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My First Year as a First-Time Mama

Disclaimer: This is basically an essay on a lot of things baby and sometimes it does get graphic, use caution squimish people! Especially if you're not sure you want to have a baby, you shouldn't read. JUST KIDDING, please read

Picture taken by Nicole Brennan of Little Wildflower Photography

If you didn't know, I'm a mom. Or Mama as I like to fondly refer to myself (and Baby R refers to me as well). This is not a new concept and many women await the day to find out they will be a new mom and enter into the club that is known as motherhood. Honestly, one of the most common clubs out there. For all its common-ness, it is one of the most amazing adventures a woman will partake in. Would I have said that a year ago? A year and a half ago? Nope. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. And I'm not the only one right? All new moms must go through this limbo of I-Have-No-Idea-What-Is-Going-On phase. I remember thinking my due date as the end of all days. Not because I was dreading the day AT ALL please do not misunderstand me, it was because the future was a blur to me. I had nothing to compare what life was suddenly going to be like. I knew the holidays would come and go, I had some weddings to attend, and I knew people were visiting at certain times but whereas before I imagined myself and my significant other and maybe remember some past holidays and that warm feeling you get from the excitement and smells I just could not for the life of me imagine what the year was going to bring. What would I be doing? Where would I be? Would it be the same? and of course the third-trimester anxiety kicks in: "Did I make a mistake?" "Am I ready to be a mom?" "Maybe I can be pregnant forever." That last one is a favorite of mine because that's exactly what I asked my OB-GYN because I was just too comfortable with how my life was at the moment and I was scared for what was to come. Her response "Your baby is coming whether you get her out or I do". Honestly, that will stay with me forever and it just reflected exactly what I needed to do even though I didn't want to do it. And that scenario will play out a lot in years to come. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done even though you carry so much uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. I gave this same advice to a girl working in Home Depot that I just kept running into every weekend. It may even be called serendipity that we kept running into each other for many different reasons. Finally when we spoke she told me how scared she was of labor. I am not one to go around giving advice to fellow mamas, especially because I hate receiving advice it always makes me feel that the other mama finds me inadequate somehow which I know is not always the case but I always keep to myself nevertheless. Anyways, all I said to her was, "Your baby is coming". You have to go through labor whether you like it or not. And once you do, you have your baby. Simple.

My Birth Story:

My whole pregnancy and finding out I was pregnant was pretty boring to be honest so I won't go into details. Routine stuff. Peed on a stick. Got myself pregnancy confirmed. Stopped drinking alcohol and cutting back on deli meat (though I still ate sushi whoops! Though you just need to cut back your mercury ridden fish and make sure the kitchen is clean and the restaurant reputable, k?). Anyways, Baby R was late! My OB-GYN and I made the decision for inducement. I still refused the epidural because I wanted to prove something to myself. And quite honestly, I wanted to prove to my S.O. that I wasn't that big of a baby when it comes to pain. Pshaww I could totally do it. Friday May 1st 5:00am we woke up to get ready for the hospital. I was supposed to eat something. Yeah right. I think I had two bites of oatmeal. I was so nervous. When I'm really anxious I get tingles in my butt. Too much? haha! I'm taken to a nice labor room and set my stuff down and get into my beautiful Chanel paper towel dress. The nurse comes in and gives me the rundown, I LOVED her. She was with me until the bitter end of that day (luckily it was the same day!) patting my back and cheering me on. I made it clear I did not want Pitocin which is the most common drug used for labor inducement. I had heard so many awful things about it that the contractions just come too hard all at once and it makes the process more painful. So instead, my doctor gave me Cervidil which is a small pill-like drug that they ahem put into your well erm vagina. Let's get graphic shall we? This drug slowly relaxes your uterus so you ease into your contractions. It took hours for the full blown contractions to hit and by that time I was so ready. But then I wasn't ready. I remember sitting in a chair staring at the floor trying to meditate through the pain. Basically it felt like a sledgehammer was being bashed into my lower back on both sides and the ripple effect was taking over my entire body. The nurse came in to check on me a few times and suggested I sit on a birthing ball. Now I know this helps some women, for me I lost control of myself. My water broke at that point which scared the hell out of me because I thought I had actually peed myself in front of everyone. Once your water breaks and a handful of people see it, all demureness is gone. I don't know what it was about the birthing ball, but my contractions got worse and so so uncomfortable. The nurse kept asking if I wanted the epidural and I kept refusing. Finally, I was dilated 8 centimeters. I was hanging onto my S.O.'s neck begging for drugs. Literally begging. Though there was a lot of tears too, I wasn't acting like a crazy person. I was truly disappointed in myself I couldn't get through it on will alone. The nurse came in to say the anesthesiologist was going into a C-section and wouldn't be available for me if I decided to take an epidural so it was my last chance so I caved. I get the epidural and really I got it at the best time. They didn't give me a full dose since I was so close and I still had control over my lower body and later could still feel how hard I was pushing but the contractions were dulled. Anyways, I get the shot and suddenly Baby R is ready. Like immediately. From the time I got the shot till when she was born was max 20 minutes. Though I almost had to go in for a C-section. Baby's heart rate suddenly dropped and they couldn't stabilize her. I was also so nervous I was shaking uncontrollably and my temperature was dropping so I think they must have piled on about 15 blankets. My doctor comes in (my sassy OB-GYN) and I swear she put on some kind of HAZMAT clothing and she says "I'm putting this on because you're about to have your baby. I don't put this on unless you're pushing". I tell you what I pushed so hard she came out on about the 5th and the nurses were whispering to my S.O. that I was an amazing pusher. So take that! She was born 7:16pm 8lbs 4oz. And you know what is amazing? They cry when they come out. Just like in the movies. That was honestly what was going through my mind. Do I still feel disappointed I got an epidural? Absolutely not. And for women who want to go natural and then get an epidural or get an epidural to begin with, there is no reason to feel ashamed or guilty the only important thing is that you have your baby and both of you are healthy. For those who do go au natural... kudos to you you crazy women!

What they don't tell you:

- You bleed. A lot.

- One of the scariest moments ever is having your first bowel movement.

- The nurses go into the bathroom with you every time until the amount of blood coming out decreases

- You may not get any sleep in the hospital

- They give you a bunch of paperwork and you have to make your baby's first pediatrician appointment before you leave (good luck if you're there on the weekend)

- People come in and out of your room CONSTANTLY

- They make you wear granny panties

- You do not suddenly go skinny. Your stomach looks deflated and weird and about 3 or 4 months pregnant. This is normal.

- Your first week you sweat. Like, profusely. Personally, I lost 15lbs in one week from sweat. DRINK LOTS OF WATER.

- When your first period comes, there's a mixture of feelings from fear (what is this?!), happiness (YES I got my period again!), and contempt (dammit I have to buy tampons again).


These were my best friend when I came home from the hospital. I think they really helped the healing process though obviously not scientifically proven. Either way, they feel good on your vajayjay that just did quite a lot of work.

Period Pads (I suggest specific overnight ones since they are extra absorbent)

Witch Hazel

Aloe Vera gel


1. Unwrap GENTLY each pad, you don't want to take the tabs off that seal it back up or completely take it out of the wrapper. This is just to expose the inside.

2. Put a good amount of witch hazel and Aloe Vera gel on each.

3. Wrap each back up and place all in a big ziploc bag. Place in the freezer.

4. To use, unwrap completely right out of the freezer and place in your underwear. Enjoy the cool, relaxing, soothing, and healing sensation of padsicles.

Some things I learned my first year:

1. It's okay to leave a baby crying for a BIT so you can collect yourself.

2. Everyone loves to give advice about YOUR baby, just say "thank you" and move on (scream about later)

3. You will think you're doing something wrong 90% of the times You most likely are doing everything right.

4. Even though you have at least one mom envy and it just seems they are perfect, remember they don't show crying, overtired, fussy babies on their social media.

5. It's okay to be frustrated, this doesn't mean you're not patient. It means you're human.

6. Messes happen, don't get flustered.

7. Sometimes the mess gets on you.

8. Routines are phases. They change. All. The. Time.

9. Not everything will be in your control.

10. Babies CAN sleep through the night, you have to believe in them. (Read Pamela Druckerman's Bringing Up Bebe, I read it and Baby R slept 8 hours straight by 6 weeks old).

11. Treat your baby as a significant person with respect and avoid the baby talk.

12. It's okay to leave baby with a babysitter so you and your partner can enjoy a night out stress-free.

13. When you go on a trip with baby, yes you are packing the entire house.

14. Breast-feeding is not as simple or intuitive as it may seem. Both you and Baby need to practice at it!

15. Lanolin is a necessity.

16. Bless you if you are nursing in the summertime, the smell of breastmilk and sweat becomes a perfume. But don't worry, you will not smell like that forever.

17. If you want to exclusively breastfeed, you will encounter the nightmares of a growth spurt. DO NOT substitute with formula when you feel you are not producing enough (of course talk to your child's pediatrician if you think something is absolutely wrong, baby is losing weight, and you're not producing). By substituting with something else, your body will not produce up to par with your child. You have to stick through the growth spurt. In my experience, crying helped.

18. If you switch or feed your child formula, this does not make you a bad mother. You are nourishing your child. Again, you are NOT a bad mother. Formula is not evil.

19. After having a baby, you are the same person, only modified. By this I mean, you are you but you've learned how to handle stress in a different way, what your absolute pushed limit is, how much your body can handle after disjointed sleep, and how to survive after forgetting to eat for hours.

20. Babies LOVE routine. Be consistent but not military strict. And again, they change. You have to be flexible.

**This list is bound to get bigger when I think of all the things I've learned and I would love other mothers' input as well because there's a lot in just one year!

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