I know this because I've been fortunate to have a bit of experience with children and babies. I started babysitting at age 12 or 13 and continued to do that through college. I was even an evening nanny for a family with a 4 year old girl and newborn twin boys when I was in college. The mom had a nanny that was there all day helping her and then I would come in the evenings to help with the babies (feeding them, rocking them to sleep, etc). There were several other families I babysat for in college and I still remember all of their names and I can't help but think of them sometimes and wonder how they're all doing. They were all so different in terms of their behavior, their needs, etc. This definitely gave me a glimpse into the "every baby/child" is different statement. In my last year of high school I was also a certified gymnastics coach and for a year I coached at a local gym about five days a week on average (I worked after school and on weekends). The kids I coached ranged a lot in age---from the mom and tot class to 7 year olds to 12 year olds. I really loved coaching and seeing how the kids progressed in both their skill level and confidence.
Anyway---my point is, that despite having this experience caring for kids and babies---it simply doesn't compare or equate in any way to being responsible for your own baby 24/7. Though I'm thankful to have had all of those experiences, I know that the reality of caring for a newborn (and baby and toddler and child...) is not easy, and frankly, for most moms, it's an emotional roller coaster ride.
One of my best friends had her son a year ago and she has been so wonderful with giving me honest feedback about her experiences those first few weeks---and months. Like how hard breastfeeding was at first, the sleepless nights, the constant worry---but also the incredible love, joy and fulfillment she felt as a new mom. It's refreshing to me when moms share the challenges because I think it helps first-time moms have a more realistic view of what those first few months (and maybe longer) might be like. Undoubtedly it will be the best and most amazing time in my life---and also one of the most difficult and frustrating because you want so badly to be the best mom you can be and I'm sure there are days where you feel like anything but.
Next month, my husband and I are going to take the infant care, infant CPR and breastfeeding classes offered by the hospital I'm delivering at and I know they'll be informative, but even with that knowledge under our belts, I'm sure there will be times where I question every decision and call the pediatrician's office in a panic. I think there's actually a lot of comfort (for me) in the fact that I know and don't expect it to be a piece of cake.
There are also three girls at my office all coming back from maternity leave this month (we seriously have a baby boom going on in our department!) so I know I can look to them for new-mamma advice since they just got through those first few months.
Sorry for the ramble, I guess now that we're just three months out, I'm thinking a lot more about life when she's here. We are just so excited to meet her and so excited for everything that's ahead---from the first smile to the first dirty diaper to the first (and definitely not last) sleepless night.
My question for all of you mammas this week: how did your expectations about how life will be with a newborn/baby match up to the reality? Did you think it would be harder or easier than it was? What did you do to prepare yourself for the challenges? I'd love to hear your feedback!
How far along? 27 weeks (I do these a week behind as a recap of the previous week, so I'm actually 28 weeks today).
Total weight gain/loss: I found out at my 28 week appointment this morning that I am up 12 lbs total. I gained 2 lbs from my 24 week to my 28 week appointment.
Maternity clothes? Still wearing maternity pants and regular tops and blouses, though some of those are getting short and/or snug. I'll have to start breaking out my looser tunics and maternity dresses soon!
Stretch marks? Nope, I'm continuing to use Belli's Elasticity Belly Oil, Mamma Mio Tummy Rub and Mustela double-action stretch mark cream in rotation. My favorite thus far is the Mustela.
Symptoms: Overall, I continue to feel pretty good. I did have a really terrible hive outbreak on my legs at 27 weeks and the itch was probably one of the worst I've ever experienced. I had a few areas on my legs with such bad hive flare-ups that it caused me to develop a rash from the scratching (seriously, I tried not to but it was unbearable). I have been using Curel's itchy skin moisturizer and coconut oil at night to try and clam them down. The hives probably aren't pregnancy related since I used to take medication for my hives prior to becoming pregnant, but it seems they have gotten worse as I am further along. Truly though, I feel like if this is my worst symptom, then I'll gladly deal with it as it doesn't happen every single day.
Something else I've never mentioned are leg cramps. I finally started to experience those---maybe once or twice a week. One of them was so bad that it woke me up and I jolted up in bed, grabbed my leg and yelled some profanities. Then, I went right back to sleep when the pain subsided. The next morning I asked my husband if he remembered me getting up in the middle of the night cursing and he said "yep" and told me he asked me if I was okay, which I don't even remember. Fortunately the cramps I experience are typically pretty mild and a bit of stretching will stop them.
I also still have some hip/thigh pain from sleeping on my side, but it goes away when I wake up and start moving around. My skin also cleared up a bit this week.
Sleep: I'm sleeping okay---getting up to pee and a little tossing and turning to try to get comfortable but overall I am getting enough sleep as I'm going to bed earlier. This morning I was awake from about 4-6 a.m. I just couldn't fall back alseep again...and baby girl was kicking up a storm (which I love).
Best moment this week: The nursery bathroom and closet are both painted and we have our 4D ultrasound coming up this weekend. We can't wait!
Have you told family and friends: Yes!
Miss Anything? Sleeping on my stomach, not having to hoist my body over a Snoogle every morning...
Movement: She is kicking and rolling all over the place in there---I notice it much more frequently now. I love love love to feel her move. It feels comforting.
Food cravings: Thin Mints, cereal with milk, fruit.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Have you started to show yet: Someone in the elevator at work yesterday asked me when I was due...so I would say YES! I really love watching my bump grow.
Baby is a: Girl!
Belly Button in or out? Still in, but it's starting to show through some shirts...it's an interesting shape. Ha.
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Our 4D ultrasound, my next OB appointment, continuing to get everything ready for the baby.
Thank you for reading and for all of my pregnant readers, please feel free to check in below as well and let me know how your pregnancy is going :) I also welcome everyone's advice and comments about pregnancy!