Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Next Chapter of the Fat Kid Life

So we begin maternity leave. Food posts will ensue once I get the hang of managing an infant's schedule. Be ready for bagels, specialty Chex Mix, etc. I'm feeling ambitious for the next 15 weeks.

As I'm re-entering the blogging world, the mix of posts will be a little more varied. It'll mostly be about food, but there will be a dabbling of Notorious B.Y.G. posts as well.

I've been very fortunate through this pregnancy. Not only did I have friends who already had children, but also friends who were pregnant as well, so I was surrounded by a wealth of support and was able to crowd source answers to all my burning questions. I also had my family nearby, who would deliver home made meals and come take walks with me towards the end of my pregnancy. Most importantly, I had Joe, who rubbed my feet every night, randomly left me sweet notes, and was my rock every time I freaked out about something (which was all the time). For all of this, I am extremely grateful.

I think there are things everyone knows about pregnancy, but here are some of the things I learned that I wish someone had just told me before hand, so I was more prepared:

  1. You basically lose all dignity. You constantly pee or leak fluid during contractions (so you're always wetting the bed). You need help to pee because you have an IV attached to you. You get over it quickly because you're in a lot of pain.
  2. We all know that labor is painful, but the recovery is just as bad (especially if you take an epidural, I'd argue that recovery is almost worse). You're organs are trying to get back into their normal spots, you continue to bleed non-stop, moving around is hard, sitting is hard (if you had stitches and they're still healing), and you have to mentally prepare for bowel movements for the first week (trust me on this).
  3. Use your hospital resources. It's ok to not know how to do anything with the baby. We had amazing nurses that taught us everything. They hooked us up with lots of supplies to get us through the first week at home. There's no shame in asking for help. I hit the nurse call button at least 10x a day. I had them there at every feed to show me again how to nurse a baby. If you want a pain killer - take it. Hospitals aren't going to give you anything that's harmful to you or the baby (it's too large a liability for them). I learned more in the two days at the hospital than in any class or by reading any blog, etc. 
  4. Everyone tells you, you should breastfeed. What no one says is that breastfeeding is tough and can be extremely painful. If you're like me, you don't produce enough to satiate your child. There's no shame in taking formula, people make you feel like there is, but there isn't. I accidentally starved Bethany for 36 hrs because I didn't think I should use formula. Then I cried uncontrollably at the thought that I was starving her. Sure, there are benefits to breast milk, but a full milk drunk baby is a happy baby, so do what you got to do.
  5. You will cry uncontrollably, both mom and dad (or at least feel very emotional). It's ok, go for it. There will be times in the first week, you just want to quit because the baby won't stop screaming. You'll feel like you're already a bad parent. Post-partum depression is real - I think different people feel it to different extents and in different ways. Joe reminded me every day that I was doing great, my friends told me things were going to get easier, and all of that was true. Old acquaintances reached out with words of encouragement and people constantly checked in to see how I was doing. Having a good support system is everything.
Finally, I leave you with this. Everyone's got an opinion. You can listen to them and evaluate them, but do what's right for you and the baby. Take some precautions, but mommy instincts will kick in quickly. 

This little one is already everything to Joe and me. I can't believe for the last month this full human was living inside me! Also, how can you love something so much instantly?

Bethany Yu Gagnon. 8 lbs. 5 oz. 20.5 inches born 10/9/16.
10 days later! She already looks so different.
She loves her Daddy. The best part of her day is skin-to-skin time with Daddy.
We're in for a lifetime of battles. It starts with breastfeeding!
Yes, I still have a teddy bear and I'm not ashamed. I'll pretend it belongs to Bethany.

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