Tag Archives: first time mom

Have you hugged your nurse today?

She couldn’t have been much more than 100 pounds. Just super petite. Tiny even. This was made even more apparent when compared to my extremely rotund and bloated figure. So when she said “lean your head against my chest and squeeze my hands when the pain hits,” I laughed. And then laughed again. And then the laughter walked right up to the border of hysterical, mostly because Dolph Lundgren’s voice saying “I must break you” in Rocky IV kept running through my head.

But then the pain hit. I gasped and squeezed as hard as I could as the world’s largest epidural needle penetrated where no needle had ever dared penetrate before. And suddenly, Nurse Itty McLittle turned into a rock made of steel and Ryan Reynold’s abs.

Yet her voice suddenly took on the soothing murmur of a grandmother comforting a toddler with a boo-boo knee.

“You’re doing great. It’s almost over. Almost there. You’re doing fantastic, Momma.”

That’s when it hit me. No matter what happened from here on out with the birth of my first child, I was in very good hands. The very good, freakishly strong hands of a caring nurse.

And for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was going to get through this in one piece.

Bringing a life into this world, and the aftermath of that birth, whether you did it the old-fashioned way or via a cesarean, is absolutely brutal. We’re not supposed to admit this, of course. Not in our society. Oh no. Women are supposed to have an 8-pound human exit their body and then continue on their day as if nothing happened (and God help you if you aren’t back to your pre-pregnancy weight the second they cut that umbilical cord). Nevermind that your body has been stretched to the limit physically, mentally and emotionally. Nevermind that you haven’t slept, haven’t ate, haven’t been able to take a pain-free breath. Nevermind that when you tell the lactation specialist, with giant crocodile tears in your eyes, that there is a large amount of blood in your breastmilk when you pump, and her response is “oh, don’t worry, the blood won’t hurt the baby,” and your response is “that wasn’t my concern.” No. Nevermind all that.

It’s time to get over it. You’re a mom now.

I mean, it’s not like you’re a man with cold. Back to work, lady.

Part of the blame for this falls on our society in general, which has made it clear time and time again that we don’t necessarily value mothers or what they do. But another big chunk is simply that when you have a baby, everything becomes about the baby. You, your partner, your parents, your in-laws. All of your collective concern is on the baby. It is tiny. It is fragile. And even though you’ve only known it for 30 seconds, you all love it with such devotion that you would die if anything happened to it.

They’re miracles. Our own personal miracles.

How can a bloody and broken and stretched and exhausted mom body compare to that?

It can’t. Except when it came to the nurses. They’re the ones who saw me. In all the chaos, they saw me. They saw my bloody, broken, stretched, exhausted body and they took care of me.

They, for lack of a better word, mommed me.

This was especially apparent with my second baby. Because when you are a mom, it doesn’t matter if you have another child’s head emerging from your vagina at that exact moment. Your toddler will still ask you to get him some juice.

So when, after getting someone else a cup of juice no less than 1,672 times, someone asks you if YOU’D like some juice? It’s enough to make a crazy hormonal, homicidally sleep-deprived new mom cry tears of joy.

Of course, none of this is to discount what my husband and my mom and my mother-in-law did for me during this time. All three went above and beyond to take care of me, the baby, my older son, my ridiculously needy, neurotic dog and our quirky home with its weird windows and very vocal refrigerator.

I also had a fantastic doctor who got me from Point A to Point “Get This Thing The Hell Out Of Me” with grace and humor and competence.

But it was the nurses, oftentimes working quietly in the background, that need to have the spotlight shined on them.

So many of us new mothers feel we can’t complain or even acknowledge the amount of pain we are in because the gift we get in return is so much greater. And that’s where the nurses swoop in with their invisible superhero capes. They take care of us without us ever having to ask. They know we need tender, loving care even if we don’t.

It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse, I think. The kind of person who you can meet and within 90 seconds has you comfortable enough with them that you let them help you pee. The kind of person who makes you feel like you are their only patient, when in reality they are overworked, underpaid and haven’t had time to go to the bathroom themselves since 8 a.m.

I realize that for my nurses I was likely just another patient that day. But to me, they made all the difference. Their smiles, their gentle hands, their patience, their laughter, their reassurances, their ability to answer my god-awfully stupid first-time parent questions without a single eyeroll. They are how I survived those utterly terrifying first days of motherhood.

So to all the nurses out there, I want to thank you for seeing me. And I want you to know that I see you and all you do.

I see you.

And while I’ll forever be grateful to my wonderful and highly skilled doctor for bringing my children into this world, I’ll forever be grateful to every nurse who graced my hospital room door for bringing me back to life.

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Top 8 Parenting Myths Debunked

I know what you’re thinking.

What the hell does a first-time mom who is only six months pregnant know about parenting?

And the answer is, of course, nothing. Well, almost nothing. I do know that the first poop the baby takes once it’s outside the uterus is apparently a mix of dark matter and pure evil, but I only know that because I read too far in my pregnancy book last week.

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But after extensive and thorough research where I asked friends who were new parents scientific stuff like “so, does parenthood blow or what?” and “when do babies stop sucking?” and “how much Red Bull and vodka can I chug while simultaneously breastfeeding?” I have gathered enough evidence to debunk the most common myths surrounding this major life change.

Myth No.1: As soon as your baby is born, it’s love at first sight.

Chances are you will not immediately fall in love with your baby. Chances are you’ll look at it and wonder “who the hell is this wrinkled old man who came out of my vagina and what the hell is he covered with?” OK, maybe that’s exaggerating slightly. You could also be thinking “wrinkled old woman.” But the point is, it’s perfectly natural not to feel bonded to your child right away. So don’t worry. You will bond eventually. Possibly even before they go off to college.

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Myth No. 2: Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world.

Breastfeeding is NOT the most natural thing in the world. Far from it. In fact, Joan Rivers’ face is more natural than breastfeeding. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean feeding a child from your boob is unnatural (despite what those squeamish arseholes in restaurants that just HAVE to complain whenever a woman dares to use her boob in public for anything other than sexual arousal would have you believe). I mean that in no way does this natural act come to you or to your kid naturally. It’s a daily battle the first few weeks, sometimes months, to get you, the baby and your ginormous boobs all on the same page at the same time.

Myth No. 3: Having a baby will bring you and your partner closer than you’ve ever been.

Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation. Or the ass-numbingly dull tedium of changing diapers every two hours. Or perhaps it’s the immense crushing responsibility of having to keep a small human alive. But you and your significant other will hate each other for awhile and argue about stupid crap such as why lil’ Kayleighanna isn’t wearing socks outside when it’s OBVIOUSLY FREEZING OUT THERE AND WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO, KILL OUR DAUGHTER!?! But never fear. This is why God invented grandparents, so that just when your marriage is about to implode, they can take the demon seed for a night and let you two drink until you can’t feel feelings anymore.

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Myth No. 4: Babies are sweet little angels.

Babies, by nature, are not sweet and nice and innocent. They are terrorists. Tiny, tiny terrorists who refuse to let you sleep or eat a warm meal or sit down or shower or pee or talk on the phone or have a beer or leave the house or wear a clean shirt not covered in vomit. But at least they’re your tiny, tiny terrorist.

Myth No. 5: Babies are expensive.

Babies aren’t expensive. Babies are ridiculously, mind-blowingly expensive.  Whatever crap you bought for your baby, it’s not enough. Because apparently babies die if they are not surrounded at all times by educational toys, soggy baby books, slightly less educational toys that play music, no less than five chairs that all move or vibrate or swing in different directions and 76 blankets.

Myth No. 6: Putting your baby into yoga/music/sign language class will give them a jumpstart in life.

Babies think key rings are the height of civilization’s achievements. It’s OK to wait until they aren’t floppy headed drooling machines to sign them up for Infant Interpretive Dancing. Stop stressing out about their future at Harvard when they’re only three-months-old.

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Myth No. 7: Babies cry for a reason.

As it turns out, sometimes there is no reason. Sometimes they’re just crying because they’re a butthead. For reasons why they do this, see Myth No. 4.

Myth No. 8: Religiously reading parenting magazines and websites and blogs will help keep you informed and up-to-date.

Religiously reading parenting magazines and websites and blogs* will help turn you into a competitive and paranoid control freak who lectures other parents about how they really shouldn’t let lil’ Pyke play with their iPhone because the latest studies show that children who are exposed to screens within the first two years of life end up being serial killers who work at Wal-Mart.

And everyone will hate you.

*That is, except for this blog. You should always read this blog.

So, you’re telling me I’m not the Mother of Dragons?

Guys, I have good news and I have bad news.

The bad news is that I will not, in fact, be giving birth to a dragon and hence will not be known as the mother of dragons forevermore. Which wouldn’t be that bad if it weren’t for the fact that I now have to send back all those custom T-shirts.

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But the good news is that I am pregnant with a human. A very healthy little…(drumroll)…boy.

A boy!

I have absolutely no idea how that’s going to end up considering I still don’t understand grown men with that particular body part (fried eggs don’t belong on pizza OR cheeseburgers, guys). But I’m going to be super excited about it until the first time he pees in my face when I’m trying to change his diaper.

I have a whole, long post dedicated to the ultrasound that led to this big gender reveal, which I will post later, but for now just wanted to share the good (or bad if you were REALLY hoping for a dragon…sorry, Ryan…maybe next time, honey) news with you.

(Or at least with the one of you that actually cares…hi mom *waves enthusiastically*).