Of Long Labors and Crinkly Whales

Recently, I was asked to offer some words of encouragement and advice to a friend expecting her first child. My first piece of advice? Pay no attention to even the most well-intentioned pieces of advice. With that said, here are a few things I’ve learned on my 3 trips to baby town.

 

  1. Doctors don’t want to scare you, so they don’t tell you exactly how long labor will last. But I will. Labor will last a long time. A few days. Yes, days. I know only two women whose first labors lasted less than 24-hours. Two. (I’m not counting scheduled C-sections.) And when you’re 40 weeks pregnant, anxious to meet your little one, in pain, and don’t know what to expect the whole process will seem excruciatingly long, miserable, and sometimes a bit out-of-control, no matter how well you plan. But you will be okay. You will.

 

  1. Get one of these.
rockn

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

 

  1. People with children who are teenagers or older will tell you to enjoy every minute, that it all goes by so fast. Those people are wrong. You won’t enjoy/savor/cherish every minute. In fact, I think it is far more likely that you’ll find a lot about caring for an infant to be tedious, repetitive, messy, exhausting and not-so-fun. BUT, it gets better, and there are lovely, quiet, rewarding, amazing moments.

 

  1. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re doing everything wrong. You aren’t.

 

  1. Forget what the books and registry guides say. Children don’t need much: love, warmth, a food source, and when they get a little older, a toy that makes a crinkly crunchy sound. You have enough and you are enough. Get this whale for the crinkly toy part.
Franky the Hanky Whale by Lamaze

Franky the Hanky Whale by Lamaze

  1. Don’t feel bad about asking for what you need. If someone asks what they can do to help, tell them to bring food and hold the baby for an hour while you shower and nap. Never underestimate the restorative power of a shower and a nap. (In the reverse, if someone is over-staying their welcome, don’t feel bad about asking them to leave.)

 

  1. Bring your own pillow to the hospital. The bed is uncomfortable enough. Don’t add to your misery by sleeping on a pillow encased in rubber.

 

You got this, Mama.

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Baby One More Time…

Baby. Two. Coming. Soon.

Oh.my.holy.heck.

I don’t feel ready.  My heart may be prepared to welcome this little one (Aside: ah, the unlimited capacity of the human heart is truly remarkable, isn’t it?! Sigh!), but my brain and the rest of my life?  Not so sure.

Sure, baby clothes are washed.  We have all of the required baby stuff.  The nursery is ready. We even have a glider this time around (woo-hoo!).  We have a tentative “here comes the baby!” plan with the grandparents.  I keep waiting for my, “Let’s do this!” moment.  Still waiting.  Tick tock.

Perhaps I was just more naive last time around?  (Yep.)

Perhaps I just realize what labor and delivery can and will be?  Perhaps I’m just worried that this time I just don’t have it in me?

Perhaps I realize that I will be stretched even thinner than I am now?

Perhaps I feel like I was just getting used to one kiddo?

Perhaps I feel a little guilty about shaking up Mr. Pickle Pumpkin’s world?

Perhaps I’m already exhausted and can’t imagine more exhaustion?

Perhaps I’m worried about losing myself a little bit?  Or a little bit more?

Perhaps I’m worried about the money?

Perhaps I’m worried about complications for me or baby?

Perhaps I’m just worried about the unknowns?

Perhaps I’m just being silly?

The train is a-comin’ – no stopping it now!  So I’m going to dig deep for some Baby 2 Zen and try to give myself a pep talk, suck it up, put on a happy face, (insert Pollyanna-ish “you-can-do-it” cliche here), and get ready for my new normal.

(Note: speaking of “new normal” – that phrase has to be on some Top 10 Overused Catch Phrase List somewhere. Yuck.  Three lashes with a wet noodle for me.)

I’m going to embrace the madness, embrace the fears, embrace the wonder, embrace the goodness. Because this baby will be a wonder and a gift (when I’m sleep deprived and deep in the depths of the baby blues, please remind me I wrote this).  This baby is a whole new person – the only him or her possible in this entire universe.  And that is amazing.  I can’t wait to meet him/her.  My own little bundle of amazing.