Mama Lessons

Sorry, Sweet Friends!

I…accidentally…deleted this post today…

So, here it is again!

I was talking to my husband the other day about how much life has changed for us since we had Thomas. This caused me to think back on everything I’ve learned throughout my experience becoming a mom.

SO…here are some of the highlights:

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Lesson #1: Do NOT Google

If you want to read your worst nightmares all at once, sure, go ahead and Google all the aches and pains you’re having while lying in bed at night. If not, just blame all your pains on the baby and keep moving. When you’re pregnant, there is no way of knowing how much work your body is doing. There are going to be A LOT of new feelings, pains, and emotions. Let me just go ahead and save you the trouble…it’s normal…it’s the baby’s fault…and it’s all going to be worth it. You’re welcome.

Of course, if there’s genuine reason for concern, save yourself the stress, and just call your doctor. They’re MUCH safer and more realistic than the internet…promise.

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Lesson #2: CHILL.

Using the microwave, scented detergents, drinking caffeine (within the allowed amounts), etc., are NOT going to harm your baby. When I talk to people, they find it hard to believe that T is my first baby. This is, partially, because I really am super laid back. While I was pregnant, I listened to the doctors, ate more healthily, drank more water, and just lived my life.

Go with the flow.

Your body is under enough stress as it is. There’s no reason to worry yourself to death about the things that could happen. Your body knows what it’s doing. While you’re doing what you can to protect your baby on the outside, your body is doing even more protecting all on its own.

Live your life, listen to your doctors, and chill.

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Lesson #3: You’re going to be bigger…and that’s okay.

My husband laughs at me now because, when we’re watching TV and I notice a pregnant character who didn’t change at all other than growing a belly, I tell him every time…no matter how many times we’ve seen the episode of whatever show we may be watching…that she isn’t really pregnant.

One of the first ways people could tell I was pregnant was that my face had rounded out some.

***PSA–

Even though this is true…I did NOT want to hear that my face had gotten rounder. People actually told me this, and every time they did, I got more self-conscious. So…even if that’s how you are able to tell that a woman is pregnant during her first trimester…DO NOT TELL HER.

Thank you.***

Anyway…

Your body is going to change whether you like it or not. Your belly is going to get bigger. Your face is going to round out. You’re going to have stretch marks and fat in places you didn’t prior to your pregnancy.

It’s okay.

Also…fun fact that I was not aware of…in your third trimester…you may not even look like yourself. My nose got bigger. How? I have no idea, but here’s your proof:

Lesson #4: Don’t try to plan everything.

I am a planner. I like to know how things are going to happen, when things are going to happen, and who all is going to be involved. When I was getting closer to my due date, I started planning. We would be watching for signs, grab our “go bag”, and get to the hospital to have our baby boy.

NOPE.

At the beginning of August, my body decided to freak out and try to go into labor.

I was in the hospital with preterm contractions for two nights. This was NOT a part of my plan. At this hospital visit, the doctors, pretty much, guaranteed me that I would not be going into labor for, at least, two weeks.

WHEW! There’s a little bit of a plan, right?

Nope.

One week passed, and I was fine. I went back to work for two days, then I started having contractions again. This was just four days short of that two-week mark.

The contractions were consistent, getting worse, and sometimes closer together.

This was it. I was up all night dealing with these contractions. We didn’t want to go to the hospital until we were absolutely sure I was in labor, so we waited. I, finally, fell asleep Friday morning, but the contractions stopped. I went to the doctor the next day to make sure I was okay, and they, basically, told me that I was having false-labor pains. The contractions can start slow, get closer together, and even worsen…just like labor.

Ouch. There’s a blow to my plan. How was I supposed to know when I was in labor?

The contractions came back Friday night. I paced through our apartment all night dealing with the pain, but they went away again on Saturday morning.

That night, the contractions were back. I paced, yet again, back and forth through our apartment to deal with that pain.

Sunday morning came…and I knew something was different this time. We called the hospital, and our newest adventure started.

Plan what you can. Get all the baby showers together. Plan out your baby’s room. Plan where your baby is going to sleep for the first few months of his life. Plan out and make a schedule for you and your husband to follow when the baby is here (Yes, this is necessary…you need sleep.).

Do NOT try to plan EVERY single detail…it won’t work out.

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Lesson #5: Nothing can prepare you for what labor really is.

Every pregnancy is different. Every woman has a different experience with labor and delivery. Some people have a really simple delivery. You go in, get your epidural (or not…each to her own), push for a few (or more) hours, and BOOM…baby.

For me, it wasn’t like this at all.

I went in like a zombie (due to being up 3 nights in a row with NO sleep) in lots of pain, and the nurses and midwife were still not convinced I was in labor. SO…they gave me some pain medication that would help me sleep through the contractions I was having.

No big deal, right? Yeah…except for the fact that I had been up for 3 NIGHTS IN A ROW. If I could sleep through the pain, I would’ve been doing it already.

Regardless, they gave me the pain medicine. This was supposed to knock me out for the rest of the day.

Guess what…

30 minutes later, I was up…even more of a zombie at this point…in pain. Finally, they decided I was in labor.

By the time we got to the delivery room, I needed my epidural. When I got that, I got to nap for a while. The pain had been numbed.

***SIDE NOTE: God’s grace is evident in the world of an epidural. Labor is going to be painful…but He provides some relief.***

I finally was dilated to the point where I could push….so I silently gave myself a little pep-talk to prepare to push out my little 6 lb (actually almost 9lb…they were a little off…) baby. Here we go…

I pushed…and pushed…and pushed…and pushed…and pushed. Nothing. No baby. He was stuck…and everyone knew it…but I still had to push for, at least, 3 hours before they’d take me to get a C-Section. During my pushing, the sleep medicine they gave me was still working…so I would push for however long the contraction lasted…then I would take a short nap.

The only time I got frustrated with my husband was when he was patting my cheek during one of my naps to make sure I wasn’t passing out. That’s how fast I was dosing off.

You are going to get lots of advice and opinions about your pregnancy. Some is going to be what you asked for and some will be completely unwarranted. People really do mean well, but all the advice in the world couldn’t have prepared me for everything that happened that day.

Smile, nod, educate yourself, and go have your baby.

 

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Lesson #5: Type 1 diabetes is NOT something people know about.

Current nursing students …I BEG YOU…educate yourself on type 1 diabetes. Educate yourself on the DIFFERENCES between type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
If you don’t know the difference between the types, please, don’t talk down to your diabetic patients. It’s irritating.

Following my C-Section, I had to stay in the hospital for a week. During this week, I had different nurses every day. This was fine, but I could only stand two of the nurses I had that week. My first nurse was wonderful. She let me do what I needed to do. She took my name off of the low sugar meals at the hospital because she knew this wasn’t necessary. I was so thankful for my first nurse. My second nurse was a little more overbearing, but, still, she let me maintain my own care for the most part. The third nurse is when the horror started. I woke up Wednesday morning to check my blood sugar at 8:00am like I had every morning. My blood sugar was 63. Now, for those of you that don’t know, this is a low blood sugar reading. For this, I would eat a snack with 15-20 carbs, wait 15-20 minutes, and check my blood sugar again. No big deal. I was holding an intelligent conversation with my mother at the time of this reading, but the nurse treated me like I was about to be comatose. She scolded me for my low blood sugar as though I did something wrong.

“Well, it’s probably all that sugar sitting in the gift basket over there. I bet you’ve been eating that.”

First of all…no…I hadn’t been eating the sweets from my basket.

Second of all…If I wanted to eat the sweets…I COULD. I have dealt with type 1 diabetes since I was 8 YEARS OLD. Please, do not pretend you are more knowledgeable about my disease.

I proceeded to eat my pancakes with syrup. That’s a lot more carbs than I should need for my low blood sugar, so I proceeded to give myself a bolus for my breakfast.

The nurse scolded me for that too.

“You do NOT need insulin. Your blood sugar is going to drop more.”

I gave the bolus anyway.

“Well, I can’t wait to see what your reading is at lunch.”

On this particular day, T was still in the NICU because he was jaundiced, so he had to spend most of his time under the blue lights. I got to hold him for just 30 minutes at his feeding times. That was it.

At noon, I walked back to the NICU to feed my baby and hold him for my short time. Evidently, this is when I was supposed to check my blood sugar as well, so my nurse followed me back to the NICU. She stood over me to tell me I needed to go back to the room to check. I had to tell her to wait for me to go back to my room so I could enjoy holding my son.

When I finally did go back, she was waiting. Before she checked, she said, “Guess we’re about to see who was right this morning! I bet you feel weak from that extra insulin.”

I didn’t…and my blood sugar was 106…a perfect reading.

The rest of the week went similarly to this.

Please don’t mistake what I’m saying for disrespecting nurses. I am so thankful for nurses and the care they provided. I saw the doctor twice that week. It was the nurses who were providing all the care.

I just think, if you are going to work in a place where you are taking care of people, you need to know about medical conditions. If you don’t know about a medical condition, like type 1 diabetes, let the patient manage it. I understood them needing to check my blood sugars on their machines for records, but I could have called when I needed them. I DID sign a waiver that said I could care for myself, so I should’ve been allowed to do that.

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Lesson #6: Thomas is mine…not the hospital’s.

T’s stay in the NICU allowed the hospital to decide certain things that I was not able to. When he ate. Whether I got to breast feed or not. How often I got to hold him. All of that was decided in the NICU. The nurses took excellent care of Thomas. I was so thankful that I was able to leave him with people I knew would care for him the way he needed to be cared for, but, when we got home, those nurses weren’t there anymore. I continued to follow the schedule the nurses gave me very strictly. I went to the doctor they instructed me to visit even though it wasn’t convenient for me. I continued to do several things that were unnecessary for T’s care just because the hospital did it.

Then, I had a realization.

Thomas is MY son. If I want to change his schedule so that I get better sleep at night, I can do that. If I want to take him to see a doctor that’s in a more convenient location for me, I can do that too. I get to make the decisions concerning my son’s care because I know what is going to be best for him AND our family.

While this seems like something simple to learn, it was more difficult than I anticipated.

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Lesson #7: Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle.

For the first few months of T’s life, I didn’t swaddle him because I didn’t think he liked it. He cried every time I tried to wrap him up. Finally, I decided to try swaddling him again at the end of October. No joke, he slept through the night. I was so thankful for a full night of sleep. I decided to try swaddling him the next night. He slept through the night AGAIN.

It was like magic.

Now, T doesn’t really eat on a schedule, but he knows that when he’s swaddled at the end of the day, it’s time for him to sleep. Now, he’s sleeping from 11:00pm to, at least, 8:30am…if not later.

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Lesson #8: Just tell your husband you need help.

My husband, love him, is like a lot of other men. They want to help…they really do…but they don’t pick up on your hints, sighs, or passive-aggressive statements very well.

It’s like they’re oblivious to the mind games we’re trying to play! How dare they not be able to tell what we’re thinking at all times of the day. They should know when you need help!

Just kidding…but sometimes, my mind really does work like that.

My husband is the sweetest man on the planet. He loves me so much, and I am so thankful for him. This does not excuse the fact that, at times, he’s clueless (sorry dear).

When Thomas is crying, and I have been bouncing, rocking, playing, singing, etc. trying to get him to stop for what seems like hours, I tend to walk next to my husband and sigh, nudge, make a statement, etc. hoping he would offer to take him. Unfortunately, he would just walk away.

He was giving me a chance to learn to be a mom…which I am SO thankful for…but a newborn cry is nothing like I have ever dealt with before. It’s absolutely exhausting emotionally and physically. Horrible.

The first time I actually said, “Honey, please take him for a few minutes I need a break.” He responded with, “Okay! I’m so sorry. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do.”

SO SWEET.

I was and still am incredibly thankful for my husband being so helpful with Thomas.

Ladies- if you want your husband’s help, just tell him. Don’t try to hint around or act like everything’s completely fine. Also, it’s OKAY to ask for help. I don’t know what it is, but I felt like, because I am T’s mom, it was my responsibility to calm him and take care of him at all times. Ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village.”? That could not be more true when it comes to babies.

Anyway…I promise your husband does want to help you in any way he can. He’s just clueless.

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Lesson #9: Time flies.

I had Thomas August 27, 2018. It is now January 8, 2019.

WHAT?

What on earth happened to my precious newborn baby? He’s now four months old.

I know four months seems like a long time, but, I promise, it’s not. Thomas is changing every day. He’s smiling, giggling (sort of), holding his head up, etc.

He’s growing.

Mamas and Daddies- cherish the time you have with your “baby-baby”. Hold him or her as much as you want/can. Don’t let people tell you how important it is to put them down and let them be. Soon, you won’t be able to hold them anymore. They won’t want to lay their head on your chest and take a nap. Cherish the time because it really does fly.

Lesson #10: Date nights

When you’re a new mom, the likelihood of you having the desire to leave your baby with a sitter or with his or her grandparents is slim. You want to spend every second you have with your baby. I get that, but do NOT let your marriage fall to the wayside because you are unwilling to spend time with just your husband. It’s an easy trap to fall into because, for some reason, you feel guilty for leaving your newborn. Again, I get it.

Please, please, please remember that, when your kiddos grow up and move out, you still have your husband. Don’t put all your time and energy into your relationship with your kids and then wake up and realize there’s a stranger sleeping next to you. Yes, spend time with your kids. Yes, spend time as a family unit. Build those relationships but continue to build your marriage as well. It’s OKAY to go out on a date with your husband without your baby.

It’s OKAY to plan a weekend away and leave your baby with a sitter or grandparents.

I talked about love in a previous blog post. There’s an important order to love the people in your life.

First- Love God.

Second- Love people.

People, of course, is broken into subcategories. SO…

Love God. Love your spouse. Love your kids. Love people.

One of my favorite quotes from my daddy is, “When you love God first, you love others better.”

Go on dates. Take time to be with each other. Relax. Fall in love all over again. Build your relationship with your husband.

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Being a first-time parent (or a parent in general) is the definition of crazy, but it’s the best thing in the world at the same time.

I hope all of you have a fantastic day!

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