Sunday, December 15, 2013

What I Didn't Expect When I Was Expecting

Warning: This is a mommy post. If you aren't into birth stories and such, you may want to skip on by. I suppose I'm feeling reflective considering that the kid's birthday is soon, and I'm still kind of not over it.

I didn't expect a c-section.
I had a textbook pregnancy. I had lots of nausea from week 5 until week 14. I gained 37lbs. I got hemorrhoids somewhere around week 32. I looked pretty good until week 35, when I got all puffy and my Dansko's became tight.

I had a textbook first labor as well. I'd been having contractions on and off for the whole week before the kid was born. On a Saturday in late December, I was on my daily walk/hike up Mt. Tabor when I had a different kind of contraction. I continued having those I-gotta-poop contractions for another 5 hours before I realized that I was in labor. I honestly just thought I was sick.

So I packed a bag, had some dinner and got out the yoga ball. Things were going well until Nate became uncomfortable with the amount of pain I was in and suggested we make our way to the hospital. We went, it was confirmed that I was indeed in labor and I was given a room where I continued to labor throughout the night while Nate snoozed on the couch.

The next morning, after being in labor for 20 hours, I broke down and got an epidural probably incorrectly believing it would relieve me enough to rest up for the final push. I drifted in and out of full-awareness while contractions continued. Finally, six hours later I was fully dilated and ready to push. Two hours after that I was wheeled into surgery for an emergency c-section. All that work for 28 hours just to be slashed open. It totally sucked. I cried the whole time.

My baby girl was born, poked and prodded several times with an IV and then whisked away to the nursery to be monitored without a single touch from the human she was just ripped from. That sucked, too. But it was only temporary, because three hours later we were reunited and most everything was fine.

I didn't expect it to be all boob all the time.
I expected that breastfeeding would be weird and possibly horrendously painful. I expected to breastfeed exclusively for many weeks in order to avoid nipple confusion. I expected that pumping and freezing milk would eventually become normal. I did not expect my baby to refuse a bottle. We tried many times, though I suspect we waited too long with the introduction. So, yeah. I couldn't go very far for very long for two years. We made it work, and it was only temporary

I didn't expect sleep deprivation.
For our family, this has been the biggest challenge. I expected to be tired. I expected difficult nights. I expected an early riser. I also expected that the kid would begin to sleep through the night sometime within her first year. Unfortunately, some kids just do not sleep well and she is one of them.

Her poor sleep and my insomnia were best friends and they hated me. For nearly three years I slept only 4-5 broken hours of sleep each night. Three hours in a row was a luxury. If I add up the lost sleep, it works out that I lost two 7-hour nights of sleep per week for almost three years. That's 300 nights of sleep that I can never get back. Her sleep pattern is now much more manageable, though I wouldn't call it predictable. I try to remind myself that it's only temporary.

I didn't expect to be so happy.
Our daughter was completely planned. All those months of wishing I was pregnant when I wasn't don't matter anymore, because there was only one single chance for this particular child to show up. She is absolutely who I wanted to add to our family. She is funny, kind, sincere, loving, interesting and completely wonderful. And thank goodness she isn't temporary.


  1. Our daughter was planned, too. I got pregnant on the very first try - not what I expected. With my irregular periods I thought it would take months and months of trying. We were very happily surprised. I was also nauseated for the first sixteen weeks. My labor and delivery was great - only eight hours total, and I was induced. I didn't expect to be sooooooooo tired for over three years and never sleep. My daughter totally hated sleep, and is still not a big fan. I planned to breastfeed for as long as possible, not two weeks. I struggled with it so much that I finally gave it up. And I didn't expect my daughter to have colic for four months and cry night and day. Some things didn't go as planned, but I am so glad she is ours and she completes our family. And I am so glad there is only one person in this world that can call me Mom! Happy "early" Birthday to your sweet little girl… she is a doll! I love this post! Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Breastfeeding is no joke - and I know several people who just couldn't make it work. We did not experience colic. I cannot imagine how it feels to have a completely inconsolable infant for hours and hours. And the lack of sleep is killer. One day I was so tired I drove my car into a bush at the grocery store. Since then, I've made it a point to listen to my body better and just stay home if I'm too tired to go out. I just remind myself that all the bad stuff is temporary ;)

  3. This is a beautifully written post, and it's so true -- even though our birth stories and baby stories all differ in the details, becoming a parent is challenging and exhausting and sure to throw you all kinds of unexpected curve balls. I love your outlook of reminding yourself that the difficult times are only temporary, and I think it serves as a reminder to savor the good times as well, since they go by so fast -- these past two years since our daughter was born have been kind of a whirlwind, and I only expect it to continue until I wake up one day and find her heading off to college. :) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh wow! Our first three years were the loooooonnnnnnggggest years ever. Though I will say that the fourth year has gone by much quicker. I honestly remember the good stuff much easier than the bad - but I feel a bit traumatized still by the three things I mentioned. I think that's why I remember them so vividly - plus sleep is still an issue.

  4. this is a sweet and still funny post..i'm not a mom yet so i don't GET it all yet. However, you are confirming what they all's so worth it! :)

    1. Aww, thanks! We made the right choice at the right time. I would not have been mentally prepared 10 years ago - which is when we got a dog ;)

  5. Life never comes out the way we plan it in our heads but even with the messy stuff it always seems to be better than we thought it could be. We have been trying a while now and I am finally able to let go and just enjoy what I have because it is better than I ever imagined. Hope it is a happy birthday and this year brings more sleep!

    1. Thanks! She had a great birthday and she really had fun at Christmas. So true about not being able to plan some of the best moments. I'm happy for you that you've found peace with your situation. Wishing you a healthy and happy new year!