When I was pregnant with RykeTheTyke, I had a notion in my head on how I thought everything would go. A sort of “visions of sugarplums danced in their heads” type of perception. You know, the type of labor and delivery that you see in movies. The mommy is glowing with her hair done and makeup on. She practically sneezes and the baby comes shooting out. The nurses lay the baby on her tan chest (that just happens to be perfectly clear of acne). The baby smiles and looks at his mother like she’s the greatest thing he’s ever seen. They share a blissful first nursing session: that goes seamlessly might I add. Then, 48 hours later they are on their way home to start their new life together. We can’t forget the fact that mom is back to her old self by the end of the week.
WHAT A PUNCH IN THE FACE REALITY IS.
My reality was… Ryker didn’t want to come out, so I was induced. I went into the hospital at 10pm looking like a swollen whale that just went through puberty, covered in hormonal acne (though my very supportive and loving mom would tell you otherwise). Pitocin sucks, at least it did for me. My contractions were doing what the nurses called “piggybacking”, the contractions came back to back without any space in between. The nurses kept upping my Pitocin to get them to spread out… with no avail. My water was broken by my doctor with one of those little hook things. Without the cushion of the water the contractions hurt even more. I tried to be really nice to the epidural guy, only for him to rudely say “you wont even remember me tomorrow”, well ok? I pushed for over an hour and about that time I could feel my epidural wearing off. I could feel his shoulders come out & my doctor stitching me up afterwords. Ryker cried for the first hour and a half he was alive. Our first nursing session was far from blissful. I had NO IDEA what I was doing and it turns out, some babies don’t latch right, who knew. You know no pain until you have to nurse a baby on nipples that have been through a wood chipper.
We ended up having to stay an extra day because Ryker’s breathing was too fast, during that time no one would tell us WHY him breathing fast was a problem. Also during that time, the nurses were saying they were going to have to discharge me and send me home without my baby. Needless to say, CRAZY MOMMY came out. Then after 72 hours, and nothing actually wrong with Ryker, we were headed home. We were scared to death & we had NO IDEA what in the world we were going to do with this tiny human who now relied on us for everything.
ALL OF THAT BEING SAID… I BRING YOU “First Baby Surprises – What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me” from my perspective. In chronological order, because organization is KEY 🙂
- Be Aware of Pain Medicine in Your IV- After my contractions were piggybacking, my doctor decided to give me some pain medicine in my IV to help me relax and possibly get some sleep. I agreed because, hey, sleep sounded nice, and I was in a lot of pain, so why not. BIG MISTAKE. For someone who has never taken any type of serious pain medicine before. I was not used to the effect that heavy narcotics have on you. As soon as she pushed that syringe of fluid into my IV, I was sure I WAS GONG TO DIE. That was the end, I was going to stop breathing. I made my nurse, Kerri, sit on the couch in our room to make sure I didn’t. Talk about HIGH AS A KITE. I now see new why people get addicted to that stuff- it’ll knock you on your butt in about 2.5 seconds.
- Be Very Nice to Your Nurses- For some reason I thought the doctor would be the one doing most of the work, ya know since you pay him the big bucks. No, the nurses are the ones that do practically everything other than cutting ya, catching the baby, and stitching ya up. You’ll see the doctor for 15 minutes tops. Your nurses are your girls. All of that being said, you should bring them a gift- this was ours:
- Tar Baby Poop- I had heard that newborn poop looked like tar, but i figured that was an exaggeration… surely it’s just really dark brown. No, Its BLACK, Sticky, Slimy, and smells quite odd.
- Everyone Mashing on your Stomach- For 2 days after you give birth, Every nurse/ doctor that comes in the room will push as hard as they can on your stomach to push the excess fluid out. Your stomach muscles are already sore from, oh ya know, pushing a baby out. Why not mash on it some more for good measure.
- The Diaper Popsicle Sunday Contraption- The first time you get up to pee (which is much more difficult than you think, in every way possible), the nurses will teach you how to make a frozen diaper sunday for your lady bits. Whoever came up with this is a genius. Once you have it on, you might feel like a 2 year old in a pull up doing the cowboy walk, but it’s totally worth it. They will be your best friend.
- Breast Feeding in the Hospital- If you choose to breastfeed, you will be amazed at how normal it becomes to just whip your boob out in front of the doctors and nurses to feed your baby. Its like magic. Your baby starts crying and without even realizing it, your boob is already out ready to feed baby- without missing a beat in your conversation with the nurse. Now that I am out of the hospital, do I just whip it out in front of people, No. The hospital is like this strange breastfeeding bubble.
- Unexpected Visitors at the Hospital- When there’s a new baby in town, people come out of the woodworks to see them. People you never expected to come will be there, and some of the people you did expect to come, wont. Just roll with it. Most people come bearing goodies, like yummy food, which is also a nice surprise!
- Waking Baby Up to Eat- I assumed that if baby was hungry, he would wake up to eat, right? Wrong. The first night in the hospital, the nurses scared me to death. “If he doesn’t wake up after 3 hours you need to wake him up to eat, after 4 hours we have to take his blood sugar to make sure he’s okay”, like he was gonna shrivel up into a raisin or something! You best bet at 3 hours I had all of his clothes off, blowing on him, wiping him down with a wipe. After an hour and a half he was still asleep. Thankfully, he didn’t shrivel up into a raisin.
- Cluster Feeding- Oh Boy that second night at the hospital, things were different. Instead of not waking up to eat; the kid ate ALL NIGHT LONG. I’m talking- eat eat eat- 15 minute break- wake up screaming, on repeat, ALL NIGHT LONG. This is called cluster feeding and babies do it to either get your milk to come in or to make you produce more if they are about to go through a growth spurt. Be prepared 🙂
- Newman’s Cream- Whoever created Newman’s nipple cream is on the same level of genius as the person who created the diaper popsicle sunday. Lanolin-Shmanolin, Newman’s is the holy grail of all nipple creams. I don’t know what is in it but, it heals almost instantly. You can be dying from a bad latch at the end of a feeding & then by the beginning of the next feeding you are golden. If they don’t send you home with a prescription for it, ask for one. It will save you.
- Bringing Home Baby- Walking in the door of your house with your new baby is the scariest/ most exciting thing you will ever do. You are finally on your own to learn how to be parents. I remember walking into our house, setting the baby carrier down on the floor and looking at my husband like “Soooo, what do I do now”.
- The First Couple of Weeks Are Harder than You Imagined- You thought you would be sleep deprived; little did you know just how sleep deprived you would be. The first couple of weeks are what I call survival mode.Like the zombie apocalypse, you are just trying to survive. You will cry, sometimes for no reason at all. Its inevitable and normal. It is normal to sit back and think to yourself, “what in the world have I done”, but just remember this too shall pass. I cried multiple nights because I just wanted to be able to be a wife and do wife things like cook dinner. The change from just a wife to-> wife and mommy 24/7 is SO HARD. It was for me at least. It does get better and easier though. You will get the swing of things and absolutely LOVE it.
- Bathroom Talk- You will no longer be able to get through a conversation without talking about the baby’s gas, poop, or spit up. This is what your life consists of now & you feel like everyone should be as concerned about it as you are. Just wait, you’ll see.
- Bathing a Newborn- After the umbilical cord falls off, you’ll get the OK from the doctor to start bathing your newborn. Little do you know, there is nothing easy about this task. Theres the perfect water temperature, the bathroom heater (so they don’t get cold), not getting water into their little eyes, and magically your baby will turn into one of those plastic tube toys thats filled with water that are impossible to hold onto. Yeah, Those things.
- Oh The Places You’ll Go: Whilst Holding Your Infant- You will figure out how to do pretty much everything one handed. Fixing dinner? One handed. Opening a jar of peanut butter? One handed. Gotta get dressed? Pants on, zipped, and buttoned all with one hand. You will figure out how to do the impossible. Rock on one handed super-mom 🙂