You never heard me say this in the delivery room…

The labor and delivery of my daughter was anything but easy. I believe the number one wish for any mom-to-be would be a fast and simple delivery. Probably the biggest fear for each mom is needing a c-section. At least, that was my biggest fear anytime I thought about childbirth.

At this day in age, we know that c-sections are common and the majority of women who have them recover with no issues at all. C-sections are an important part of modern day science and medicine that have undoubtedly saved numerous women and their babies. Yet, very few women would voluntarily choose the procedure during their first childbirth experience. When it all comes down to it, it is a surgery. And any surgery is a scary thing to think about. Even though I came really close to needing a c-section during my own experience, I ended up avoiding it in the end, and I attribute that all to what I DIDN’T say in the delivery room.

Watch any movie or TV show depicting a woman giving birth, and you’ll hear them all shout the same thing: “I can’t do it!” It’s a common thought and statement among birthing mothers. So common, in fact, I’ve read several accounts of women who had barely so much as muttered the words in the delivery room and the doctors and nurses all shouted back, in unison: “YES, YOU CAN!” It’s as if the labor and delivery teams have come to just expect women to doubt themselves in this way at one point or another during the whole process. I, on the other hand, refused to let the thought even enter my mind.

After 19 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, with my baby facing sideways and not staying in the right position even after the doctor turned her several times… I’ll admit that I was growing just a tad discouraged. Each time my doctor paused to think about what else we could try, a part of me just knew that he was going to suggest a c-section to finally get the baby out. But he didn’t. As exhausted as I felt, I kept my perseverance and put every ounce of my energy into each suggestion the doctor made next. Never once, though, did I say to them, “I can’t do it.” I didn’t want them to give up on me and I didn’t want to give up on myself. I had come so far, and I knew what my body was capable of. And after just little bit more effort on my part (and only slight medical intervention with use of the vacuum extractor), my baby was born.

The next day my doctor came to check up on me, and only then did he admit that he had been starting to think that maybe the only way we were going to get the baby out was to do a c-section. I am so thankful that it didn’t come to that, but that I trusted myself and my body to deliver my baby.

There is no shame in mothers who have had to get a c-section, and in some cases, they are unavoidable for one reason or another. Personally, I think you have to be one tough cookie to recover from a c-section while taking care of a newborn. Props to you! Yet, if you are like me and just the thought of a c-section makes you queasy, remember to stay strong in the delivery room. Trust yourself, trust your body, and never ever doubt your ability by claiming, “I can’t do this!” I’m here to tell you: “Yes, you can!”

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A Guide to Baby Clothes for New Moms-to-Be: Learn from My Mistakes

Listen. One thing no one ever tells you before you give birth is: baby clothes sizes are strange and confusing. I think it is important for me to write this guide because I never had one while I was struggling with mountains of onesies. Just looking through baby clothes can get overwhelming. First of all, there are newborn and 0-3 month sizes… Like, wouldn’t “zero months” be the same as newborn?? There are 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and just “3” months… Are these special clothes that can only be worn for one particular month when the baby is 3 months old??

I’m here to help you out. I already made all of the mistakes so you don’t have to.

1. Newborn Clothes

Before my daughter was born, everyone told me that I wouldn’t need very many newborn size clothes for her because: 1) babies grow so quickly, she’d be out of them in no time 2) 0-3 month size clothes fit just as well as newborn size and 3) there’s a chance she wouldn’t fit in them anyway if she was a big baby when she was born. So, all of that advice… totally NOT true. I did have several newborn size outfits for her, but I wish I had had more. Briella was not a tiny baby when she was born; she was almost an 8-pounder, weighing in at 7 lbs 15 oz. Yet, when I put her in 0-3 month clothes, she was swimming in them. Newborn size clothes fit her so much better and she didn’t actually outgrow them until she was probably about a month old. And that first month is when everyone comes to visit and take pictures of the new little baby, so you want her to be dressed cute, right? And not like a half-empty potato sack (not that any baby could really look like a potato sack!). If I had to do it over again, I would definitely make sure I had more newborn size clothes on hand.

2. 3 Months, 6 Months, 9 Months, 12…

This was probably the thing that confused me the most about baby clothes. Weeks before I even gave birth and as I was getting things ready for my daughter’s arrival, I had hung all of her 0-3 month clothes up nice and neat in her closet, but didn’t really know what to do with the clothes that were labeled as just “3 months.” I just figured, “Well, she probably won’t be able to wear those until she’s 3 months old…?” so I kept them packed away. It wasn’t until several weeks after she was already wearing her “0-3 months” clothes that I found out that “3 months” were the same size! I’m so glad I found out when I did, otherwise I would have pulled out all of these cute outfits when she was 3 months old only to find out that she’d already outgrown them. SO… if an outfit is labeled “3 months,” it’s the same as “0-3 months.” Similarly, if it’s labeled “6 months,” it is the same as “3-6 months.” “9 months” is “6-9 months” and so on and so forth.

3. Sizes differ depending on the brand

Nothing is more disappointing than pulling out clothes for the next size up and finding out that some of the outfits don’t even fit before your child has had a chance to wear them. This is what I discovered the hard way about a few certain brands. Gerber Onesies are the first ones that pop into my mind. We bought some really cute 0-3 month onesies for her when she was about 2 months old, and when we went to dress her in them, they were already pretty tight on her. The same thing happened when we got out her 3-6 month clothes when she was 3-months-old, and she was already outgrowing the 3-6 month Gerber onesies. I can’t think of any other brands that tend to run small that I’ve had experience with, yet, but I know Gerber is a popular brand. Also, Garanimals tend to run large. My daughter is a rather little baby, and at 6 months old, her 3-6 months clothes are just now really starting to fit her well, but the Garanimals are still pretty big on her.

4. Take inventory before taking off tags

I get it: nothing is more exciting for a mom-to-be than to take all of the tags off of your expected little one’s clothing and washing them and hanging them in the closet or folding them and placing them in the drawers… but just slow down…. because I sure didn’t. I was an eager beaver to have everything prepared, so whenever someone gave us a gift or after our baby showers, I automatically ripped the tags off of everything and washed them all up. Having done that, though, we ended up with about 20 0-3 month sleepers, maybe a couple 3-6 month sleepers, and none for 6-9 months or older. If I could do it over, I would have waited to take inventory on what we had, so I would have realized that maybe I should take a few of those 0-3 month sleepers and exchange them for larger sizes so we wouldn’t have to buy them later down the road. Yeah, I wasn’t very smart about it. Don’t be like me.

I hope this guide helps somebody out. For other moms who may be reading this, did I leave anything out? Are you aware of any other clothing brands that run small or large??

Things I Googled Before I Went Into Labor

If you didn’t catch my post about things I Googled while I was pregnant, read it here.

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, my Google searches changed to that of a different nature when I started wondering about what labor would be like. Here are some of the things I Googled about going into labor and what I learned.

“WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOUR WATER BREAKS?”

When I was researching this topic, I found out that water breaking can actually feel different for different women. Some women reported feeling a giant gush of fluid, while others experienced a slow trickling of fluid. Some also claim to have heard an audible “POP” sound as their water broke. If you are worried (like I was) that your water may break while you’re in the shower or some other time when you won’t realize that it happened, believe me… you will know! One thing I found out from personal experience is that when your water breaks, it isn’t just one-and-done… even if you miss the initial “gush,” you will eventually realize something is not right because the fluid will keep coming! Read more about this topic and my personal experience in my other blog post here!

“WHAT DO CONTRACTIONS FEEL LIKE?”

Never having been pregnant before, I really didn’t know what to expect from contractions. Every time I felt even the slightest stomach cramp or pain, I would think “Was that a contraction??” From what I read on Google, many women claimed that contractions felt like severe menstrual cramps or like your entire uterus was just being squeezed (literally, contracted!) tightly and then released. They all said the same thing, though: you will just know when you go into labor. From my own experience, my water broke before I actually started contractions, but when I did start to feel them, it was very light at first and almost went unnoticed. It did, though, feel like my uterus was being squeezed, held for a few seconds, and then slowly released. Indeed, once I felt that first contraction, I for sure knew what I was feeling!

“HOW TO INDUCE LABOR NATURALLY”

There are lists upon lists upon lists of suggestions for ways to try to stimulate labor. From walking, walking, walking to eating spicy foods and pineapple to sitting on an exercise ball to being intimate with your significant other and even nipple stimulation. If you are big pregnant and close to or past your due date and ready for the baby to arrive, knock yourself out and give some of these a go. But when it all comes down to it, none of these suggestions have actually been proven to work. Some women have done every single thing on every single list and still gone 2 weeks past her due date and had to be induced. Or other women didn’t do any of them and delivered 3 weeks early. The baby will arrive when he or she is ready. Unfortunately, babies like to work on their own schedules and not always around what is convenient or comfortable for the mommas involved.

“WHAT ARE THE SIGNS BEFORE YOU GO INTO LABOR?”

When I got close to my due date, I thought maybe I would be able to tell a day or so earlier when I was about to go into labor. I read through numerous accounts from women on Google about what they had experienced the days leading up to their deliveries, but unfortunately it seems like there is no common ground and it’s different for everyone. Some women reported extreme feelings of nesting the day before and others reported feeling just the same as always. I guess the best way to put it is to say there aren’t really any “early symptoms” for labor. I can tell you about my own experience, though. The day before I went into labor, I had my 40 week OB appointment (I was actually 39 weeks 6 days), and my blood pressure was really elevated. I had to go over to the hospital for monitoring for about an hour, but it ended up coming back down and remained normal after that. My grandma later said something about how that could have been a sign that the baby had dropped further into the birthing canal, but I’m not sure I’ve heard that anywhere else. For the remainder of the day, I just felt kind of more tired than usual and didn’t have much energy (not that most 9-month-pregnant women do). My water broke at 5 am the next morning! So, whether or not those were actually signs that I was about to go into labor… who knows?! What about any of you ladies reading this? Did you notice anything different or off the day(s) before you went into labor? I’m curious to know!

Why Childbirth Wasn’t the Nightmare I Expected

Ever since I was a kid, I always knew I eventually wanted to be a mom. But I wasn’t around a lot of babies growing up, so I didn’t have a whole lot of experience with them. Because of that, I really wasn’t crazy about babies. I didn’t coo and gush over the presence of a baby, and I most definitely didn’t understand the magnitude of what it took for the mother to bring that baby into the world. Still, I knew I would want to have my own family one day… even if I didn’t dwell on the specifics of what I would have to go through to make that happen.

Once I became pregnant, though, the approaching childbirth became one of my worst nightmares.

I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant and had a pretty simple and easy pregnancy. However, even through all of the excitement about becoming parents, anticipating what our little girl would look like, and wishing she were in our arms already, the climactic moment that would finally deliver her into the world became a constant source of worry and dread for me. Instead of the image of a “light at the end of the tunnel,” I felt it was more of a “dark hole” I was traveling toward. Yes, by the time I was around 36 weeks pregnant, I was growing more and more uncomfortable and was just ready to meet my daughter, but I was still so nervous about the labor and delivery that would have to take place.

My husband and I went to a birthing class at the hospital, which I thought would help ease my mind about the whole process, but it ended up doing completely the opposite. I think most of it could be attributed to just being in the hospital and touring the obstetrics wing, seeing all of the rooms and equipment. It made it all so much more real, and the inevitable became even more daunting.

Some people asked me if I had a birth plan, and I would reply, “The plan is just to get the baby out.” I knew all of the options I had for delivery, and not a one of them sounded pleasant. First of all, needing a cesarean was pretty much my most absolute worst fear about birth. I understand that many women have them with no complications and all that, but I’d never even been in the hospital before and was already dreading my hospital stay… I couldn’t even fathom having my first surgery on top of that. That left me with two options: unmedicated vaginal birth or medicated vaginal birth. Now, I’m not scared of needles/shots, but the thought of getting an epidural just made me cringe. I also wasn’t thrilled about the idea of my legs and feet being numb or having to get a catheter. No, no, no… none of it sounded appealing to me. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t even take an Advil unless I’m in severe pain, so I was leaning more towards trying an unmedicated birth… but that’s just as frightening in itself. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like. I was fully aware, too, that there was always the possibility that I wouldn’t be able to make my own choice about delivery anyway in case of emergency or some other reason.

After these months filled with dread and agonizing over what could happen, it turns out that childbirth wasn’t really that bad. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was awful while it was happening (for me), but it was such an experience like I’ve never had before.

When I think back on the day I went into labor, the one word that comes to mind is “exciting.” From the minute I woke up and discovered that my water had broken, I instantly became excited. I was still very nervous throughout the entire day, but it was finally happening!–the day we’d been preparing and waiting for. It was exciting to call my husband at work and tell him that we needed to get to the hospital; it was exciting to enter the hospital and get checked in to the room where we would meet our daughter; it was exciting to let all of our family and friends know that the BIG day had arrived!

After months of being pampered as a pregnant lady, birth brings along a swift change in dynamics when the baby will suddenly become the center of attention. Which is fine, of course, and fully expected. But it’s kind of nice during those last few–or many–hours you are in labor and before the baby arrives for all of the nurses and everyone around you to be at your every beck and call to make sure you are as happy and comfortable as possible.

When I was in labor with my baby, I ended up getting an epidural, but it wasn’t as bad as I had been anticipating. It wasn’t super fun or anything, but I survived… and I’m not so sure I would have if I hadn’t gotten it! Having numb legs actually provided me with some comic relief as the nurses and my husband had to help me heave them from side to side and on top of the peanut ball while we were trying to ease the baby into optimal position. It was pretty hilarious.

Even after all the pain and hours of hard work and exhaustion, once the baby was finally delivered, I couldn’t help but feel such overwhelming relief and a feeling of accomplishment. The worst was over, I survived, and I did something pretty freaking amazing… I delivered a tiny human from my body. Even for moms who had to get a c-section, you are still a boss for undergoing surgery while fully conscious and then recovering from that surgery while also caring for a newborn. I can’t even imagine. However your baby entered this world, you made it and grew it and helped deliver it. That’s definitely something to be proud of. And once I laid eyes on my beautiful little girl, I couldn’t feel anything BUT proud. She was even more perfect than I ever could have pictured her to be.

So, even though it was definitely the hardest and most exhausting day of my life, the day I delivered my baby was also probably the most memorable and exciting day of my life thus far. It was difficult, but not as bad as I had expected. The entire day was just filled with the anticipation of meeting our little girl, and once the hard part was over, I could celebrate the arrival of my daughter and also feel so proud at what I had just accomplished. Even still today, I sometimes just gaze at my baby in amazement that I created her and brought her into this world. It was an experience unlike any other and one I will think back on and smile. It wasn’t such a nightmare after all because in the end, I finally got to meet my beautiful baby which was a dream come true.

Why I Don’t Care if My Baby is “Spoiled”

You know what really aggravates me? When people talk about babies being “spoiled” or claiming that my child is “spoiled” in any way.

I ABSOLUTELY HATE THAT WORD.

And here’s why…

Some common synonyms for the word “spoiled” are: “rotten,” “corrupted,” “ruined,” “wasted,” and “bad.”

By calling my baby spoiled, you are insinuating that there is something wrong with her… that she is less than perfect… that she is not as worthy as other babies.

Here’s the thing; our pediatrician, as well as countless other esteemed and reliable sources, have claimed that you CANNOT spoil a baby by holding her too much, interacting with her too much, or loving her too much.

If my baby wants to be held more than she likes to be sitting alone, does that mean she is “ruined?” If I am quick to respond to my baby’s cries by comforting her and calming her, does that mean I am “corrupting” her?

My baby is four-months-old. These four months have already flown by as I know the rest of her infancy will. If I don’t mind holding her, bouncing her, rocking her to sleep, showing her attention while she plays, then what is the problem? My baby is not “spoiled;” she is loved. She is cared for and even if no one else wants to hold her as often as I do, at least she will always understand the amount of love her mother has for her.

People always say “they’re only young once,” and that’s 100% true. I know the days will be coming soon when she would rather be toddling around on her own than sitting on my lap. I’ll probably be a little sad and wish that she’d let me hold her more, but I’m certain that I will NEVER look back at these days in hindsight and wish I had held her less.

Battle with the Baby Blues

Almost everyone has heard of postpartum depression (PPD). All of the pregnancy and childbirth books or classes advise you of the signs to look for so you can get help and get treated if you think you are experiencing symptoms of PPD. There is usually also a brief mention of the “baby blues” stage which is more common for postpartum women to experience. While a small percentage of women will suffer from PPD, nearly all women who recently delivered will have a spell with the baby blues, usually lasting anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. As I was preparing for my own childbirth, I couldn’t quite imagine what going through the baby blues would feel like, and I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I’m a childbirth veteran, here’s what my own battle with the baby blues was like…

Personally, I didn’t have too many noticeable times where I felt emotionally distraught. I usually only felt depressed when I was away from my baby.

The day we brought my daughter home from the hospital, I went to lie down and take a nap while my husband and mother-in-law looked after her. As soon as I got into bed, though, I immediately started sobbing as I placed my hand over my now flat (yet kind of flabby) belly my baby had previously occupied for 40 weeks. I couldn’t help but feel like part of me was missing, even though that part of me was just in the next room, swaddled in a pink blanket.

That feeling of having a part of me missing is what had me most depressed multiple times over the next few days as it kept occurring to me that I would no longer feel little kicks and jabs on the inside from my growing baby.

The first day I left the house and the baby stayed behind, I felt lonely. I was so used to having her company (even though it was from within) everywhere I went. I used to imagine her listening to me singing along with the radio in the car, getting to know my voice and developing a love for music. But once she was born, I would find myself singing along, only to stop and grow sad when I realized she was no longer there to be my audience.

I worried that I couldn’t keep her as safe and happy as I could when she was living in the womb. I didn’t want her to ever be cold or hungry or scared. I was afraid I couldn’t protect her as well as I could before she entered this crazy world.

These are things I still worry about at times, but it only took a few days for me to get out of the baby blues funk. My baby girl is still my little companion as we run errands to the grocery store or post office (even if she’s not quite as easily portable as she was in the womb), and she still has to put up with me singing along in the car. Also, I now look forward to the (very rare) moments I have just to myself.

For other women, the baby blues stage may last a little longer. Our hormones are so out of whack after delivering a baby, and on top of that, most of us suffer from extreme exhaustion and lack of sleep which can add to the distress. If you are suffering from severe depression, though, or it doesn’t seem to be going away, do not hesitate to contact your doctor for help. While the baby blues tend to take a hike before too long, postpartum depression is not something you should try to handle on your own–especially when you’ve got a newborn baby to care for as well!

So, for you women reading this, what did the baby blues feel like for you? Did any of you suffer from postpartum depression?

Things I Googled While I Was Pregnant

Let’s face it, as soon as you become pregnant, you start to worry about EVERYTHING. Apparently that worrying doesn’t ever stop even as your children grow older and move out of the house. And you typically always tend to jump to the worst conclusions. When you are pregnant, any tiny tinge of pain automatically means something must be wrong with the baby… if your baby isn’t born exactly on his due date, it must also mean something is wrong with him! Being a parent means constant worrying about the wellbeing of your child.

During my 40 weeks of pregnancy, I certainly spent my fair share of time on the Google machine, searching and researching to get some answers to some of my worries. Of course, your obstetrician or midwife is only a phone call away if you’re truly concerned that something may be wrong, but here are just a few of the things I Googled and what I found out.

“BLEEDING 7 WEEKS PREGNANT”

The first trimester of pregnancy was just filled with stress for me. I was terrified of a miscarriage, as the majority of pregnant women usually are. So, of course when you see even the tiniest amount of blood, you automatically begin to freak out. I’d  heard that spotting is normal in the first few weeks, mostly caused by “implantation bleeding” when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall… but I thought surely implantation should have been completed by week 7?? Probably, but there are also numerous other (harmless) causes for bleeding in pregnancy, including any irritation to the cervix like intercourse or a pelvic exam and even too much physical activity. I experienced some spotting one day when I was about 5 months pregnant after being on my feet for several hours straight. Even if you think the bleeding you have noticed is harmless, be sure to mention it to your doctor at your next prenatal appointment just to be safe. If you are experiencing extremely heavy bleeding or any bleeding accompanied by abdominal cramping, it’s probably a good idea to get things checked out ASAP!

“FELL DOWN STAIRS 27 WEEKS PREGNANT”

There are few things scarier for a pregnant lady to experience than a fall. I was putting away Christmas decorations when I slipped on my steps and took a tumble. Luckily, I landed on my butt and pretty much just slid down about 3 or 4 stairs. Still, it didn’t keep me from freaking out. I tried to keep myself calm to evaluate things; I wasn’t having any bleeding, and I just sat down on the couch for a few minutes and tried to relax until I felt the baby move again. When I was searching on Google about whether I should go to the hospital or not, I read stories from several pregnant women who fell and ended up landing on their bellies, which is even more terrifying. BUT it turns out that the baby is actually really well protected in there with lots of nice comfy cushioning, so even if you do land on your belly during a fall, chances are that things are going to be A-OK. Still, if you’re unsure or do experience any bleeding, cramping, or decreased fetal movement after a fall, get your doctor to evaluate you!

“RIB PAIN 32 WEEKS PREGNANT”

In general, I really enjoyed being pregnant and didn’t have a difficult pregnancy at all. That being said, I did start to experience quite a bit of discomfort throughout the last several weeks. Starting around week 32, I started feeling this pain right under my right breast. It felt like it was just above where the top of my uterus was, and the pain was so unusual and kind of hard to describe. Most of the time, it felt kind of like a burning or stinging sensation on my skin and other times it would feel like a straight up stabbing pain into my ribs. I was constantly checking to see if I had a rash or something causing the burning/stinging, but there was never anything there. I couldn’t find much on Google about it, but finally asked my doctor who said it was from where my uterus had gotten to the point where it was so large and squishing all of my other organs up into the rib space, it was causing the bottom few ribs to try to push out. Unfortunately, there is no solution but a birthday. So, when it got too painful, I applied cold packs to the area (which seemed to help a little bit) until I finally delivered.

“PELVIC PAIN 35 WEEKS PREGNANT”

A few weeks after I started having the rib pain, I started experiencing a completely different pain a little further down below. It was an odd sensation that I didn’t really even know how to put into words to search for answers on Google. But finally, I found the perfect explanation for it — some other women had been experiencing the same thing and described it as feeling like they had been kicked in the crotch or like they rode a bicycle for 500 miles. Yes! That’s what it felt like! Kind of like everything was just bruised down there. It felt the worst for me when I would wake up in the morning or in the middle of the night and go to get out of bed. I felt like I was being torn in half and did my best to hobble around until the pain would eventually subside. Sometimes I would feel it just standing up from sitting on the couch, also. It would come and go. Some of the results I found suggested symphysis pubis dysfunction, and when I looked it up, it did sound like what I was experiencing. But when I asked my doctor about it, he said it was just related to round ligament pain and the reason I felt it the most when I got out of bed was because the ligaments would shrink while I was lying down, and then stretch out again when I’d get up, causing the pain. Once again, he told me that the only solution was a birthday.

 

I don’t claim to be any expert on the subjects above, but if your mommy intuition is telling you that something is not right, do not hesitate to call your doctor or visit the hospital to get checked out! Always better to be safe than sorry… especially when there is a second tiny life depending on your health as well!

Why I Didn’t Cry When My Baby Was Born

Ask any one of my close friends or family members and they will all tell you that I am, in fact, a cold and heartless individual.

Ha, not really. But admittedly, I’m not one to readily wear my heart on my sleeve.

Pregnancy screwed all of that up for me.

My best friend couldn’t believe when I told her that the big ball of hormones I became during those 9 months had me crying at movies and even commercials! I’ve always been the one to make fun of people who cried at sad movies. “You have no heart!” My mom would tell me when I didn’t even shed a tear while watching a certain movie that made her weepy.

Yet, once I was pregnant, the flood gates opened. I made the mistake of watching “A Walk to Remember” early in my first trimester. And then the hubby took me to see “The Choice” for Valentine’s Day. Darn you, Nicholas Sparks!!! NOT pregnancy friendly movies. I made sure to steer clear of “The Notebook” while I was gestating. But heck, I even cried at the end of “Pitch Perfect” when Benji finally got his big solo! What!

There was a PSA video that was circulating my Facebook newsfeed for a while about an old man who died and became an organ donor and left his dog behind. Oh goodness, I couldn’t even think about that ad without sobbing uncontrollably. I tried to tell Drew about it one day and only got out “I watched a sad video about an old man and his dog” when I lost it. I couldn’t stop blubbering to even form words until about an hour after the fact.

In the weeks leading up to the birth of my daughter, I spent many hours watching birthing videos online. It never failed; every time the baby was born, they put it on the mother’s chest, and she finally got to meet and hold her baby for the first time, I would get all emotional and teary-eyed. I couldn’t help but imagine what that magical moment would feel like for me… finally getting to see and touch the little being that had been growing and squirming around in my belly and kicking me from the inside for the past several months. It had to be the best moment of any day EVER!

I was sure that I would be a soggy, snotty mess when it was my turn. I told Drew multiple times before the big day, “I just know I’m going to cry when she’s born! I’m definitely going to cry!”

But, I didn’t.

I didn’t even feel CLOSE to crying when she was born. And here’s why:

By the time my daughter was born, I’d already been in labor for 19 hours. I’d had PLENTY of time to think, “This is it! I’m going to meet my baby!” and imagine what that first sight of her would be like. Not to mention all of the months I’d spent previously picturing the moment as well. I was READY. I’d already imagined every way it could go and by the time I was pushing, I was just focused on ending that extremely long day of labor and pain.

Also, I’d been pushing for TWO AND A HALF HOURS. So, when the moment finally came, I didn’t really have time to process the magical-ness of it all. The main thing I felt when I held my baby for the first time was relief. Overwhelming relief. I was no longer in pain. I no longer had to push. She was here. She was safe. She was healthy. I didn’t have to worry about what labor and delivery was like anymore… I’d already been there, done that by the point the baby finally arrived and all I could feel was RELIEVED.

Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy to meet her and just amazed at the process of it all and how perfect she was (is). But it was different to experience it first-hand than it was to focus on what an incredible and perfect moment it was like I could when watching birthing videos from other moms.

The next day is a different story, however, when I turned into a ridiculous mess while trying to read Briella a story called “I Love You Animally.” Why? Because it was just too darn sweet! Gotta love those hormones!

What It Was Like When My Water Broke

When the final days of my pregnancy were dwindling down, one thing I worried about often was: “How will I know when I go into labor? Will I know if my water breaks??”

I didn’t know what to expect contractions to feel like, and apparently it’s actually pretty rare for your water to break before you go into labor. Therefore, I spent my fair share of time Googling both “What do contractions feel like?” and “What does it feel like when your water breaks?” and reading countless stories from women who had experienced it all.

It’s true; contrary to what movies and TV may have you believe, labor does not often begin with the water breaking. Only about 1 in 5 women will experience their water breaking before they go into labor. It turns out that I was apparently one of the lucky 20%.

From what I read during all of my time researching the subject, the rupturing of the “bag of waters” (as they called it in our childbirth class) can feel different from woman to woman. Many women reported feeling and some even hearing an audible “POP” before they felt the flood down below. Other women claim to have had a slow, steady leaking without any noticeable gushing.

Here’s how it happened for me.

**This post is probably going to be really TMI, but when I was pregnant and reading stories like this, I wanted to know every little detail… so here you go. Not to mention, once I was in the delivery room, I lost every ounce of shame and modesty I ever had anyway. It happens.**

On the day I went into labor, I woke up around 5 am feeling like I needed to pee. In your third trimester of pregnancy, numerous bathroom trips during the night gets old pretty quickly. So, I stayed in bed willing myself to go back to sleep and trying to convince myself that I didn’t really need to go that badly. Still, something just didn’t feel right down there. It already felt kind of damp and I started thinking, “Now, I know I don’t have to go THAT badly!” I thought maybe the baby had been pressing on my bladder or something.

Embarrassed, I finally got myself out of bed and headed to the bathroom. There was just a small wet spot in my underwear, so I cleaned myself up and put on a dry pair. When I went to flush, I noticed what I’m pretty sure was at least part of the lovely “mucus plug” they tell you to expect. It wasn’t a giant globby thing like some people describe it… Honestly, I can’t even recall clearly what it looked like in order to describe it, I just knew it was out of the ordinary! They say you can lose your mucus plug several weeks before you go into labor, but I was 40 weeks at this point and hadn’t seen any sign of it before this  particular morning. I got kind of excited but also nervous at the thought that the baby’s birthday could be right around the corner.

Anyway, once I was clean and dry, I climbed back into bed and immediately felt like I had to pee again and felt that wetness once more. “Are you kidding me???” At this point, as I walked back to the bathroom, a little voice in the back of my mind started to say, “Maybe this is it! This could be your water breaking!”

Sure enough, there was another wet spot in my underwear that I KNOW had just been dry 2 minutes prior. Also this time, I noticed some bleeding. Of course, any sight of blood when you’re pregnant makes you automatically freak out, but I just thought maybe it was from where I had lost my mucus plug.

Luckily, I had received about 3 free samples of women’s urinary incontinence pads and decided to hang onto them in case of this moment. So, this time, once I got cleaned up and changed again, I went ahead and put on one of those pads juuuuuust in case. As soon as I got back to my bedroom not even a minute later, I felt a small gush. “Ok, I did NOT have to pee that time!” I said to myself as I started to panic a little bit. At least… I was pretty sure? I kept thinking back to our childbirth class when the nurse told us that many women had come in to the hospital thinking their water had broken, but they’d really just peed themselves when their babies had pressed on their bladders in a certain way. I stopped to assess myself. It didn’t feel like the baby was pressing on my bladder. It didn’t even feel like I had to pee. Plus, I had lost my mucus plug… Surely, my water had broken!

I called my husband at work to let him know that my water broke and we would need to go to the hospital soon. As I was waiting for him to get home, I felt several more small gushes like the first one. Whaaat? I had always been under the impression that when your water broke, it was a one-and-done kind of deal. Apparently I was wrong! Even when we got to the hospital, it took me a pretty long time to walk from the car to the front doors because I was feeling a gush with each step I took. Let’s just say, I was super thankful for those pads and will definitely have some more on hand next time I’m pregnant!

Now, what does a “gush” feel like? Well, to me, it felt kind of like I was peeing my pants and had no control over it at all. Awesome.

So, it’s true–water breaking can feel different for different women. I didn’t feel or hear the “pop” that some women claim to experience, but I did kind of have both the small trickling at first and then the gushes later on. When I was evaluated the hospital, the nurse also informed me that it’s quite normal for women to experience bleeding at first, like I had.

The important thing to remember is: no matter how it feels when your water breaks, if it breaks at home before you are in labor, be sure to get to the hospital ASAP! Some women like to think they can labor at home for a while before they go in, but that’s not the case if your water has broken. Once your water breaks, you and the baby are at an increased risk of getting an infection and that sucker’s gotta have a birthday within the next 24 hours no matter what! So, yes, even if you just wet yourself, you should still get checked out if you think there’s any chance it could have been your water breaking.

If anyone reading this has experienced your water breaking, how did it happen for you? I’d like to know!

Baby Items We Love (0-3 Months)

Between 0-3 months of age, babies don’t really do much. Mostly, they do a lot of eating, pooping, and sleeping. Still, there are several items we’ve found to be lifesavers over the first few months of our daughter’s life. Some are things she loves, some are things we love, and some are things that are just necessary to have around.

Here is our list of favorite baby items (ages 0-3 months).

INFANTINO GROW-WITH-ME ACTIVITY GYM AND BALL PIT

81Aa678BEjL._SX425_First, we scanned this activity gym onto our baby registry because we like the fact that she can still play with it as she grows older. Even so, Briella has loved playing with this gym even since she was about 2 weeks old. The colors are bright and vibrant and capture her attention quickly and easily. She can spend a significant amount of time kicking around on this mat, which is great to buy a worn-out mom some time for a bathroom or snack break!

BOPPY PILLOW

Not only is the Boppy Pillow a nursing essential, but Briella loves to “sit up” on her Boppy. She loves to talk to me and listen to me sing songs or read books to her when she’s propped on the Boppy. Also, she’s got a touch of reflux and needs to be kept upright for a while after she eats and the Boppy is perfect for that while she’s still a little too small for her Bumbo seat.

FISHER PRICE MY LITTLE SNUGAPUPPY CRADLE AND SWING

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I wish we had this swing earlier when we brought Briella home from the hospital, but we didn’t get it until she was about 2 weeks old. Still, she loves it. It has 6 speed settings, several different music/sound options and can swing in 3 different directions. It also has a mobile that spins around a mirrored dome, which Briella is absolutely mesmerized by. She will stare and smile at that mobile forever. The swing has also put my baby to sleep on several occasions, which is kind of a big deal because she likes to fight her sleep and has to often be coerced into sleeping/napping.

 

MUNCHKIN LATCH BOTTLES

We received a free sample of these bottles from Target when we created our baby registry. Once we had to start introducing Briella to a bottle, we tried 3 different kinds and this was our favorite. Briella took a bottle pretty early when she was around 2 weeks old, so we were a little worried about “nipple confusion” as they preached about in our breastfeeding class. She really didn’t seem to have any major problems switching from bottle to breast, but it seemed to go much more smoothly after she had been given the Latch bottle. The bottle’s nipple is wide and encourages the baby to suck more naturally as they would on the breast. It also has an anti-colic valve in the bottom which is easier to clean and assemble than the ones in other anti-colic bottles, like Dr. Brown’s.

FISHER-PRICE KICK AND PLAY PIANO

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During the 0-3 month stage, babies don’t really play with a lot of toys. There seem to be a select few that have actually captured Briella’s attention and kept her entertained for quite some time. This piano happens to be one of them! Ever since Briella was born, she has seemed to love music… and kicking those little legs! So, naturally, this would be her favorite toy since it combines her 2 favorite things. The “piano keys” can easily be triggered by baby’s kicks and she sure loves the flashing lights, as well!

BIG FLANNEL BURP CLOTHS

When we first brought Briella home, the only burp cloths we had on hand were the narrow terry cloth ones. As soon as I found the larger flannel ones, though… I stocked up! They cover a lot more surface area which is handy when you have no idea where spit-up might land.

PHILLIPS AVENT TRANSLUCENT ORTHODONTIC INFANT PACIFIER

715Rqk3RlHL._SY450_We received several of these as gifts (in addition to a ton of other types and brands of pacifiers). We’ve given Briella at least 4 or 5 different types of pacifiers and these are the only ones she seems to like. She will spit the others out in a matter of seconds, but will keep these ones in long enough to actually pacify herself.