GUEST POST: Holy Mother of God! That Baby is Going Home with ME??!! by Jenny Hansen

Since Myndi is due to deliver Baby Girl Shafer TODAY, I’m holding down the fort at her place. Y’all should SEE what she keeps here behind the scenes of her blog. I could play in these tiaras for days!

In honor or Myndi’s big event, I thought it might be nice to include tips on Labor and Delivery and the products my honey and I liked during pregnancy and beyond. But there’s something else she’ll be up to in a few days that’s the bigger event for most parents.

What about that moment when you’ve delivered the child and the hospital releases you to go home? Or when you have a home birth and the last childbirth professional walks out your front door?

I remember looking at the nurses rushing around our room, trying to discharge us from the hospital and shooting my husband a look that begged him to “please get them OUT of here for a minute!”

Thankfully, he got the memo and asked for a few minutes of privacy to feed the baby. The second they left, I started crying.

Disclaimer for the new and future moms: You’re going to do that spontaneous weeping thing a lot more often than you expect.

When a new mom builds up hormones for 9 months and starts offloading them at a rapid pace (after the baby is born) emotions can get a little rocky. Especially, if you were a high-risk pregnancy (which thankfully is NOT the case with Myndi), you’ve been worrying for MONTHS.

Even if a new mom doesn’t get official post-partum depression, new parents can expect to be exhausted and, well…emotional.

Look how BIG that car seat looks!

I remember looking at my hubby over Baby Girl’s head, with big crocodile tears pouring down my face, and  saying, “We’re actually going to take her home? Now?”

Him: “Well, we’re not leaving her HERE.”

Me: “I know that!”

Him: “It’s going to be fine.”

I wanted to ask him, “How do you know?” But the hardest part of being a new parent is the realization that NO ONE really knows what they’re doing, especially you.

You can take every parenting class in the world (and you should, just to get some comfort with the basics) and your new child is still going to stump you with some issue that you’ve got no answer for. Probably in the middle of the night. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve already had a few, like our pal Myndi. You’ve never had this baby.

You are now in charge of keeping this little being safe and there will be a moment of terror, sometime in that baby’s first few weeks of life, when you wonder how the hell you’re going to do that.

I can give you some practical tips to help you get a little more sleep, but I cannot help you wrap your brain around that concept of 100% responsibility for the safety and well-being of your first child.

But I’ll be happy to listen while you vent. 🙂

Did any of you parents have jitters the first time you were alone with your new baby? What do you remember as your “what in the world is this child doing” moment? For any of you who are pregnant now, what are some of the things you’re worried about? We’d love to hear about it.

*Pssst…if our questions rock hard enough, maybe Myndi will show up with a baby update!*

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after her toddler Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing.

When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites or at her group blog, Writers In The Storm. Every Saturday, she writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

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EXTERNAL CRAZY

Something about a woman in the later stages of pregnancy brings out the crazy in people around her.  Not just the crazy, but the stupid.  The ridiculous.  The outstandingly inappropriate.

The starting point for external crazy begins when a pregnant woman’s stride changes from the normal one-foot-in-front-of-the-other gait to the waddle-side-to-side-with-one-hand-on-the-small-of-your-back march.  Every pregnancy I’ve had has testified to this.

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With my firstborn, a lady came up to me in a Wal-Mart, put both hands on my belly uninvited, slipped into a seance-like trance for a moment, and then told me my baby would be born without eyes.

With my second, a grandmotherly woman gently patted my belly, and then my hips and butt-cheeks, and told me I was made for breeding.

With my third, at a wedding shower, my own grandmother told me that she and I needed to stick together throughout the party because we were the fat girls in the room.  (This woman has a knack for snark…like the time she told me how pretty I looked…followed by the phrase, Isn’t it amazing what makeup can do for a person?)

So now, here I am, about a month away from the glorious act of giving birth.  I’ve got a waddle that any duck would be jealous of, a belly that puts Santa to shame, and Lord Almighty, the crazies are out to get me.

I’m a meal planner.  If I wasn’t, we literally would never, ever eat at home.  Meal planning saves my culinary hide, time and time again.  The downfall to this, however, is the massive grocery shop I do twice a month.  I spend an ungodly amount of time in the ginormous supermarket around the corner from my house, waddling from one end to the other, precariously stocking my cart like it’s a mobile, volatile game of Jenga while trying to keep my lovely three-year-old from accidentally toppling over the giant display of Velveeta.  Or freeing the tank of lobsters, who she feels would be much happier out of the water.  Or from opening every box of cookies, fruit snacks, pop-tarts, or whatever junk food happens to be within her reach.

Grocery shopping is stressful.

Yesterday was grocery shopping day.

Thankfully, we made it through the experience without incident…until we got in line to check out.

As I was putting my groceries on the conveyor belt, my lovely belly decided it was time to pull out its favorite labor-conditioning activity: Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Anybody who’s had multiple kids knows these contractions get stronger with each consecutive child.  It’s not actual labor – it’s just a pregnant woman’s body’s way of reminding her that, This thing you’re about to experience?  You know, popping a kid out of your lady-bits?  Yeah.  It’s gonna hurt like hell.  I’m sure there’s a more practical, biological reason for the fake contractions, but at that particular moment, I didn’t really care what it was.  At that point, all that mattered was that my abdomen had begun to clench down like a snapping turtle jacked up on Red-Bull and reptilian angst, and I was juggling a glass jar of milk in one hand, a carton of eggs in the other, and a bag of apples in my teeth.

I set my stuff down and drew in a deep breath, knowing the contraction would pass in just a moment.  Then I could pay for my groceries and get the heck out of Dodge.

Of course, it was at that moment that the checker (who had previously ignored my presence altogether) decided to glance at me.

Checker: (loudly, to no-one in particular) Oh my god, she’s going into labor!

Me: (still trying to breathe) No, I’m not.

Checker: Yes you are, you’re going into labor!

Me: No, I’m not.

SweetZ: Mommy? Is the baby hurting you?

Me: (patting her head while directing mean thoughts to the cashier) No, honey, I’m fine. 

At this point the pain begins to taper off, and I quickly resume putting groceries on the conveyor belt.

Checker: (distrustfully) You’re sure you’re not going into labor?

Me:  (irritated) Nope.  Not going into labor.

Checker: ‘Cause you know I’m not delivering your baby.

Me: (to self) No shit?  (to her, firmly) I’m not going into labor.

Checker: (after a brief moment of beautiful silence)  I took a human sexuality class once.

Me: (to self) Oh, lord.  (to her) Really?

Checker: (stops checking groceries) Yeah.  In college.  I hated it.

Me: (to her) Oh.  (to self) Why has she stopped ringing up my groceries?  What’s SweetZ doing?  (look around and spy SweetZ raiding the candy display)

Checker:  Yeah.  It was my first class of the day.  I hated it.  It killed sex for me.  It’s why I never had any kids.  The whole thing was disgusting.

Me: (pulling four suckers, five candy bars, and two packages of gum out of SweetZ’s hands and putting them back in the display)  That’s too bad.

Checker: (eyeing my belly distastefully) Not really. (resumes ringing up my groceries)

At this point, the guy bagging my groceries decides to chime in.

Bagger:  I took a human sexuality class in college, too.

Checker:  Really?

Bagger:  Yeah.  I loved it.

Me: (to self, digging through wallet, pretending to look for debit card) Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up.

Bagger:  I took a human sexuality class in college, too.

Me: (to self) Why is he repeating that?  (looks up)

Bagger: (is staring me down)  I took a human sexuality class in college, too.

Me: (nodding slightly)  Cool.  (to self)  Why?  Why, why, why??

Bagger:  I loved it.  You want your juice in a sack?

Me: (timidly, hoping I’m not about to agree to some weird double-innuendo sexual favor; I really just want SweetZ’s apple juice in a sack) Yes, please.

Checker:  I hated it.  Disgusting.  (looks at my bag of parsley)  Is this cilantro?

Me: No.  It’s parsley.

Checker:  Parsley?  (for some reason this seems to annoy her.  She looks at my belly once more, eyeing it like it’s a homemade explosive about ready to go off)  You’re sure you’re not in labor?

Me:  (exasperated sigh) Nope.  Not in labor.

Needless to say, when the bagger asked if I needed help out, I declined.  That had to be one of THE MOST uncomfortable grocery store conversations I’ve ever had.  Ever.

Okay, so it’s time for you to dish and make me feel better.  I want to hear your awkward grocery store moments, pre-natal or not.  Bad attempts at flirting in the produce aisle?  Shelf stock-boy stalking?  Devil children roaming the store unattended?  If you have a memorable grocery store moment, this is the place to share!

A Hard Bit of Future to Wait For

Many of you lovely readers already know we’re gearing up for the arrival of baby number FOUR here in the Shafer house. Only a couple more months now until sweet baby Girl makes her appearance, and it’s got me thinking about the absolutely inevitable:

Childbirth.

I’ve done it three times before, and lived to tell the tales. You’d think I’d be cool as a cucumber, totally zen. But, ohhhh, baby. I’m not.

‘Cause here’s the thing. Every single one of my childbirth experiences was as different as the children that emerged from my womb.

Offspring number one? I was determined to not feel a thing. Not an ounce of pain would I endure. I mean, come on. This was 21st century, people. Surely medicine had advanced to the point that women no longer needed to feel pain when delivering new humans to the world? Surely Genesis 3:16 (you’ll give birth to your babies in pain) was an antiquated, outdated notion.

Wrong. Either I had the world’s worst anesthesiologist, or epidurals weren’t meant to work on me. Because no matter how many times they re-adjusted the epidural (three times), or administered more meds (a lot), all they managed to accomplish was deadening my legs. Not my abdomen.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. And expletives. Lots and lots of expletives.

Once the whole ordeal was over (nearly 23 hours from the time my water broke), I remember holding my little baby boy in my arms, trembling, shocked at the fact that (a) something so tiny could hurt so much, (b) that I made it through alive, and (c) that in a couple days’ time, I’d be sent home with this needy little human, where it would be my sole responsibility to keep him alive.

Terrifying.

Thankfully, that boy is now ten, very much alive, and has never caused me even a fraction of that kind of pain again, emotional or otherwise.

The second time around, I was a little older, and a little wiser. No way in heck was I going to ask for an epi, and no way in heck was I going into the delivery room unprepared. Boy number one weighed nearly ten pounds when he was born, making the delivery much harder than it ought to have been, so we monitored my nutrition and Bouncing Boy #2’s weight carefully. A week before my due date, I was induced. Everything progressed normally. The pain, when faced head-on with the right tools to deal with it on my own, while not easy, was totally manageable. I remember holding my second son in my arms, trembling in shock that (a) I’d done it pretty much on my own, (b) I wasn’t keeling over in residual pain, and (c) I wasn’t terrified to take him home. Sure, it hurt, but (and yeah, I get it, this sounds weird) it was a good hurt. A productive hurt. A hurt worth its weight in gold.

Liberating.

Then, nearly four years ago, I was preparing to do the same with my third child. A little girl. SweetZ had decided she wanted to be breech, but I was having none of that. Determined to avoid a c-section at all costs, I opted to try external version…which is just a fancy way of saying let a doctor pretend he hates your abdomen for an hour while he tries to get your baby to turn around.

It sucked. So bad. And in the end, SweetZ never fully turned. Instead, she lodged kinda crooked-like, which ended up playing a big part (not the whole part…there were lots of very scary moments toward the end of my pregnancy with her) in the fact that we ended up in an emergency c-section…

Where my epidural failed in surgery.

When it was all over (I still shiver thinking about it) I remember holding my tiny girl (the smallest of all three) in my arms, trembling in shock and (a) wondering when the morphine would begin to kick in, (b) thinking how grateful I was that she was healthy, and (c) wondering when the heck the morphine would begin to kick in.

Oh, so scarring.

So now, I’m sitting here, belly swollen, contemplating the fact that very soon I’ll be delivering another bundle of joy. This sweetie is so active…sometimes she’s breech, sometimes she’s not. She dances and spins, kicks and caresses, and has no idea how much it stresses me out when I can feel her head bobbing around under my ribs…or how much I rejoice when I feel her feet kick those same ribs. I’m not scared of the pain of childbirth – I can deal with it. In fact, I welcome it – especially in light of the pain a person feels when the effects of an epidural wear off and you’re strapped to a table, cut open.

I’m blessed with an OB I love, and a husband who’s more supportive than I could ever ask for. I know we’ll do everything we can to avoid the OR (though there’s no way in heck I’ll mess with version again). But it’s a hard bit of future to wait for, not knowing how it’ll turn out. Not knowing if I need to steel myself for something wholly unpleasant that’s utterly out of my control, or if I’ll end up getting to do it the way I want – with some hard work and pain, but natural.

I want to hear from you – what were your birthing experiences like? Were you scared? At peace? Were you that pregnant woman I love to hate who never felt a thing and was holding your baby in your arms after 15 minutes of pushing? Or can you relate with my topsy-turvy birthing experiences?

And, hey, Dads – I want to hear from you, too! I know my hubster has plenty of opinions about how our deliveries went down!