Mommy 4-1-1

Mommies 4 Mommies: What We Wish We’d Known

Inauspicious Beginnings of Motherhood Friday, April 4, 2008

Everyone grows up hearing how it only takes once to get pregnant. So when you get married and eventually decide to have kids, you think you can plan when the kid’s born. I wanted a September baby. Um, no.

Well, let me clarify. I know plenty of women who are “easy knock-ups.” You know who you are. Comments like “He breathes on me and I get pregnant” and “Whoops!” take on a whole new meaning when your period keeps proving that you have failed to conceive yet again.

It took me two years to concieve our first child. This is piddly compared to plenty of other women. Let’s just say two years was enough to get me thinking.

A couple is considered infertile if the woman does not conceive a child after one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse or she has been unable to carry a pregnancy to a live birth. (For more info on “well-timed intercourse,” I recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The definitive guide to natural birth control, pregnancy achievement and reproductive health by Toni Weschler.)

  1. Is there something wrong with himSince only 25% of infertility is caused primarily by a problem in the man, it’s less likely. However, testing men for infertility is much easier and so tends to be done first to rule it out.
  2. What if we can’t have children?!? This is probably the scariest question because if you’re trying to have children, then obviously you want to have children. I told myself, as a way to cope, that if I couldn’t have children then I probably wasn’t meant to have children. Not very reassuring. I also told myself that I actually didn’t want children anyway. Hm.

When it came to the decision of having children, I didn’t think that I had taken it lightly. I was a “mature” 24-year-old 😉 but hated kids in general. But other parents had assured me it was different when they were your own. (Totally true, by the way.) Relying on this cliché piece of wisdom, I had gone over all the cons of parenting I could think of (money, no sleep, diapers, no sleep, tantrums, no sleep, teenagers, no sleep) and decided I could hack it. Let’s face it. When women are in love, they usually end up wanting to make a baby with their significant other. I did NOT think I would be one of those. I’m a recovering feminist and not the nurturing type.

Anyway, once a year or so had ticked by with no conception and the above questions had been beaten to death in my head, we started considering testing. My sister-in-law had undergone extensive testing and procedures and so I wasn’t taking this step until my husband had proved fertile and my own doubts of being a competent parent were laid to rest. A good way to learn more about testing and infertility is to watch the movie “Maybe, Baby.” It has Hugh Laurie (from the popular TV show House MD) in it. It’s good for a few laughs anyway.

We got the lab requisition for hubby-testing. Somewhere in the shuffle of life, it was misplaced. We got another one. Husbands can be quite reluctant to submit to this type of thing. It may subconsciously threaten their masculinity. Before any testing was yielded to, however, my appetite became ravenous and my period was suspiciously light.

The night before the big, official pregnancy test was the only night that I felt like I had to pee all night. I kept dreaming that I was looking for a bathroom but even when I found one, I knew I had to wait for my husband because I had to test my urine. Finally, at six in the morning, I just got up and went. The test looked pretty inconclusive. I woke my husband to confirm. He was not happy about the early hour but he agreed it looked pretty inconclusive. Was that a plus sign?? We decided to go to a walk-in clinic to make certain.

I was pregnant.

I turned out to be one of those pregnant women that other pregnant women hate. I didn’t get sick at all. Even so, pregnancy blows.

I would always have wondered what it would be like to be pregnant if I hadn’t gotten pregnant. To feel the fetus moving inside me, more than anything else. But pregnancy takes forever! Even when you feel fat and have been wearing prego clothes for a month people don’t notice. “You’re pregnant??” So what, I was this fat before or something? You hit the halfway point (all going well) and realize you’re only at the halfway point. You’re paranoid the whole time: Is the baby normal? Should the baby be kicking? What if there’s something wrong and I don’t get that feeling ? Is this that feeling??? And forget sleeping once you hit that last month or so.

Then you hit your due date. Nothing happens. Oh, come on! Let me tell you that due dates don’t mean anything! When people ask when you’re due, lie. Give them a date that’s a month later.

You consider testing multiple old wives’ tales to get that darn baby out. I didn’t do anything drastic. 😉

I delivered the day I was scheduled for induction. I opted for Gravol since I was incredibly nauseated. I had decided beforehand that I wasn’t going to receive any narcotics. There are arguments for and against epidurals, but I had one and it was awesome. (See my post What to Expect When Expecting #2 for pros and cons on epidurals.)

Even though I’d taken multiple prenatal courses, I was unprepared for how much the postpartum period would suck. I thought it was worse than the pregnancy! The body has to get rid of all that fluid it retained during pregancy. My feet and ankles looked like one giant “cankle.” Then there’re the breast-feeding induced cramps (if you nurse, it stimulates a hormone that causes your uterine to contract back to normal size–it feels like menstrual cramps), the bleeding, the peri-bottle, the frozen pads, the engorged breasts and the fact that, if you were stitched up, you don’t feel right down there! And that all is only if you had a normal vaginal delivery! Other delivery methods include vacuum and/or forceps assisted and the (usually) dreaded cesarean section (c-section) and can bring complications of their own. This is all on top of sleep deprivation.

Is it worth it? It is! Until they turn two… 😉

In retrospect, the one negative thing that I didn’t ponder much was the lack of freedom. Sure, you have a cute baby that you take everywhere with you now. No big deal. But there are no more spontaneous evenings out. You always have to plan around the little grommit’s eating schedule, sleeping schedule, cranky schedule and so on. If you’re bottle-feeding, you have a little more freedom (I will discuss breast and bottle feeding in another post).

The thing is, even though insanity is touched upon now and then, you would never give them back. That’s what love is all about.

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One Response to “Inauspicious Beginnings of Motherhood”

  1. Kristin Says:

    I am with you 100%. Having kids changes you. It’s usually in a good way, but sometimes, it just makes me feel plain old cranky about it all. When I say I’m a SAHM, I mean it. I rarely go anywhere (it’s hard with twins and a 3 year old). I was working when I had just 1, so life was different.

    But I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Even if they do make me nutty.


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