As I’m about to have each child, it seems to be a tradition of mine to look back at my last pregnancy, remember the good times, and think about what I would have done differently. I think that each mom should do what is best for her family, but I will share what has not worked well for me and maybe you will be able to relate to some of my struggles and be able to spare yourself some trouble, or maybe not.
I will not be afraid of my body.
I have a very close in-law that is a nurse at the hospital where I have delivered all of my children. When I was pregnant with my first and second child, I opted to not have her take care of me in any way at the hospital or to see me naked. When I was struggling to get my second child to latch on, I eventually let her see one of my breasts to help me with the latch, and that was a huge step for me.
As I have had my two children, I’ve realized that although sometimes there is good reason to keep my body covered up, I did not need to worry about someone who was there to help me and has helped hundreds of other new moms. This goes for my well-meaning in-law as well as other medical professionals who are there to help me.
Since my second child, when I first walk into the hospital to have a baby, I tell myself that my body is a vessel, I am a machine, I am awesome, and I focus on the tasks at hand that need to be taken care of: deliver baby, try to breast feed baby, take care of baby, take care of myself, love baby, and I try to focus less on: these six nurses and three doctors have seen me naked.
I will not worry about pooping on the delivery table.
Am I the only one here? I was induced when I had my first child. I eventually got an epidural and for at least the next five hours or so I felt like I was going to poop. As many of you know, once you have had an epidural, you cannot leave the bed until it wears off. I was just so nervous and felt bad about the possibility of inconveniencing others. If I did poop, it was not much, and it did not happen until I delivered the baby. I spent too much time worrying about the feeling and not focusing on the fact that I was about to bring a miracle into the world. Just tell yourself now, almost every lady poops… on the delivery table.
I am not wishing for pregnancy to be over.
My pregnancies have not been too difficult, but the eighth month has always been when I really start to feel huge and the frequency and intensity of my round ligament paint increases. During my first two pregnancies, by the time I got to my eighth month, I was counting down the time until I would no longer be pregnant and I would meet my little guy.
This pregnancy, I am cherishing the miracle that is the little life moving inside of me. I want to remember what it feels like to have a foot kick me from the inside as I am sitting down or giving someone a hug. I want to remember the excitement and innocence of my 4-year-old as he gives my stomach kisses and talks to me about when his youngest brother is going to be here. I want to remember the light in my husband’s eye, when I look at him and I know that he is grateful that we have created this growing life together. I want to enjoy my 1-year-old being the baby of the family for a little bit longer, considering that he does not turn 2 until the end of the year, he will likely never remember being the youngest child and will always remember being the middle child. I want to appreciate my 4-year-old a little bit longer before I start to expect a tad bit more responsibility out of him as I will soon have two children that I have to change diapers for, help them with their clothes, and help them fasten themselves into their car seats.
I will see EVERYTHING!
Gosh darn it, I will have that mirror out while I am delivering the baby! For my first child, I was too terrified to see the blood and the possible vaginal ripping that I was told could happen to have a mirror near me while I was having my baby. I had it out for my second baby, but a nurse was standing in front of it most of the time and I did not try to ask her to move it around. This time I want to see the baby’s head pop out, if I am able. I want to see the hair on his head for the first time. I want to take a good look at the umbilical cord as my husband cuts it. How awesome is it that my body contained this long cord that connected my child and I and delivered him the nutrients that he needed to survive? I will ask the doctor to show me my placenta, I want to take a good look at it, and take a moment to appreciate all that it has done to protect my little guy.
I will take a breastfeeding class.
I have spoken about this before, so I do not want to “kick a dead horse” so to speak, but long story short, knowledge is power. I find it kind of hilarious that I am going to a class before I have my third child, but honestly I still do not know much about breastfeeding and I want to go in this time feeling more knowledgeable about what I am doing. I mostly pumped with my second child and breastfed him maybe once a day.
I will allow more people to stay in my room for the birth.
With my first two children, my thought about childbirth was that: 1) It was just my husband and I that created that child, so it only needed to be my husband and I in the room when the child was born (other than the medical staff). 2) In my everyday life, I like to be a good “host” and so when I am laboring, I feel bad if others have to see me in pain. And 3) I wanted to be fair and since there were a few people that I would never want in my hospital room while I am having the baby, I would be fair and not invite anyone to witness the childbirth.
Here is what I have since realized. It was just my husband and I that brought each of our children into the world, but life would be so much harder without the support that we receive from our family, friends, and my “village.” Not only do they make life easier, but they make it richer for both myself and my children. It really does take a village to raise a child and I would not have it any other way. Most people should know what to expect during labor – lots of pain on the mom’s part. If people are okay with hearing me writhing in pain, I’m not going to hold back and they are welcome to stay in the room. As I mentioned above, family and friend support is everything to me. Since locally I only have in-laws and friends that I’ve had since I moved here at 24, those relationships are even more precious to me. Sometimes, I have to take the chance and let people in and not worry. Childbirth is a beautiful thing and this time, I plan on recognizing that every second along the way.