First time mom

on Apr 25, 2014 @ 04:02 pm

Hi all, 

Just curious about what other first time (or even second time!) moms felt right around when their little peanut was due. I'm currently 36 weeks, daughter due May 22nd... and feel nearly clueless at this point. Don't get me wrong... I'm excited! It's just the rush of emotion now that the nursery is done and our baby purchases are altogether. Seeing that and the fact I literally have 28 days (or less!) left before she comes unless she wants to come late is making my mind swell with the good and the bad - OMG not too much longer until I can meet her! But OMG am I going to do okay?? 

What did you struggle with? What did you find easy? I know birth is going to hurt... but I also don't know what to expect when I actually get to the hospital. I don't want to go in too early and sit around waiting, but I also don't want to give birth in the car! Any info helps... nothing is TMI. 

Oh, and does anyone know any remedies for carpal tunnel or that PUPPP rash? Both developed within the last two weeks for me, and both are driving me nuts! Definitely something I won't miss after giving birth... LOL

12 Replies

reply on Apr 25, 2014 @ 04:44 pm

Congratulations!!! How exciting :) But also, how nerve-wracking. Everything you said in your post brought up all sorts of memories for me.

So it turned out that everything I thought would be easy I found difficult, and everything I thought would be difficult turned out to be easy. But this journey is different for everyone!

Easier than I thought:

1) giving birth! And by that I do NOT mean that I had no pain. Quiiiiiiiite the opposite. But deciding "do I medicate or not??" was not the struggle I thought it would be (because OF COURSE the answer is "YES! Bring on the drugs, and I mean yesterday!!"). And once I made that decision, all of the guilt I thought I'd have completely melted away because my babies got to be born in a situation where I was happier and less stressed because there was less pain.

2) loving my baby! Um, yeah, so that's supposed to be a given, right? But I was worried that I'd be grossed out by the goo after birth, that becoming a new parent would freak me out, that I'd resent my loss of freedom, etc. But from that first moment, I was absolutely smitten and couldn't have cared less what I was "missing" because in the end, I was not missing anything important at all.

3) Nighttime feedings, endless laundry. It's a pain, but my family was very supportive and helpful. Plus I could fall asleep into a dead nap anywhere, anytime, so even though I missed the full night's sleep, I wasn't as sleep deprived as I thought I'd be.

THAT BEING SAID, once you have more than one child (and usually Big Bro/Sis is a toddler), the sleep deprivation is a much bigger problem as you won't have the luxury of konking out any time you need to!

Harder than I thought:

1) Healing from C-section. I had 2 babies vaginally and my last was a C. Somehow I thought the C was supposed to be easier than vag, so I was really surprised about how different it was. But what I learned was to not worry about it since the only thing that matters is that baby arrives safely. In my case, my baby and probably me personally would have died if a C was not available to us. So a little extra recuperation time turned out to be just a blip on an otherwise great pregnancy & birthing.

2) Nursing! This is supposed to be instinctual? Really?? My oldest was a little early and very sleepy, and most new moms don't automatically know how to do this. I must have had 20 people fiddling with my breasts from the nurses to docs to lactation experts while they tried to teach me and my child how to do this "natural" thing at the hospital. But the good news is, my next babies figured it out immediately. Might have something to do with the fact that I also knew what I was doing by then :)

3) Changing diapers. Okay, so this was not that hard per se, but prior to having kids, the only diaper changing I had done was for babysitting clients and they paid pretty well. Poop gets old REALLY quickly. And also, it changes colour a couple of times over the first year (tar to mustard yellow to the really stinky stuff when they start solid foods).

How's that for TMI? ;)

As far as when to go to the hospital, in my experience and the experience of many other moms, most of the time you kind of just know. There are some moms who have slightly atypical starts to their labours and will go in a couple of times only to be sent home.

But usually 1 of 2 things will happen:

1) your water breaks (most of the time this happens late in labour or the doc does it for you. Much less common to happen before labour begins - don't believe the movies!)

2) irregular cramping starts and stops, possibly even several days before the main event. Eventually it begins to establish a rhythm.

If #1, go to the hospital. Generally the docs like to have the baby born within 24 hours and will induce you if you are not cramping yet.

If #2, wait until 3-4 minutes between cramps and a level of discomfort such that you have to stop speaking until the contraction is over. It might not be painful at this point, but you're definitely feeling it! These cramps usually last 30-45 seconds.

If you have ramped up from say 10 minutes between contractions to 3 minutes between in a very fast time, get to the hospital pronto! You might even consider calling an ambulance if your husband is freaking out/grossed out/emotionally compromised/making comments about "quickly stop at Redbox along the way?"

Now that you're in your final month, the doctor will start giving you a lot of extra information. They'll tell you about your cervix (cms dilated, effacement/thinness), where the baby is positioned (including whether you've "dropped", although that's not telling. My daughter never dropped until I was in active labour), etc. Never feel silly about asking extra questions!

So here's the worst of my TMI to share. Expect weird stuff in the bathroom. If you've been constipated during pregnancy, you will have the best and most thorough poop of your life a day or two before the big event. Your mucus plug will come out, though you may not realize what it is. It's a disgusting glop of goo which you will initially think is just discharge unless it falls out in the shower and straight onto your foot (true story).

Have I mentioned that this is all wonderful and amazing? And gross. But amazing! Congrats again, and good luck! Keep those TMI questions and anything else that's on your mind coming :)

Thanks! on May 08, 2014 @ 05:28 pm

Hey mamaluv, thanks for the advice! :)

Looking at your list of harder things, that brings up a few "hmms" of my own. I have every intention of delivering vaginally as does my OB, but of course there's always the chance that something will come up and I'll have to have a C anyhow. Originally I had the same thoughts as you... hey it might be easier! Less pain! Drugs to numb! But considering how much movement is required every day even without kids, I can only imagine that healing will be an interesting adventure. So far, fingers crossed, all is going well though so I may not even need to think about that later.

Nursing... oh dear... nursing. I've done plenty of reading but of course the one thing I should really be focusing on soon, I haven't been. No idea what I'm doing and I have actually heard it's not as easy as everyone makes it out to be... a lot of moms start out that way and then end up bottle feeding because something or another didn't work out. Apart from patience and persistence, do you have any suggestions or is it just a learning curve that I'll gradually get upon working with my girl?

I certainly hope my boyfriend won't insist on a stop along the way...! ;) All sounds like great advice though. First time moms go in pretty blind, it seems! But the 3-4 minutes apart bit is really good to know. I have started having some irregular contractions at this point but they're very mild and I barely notice them. May be just the Braxton Hicks getting worse. They're so few and far between right now anyway that I imagine at the 38 weeks I am, I still have a little ways to go.

I've definitely dropped within the last week or two, I know that. I can tell by the added pressure on my bladder and well, of course, appearance! She's sitting way lower than she has been. Before I was all out front. However my doc hasn't done any internal checks yet and hasn't mentioned anything about my cervix. Perhaps he will at next week's appointment? I'll be 38w6d by then. If I make it that far. LOL

Wow, the plug dropping onto my foot would freak me out!! Lol but at least I would know that labour is coming soon. I haven't seen any large gobs yet but discharge is increasing. Maybe it's coming out in pieces? Definitely noticing bathroom changes... that's done a total 180 and has stayed that way for about a week now.

Thanks again for your help :) Any info is helpful, especially for a person who likes to know every last detail of something she may experience LOL.

Ali de Bold
I recently went through this on May 08, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

First of all, every new Mom feels exactly how you do right now. Even if it's not your first baby.

Mamaluv, gave you an awesome list.

The most important thing is to not feel guilty about what works or doesn't work. There is no rule book for this. You love your baby and do the best you can and that is all that matters.

Breastfeeding is really hard at first. It's hard getting the right latch for the baby and it really hurts at first because your nipples are not used to the abuse. I found nipple shields REALLY helpful. It helps the baby learn the right latch and is the only way to protect your cracked and bleeding tatas until you both get the hang of it. Breast feeding experts will say you only get injured/it only hurts if you are doing it wrong. After breastfeeding 2 kids I can say that's not true. Nipples are sensitive and not used to being chomped on. Do not feel guilty if you end up having to use formula. I had to supplement my son the whole way through. Some women can't breastfeed at all. It is not a personal failing. You do what works and that is all you can do.

Don't worry about if you will deliver naturally or by c-section. I 100% wanted a natural birth for my first child and went through 48 hours of labour until they finally did a c-section because things never progressed in all of that time. That was horrid.

The 2nd time I booked a c-section and what a world of difference that experience was. I even recovered faster because I had a good night sleep the night before and went in fresh rather than completely exhausted.

Just use your instincts and don't let anyone talk you out of them. If you want medication, take it. If you think you can do without, do without. Decide as things are happening what you feel comfortable with. It's your baby and your body. Make sure you have a good support system during delivery and at home. It's ideal if you have someone at home with you full time for the first 2 weeks after giving birth because you will be exhausted and getting up every 2 hours to feed your baby.

Have plenty of healthy, easy snacks stocked up at home because breast feeding makes you STARVING! And so, so thirsty. You are going to want easy to grab snacks on hand like nuts, apples... home baked muffins :) :)

It's going to be the shock of a lifetime but so, so worth it. There is nothing that thrills me more than spending time with my kids. Enjoy your little sweetie and don't hesitate with any more questions. There are lots of Moms here on CA!

More nursing advice on May 09, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

Ali gave some great advice here that I want to reiterate.

Breastfeeding will hurt even when you're doing it right. As I said, I had problems getting baby #1 started, but baby #2 knew what he was doing immediately. But your nipples are not used to that kind of action even if you're doing it right and it's not comfortable. The good news is, for most women once you have the nursing thing figured out, it can become completely painless. Some women continue to have mild discomfort, and some have too much pain and have to give up.

Nipple shields and breast creams will work wonders. One of the best salves you can use to ease cracked nipples (if this happens to you, and it might not) is breastmilk! Just spread a few drops over the affected area and it really helps. It's also more comfortable for baby, so that she can taste your milk when she starts nursing instead of some chemically cream.

Also be aware of "milk coming in". This was not explained to me properly. If your baby takes quickly to nursing, the experience will be much better, but if your baby nurses poorly, be forewarned :) Here's what's going to happen:

1. for the first few days after birth, your breasts won't change much. You'll be producing a few drops of pre-milk called colostrum. You will worry that your baby is not getting enough food, but your body "knows" what it's doing and this colostrum is exactly what baby needs. She will lose a little weight initially but gain back quickly.

2. after about 2-3 days (sooner if baby nurses well, later if baby nurses poorly), your breasts will start to fill. For me this took maybe 8 hours. They will become enormous. Like, porn star enormous. They will become rock hard, sore, and veiny. Your boyfriend will be both turned on and completely revolted all at the same time.

3. assuming your baby is nursing (or you're pumping), the swelling will start to ease after a day or so. You will have a lot more milk at this point and it will start leaking on its own (this is called a "let-down"). I found that when my breasts were warmed (in the shower or with a warm compress), this eased the discomfort but also triggered a let-down. BE PREPARED. Get yourself some Nursing Pads (I used Gerber, for what it's worth).

4. Over time, your breasts will return to a more non-porn state, though still a good bit bigger than your pre-pregnancy state (as long as you're still nursing/pumping, that is). Your milk production will continue to increase because your body "knows" how old your baby is and will adjust quantity and also nutritional content to maintain a "perfect" food for your baby's age.

5. You will be SO hungry! I have heard that nursing burns more calories than being pregnant and that was certainly true for me. I lost all my baby weight and then some within a very short time - but this is not true for a lot of women. I mention this not because nursing is a get-thin-quick remedy, but because you should be watching your body. You do not want to lose too much weight as this could affect your ability to produce milk! And dropping extra pant sizes is NOT worth a lower quality in milk production. Eat healthy snacks anytime you're hungry, and drink tons and tons of water and healthy beverages.

Hope that helps!

Great! on May 15, 2014 @ 04:50 pm

Still hanging in there over here... one more week til my due date!

Thank you both very much for your input! I feel like it's much more valuable to get info like this from people who have actually been there. Very much appreciated and I do feel a little better going in.

I had NO idea about the breastmilk being a good moisturizer. Someone suggested lanolin cream to me and said that's probably my best bet but if there's something more natural (and cheaper!), I'll take it, for sure!

Milk coming in... I knew my boobs would become huge but maybe I didn't realize how quickly and how much... lol sounds incredibly uncomfortable. :/ But hey, it's temporary. Also good to know ahead of time just how hungry and thirsty I might get. No doubt that would have caught me by surprise... so maybe it's time to start baking and freezing some muffins :)

Thanks again!

Breastmilk is incredible on May 15, 2014 @ 04:56 pm

You can also put some breastmilk in baby's bathwater to ease dry skin, put drops into their eyes if they have minor irritation (even used it once when we got pinkeye and it worked!).

Google it; you'll be surprised how amazing breastmilk actually is!

That said, if nursing doesn't work out for you, there's no shame in formula. I'm in my 30s and most of my family/friends were bottle babies and we turned out just fine. Don't allow "lactivists" or idiot strangers at the mall dictate what you do or don't do. You will encounter every possible opinion, from "how dare you not nurse" to "how dare you feed your child in public (even though you're being very discreet)". You will never please everybody, so don't try to please anybody except yourself and your baby!

Ali de Bold
Coconut oil or olive oil on May 15, 2014 @ 09:18 pm

For me coconut oil or olive oil was the most amazing thing. I tried nipple creams and the thing with those is you have to wash it off before feeding your baby. Since you are feeding every 2 hours and are exhausted, that is a pain. It's also really pricy. I loved using coconut or olive oil instead. Much cheaper and 100% natural.

You're almost there - so exciting!!! Keep us posted :)

Well that's convenient! on May 19, 2014 @ 08:34 pm

Lol I knew breast milk was good, but I didn't know it was a miracle salve! Wow!

I was also bottle fed as was my boyfriend; he turned out to be lactose intolerant as a baby so I know it happens. I also know I'm going to hear a lot of opinions on what I should or shouldn't do... should I get an epidural, or should I go all natural? Doula/doctor/midwife? Breastfeeding vs bottle? It's already begun and she hasn't even been born yet! I have my plans, for sure, but of course I can't force something that just isn't going to work. If it works to breastfeed, great! I can save money on formula and she gets something premade and natural. If not, well... I'm prepared for that too.

Ali, that's perfect because I'm pretty sure there's a whole thing of coconut oil downstairs in my house! Costco is great but also oh so evil because I've had it for a while and there's barely a dent in it... lol. Had no idea you had to wash off the creams before feedings but I guess that makes sense.

Oh yeah... 3 days to my due date, got checked yesterday, and I'm only a cm dilated with no signs of labour. I'm guessing the saying that most first timers go overdue is true! Maybe I'll get a surprise in the next few days.

Did either of you experience extreme exhaustion the last few weeks of your pregnancies? I've heard of the nesting instinct but I haven't had any of that yet, and I don't think I'm going to. All I want to do is sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. Every few hours, just like a newborn. Hmm!

Sleep vs nesting on May 19, 2014 @ 09:13 pm

I only "nested" with one of my babies, and it was about 2-3 weeks before the big day. I was completely wiped in the days leading up. Maybe that's nature's way of storing up energy?

Yup! on May 29, 2014 @ 07:59 pm

It sure was nature's sign that she's on her way! I went into labour Sunday and delivered my 8 pound 6.5 ounce (!!!) peanut Monday afternoon. :) Everyone says you just know that you're in labour... all day Sunday I was hemming and hawing because I really wasn't 100% sure lol. The pains only got really bad after I said maybe I should go to the hospital... while I was still home and as I was calling the hubby, I was timing the pains so the timing was consistent, every 5 min lasting for 30-40 sec, but the pain wasn't like OMG. Until about 3 hours later. Lol I'm glad I went when I did!

How long does it usually take for milk to come in? I'm on day 3 here and I know it takes a few days, but I'm only getting a couple drops of colostrum (had to pump a couple times so that's how I know) that don't even enter the bottle from the pump's funnel. I finally got like a mL today in the bottle but that was really only from one side... it's weird how they don't produce roughly the same. Yet. I'm sure I'll be surprised in a few days!

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