Wait, what? I mean, I know I was pregnant for 39 1/2 long, tiring weeks. And I sure remember labor (it has that name for a reason), and I even remember meeting my son for the first time (kind of weird). But now we pack up, put him in that infant car seat (with the help of the nurse…how the hell do we use this thing?) and go home.
Yikes. Well, we can handle this. We’ve been listening to people for the last ten months say things like “get your sleep now!” and “you’re going to be tired!” and “eventually you and your husband are going to get on each others nerves!” so we’re prepared. But here’s the kicker – neither of us has any real, solid experience with newborns. Babies, in general really. I have three nephews, but by the time they were coming to stay the night at my place they could wipe their own behind. And the one time I baby sat them where one of them COULDN’T wipe their own behind, the oldest one would do it for me, for a price.
While I was pregnant I did my best to stay off the internet. I had a pretty easy pregnancy, with just a couple of bad days and a handful of days where I was less than agreeable. Towards the end, of course, I hated everyone and everything that I came in contact with. And every time I looked at my giant, swollen ankles I wanted to cry, but I did NOT want to see what childbirth looked like; I did NOT want to know what it felt like – I figured going in blind was best. Of course, multiple people wanted to tell me their horror stories (I can tune anyone out. If you’re telling me something and I’m nodding but barely engaging, I’m not listening to you. So if you want active conversation change the topic. If you just want to talk at someone, like a bunch of people I know, please, continue talking). It worked for us – contractions friggin hurt (anyone who says they don’t, or they feel like bad cramps is lying). The epidural was a welcome relief, and the rest of the labor was really okay.
It’s what comes after that I wasn’t prepared for.
You still look pregnant. For a little while, too. For me, it lasted about two and a half weeks, and now I can’t tell if my uterus is still a little out there, or if I’m just down to the part of the baby weight I have to lose (that doesn’t bother me at all – everyone bitches about how hard it is to lose weight…and it is…but its easier than labor as far as I’m concerned. Now if only my husband would stop buying the Italian cookies I love so much…).
You’re sore. And then when you get home, you’re still sore. That stays for a little while too. If you had an episiotomy, that’ll hurt too. So much for going through life without getting stitches. At the hospital, though, they gave me this spray that is a pain-killer. Buy more of that. If they let you, take more of it home from the hospital – its great.
You have all sorts of feelings. When you’re pregnant, you have all sorts of feelings too, but now its different. You have all these feelings, your hormones are still wild, your body is still a train wreck, and you have this little, tiny person whose whole world revolves around you. So, yeah. Lots of feelings. If you have these sad feelings, and they don’t go away…talk to someone. ALSO if you are lucky enough to have new mothers that you’re friends with – start-up some group text chats to complain. One Hundred Percent got me through the “I Have Gas” meltdown of 2016 (more on that later).
If you choose to breastfeed, it sucks. Seriously, it sucks. You’re going to get sore, and at some point you will question your sanity and if it’s all worth it. There are problems that can come with breastfeeding, that we don’t really need to talk about right now, but there are solutions for each of them. You may cry. You may fall asleep breastfeeding and wake yourself up snoring. You may consider formula every time your little guy wants to eat NOW, even if you just put something in the oven that will most likely burn if you start nursing your slow eating, gluttonous baby. Talk to a lactation consultant, it literally turned our world around. I was ready to quit, and we’re sticking with it. In some weird sense, I can understand why some of these mothers who continue to breastfeed will get on their high horse about it. It is HARD work, and you want people to acknowledge what you’re doing. From what I understand, it gets easier (it already has…we don’t need to nurse every two hours. Thank you, Jesus).
Based on what you choose to do, formula feeding or supplementing may be the way to go – regardless of what other people say, whatever choice you make is the best choice for you and your child (now, for breastfeeding, I will say it is a good way to get out of any visit you want to. “Sorry! Time to eat!” quick exit to the nursery with your iPad and you’re good).
We came into this not knowing really how to change a diaper, or swaddle the baby – or even really how to hold him. We’re not experts, at all (except my husband, he’s the Master Diaper Changer. He should give classes), but we are learning every day. And every time we look down at this little meatball that will eventually learn to call us “Mom” and “Dad” (and he better f-ckin say Mom first), or he smiles at us, or wraps his tiny little fingers around my husband sausage fingers, you almost forget all the tough things that you dealt with. I say “almost” because I am absolutely documenting these things to tell his future girlfriend (provided I approve of her, and she’s not a skank).
Uh oh, heard a little noise from the nursery….time to eat!