As the oldest of six cousins that all lived in the same neighborhood, I thought I was pretty experienced when it came to babies and the care of them. And as I got older, I had enough friends that had had children and had shared their experiences with me to feel that I had a pretty good idea of what would happen when I got pregnant. I was wrong. There was so much I discovered on my own, and so many things that either my friends or the pregnancy books didn’t mention, or I was too tired to really pay attention to when being instructed while in the hospital. Here is a list of a few of those things, plus a little more info to help you understand it and get through it.
1. Just because you’re having contractions doesn’t mean they will admit you into the hospital. I started having mild contractions on a Monday and wasn’t admitted to the hospital until early Wednesday morning. Despite visting twice before, I was told I wasn’t dilated enough to admit. I was told to go back home and “just wait.”
2. Don’t let the screaming women that you see on television scare you. Unless you choose not to have any pain medicine, you will probably not scream and yell. I had an epidural and I did grunt and moan a few times, but nothing Exorcist-worthy.
3. There is a good chance you will develop hemorrhoids. I had family staying with me for a month after my daughter was born, so I had lots of help and willing arms to pass her to. But when they left and my husband returned to work, I spent the majority of my day either sitting on the bed or sitting in the recliner. And all this sitting led to hemorrhoids! Yes, they hurt, but they are avoidable, so try to stay as mobile as possible.
4. If you breast feed, be prepared to devote 30-45 minutes to each feeding. I mistakenly though 10 to 15 minutes was enough, but I very quickly realized I was wrong when on our two-day visit, the pediatrician informed me my daughter had lost too much weight. I felt horrible! I’m sure at some point I had been told or read about the dynamics of breast feeding, but with everything going on, a lot of my newly learned information was pushed to the back of my mind. I immediately increased her feeding time, and we were all happy.
5. Sometime around the third month, your hair will begin to shed like crazy. It’s gross and taking a shower will seem like torture. If you have long hair, I suggest a haircut before this time arrives. Do not panic and become convinced you are going bald (like I did). Give your hair a good brushing daily, no matter how much it pains you to see all that hair in the trash, and invest in some old fashion scrunchies to pull your hair back until this passes.
I hope this information helps any new moms or moms-to-be who are wondering what this experience will be like. Keep in mind that it’s different and unique to everyone. Enjoy your little ones!