So I'm fairly certain that my cousin's wife, who is expecting her first child, is going to be super-psyched to read this post. Because I have managed to keep two small humans alive for the past six years, and because being helpful is my third-favorite hobby (after scrapbooking and drinking), I thought I'd dedicate a post to Jacquie, in which I share some of the really important things about pregnancy and babies that I've picked up along the way.
1. Pregnancy boobs are not yours to keep. This is really depressing, because it's the only good thing about pregnancy (well, besides all the eating and the actual baby). When you're not busy throwing up and napping during the first trimester, it's great to look in the mirror and see that, finally, the Boob Fairy has granted you the boobs you've been praying for since you were 15. Later, as your stomach swells, they provide a nice balance to your figure. Bigger boobs, bigger belly, bigger butt. But then the baby is born (I hope I didn't give anything away there) and your milk comes in. That's when they get really, scarily big and you will cry because now you're going to have to order those ugly, ultra-supportive bras that have 6 clasps in the back, straps an inch wide, and coverage that goes from just under your collar bone down to your belly button. However, before you vow to boycott Victoria's Secret and their refusal to create a line of 44GGs, just wait a few months. They'll get smaller. And then they'll get smaller and smaller. I know many women who were a C-cup before pregnancy who are now the proud owners of 36As. Yay, Mother Nature! Aren't we supposed to be promoting the evolution of the species? Way to help our cause.
2. Competitive farting is totally acceptable when you're pregnant. It might be the only time that you can actually beat your husband at this game. But once that baby is born, it goes back to being gross. Plus, you're a mother now, so you have to set a good example.
3. Not that I ever farted. Ever. But I've heard sometimes that happens. To some people who are not me.
4. Congratulations, it's a boy! You may have noticed that your newborn son is...how can I put this delicately...disproportionately large in a particular area? Now, before Daddy goes around proudly pointing at his son and declaring to everyone in the delivery room, "That's MY boy!", you should know that there's a swelling factor at play here. In fact, the swelling is from YOUR hormones, which are still coursing through your newborn's body. The lesson? Estrogen gives you big balls. As if we didn't already know that.
5. Here's a math problem for you: if you feed your infant approximately 4 oz. of liquid and he still has 1 oz. of liquid in his stomach from the last feeding, how many ounces will come back up when you go to burp him? (Hint: you need to use the following equation, in which x represents the number of ounces ingested and y represents the contents of the baby's belly: (x+y)3 ). Therefore, the correct answer is 125 oz. Never underestimate how much a baby can spit up. Or just how far spit-up can travel. Your baby might be small, but he can get some serious trajectory.
6. Six weeks after your baby arrives, you will have to visit the OBGYN for your post-partum check up. At this appointment, your formerly wonderful doctor who you just love, the very same one who placed your beautiful newborn in your arms, will reveal him or herself to be a sadist by declaring you fit to resume sexual activity. I don't know who the hell decided that six weeks was green-light time, but I'm thinking whoever it was probably hung out with the guy who came up with the word cunnilingus. Your six week check-up is scary enough as it is (unless you've had a c-section) without your doctor reminding you that, despite not sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time and this appointment being the first time you've shaved your legs in six weeks, it's generally expected that at some point you will have sex again (no, really; just ask your husband). A little tip for that first post-baby encounter: have a
7. You know all of those things you swore you'd never do? Like lift your baby up and smell his bottom to see if he needs a new diaper? You're going to do most of them.
8. At least once in your baby's first year, you will find yourself standing in line at CVS behind an old woman who is writing a check for cat food and 37 rolls of paper towels. It will probably be the end of the day, because rather than ask your husband to pick up the Infant Tylenol on his way home from work, you will have spotted an excellent opportunity to leave the house ALONE. You'll be so excited to be able to get out of the car without lugging that heavy baby-bucket-infant-carrier-car seat thingy that you won't even care that they haven't put out the newest issue of People magazine yet, because reading about John Travolta's new puppy will not only be fascinating, but will be the closest thing to literature you have encountered over the last few months. As you are standing in line you'll catch sight of your shoulder and realize that, at some point during the day, your baby spit up on your shoulder without your knowing it. (It's a good thing you can't see behind you, because there's a trail of it down your back). Oh, did I mention that you're still wearing maternity clothes? You're definitely not wearing make-up but you're positive that you may have brushed your teeth today. Yesterday, for sure. This is when someone you know will walk into the store. This person will be one of the following: a)the guy from high school who you had a crush on but never actually spoke to because he was way too popular, b)your ex-boyfriend's mother, or c)the woman from your prenatal yoga class who was due six weeks after you and is not only showered, blown-out and made-up, but she is back into her old jeans after only a month! And her baby is sleeping through the night! And she's starting a playgroup! If you want to join! So the babies can socialize! And the mommies can share how special it is to be a mommy!
The moral of the story is this: let your husband pick up the Tylenol on the way home. Then hand him the baby, take one of those really long showers where you use up all of the hot water, shave your legs, and grab a glass of wine.
And remember the MOST IMPORTANT lesson for any new mother:
You totally CAN get pregnant while nursing.