As many of you may know, I am a type A personality. I plan EVERYTHING! So when it came to pregnancy, child birth, and breastfeeding... you can bet your bottom dollar that I attacked it with the same ferocity as my drug information queries.
I read several books about natural child-birthing (as this was the plan) along with a great book on breastfeeding. I took classes about baby care, birth, and breast feeding. Going into our induction, I felt as prepared as possible for this little creature that would change our life.
BOY WAS I WRONG!
After I have had time to adjust and reflect, I have identified a few key points that all the books and classes fail to mention:
1. No matter how much preparation you have/do, having a new baby comes with a STEEP learning curve! Don't be so hard on yourself if you don't have all the answers. It takes time to learn what this new little blessing requires and how to provide it.
2. Breastfeeding is the best option, but it is HARD. No wonder they tell you that the first two weeks are the hardest. For us it was the first month! Luckily, I had extreme motivation to continue so I pushed through the pain and frustration. We now have a healthy boy that loves to eat!
3. Breastfeeding does not come as natural to all as we may think. I certainly thought that since my body was designed by God to be able to provide this that it couldn't be hard. I also thought if hundreds of thousands of women before me have breastfed with success then so could I. Unfortunately, we struggled with latch issues for weeks (despite help from a lactation consultant).
4. Breastfeeding will hurt, but in the long run it will be the most magical thing ever. My answer to this is to either get a prescription for APNO (All Purpose Nipple Ointment) from your OB/GYN or use the internet to find the "homemade APNO" recipe. This ointment saved our breastfeeding! I mixed up the homemade version early one Sunday morning after a day of excruciating pain and lots of tears. BEST STUFF EVER!
5. If you choose to breastfeed, your breasts will leak... Be prepared and have breast pads on hand to start. Wear them at all times to avoid embarrassing leaks. Some women are lucky and never have this problem. I was not one of the lucky ones and learned to buy nursing pads in bulk.
6. Your body will change after childbirth and it will never be the same again. If you have a vaginal birth, be prepared for leakages of all sorts. Yes. This can be gross and certainly embarrassing. I had no idea. Needless to say, I wished someone had shared this particular tid bit of information. It does get better as things heal but not right away.
7. You will never look at your husband the same way again. He goes from being this wonderful, loving, sexy man you married to a wonderful, loving, sexy father. I never knew how much I truly loved Jim until I saw how much he loves Lucas. Our relationship is at a whole new level and it is amazing.
8. Despite all the things I mentioned above, the birth of your child will be the best day of your life. Despite the pain, tears, stress, and all out crazy that comes with child birth, when they place that creature into your arms... your heart grows in a way you never thought imaginable.
Regardless of any of the things I discovered, I would do it again and apply all the things I learned the hard way.