Carter was born on June 2nd right on his due date, which is odd since us Joneses are notoriously late. I was happy of course! It has been an interesting, challenging and rewarding experience adjusting to life with a newborn this past week. There was so much build up to this moment of giving birth and starting parenthood. I’ve learned quite a few things now that I’m on the other side of experience. Here’s what I know now:
1) Childbirth really is painful.
I had this silly notion that somehow I would be able to handle it way better than all those women who told me their horror stories. I read once that contractions were just waves of pressure. I figured, no biggie, I can handle pressure. Well, I managed decently until 8 cm when the doc broke my water. Then, OH MAN! The serious pain set in and I thought I was gonna die! I caved and asked for an epidural but I was far enough along that it would only draw the whole process out. So I did it all natural as they say.
2) Pushing can take time.
I guess I’d seen too many movies where the Mom goes, “hee hee” with a couple of pushes and then you hear a baby crying and it’s over. Well I spent over an hour pushing, which I now hear isn’t even that bad. It was so hard because I was putting every ounce of energy into each push and I had to do it about a million times. It didn’t help that from push number one the doctor told me how great I was doing and how quickly I would have the baby. Also I had a great view of the clock to remind me how long it was taking.
3) Childbirth brings people together.
Along with my husband and the doctor, I had 2 nurses, a nursing student, my mom and my mother-in-law in the room with me for everything. I had planned to just have my husband and the professionals in the room. I realized that my mom and his mom were professionals too. They’d done this and knew just what to say to help me along and give me the confidence I needed to get that baby out. It was nice to have such a support group around me during the most physically and mentally challenging experience of my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
4) My husband is a saint.
I think he was pretty impressed with how I did in the delivery room. He was an incredible coach. He stayed with me the whole time during my hospital stay. He helped me out in every way and even with the not so pleasant stuff with no complaints. He did great with Carter. It made me realize how blessed I am to have him by my side. I couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for someone who didn’t have anyone. The nurses are great but there’s no substitute for a caring partner who’s in it as much as you are.
5) Taking care of a newborn is like a series of experiments, but trust your gut.
Since we are brand new parents, everything we do is new to us and of course to Carter. So we just ended up trying a ton of different things from ways to change diapers to getting him to sleep and eat. The nurses had us terrified of the ‘second night’. Apparently that’s when baby suddenly realizes that they’re not in the cozy womb and all hell breaks lose. They had literature for us to read about it and suggested we might want to send him to the nursery. We decided to keep him with us so we’d have an idea how to do things when we got home. Well that’s when we kinda went over board on the experimenting. We tried different ways to burp him, change him and feed him and nothing seemed to work. We stopped a moment and realized things went great the night before and we should just go back to what we had been doing and toss out all the ideas in the second nighting literature. That worked like a charm.
Overall, this is very exciting and I think we are doing great. My son is more than I could have ever hoped for and I am proud to be called his mom!