovery was relatively painless. The worst part was the Lidocain injections. Yes, I said injections – Injections. In. Your. Vagina.
The whole thing would have been avoided if I had only been informed.
My advice is to ask the doctors if you have labial abrasions or external tearing. If you do, every day, while you are taking a bath/shower, manually move ALL external parts of your genital area (Labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris).
After you dry everything very thoroughly, apply a small amount of KY Jelly to the labia majora, labia minora, and around the clitoris. This will help prevent the various parts from adhering to one another. Spread the word, sisters, spread the word.
- “Sleep while the baby sleeps” – utter nonsense. You will always find that there is something that absolutely must be done while your little one sleeps because there is no other time to get it done. Those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves! That being said, some days those dishes are just going to have to wait. If you’re exhausted make sure to take time to recharge. Order in dinner and use disposable plates and silverware. Do what you have to do to get through it. This time will go by fast, trust me.
- Breast feeding is a beautiful bonding experience and it is proven to be very good for your little bundle of joy. However, it can also be very difficult, frustrating, and very, very painful. Don’t get me wrong – I am in full support of breast-feeding.
Pure exhaustion was followed by pure pain. My son repeatedly latched on and pulled away – over and over and over. This led to very painful feedings for mama. It also led to double mastitis – Also, extremely painful.After I had recovered from the double mastitis, I then almost immediately had the joy of a yeast infection of the milk ducts. Yay.After the second round of infection, I just couldn’t do it anymore.
The guilt I felt over my decision to stop breast-feeding was horrendous and quite overwhelming. I felt like the worst, most selfish mother in the world.After speaking with my doctor, a lactation specialist, a lot of soul-searching, and a lot of research on the net, I started to feel like a decent human being again. I realized that I was being entirely too hard on myself.The pain of breast feeding was robbing me of the joy and bonding that should happen with feeding time. I also firmly believe that my frustration and pain was transferring to my son. As I was crying silently from the pain, he would scream and thrash as I tried to feed him.
As soon as we moved to the bottle (pumped breast milk), his whole demeanor changed. He eagerly accepted the bottle, he was eating for longer periods of time, he finally seemed satiated, and the screaming and thrashing immediately stopped.
I finally felt the joy and the overwhelming feeling of love and closeness with my son during feeding time. I literally wept. It was one of the best parenting decisions I’ve made thus far. That being said, I would absolutely do it all over again because I know that breast milk, even if only for a few months, can make an enormous impact.
We later found out that he had a maxillary labial frenulum (a piece of skin that ties the upper lip to the gums) that prevented him from latching properly. Like most kids, his has receded quite a bit with time.
- You know how when you’re pregnant and every one forgets that you still have a right to personal boundaries (physical and otherwise)? Yeah, that doesn’t stop once the baby is on the outside.Everyone has an opinion, everyone has advice, and there are people will openly question or judge your parenting choices.You just have to learn to both respond politely (or at least without tearing their face off) and let people and their judgments roll off of your back. You do you and let people think whatever they want.
- People can tell you and tell you about how awesome the parenting experience is but the fact is, there is absolutely no way you will ever truly understand that until your little person is here.The first time he smiled directly at me, the first time he really laughed, the first time he rolled over, his first steps, the light in his eyes when he really understands a new concept – all of these things were, individually, a thousand times more exhilarating then zip-lining through the Costa Rican rainforest, repelling down a 20 story building in a military obstacle course, or any other thing I have ever done in my life.Every day I am dumbfounded at the tremendous amount of love, pride, joy, and pure fun that this little man has brought us.
I will do anything to get him to smile and laugh in that belly-busting way.
I will do anything to keep him safe.
I will do everything in my power to make sure he has the best life I can possibly give him.
He is the best thing I have ever done.