(This does not apply universally. Some people end up with beautiful pregnancies. However, most women I know experience pregnancy as something else completely. That’s what this is about. It ain’t like the movies.)
- You will be able to FEEL your stretch marks becoming bigger as they stretch. It feels vaguely like stockings ripping, but it’s your skin. It doesn’t really hurt, it’s just very weird.
- You’ll never have control of your bladder again. Do all the kegels you want. You’ll always pee a little when you cough or sneeze too hard.
- You will poop yourself on the birthing table. Everything gets in on that pushing you’re doing, including your digestive system. You will poop yourself in front of everyone (barring a c-section) and you won’t even notice.
- In fact, giving birth kind of feels like the biggest poop ever that just keeps on coming out. It hurts all over down there, but you can tell it’s in your vag. Just…like a poop. The biggest most painful poop ever that takes like 2 hours.
- There’s something called a mucus plug. It’s gross. It’ll fall out of you at some point. I didn’t even notice mine. It happens right around birth time.
- The part where you can feel and see the little baby feet and hands through your stomach? Is fucking CREEPY. It’s like a horror movie. You can literally feel the inside of your skin being touched. It’s fucked up.
- You can be put on bedrest for pretty much anything. I had a polyp on my cervix that was causing me to bleed just a little bit, around month 4, and I got modified bedrest (can go to the bathroom and shower, can walk in the house, otherwise ON COUCH OR BED) after that. And bedrest isn’t that fun (unless like me you had the newly released first season of Game of Thrones AND a brand new copy of Skyrim). No matter what, prepare to rest a lot during pregnancy. Have books and TV and music and movies ready. You may not get on bedrest, but you’ll be fucking tired a lot.
- You are NOT allowed to scream while you’re giving birth. According to my lovely Russian nurse (the only person in the room while I was giving birth, besides my husband–doctor showed up to catch the baby and stitch me up and then left) if you are screaming, you’re not pushing. So you have to hold your breath and push in complete silence for the duration of your contraction, about 10 seconds during active labor. It’s not fun. You will want to scream.
- If you get an epidural, you will feel like the bottom half of your body is asleep. But it won’t last. You’ll still feel every push, most likely. It just provides some comfort before active labor while your contractions get closer and your cervix opens. Also they can totally hit nerves there and I ended up kicking someone because they hit a nerve and my knee jerked. It feels SO WEIRD.
- HAVE A BIRTH PLAN. Seriously. Write all that shit out and plan for it. Have music, have someone chanting, have whatever you fucking want. If you don’t have a birth plan, they will treat you like crap and just shunt you in and out with no thought. You will not have exemplary care if you do not demand it. So demand it. Have. A. Birth. Plan.
- If you plan to breastfeed, DO NOT LET THEM GIVE YOUR CHILD ANYTHING WITH A FAKE NIPPLE. they will offer formula for the night so you can rest. Don’t do it. As soon as your child is born, let them breatfeed, literally right out of the vag. And then never let a plastic or rubber nipple touch your child’s lips til they are ready. They will get something called nipple confusion and refuse to breastfeed after that. I had to pump for 6 months after that so he could get breastmilk out of a bottle, and it was a PAIN IN THE ASS. Breastfeeding, if you choose to do it, is frustrating in general. But they should have someone at the hospital to teach you how.
- Always have your pediatrician picked out by your 6th month and MEET WITH THEM. Make sure they know what they’re doing. My son almost died from too severe jaundice that the doctor wasn’t proactive enough about. We switched real quick after that. Don’t just read stuff online and pick that. Actually meet and interview pediatricians.
- You can hit the painkiller button as much as you want but it still only gives you one dose. They’ll say you can have up to a certain amount, but it’s always just one dose every so often. It’s scheduled. You can’t change it. They make you think you have the power. You don’t. But pressing the button a million times is kinda fun.
- FOR GOD’S SAKE LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY INSTALL A CAR SEAT OR THEY WON’T LET YOU TAKE YOUR KID HOME. you have to have it approved by like aware policeperson or aware firefighter or other public servant before you get to the hospital, and then the hospital has to check it too.
- Finally…you will fall in love and be more terrified than you ever have been all at once once you meet your baby. Everything that can go wrong? You’ll be totally aware of every little one. Especially because they’re so fragile and their necks are like useless and their heads are soft and they’re just soft helpless and weak. But they’re YOURS and they are your everything and worth every ounce of weirdness and discomfort and pain.