Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things They Don't Tell You Before You Have A Baby

and a few things that I at least didn't know/expect/appreciate before I got pregnant and stuff I wish I'd known: The first 10 items on this list were originally published as a Note on my Facebook page when I was roughly 7 months pregnant. I wanted to revisit this list and add to it. I've discovered a few more things that really should be documented for posterity here at I Like Sparkly Objects. 

1. The two most commonly listed symptoms of early pregnancy are "fatigue" and "nausea". Fatigue is NOT the correct word in my opinion. Fatigue is a MASSIVE understatement of what happens in the first trimester, because to me fatigue means "I need a nap". My first trimester was closer to what you get at the end of finals, when you haven't slept more than 3 hours a night for the last two weeks and not at all for the last 48 hours and you're running on caffeine and cold pizza, and you are literally so sick and horribly exhausted that you're shaking and you're going to need to sleep for roughly a week to make up for this abuse to your body. THAT is the level of "fatigue" I experienced the first trimester. You'd wake up after a nap and feel like you haven't slept at all.

2. They call it "morning sickness". This is also a misnomer. Its all day, all night, puking so hard it feels like it comes from your toes sickness.

3. I NEVER EVER expected pregnancy to be the single best diet I've been on in years. In fact, I was deeply concerned that since I was already plus-sized, about what the physical effects of the added weight of a baby would do to my joints etc. Instead I have slowly but steadily lost weight my entire pregnancy. I've now lost over 25 pounds. According to my doctor apparently my metabolism really DOES suck that bad (ie- normally I can eat less than anybody else and STILL gain weight) and the baby has rev-ed up my metabolism to the same level of as that of a normal person so now I'm dropping weight.

4. I've heard of women who get dark lines up the center of their belly when pregnant. I've even seen some that got hair up their belly, I never expected freckles. No lines and no hair but lots of freckles. Between about 6 & 7 months I have gotten a BUNCH of new freckles. Almost all of them are in places that NEVER see the sun. I showed the doctor and she says that its totally normal.

5. I've decided that any woman who claims she "didn't know she was pregnant" when she gives birth is either lying or has some variety of psychiatric issue. Being poked from the INSIDE is a VERY strange sensation. But it gets progressively stronger and more insistent and really does feel like somebody just elbowed you, only from the inside. There isn't ANY WAY a normal person could mistake these sensations for any normal bodily function.

6. I forever misspelled the word "pregnant" before I got pregnant. ;) Now I know how to spell it.

7. I thought the reason pregnant women are known for being constipated was because the baby was some how sitting on things and slowing them up. So I was surprised when this happened when the kid was the size of a peanut. I also didn't know that pregnant women are prone to gas. Somehow they neglected to mention these two lovely facets of pregnancy. Apparently pregnancy causes the smooth muscle tissue to relax, in part to slow down your digestive processes so that you can more completely absorb the nutrients in your food. The downsides to this is that your foods' extended stay in your bowel allows more time for the creation of gas and also dries the stool more which causes the constipation. Drinking obscene amounts of water can help to fend of this situation. Lots of fiber is of course vital as well.

8. I didn't know that your blood volume nearly doubles when you're pregnant. Most of the reason for this is to buy you grace when you deliver so you don't bleed to death but also to allow surplus circulatory capacity for the two people your organs are now providing for. Your kidneys ALSO kick into high alert AND for the first trimester the baby's kidneys are not yet functional so your kidneys are cleaning up for both you AND baby - which is why frequent urination is such a problem in the first trimester.

9. I knew pregnancy was divided into 3 trimesters. I always figured that it was because 9 months divides evenly by 3. I didn't realize the pregnancy really divides its self into three in terms of symptoms and development. People didn't do it, Mother Nature did. It's really true that you do the exhausted/pukey bit the first 3 months, then you feel pretty good the second 3 months, and then you go back to exhausted and very sore for the last 3 months. And his development goes a lot the same - everything is pretty much THERE by the end of the first trimester. It gets bigger and develops more fully the 2nd and the third is almost totally dedicated to weight gain.

10. I didn't know that every lubricant on the market (except one that claims otherwise) is basically sperm killer. When trying to conceive the doc says not to use lube because even if it doesn't actually kill the sperm outright with its happy chemicals, it makes things thicker so the sperm get stuck in it and die before they achieve their purpose.

11. "Bloody show" is defined in every text I've seen as "blood tinged mucus discharge". I was like "Oh no big. I mean I've had my period for how long now?" We can handle us some "blood tinged mucus discharge." Oh HELL NO. That is GOO. I mean like GAK or think ectoplasm from the first Ghost Busters movie. If you're familiar with livestock - you know what happens to a cow 24 hours before birth - the GIANT, voluminous strings of GOO? Yeah. Just say "Moo" and get it over with. It was GROSS. Like wear a pad and change it every other hour GROSS. Lots and LOTS of Goo. *twitches*

12. Your first period after you have the kid will be so heavy that you're so sure you're bleeding to death or something is wrong you will call the doctor. Also you're going to have hormones, mood swings and cramps the likes of which you haven't seen since you were a teenager for the next several months. It sucks. 

13. I NEVER thought I would be one of those people who looks in the mirror (they offer you a mirror so you can see your cooch while you deliver) - b/c hello its gross, and I figured I'd be otherwise focused. But I pushed for an HOUR, and when it got to where they said "You can see him now!" I had to look. I needed to see him, to see that he was okay and that we really were progressing. 

14. Next time I have a kid, they can have my name and then they can start my f-ing IV. You can check my crotch, hook up the monitors, etc AFTER you start my IV. Because you have to have two whole bags of fluid before they'll let you have the epidural and in the name of all that is holy, you don't want to wait for the epidural. They took FOREVER to start my IV so by the time I was allowed to have the epidural I was in so much pain I couldn't believe I was still alive. 

15. Nothing prepared me for the changes in the geography down there post labor. I was absolutely shocked. It was like I didn't even recognize my own bits and I was kinda freaked that things would NEVER be the same again. I was shocked and delighted when inside of 6 weeks things looked and felt exactly like they did before. I was sure things would NEVER be the same again. So fair warning - its worse than you think BUT it will get better. 

16. Before I had my baby, I was really worried that because of my hearing loss I wouldn't hear him if he cried or had a problem in the night. I never would have guessed that I would be so attuned to him that I would wake up if he so much as changed his breathing. In fact it was so bad that the only way I could get any sleep at all for the first week was to very carefully take him to bed with me. If I was holding him and his breathing changed I could check on him with out completely waking up like I would if he was someplace else and I had to go to him. 

17. I had no idea how much lactating breasts weigh. I've never been a "wear my bra all the time" person before. When you're breast feeding you will want to wear that bra full time because otherwise you have to use your hands to support those poor girls because they're huge, heavy, and they hurt if you don't support them. 

18. Its going to hurt almost as much the first time you have sex post baby as it did the first time you ever had sex. I don't know if she just went overboard stitching me up or what but oh wow. Have lube handy. 

19. You really will forget just how bad it was. The first 6 months I remembered vividly just how bad the whole pregnancy, labor, and first couple months of sleep deprivation and exhaustion were. Now? Part of me remembers but not really. You really do sort of gloss it over and forget. Mother Nature does NOT play fair on this one. (I wrote a whole post about this here.)

20. Pregnancy really does give you the sense of smell of a blood hound. I don't really know why this is, particularly given the insane amounts of nausea which are NOT helped by being super ultra sensitive to every odor in a 5 mile radius. Good news is this one will pass pretty quickly after you pop out your crotch parasite. Bad news is - you have to go through labor like this. You want to bring breath mints for every person in the delivery room....

21. Oh and once your water breaks you will drip fluid CONSTANTLY until you actually give birth. Be prepared and have big fat phone book pads and a stack of towels available in the event your water breaks before you head to the hospital. Oh and should your water break - call your doctor immediately and head to the hospital. Doesn't matter how far apart your contractions are they want you there NOW. 

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