So, I’m a mom now, guys. Mr. Baby has made it through 5 months of life all in one piece so that officially makes me a parenting expert now, right?
Jokes! I often feel like I have no idea what I’m doing!
I have two mottos/mantras for myself as a mom:
That being said, I wanted to write out while it was still somewhat fresh some reflections about my pregnancy. This isn’t an advice column. This isn’t implying that what was right for me is right for anyone else. But I know that I might forget all of this if I don’t write it down so … here it goes.
Five things I’m glad I did during my pregnancy
- Take classes at the hospital – Classes helped me feel a lot less anxious. First of all, even if you don’t take classes (which did cost money but I felt was worth the investment), I do highly recommend a hospital tour. Ours offered a free walk through of the labor and delivery floor and calmed my nerves a lot. The nurse even told us exactly where we should park and what doors to enter through so my weird panic nightmares of wandering a hospital with no idea of where to go and no one around to help me subsided.
The baby classes we took were called Lamaze Plus, which was four weeks of lamaze and information about the actual labor part of things; one week of baby care; one week of breastfeeding.
Important things I took away from those 6 weeks:
- What signs to look for that labor is starting
- Your water breaking is not like it is in the movies
- What kinds of things would be important to me in a birth plan
- The fact that a birth plan is just that – a plan! If things don’t go exactly as planned, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you failed if you wanted to try a natural birth and end up needing an epidural or a C-section. The goal is to do whatever you have to do to get a heathy baby out of you!
- Breathing techniques
- How to swaddle a baby
- Breastfeeding is natural but not always easy
- Breast milk storage guidelines (we got a helpful print out)
I think another important factor was that Andy was there with me. He learned a lot but I think it also helped prepare him for being in the delivery room with me. His stance early in my pregnancy was that he didn’t want to see anything that was going on and being kind of skeeved out by the idea of labor. But after the classes and once the day came, he was right there, helping to hold my legs as I pushed and watching our son’s head crown.
2. Pinterest research – Listen. I know that Pinterest can be a place that can make you feel like a horrible person because you aren’t, like, making your own homemade organic toilet paper. But it did help me and might help you if you know that you have to sift through some of the crazy to find the gold. Here’s what I found most helpful from my pregnancy Pinteresting:
- Suggestions on what to register for and what to skip. Sure, some of those posts are for the kind of rich ladies who can drop bank on thousand dollar prams or are sponsored for Dr. So and So’s Booger Rags or whatever but if you click through enough of those, especially some from sites like The Bump and not just “mommy blogs”, you’ll get a good idea of what’s standard and what you might not need.
- What to pack in the hospital bag. I wayyyy overpacked but it gave me peace of mind to pack those bags in the weeks leading up to my delivery.
- Reading up about what to expect postpartum was eye-opening. Like, that is something I had NO clue about before I got pregnant and wowza. It might freak some people out but it helped me prep psychologically for everything that was going to happen physically.
- Super prepared mamas on Pinterest inspired me to create a “labor action plan” for scenarios like the following, copied from the actual document I typed up for myself and husband:
If I’m at work when my water breaks or contractions get serious: 1) Call Andy. 2) Try to note COAT (color, odor, amount and time) re: water breaking and/or start timing contractions. 3) Notify manager I’m leaving. 4) If able, drive myself home. If unable, ask available co-worker to drive me home.
My plan included the work scenario, “If I’m home and Andy’s not home”; “What to do once we’re both home and things look serious” and then steps for my husband: Driving to and parking at the hospital; Check-in & what paperwork we might need; Contacting family members to let them know I’m in labor and to go take care of our dog; what to bring in from the car and what to leave in the car; and to say things like this to me to get me through it:
3. Stockpile shopping – Another idea I got from Pinterest and I’m so glad I did. Stocking up for both the baby and for things for our house helped satiate that nesting instinct that they say kicks in at the end but I feel like I had during my entire pregnancy.
For Mr. Baby, I started buying diapers and wipes pretty regularly on shopping trips, starting in my 2nd trimester. I only bought when I had coupons or there was a sale (Cartwheel FTW, I love Target) so I didn’t feel like I was breaking the bank. I had no clue what brand we would like best so I bought Pampers, Huggies, Seventh Generation, Babyganics, Target brand, Babies R Us brand, and Luvs. I used this post I found on Pinterest as a rough rule of thumb re: pricing and how many diapers we would need and had a good supply of Newborn and Size 1 diapers and a large basket full of wipes by the time he was born. Mind you, he was a 9 lb 3 oz baby so we could have jumped right to size 1 diapers (many people on the internet suggest not buying Newborn size at all for this reason) but even though he was a big baby, the size 1 seemed huge on him at first and newborn worked for us for the first month. We only had to go out and buy diapers maybe … twice… during my maternity leave. With my shopping and what we received from showers, we were set until he moved into size 2 diapers.
I wouldn’t have thought to do this if it weren’t for Pinterest but having household goods fully stocked was a lifesaver. First, I knew that I was not going to want to leave the house in the dead of winter with a newborn. Second, I knew that I wanted Andy to get home from work ASAP and not spend time out doing needless shopping and away from us. So, I decided to fill our closets and pantry with:
- Mega rolls of toilet paper and paper towels
- Multipacks of tissues
- Bottles of hand sanitizer for every stinking room in the house
- Gallon jug of hand soap
- Dishwasher detergent
- Laundry detergent
- Trash bags
- Slow cooker liners
- Dog food
- Pretzels and other snacks that wouldn’t go bad right away
- Cleaning supplies (many of which we found at the Dollar Tree – great resource for this kind of stockpile shopping)
4. Freezer stocking – I was lucky enough to have a friend organize a girls’ night at my house where they prepared freezer crockpot meals for us and this was AWESOME. While we didn’t eat them all the time and not every recipe was a winner, it was such a relief to know that they were always there if we needed something because God knows, I was not in the mood to cook during the last few weeks of pregnancy and the majority of my maternity leave. Plus, a few turned out great – Lemon Pepper Chicken, Mini Stuffed Peppers and Chicken Tacos were our favorites.
5. SLEEP – People would ask how I was feeling during my pregnancy and I would often respond, “I’m tired” and the parents in the group would always say, “Oh, just you wait.” Man. They were right. Newborn baby tired is a whole new level of tired. I’m so glad that I took the time to just be lazy and sleep in and go to bed early and relax while I could because I’ve been operating on chunks of sleep, ranging from 30 minutes to maybe 6 hours max, for the past 5 months.
Coming soon: What I wish I had done during my pregnancy & what helped me get through morning sickness and other pregnancy ailments.