Thursday, August 29, 2013

15 Things they don't tell you about being a new mommy

1.  You may not have a tearful, love at first sight moment.  (If you do, good for you, you're a better mommy than me).  Seriously, although I was extremely joyful about his arrival, and knew in my head that he was my baby, there was a slight disconnect between the little baby in my arms and the person I had been carrying around for 38 weeks.  After being pregnant for so long, it was kind of shocking to see him on the outside.  Not shocking in a bad way, mind you, but shocking nonetheless.

2.  The first 24 hours is a hazy piece of heaven.  [I think this is a conspiracy all babies are in on to trick you into the confidence that is necessary to take them home with you.]  After the "traumatic" experience of being born, your child will be sleepy...VERY sleepy.  Those first 24 hours, I could hardly wake Henry up.  I had to force him to eat, and even then, he ate very little.  We got in a lot of cuddles during this time, which was great, because I could hardly get out of bed and walk (see #3).  I very naively thought to myself, "This baby thing is going to be no big deal..."

3.  No matter what method of delivery you choose and how many interventions you do or don't partake in, you will be SORE the next day.  Sore in a way and in a place that you have never been before.  You will have to weigh the pros and cons between the need to empty your bladder and the effort it takes to get out of bed.

4.  Speaking of bladder, you will pee A LOT in the first few days after delivery.  You are losing a lot of water weight you held on to while you were pregnant, and you will most likely get IV fluids (try 2 Liters).  Which brings me to...

5.  Swelling.  I was more swollen in the first 24-48 hours after delivery than I was when I was pregnant.  Probably a combination of hormones, fluids, and the trauma your body goes through during delivery.

6.  The first night you are at home will be hellacious.  Unless you're formula feeding, and if so, I can't comment on that.  It takes around 3 days for your milk to come in, so if you go home within the 2 days after a standard vaginal delivery, you will be home with only colostrum in your breasts.  Let me tell you, colostrum, while nutritious and delicious for babies, is very very thick.  It takes your baby a lot of effort to suck the colostrum.  Why am I telling you this?  Because it will take your child 2-3 times longer to nurse until your milk comes in.  Our first night at home, it took Henry 60-90 minutes to nurse, 15-20 minutes to settle down and go to sleep and he wanted to eat every 2 hours.  Are you understanding the problem here?  He was constantly awake (other than short cat naps) all night long.  JP and I can remember thinking, "Oh..newborns feed every 2-3 hours at night, that doesn't sound too bad."  Hahahaha...that's not counting the actual feeding time, plus diapering time, plus the amount of time needed to resettle the baby back into sleep mode.  On to...

7.  You will develop the odd and oh-so-important skill of sleeping while sitting up with your baby.  In fact, you will develop the ability to sleep in any way that allows your baby to sleep as quickly and quietly as possible.  You will learn to love and thrive off of power naps.

8.  You will be a champ at doing things one-handed.  In those first few days and weeks, baby loves and NEEDS to be held.  Baby wants to be held, you want to hold him, it's a win-win for all parties involved.

9.  You will continue to get various comments about your body.  "Wow, you don't look like you had a baby (insert number of days) ago!"  "I can't even tell you were pregnant!"  These little comments, while I am sure are given with the best of intentions, sparked all manner of awkward responses from me.  "Really, because I definitely FEEL like I had a baby (insert number of days) ago."  "Haha, you should see me naked..."  <----  I advise against that one.

10.  Oh the endless advice, opinions, judgments!  You're doing THAT with your baby?  Whatever the "that" may be, count on the fact that you will continue to get a lot of unsolicited advice from friends, family, well-wishers, nay-sayers, complete strangers.  Here's a little friendly advice:  Hold your head high, and stick to your guns.

11.  Your instincts.  God blesses new moms with killer instincts.  Somehow, even though you've never had a child before, may have never held one or even been in the same room with one, you will know what to do.  You will have inklings about what your baby wants, feels, needs.  More friendly advice: follow your gut.  This is your baby, and you will know what's best for him.  Unless you don't, in which case....

12.  Beware the Internet, Google, and all other sources of media.  I am serious about this one.  There is a wealth of information available literally at our fingertips.  This is great if you are writing a completely unbiased research paper about who-knows-what in college, but when you are a new mom with questions and concerns regarding the well being of your child, you will find yourself inundated with REALLY STRONG OPINIONS about everything.  Seriously, without looking very far, you will find comments that tell you your baby will DIE or be seriously harmed if you do (fill in the blank).  Survival tip: select a small group of moms that you know and trust and parent in similar ways and seek only their advice.  You don't need extremist views polluting your brain with more things to worry about because...

13.  You will have completely irrational thoughts.  I promise you will wake up in the middle of the night wondering if your baby is breathing.  And you will check.  And you will check again.  (Dang it SIDS!)  You might be afraid to carry your baby up and down the stairs (which is a problem in a 2 story home) because you envision yourself falling down the stairs with the baby in your arms.  Or, you may read an article about a nanny who killed a child by overdosing them on Benadryl and then cry because you are using a nanny and naturally your nanny is reading the same article as you and has now made a mental note to give Benadryl to your child.  True story.

14.  You will love and hate your husband at the same time.  When you spend hours staring at this miracle that somehow is a combination of the best of you and the best of your husband, you will have a new found awe and respect for the best of your husband.  Watching your husband become a daddy is a totally magical and completely endearing thing.  You will also be hormonal and moody and tired, which brings out the worst in everyone, and when you are home bound with no one else to take your emotions out get the picture.

15.  Growth spurts, growth spurts, growth spurts.  Henry is only 6 weeks old, and I swear we have gone through 3 major ones.  At least, that's the catch phrase that I apply to those days that he wants to eat constantly, fuss incessantly, and avoid sleeping altogether.  Get ready.

Lastly, and most important of all, you will experience a love you have never known.  Despite my attempt at sarcasm and humor, being a mommy is amazing.  There are a lot of people out there who say things like, "Enjoy every minute," or "You will love every single moment," or such cliches.  I am here to tell you that you will not enjoy every moment, but I can absolutely guarantee that you will love your child for every single moment.  Because whether he is smiling or screaming his head off, he is perfect and he is a part of you that will forever exist outside of your body.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Henry's newborn pics

I interrupt this temporary blogging silence (otherwise known as first time motherhood) to bring you pictures of Henry.  In honor of one my emotional pouty fits where I lamented the fact that Henry is no longer "little," I decided to go through his newborn pics, which were taken when he was 5 days old.  Here are some of my favorites...

Such a distinguished little man

absolutely angelic

My VERY favorite

Mommy lovin'

Daddy lovin'

And the Arkansas brainwashing begins...

Our first family photo

He will be a pilot if we can help it :)

Henry with my old lovie "Pinky" and JP's old lovie "Ducky Bucky"

All wrinkles and pudge

Such a sweet sleeper

I have about 5 blog posts in mind that I need to jot down, but I only have 30-45 minute windows of time where my arms are free...but I wouldn't trade this time for anything.  Love my sweet little man :)

****Photos courtesy of Grace Hill Photography.  If you're in the Houston area and looking for a photographer, check her out!  We love her and her pictures and have made her our go-to family photographer.