Being a first-time mom is HARD to say the least! My sweet baby girl, Mia Elizabeth, was born on October 17, 2019, and honestly these past 3 months have been such a whirlwind of adjusting to a new role as mom, learning a WHOLE LOT of new things, and going on the biggest emotional roller coaster of my entire life. For real, postpartum blues are no joke. When I found out I was pregnant I began doing a ton of reading – I’m talking books, blog posts, random articles, basically everythingggg I could find. I was determined to be as prepared as I possibly could for life as a new mom. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I could never be fully prepared because there are just some things that you learn with experience and time, BUT, I wanted to know as much as I could so that I wouldn’t have too many major panic attacks when something weird happened. That being said, while going through the process of labour and my first few months as a new mom, quite a few things happened that I was not fully prepared for, so I’m sharing them here today because I definitely wish that I had known about these things as a first-time mom.
Contractions are TOTALLY different when you’re induced.
I had a really healthy pregnancy and figured I would go into labour naturally, so when I was told that I needed to be induced I didn’t know much about it. I had no clue how intense my contractions would be, nor did I know that they would feel like they were pretty much back-to-back. Basically everything I had read about the labour process and contractions being really short with time to rest in between did NOT apply. Within about an hour of being induced my contractions were super intense and were less than a minute apart, and I was so unprepared for that. If you’re going to be induced for whatever reason, just know that you’re in for a wild ride.
Swelling gets WORSE after birth before it gets better.
For pretty much my entire third trimester I was swollen. None of my shoes fit, my wedding ring wouldn’t go all the way up my finger, and my face grew an extra chin. Yay. What I didn’t expect was that I would become even MORE swollen after I gave birth. Once I got home from the hospital, I noticed that my feet literally looked like inflated balloons! My face was even rounder than it had been and my whole body basically looked like air had been pumped into it. I freaked out because I didn’t know that was “normal”, especially since I had been hooked up to IV fluids the entire time, and I thought something was wrong. It took me a little over a week after birth before the swelling finally went down and I could fit into some shoes again!
C-section scars can stay NUMB for months or years.
As you probably know from my labour story, I ended up having a C-section after about 15 hours of labour. For the first few weeks postpartum, I noticed that my lower abdomen was still numb, but I figured it would go away within a few more weeks after I healed a bit better. NOPE. After doing more research and talking to my OB, I found out that some women actually never regain full feeling in that area, while others only regain feeling a few years after birth. I’m sorry, WHAT?! In hindsight it makes total sense since they are cutting through so many layers and there is a lot of nerve damage, but it still feels super weird every time I try to itch that area and realize that I can’t quite feel it because it’s still numb.
Babies can LOSE their hair after birth.
I feel like this is one of those things that I very vaguely remember reading about but it didn’t stick because it wasn’t talked about too often. About 3-4 weeks after Mia was born she started to lose her hair. I honestly didn’t notice it that much at first because we always had a hat on her head to keep her warm, so the day that I took her hat off to give her a bath and noticed that a whole bunch of hair was missing in the front of her head I totally freaked out! I called my mom right away and was reassured that this is completely normal and it will regrow.
Maternal HORMONES can cause newborns to excrete weird things.
The first night after Mia was born, while we were still in the hospital, we were changing her diaper and noticed a thick mucus coming out of her vagina. We called the nurse right away (because of course I was freaking out), and she explained that being exposed to so many maternal hormones can actually cause babies to excrete blood or mucus, and many babies even lactate after birth. I was so mind blown by this new information because I hadn’t read anything about it before giving birth, yet it was so useful to know.
What I’ve learned through this entire process is that no matter how much reading you do beforehand and no matter how prepared you think you are, you are never going to be fully prepared as a first-time mom. There will be things that surprise you and freak you out, but I’m hoping that this post helps to shed some light on a few things that you may face as a new mom so you have a few less surprises headed your way. You got this mama!