if i had known then, what i know now: pregnancy edition


Hindsight is 20/20, right? I thought it would be fun to do a little series titled “If I Had Known Then, What I Know Now” and what better place to start than the beginning: Pregnancy!

How to Make a Baby

What I Knew Then
For those of us who choose to make a baby, I think it goes a little something like this:
Husband/wife: Let’s have a baby!
Husband/wife: OK, but let’s not start having timed, scheduled sex, OK? I don’t want it to get all….weird!
Wife: Of course, we’ll make it casual, and it will happen when the time is right.
Wife: 30 days later, no baby, que the trip to CVS to purchase ovulation kits, start a Pinterest board for “tips on getting pregnant” and consulting Doctor Google with every search term you can dream up while self-diagnosing “unexplained infertility.”
Result: timed, scheduled sex.

What I Know Now
Unless you get pregnant during the first month (or on accident), you are VERY likely to have timed, scheduled sex. There’s exactly 3ish days in the month when you can get pregnant. Unless you’re a 20-something without a care in the world, I’m guessing that Tuesday night romps in the sack are few and far between, so when you get that positive ovulation test on Tuesday and suddenly put the moves on your unsuspecting husband, he will know what you’re up to. Own up to it and do the deed because if that window passes, you’ve got 30 more days till you get your next shot at it. Yes, it’s awkward, but trust me when I say that it gets a hell of a lot more awkward when you actually get pregnant and your husband is in the OB office with you and your feet in the stirrups for the first time!

Bonus tip: have more sex on random days when you AREN’T ovulating!

Self-Care is Key

What I Knew Then
I became a mom the day I got that glorious + on a stick. The decisions I made from that point forward weren’t just about me! I was the sole person responsible for growing that tiny human. Of course I did the obvious give up wine and stop consuming raw fish drill, but it went much deeper than that. I committed to reducing my stress in a very mindful manner. I believed (and so did my husband) that the energy circulating through my body would be passed to our daughter…the good, the bad and the ugly. So, I committed to minimal bad and ugly and focused on the good.

What I Know Now
Our daughter is downright good! Sure, she has bad and ugly moments, but she is a good baby. I wholeheartedly believe that my energy passed to her and that the energy in her daily environment continues shape her demeanor.

Bonus tip: treat yourself to pedicures because you can no longer reach your toes, but skip pregnancy massages! You can’t lie on your tummy and it’s too difficult to get a decent massage while laying on your side.

Pregnancy Date Nights/After Baby House Arrest

What I Knew Then
A common theme in my posts is our 20-year pre-baby relationship. I knew when we decided to have a baby that I was in no way willing to compromise my marriage for this baby. During my pregnancy we went on date nights All. The. Time. Like, we probably went out 5 nights per week. We knew those times would be limited after our dear daughter arrived, so we took full advantage and lived it up! We took trips, long weekends, went to the movies and enjoyed our last months/weeks/days as a party of two!

What I Know Now
A very small baby, as long as you time it right, is perfectly capable of going out with you. We took our baby out to dinner for the first time when she was three days old and she slept through the entire meal. We didn’t stop taking her out to eat with us until she was approximately three months old. If we timed it right, she slept through most of the meal and we got a night out. And now that she is a little older, we take her out with us and she gets to people watch, which is her favorite past-time!

Bonus tip: When friends/family offer to watch the baby so that you can go out, you graciously accept their offer and book a table for two at one of your favorite restaurants! Do not lose that connection with your spouse! You do not have to go on house arrest after you have a baby!

Birthing Classes

What I Knew Then
Check the schedule EARLY for birthing classes at the hospital you will deliver at.  Thank god I’m a planner because if we hadn’t taken our classes early, it would have been too late because hospitals only offer birthing classes every couple months.

What I Know Now
I can honestly say that I put approximately 0.0 – 0.05% of what I learned in class to use, but the thing about childbirth is that you have no clue what you’re in for. Somehow educating myself at class made me feel just a little bit prepared for what I was about to go through.

In the end, we never used the massage techniques, the way they teach you to breathe is of zero practical use, and my special “aromatherapy” oil never even left my hospital bag, but when the time came to have our baby, I at least THOUGHT I knew what to do to make that happen and that in and of itself made those evening classes worthwhile.

Bonus tip: during at least two of the classes, the husbands “practice” massage techniques that are supposed to be useful during labor. I didn’t have time for that during labor, but I sure enjoyed them during our classes!

Breastfeeding 

What I Knew Then
It is important to take a breastfeeding class and have your husband go with you! The obvious question is: what the heck does a guy do at a breastfeeding class? The answer is: moral support and helping you remember techniques from class when you’re tired, sore and an emotional wreck!

What I Know Now
Everyone…and I mean everyone told me how difficult nursing would be. I spent hours with a lactation consultant during our two-day stay at the hospital. It’s hard and it hurts and it is NOT the magical experience I had in mind. I had zero plans to formula feed and nursed through an incredible amount of needle like pain only to find out that my daughter couldn’t tolerate my milk. Nursing is hard, give it a solid shot, but in the end, fed is best and don’t succumb to the La Leche League pressure to breastfeed if it isn’t working for you and your baby!

Bonus tip: You will receive free formula in the mail when you’re pregnant. Do NOT throw it away! No matter how determined you are to nurse, put the formula in your pantry, just in case!

Have Your Baby Shower Early

What I Knew Then
I didn’t want to be as big as a house in all my baby shower photos.

What I Know Now
The closer to your due date, the more tired and uncomfortable you are. Have your baby shower around 32 weeks, while you’ve still got your pregnancy glow and hopefully your ankles aren’t the size of your calves!

Bonus tip: this allows you to have more time to purchase all the things from your registry that you didn’t get at your shower!

Dilation, Schmilation

What I Knew Then
Around 34 weeks I was dilated to 2cm and 80% effaced, which prompted my doctor to predict that our baby would come 3+ weeks early. By that time I was incredibly uncomfortable and wanted nothing more than to meet our baby. So we waited on pins and needles, looking for every sign that today would be the day.

What I Know Now
It is possible to stay dilated to 2cm and be 80% effaced for 6 weeks and my doctor never should have told me that I was likely to be early, because I wasn’t and all it did was get me excited for no reason!

Bonus tip: “membrane sweeping” is incredibly painful and not a guarantee to start labor…even after the 2nd try!

Epidural, Schmepidural

What I Knew Then
I would have a pain-free labor experience.

What I Know Now
Epidurals fail.

Bonus tip: you will survive.

So, you managed to get pregnant, revel in the pregnancy glow and enjoyed the perfect excuse to eat ice cream every night, you push your body to it’s limits and now your bundle of joy is skin to skin. Let the happy tears flow mama. You did it!

Check back in a week or so for my ‘If I Had Known Then, What I Know Now: Baby Registry Edition.’


Comments

  1. Terrific! Keep writing! I enjoy every venture. Love Grama Aloha

  2. Love this, Lindsey 🙂

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