During pregnancy, I loved reading weekly updates on fetal development. I also researched labor in an attempt to prepare and mitigate the pain. I did read about infant care and parenting strategies, but babies aren’t textbook and I don’t think I read enough or concentrated on the right things. Our first few nights home involved frantically researching baby topics on my phone while trying to nurse or get the baby to sleep. These topics included milk supply, gas, colic, reflux, bedtime routines, how much formula to feed by weight and age, bottle warmers, formulas indicated when there’s a family history of type 1 diabetes (alimentum and nutramigen), etc. I didn’t research bottles, formula, or much about nursing before because I took it for granted that breast feeding would just work. It may be natural but it does not come naturally for lots of people!
Similarly, I felt like I focused on buying cute yet often unnecessary baby items and then had to scramble in the first few weeks. I didn’t buy bottles because a) I didn’t think I’d need them and b) a friend had bought a bunch and then her daughter refused to drink out of that kind. I didn’t buy a pump because a) I didn’t know if I’d need one and b) if I needed one I didn’t know if I’d be better off renting a medical grade one or buying a single electric for the occasional break from nursing. With the trouble with breast feeding we had, our house quickly filled with bottles, a rented Medela Symphony pump, formula, and a steam sterilizer. We also bought a few pacifiers, which I had originally planned to avoid out of fear of nipple confusion, but they calm her. I had thought we were well prepared and had bought everything we’d need for the first few months, minus more diapers and wipes, but those first few weeks proved expensive (especially since we first bought Medela Calma bottles to help with nursing and they are $22 each and once we gave up on nursing, we made things easier for L by going with Playtex Ventair). Definitely a better investment than all the headbands (albeit those are still cute)!
Although I had previously told J that we’d have to rely a lot on trial and error, I underestimated how much. I have definitely wished that babies came with manuals since becoming a mom, but we are getting to know each other and starting to develop a routine.
The first time I looked in the mirror after giving birth I thought I still looked 7 months pregnant. I expected that to be the way my body would stay until I hit the gym, hard. Considering that I got in the shower during early labor and laid down on wet hair, I also looked like a hot mess. My feet and ankles were very swollen and my face also seemed extra puffy. In those first few days in the hospital, I found myself worrying that J would never find me attractive again.
I stepped on the scale the day we got home because I was curious to see how much weight I lost just from giving birth. 17 pounds. Pretty surreal to see a sudden drop like that on the scale. I’ve continued to lose weight as my uterus continued to shrink and I lost more fluid. I think I’m plateauing now and will have to work for the rest, but so far I have lost 36 pounds, 16 pounds away from my per-pregnancy weight. I’m pretty happy with that as I was worried I’d keep on the majority of the 52 pounds I gained. However, my body may forever be different. My stomach is riddled with stretch marks and far softer than it has ever been. They aren’t all that dark so I am hoping they fade well. I have some varicose veins along my side too. And although I didn’t think it was possible with my smaller boobs, they are now saggy. I feel that they lost volume from before. All of these changes, yet I don’t overly care. Sure I hope to get back in shape and if the stretch marks don’t fade considerably, I will never sport a bikini again, but it’s not worth stressing over and my body went through something pretty incredible that is so much more important than my vanity.