I am so excited to share this post that my BFF, Lisa, whipped up just for y'all. I asked her what she thought about putting something together for the blog and she sent me her post later that same afternoon. Lisa is the type of friend everybody wants in their corner—she's amazing. She's also like me in a sense that she's real, we're no BS and we have a very unique mix of pessimism and optimism between us. Without further ado, enjoy this recount of a new mom in the real world...
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|Amber, you took this whole pregnancy to another level...|
(Lisa, on the left, at 26 weeks prego with one and Amber, right, 14 weeks prego with four.)
So Amber and I were roommates in college—it's kinda random, actually, how we linked up. I saw an ad in the school newspaper for a roommate and when that didn’t work out, the girl gave me the information of another girl that had called. Since it was 8am on a Saturday I went back to sleep, but a short time later my phone rang and it was Amber calling to see if I would be interested in rooming with her. We met that afternoon, both agreed on an apartment and signed a lease the same day. And as they say, the rest is history!
So I have known Amber for almost eight years…wow, we are getting old. Anyway, we always had a connection. We both decided around the end of 2010 that we would try and get pregnant at the same time. We wanted to have each other to lean on and be real with. So most of y’all know Amber’s story. After two miscarriages, I finally found myself pregnant (only took 8 MONTHS, I thought it was going to be like Teen Mom, miss a few birth control pills and BOOM – with child. Not so much.). I hated that it seemed Amber was having trouble and I told her that I couldn’t be really be excited until she was pregnant like me. Little did I know, all my prayers and those of co-workers, friends and family were going to have a big impact. BABY x's 4!
So a little about my pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, which happens to apparently only 25% of pregnant women. I weighed a lovely 145ish when I got knocked up and gained a luscious 40 pounds during. I’m 5’2 and 3/4ths, and my college fighting weight was 123, so I felt like a ship. I kept bumping into things and misgauging car doors. I got gestational diabetes the last month, so I had to curtail my girl scout cookie fests (totally lame) and I was emotional—like the time I found a nasty note on my car in the parking lot downtown calling my car a POS and that I was a terrible at parking. I cried for an hour at home to my husband, “How can he be so mean to me and my car….”
And I hated being unable to bend backward into my backseat to retrieve my mascara or get out of bed. Ugh – I was ready to be unpregnant before most people do. However, I didn’t think it as odd as I thought it would be that there was something living inside me. Plus I could never ever, ever, ever complain when compared to Amber and her QUADS. My husband never failed to bring it up if I ever had a low moment. I made sure to let her know she had blown the curve for the rest of us singleton mommies-to-be. Sheesh!
|My furbaby, Jasper, on my bump.|
So besides pricking my finger six times a day and eating tons of peanut butter, gestational diabetes allowed me to pick my due date. It was May 14, 2012—which also happened to be my parents' 29th wedding anniversary. I opted for a medicated birth and boy, was I glad I did. After TWO epidurals I was good and numb. The only painful part really was the IV. So after seven hours and 40 minutes of real pushing, my baby, WTH, (yes, those are his initials) arrived...leaving me with a Level Four episiotomy and a severe case of dry mouth. It wasn’t so bad. I actually had a co-worker the Friday before (yes, I worked right up until my due date to the shock of many people) tell me her labor was the worst day of her life. Thanks amiga. It really wasn’t all that bad.
TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HAVING A BABY
1.) Don’t underestimate your Mother Instinct. “The Power” is awesome. Like super human. My husband couldn’t understand how I was able to just keep going and going with no sleep. And I love my sleep. Naps, sleeping in, Saturday morning-getting-up-eating-breakfast-then-going-back-to-sleep.. I was really worried how I would be able to function without my sleep. But The Power is awesome. Having and making a baby is what we were designed to do.
2.) Drugs are good. I know there is a perceived weakness when admitting to taking medication especially for mental health reasons (are you cray cray?). I am unashamed. I knew that I had a family history of mental health issues, like one great-grandma who ate pins after having one baby and another great-great-grandma apparently would lose it after having each of her 19 children by becoming despondent and staying indoors. You are not alone. Post-partum is serious and you have to do what’s best for you baby and that is being a healthy, sane and functional mother.
|You call this sane? (Yes, that's me. And no one was hurt in the taking of this photo.)|
3.) Everything changes and nothing does. I described it as everything was a different color. It was the same but, yet, different. The momentous responsibility took a while to seep in.
|What? Not love me!?|
4.) It’s perfectly OK to not immediately fall in love with your baby. Seriously I was just looking at my son, going “I have a baby? I’m a mom? What? Huh?” But every day I would love him a little more. Especially after the three month mark when they become less worm-like and more like a little person. He is of me… he is my everything. Today I look at him and its takes my breath away. I made that? Inside me?!!!
5.) Breastfeeding is haaaaard. But so worth it. Words of wisdom: You gotta stick it out for two weeks. Warren was tongue-tied and so the first three days he took my nips from ready to work to OMG DON’T EVEN LOOK AT THEM… OWWW. But you have to stick it out. After making it three weeks I was like “I actually kept a person alive with just my boobs. So weird but so cooool." I was also a trained member of the ‘formula-is-the-devil’ group but eventually realized that breastfeeding and working wasn’t going to be for me. So I slowly tapered off and then joined the formula crowd. What I didn’t expect was how emotionally attached I was to the breastfeeding. It was the bonding and the fact no one else could have that connection but me and him. I also hate when things end. But with having a baby, everything happens so fast that you have to get use to changes.
6.) Accept help when offered. Seriously, when people offer help, take it! My MIL showed up willing to work and I was all trying be nice, ‘just relax, you’re a guest,’ but she was insistent. So I told her I needed my kitchen painted and the flowerbed weeded. AND it got done! I love that woman.
7.) You need time out of the house!!! No kidding – I remember crying my eyes out over breastfeeding issues with my mom in a church parking lot. You have to get out of the hole. I went to Target, took my furbaby to the dog park and just sat outside in the sun. You need to keep perspective. There is still a whole wide world out there. I really would just love to roll the windows down and crank the radio up super loud and just jam. Forget about being a milking mom for a second and be myself.
8.) Babies grow up so fast. I always thought this was cliché but it is so true. He went from an 8 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus to a 21 pound drooling jabberer in less than eight months. He is getting into everything and has to be caged (in a pack-n-play, that is). I look at his pictures and I’m like, nah – that wasn’t him, he was never that small and helpless. It really is wild.
9.) It really is worth it. It is important to wait until you are ready. My husband and I were married three years before we started trying. He was working overseas a lot and I was just not ready to commit to a dependent relationship yet. But if you do a pros and cons list, obviously the cons list for having a baby is always going to be longer. That’s because you can’t comprehend the pros yet. Sometimes you have to take the leap and just do it.
10.) What happened to my body?! Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I feel that my body looks like a Barbie that’s been through an Easy Bake Oven. But I’ve been told it gets better. I’m only 10 lbs away from my pre-WTH weight which isn’t too bad. However, I would love to get back down to 130. Maybe I should actually start jogging and not eating like I’m a truck-driver. And I’m still wearing some maternity clothes eight months out…they are just so damn comfortable. So don’t despair. You are not alone, sistah. You only really get this part of your life once, so relish it. One day you’ll be 50/60/70+ wishing you were this young again.