15 Pregnancy Secrets

There are so many secrets kept about pregnancy, and yet so many unwanted comments. Everyone wants to tell the newly pregnant mom their horror story, or tell them how to do it. What is right and what is wrong. It is truly a land mind of craziness and feelings of inadequacy. These are the things I've heard along the way that make me shake my head. 

Hospital is the only way.

Home birth is the only way.

Get the epidural.

How dare you consider an epidural.

Water births are soothing.

Water births are gross. 

You need a doctor. 

You need a midwife. 

You're carrying high, you're probably having a c-section.

Don't let your doctor talk you into a c-section.

Use this million dollar cream and you won't get stretch marks. 

Huh? So what are you supposed to do? Everyone says "read books and make your own decision" or "take a birth class" or "join a mom group". Do pregnant women really have that much time on their hands? I sure didn't. And then my bundle of love showed up ten weeks early!  

Here's what I know, you'll find what makes you comfortable no matter the crazy statements that surround you. You don't have to get an epidural, nor do you have to avoid one. Just do your research on each medical intervention to know what it does and if it limits you in other ways. There isn't a right way to eat a Reeces and there isn't only one right way to have a baby. It is a wild journey that may completely go off your birth plan, because you need it to, but be informed and listen to your body. 

Here's what I know now, after my son was born and after all my training to be a birth doula.
1 Everyone is different. There is no one way this should go. 
2 You may end up with a c-section. Read the section on c-sections. I stupidly didn't read it thinking, that won't happen to me. Well it did and there is a lot I wish I would have known before I went under the knife. But don't worry, scars a memories...and how does that phrase go, dudes love scars. It felt very much like being a Pac-Man after my c-section, like my body might split in half like a Pac-Man eating dots. Scary visual, but that is the best way I can explain it. And I promise you it was totally worth it. 
3 Breast feeding is best, however some babies don't latch, some mamas don't make enough milk, some mamas have had mastectomies and don't have nipples any more to protect themselves from cancer. There are so many factors, so don't freak out! There are lactation specialists, Le Lache League, Birth and Postpartum Doulas, nurses, friends. Reach out, ask questions, don't be shy. 
4 You don't need most of the crap the baby companies are trying to sell you. 
5 If your body is telling you, you don't feel right, always choose caution and get checked out. Take it from someone who's doctor told them "they were fine" and "not to come in". I ended up with a 10 week premature baby due to advanced preeclampsia. If you don't feel "right" just be careful and get checked out. You know more than your doctors with how your body feels. 
6 There is no cream in the world that will save you from stretch marks, your body either stretches or it doesn't. So save your money. Drink lots of water and be kind to yourself. 
7 A birth doula is an amazing support to you and your significant other during birth. 
8 No matter what you wrote in your birth plan, the paperwork the hospital has you fill out when you walk in the doors overrules it, unless you write on that form, something like "no episodomy", etc. they will do whatever they deem medically necessary. 
9 You will hurt between your vagina and your bottom after a vaginal birth. No one tells you that, but it will be rough going to the bathroom the first few times. 
10 Pick the hospital or birth center based on closeness to home, and their matched beliefs in birth to your birth plan. If a hospital has a 90% epidural rate, it is unlikely you will follow your birth plan not to use one if that is your wish. So know what you want, and pick based on your needs.
11 Your personal obgyn/doctor is unlikely to be the one to deliver your baby. Some other random doctor on staff will likely do it. 
12 During your labor and birth, nurses will come and go, you likely won't see a doctor until almost the end, so having a birth doula will help you through the whole labor. A constant support and familiar face is a blessing. 
13 Your birth doula (learn more about Doula's here) will come to your house once or twice after baby is born to check on you and baby, you may not realize it now, but it is such a wonderful thing to have that kind of support after. Most women are deserted at home alone with the baby and don't have the proper support postpartum. 
14 Make sure in every 24 hour shift, you get your 8 hours of sleep. Even if that means you stayed in bed in your jammies until noon. Do whatever you have to do to get rest. Sleep deprivation is awful.
15 No matter if it is your mom, sister or mother-in-law, don't be afraid or shy or scared to say, "I'm sorry baby and I are going to take a nap." and take time for yourselves. If they want to hang out and read a book or clean the dishes while you and baby bond, that's cool. But either way, you get your time! 

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