I had a lot of anxiety before giving birth to Connor. I expected a rough recovery, painful nursing sessions and the baby blues. I however did not expect these 10 things to happen…
#1. A long labor.
Every one told me the second child comes FAST. People warned me about staying on Cape Cod until the day before my due date. They joked my baby would be born on the side of route 6 in typical summer traffic. I went to the hospital to be induced 7 days late at 8 am. I probably started to feel contractions around 9 pm that night. I started pushing around 4:30 am and Connor was born 40 minutes later. I expected to push 3 times and be done. I birth big babies so I should have known better but after 20 minutes, I was frustrated that my labor was unlike what I had expected. I honestly thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it which sounds so silly in retrospect but I was kind of delirious.
#2. To have an epidural and not need stitches!
I read somewhere that often people who have epidurals needs stitches down there more than people who go pain med free because they can feel when to push. I contemplated going epidural free for this reason because I knew it would make my recovery much easier. Luckily, I was given a mild epidural and woke up when I felt the baby down low and knew it was time to push. They say you know when you’re ready but I didn’t expect to feel it with an epidural. At first when I started to get uncomfortable I pushed the epidural button for more drugs but only hit it once. The nurse came in to check me and agreed I was ready to push. After 40 minutes of pushing, I felt the ring of fire which I did not expect. They told me to wait before pushing again. It was very painful for about 2 minutes and then when I felt another contraction begin, I just pushed on my own kind of ignoring the doctors. Connor’s head was out and with one more push, so was his body. Miraculously, I didn’t tear and the doctor said she thought it was because I waited.
#3. To eat Southern BBQ during labor…
I always was under the impression you couldn’t eat during labor or if you did, it had to be clear!
I was induced so I knew the baby was coming soon. In between my second and third (final) dose of cytotec, Nick and I left to go have dinner in the Fenway area. I wasn’t that hungry but knew if I didn’t eat I would be screwed. In my head I thought the biscuits from Sweet Cheeks would be a light dinner… When I had Tommy, I didn’t eat anything for about 10 hours from the time I started having contractions until he was born and really for another 8 hours because the kitchen at the hospital was closed and the sandwich they offered me after delivery sounded gross. I was hungry but they wouldn’t let me eat anything at MGH except Italian ice and chicken broth. I was throwing up pretty regularly from 3 pm until 10 pm. Pain meds have always made me super nauseous and I think the fact that I was starving didn’t help. At Beth Israel, they didn’t care what I ate. I had a falafel sandwich for lunch and then bbq chicken with biscuits, and cheesy broccoli for dinner. They said not to have anything heavy but apparently I forgot about the throwing up and ah hem, the potential for it to come out the other end… Regardless, it all worked out. I didn’t throw up, not sure about the later, but no one said anything so WIN!
#4. Breastfeeding to be fairly painless from the beginning.
Breastfeeding was the hardest part in regards to child-rearing for me the first time around. I’m still shocked I was able to pull through. I know they say it’s not supposed to hurt but when you have flat nipples as a first time mom and develop cracks and mastitis within a week, it’s pretty hard to not hurt. Since my chest looks nothing like it did pre-Tommy, I think that has a lot to do with the ease I had with Connor. Of course I’m lucky that he is not tongue tied and latched very quickly but I am amazed that I did not need to walk around topless with lanolin cream lathered all across my chest. I know women who have not been able to nurse their first and could with their second and vice versa. Every child and every pregnancy is different and I just got lucky in this department but I do credit my extended nursing with Tommy for my ease this time around. I literally had one year off from nursing and really 4 months off from lending my body to growing another human if you count being pregnant.
For those that are new, I weaned Tommy last summer at 18 months so we could get pregnant again.
#5. To dodge the baby blues… so far!
I did not have postpartum depression but I did have postpartum baby blues 7-10 days after Tommy was born. I was an emotional mess. Going from 0 to 1 kids for me was very hard. I struggled partly because I was alone in the city in the middle of winter. Gone were my days of coming and going as I pleased. I worked for myself, I worked around the city and now I couldn’t go anywhere without this attached to me. If we went for a walk, it’s not like I could just nurse him in the park, it was below freezing. With Connor, the weather is great and I have help! I’m also already used to going to bed at 9:30 pm and waking up at 6/7 am with Tommy. It’s not really a lifestyle change, it’s just adjusting to manage another child and juggling their schedules. I think being outside, having my mom and her husband, my dad has come down to the cape a bunch to help me too, and Nick took off 2 weeks! He hardly took any time off with Tommy. I did develop postpartum anxiety I’m pretty sure but I don’t feel like I even have that this time around. I feel very relaxed and am very happy.
I also think this is because I am aware of how short this newborn phase really is. I know I’m going to blink and summer will be over. Once I’m back in Boston, I’ll be 6 weeks postpartum and will be able to exercise again and Tommy will be in school 3 days a week. I think both of these things will significantly help my mood.
#6. That Tommy would be the one that I would struggle with during the 4th trimester.
Newborns are a piece of cake compared to a toddler. Tommy loves his brother and is so sweet to him but man are toddlers challenging especially when they don’t get a good nap.
#7. I didn’t expect to be totally content with not working out still.
I was definitely excited to get back into working out with Tommy at this point and with the heat, I’m totally good with chilling for another 3 weeks.
#8. To still not have had sushi!!!
#9. To not have weighed myself… I have no idea but I did try on a pair of jeans in my pre baby size and they were no where near fitting.
#10. To feel this well rested!
I’m not getting a ton of sleep, I just think my expectations are low and I know there is an end in sight. On average I probably get between 6 and 7 hours, I did get 4 a couple of nights ago. The difference is that it’s easy to power through a few weeks when you are hopeful that the end is near. I know some kids are never good sleepers but I’ve been reading Baby Wise and am determined to have Connor “sleep through the night” by 12 weeks. Last night, he slept from 10-3 am and then went back to sleep until 5:45 and then again until 8:30 am. The night before was a disaster… he slept from 9-12:30, woke up again at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30 and then was up until 4:30 and woke up for the day at 7. That was my 4 hour night.
Why surprised you most after the birth of your second kid?
I had my first in December and my second in June and it was SUCH a difference. I felt trapped in our apartment that December (2013, when Boston had literally 3 blizzards and it snowed every week) and with my son last June we could just get up and get out. It was just so much easier.