All About the Poo

From the moment that peed on stick gives you the A-OK that you’re expecting a little bundle, the next 3-5 years will be wonderous, wonderful, and full of every kind of talk about Poo that you could possibly imagine. So, if you’re not the type to openly discuss the bowel movements of not only yourself but your little ones, here’s what you can expect.

Pregnancy: you find yourself spending copious amounts of time on the toilet, praying to the porcelain god that he’ll get this demon poo out of your body.  Constipation suddenly consumes your life, as you tend to spend increasingly more time thinking about how you need to poo or want to poo but can’t poo. Then when you finally do manage to squeeze a little out, in what you can only imagine is a taste of what labor will be like, you are so joyous that you tell everyone (family, friends, co-workers, grocery clerks) about your victory like you’ve just won the olympic gold in pooping.

Labor: yes, you will poop during labor.  If you’ve somehow missed that memo before this point in time, you will find yourself shitting yourself in a room full of people you have never met.  Just cross your fingers that your hubby can get that image out of his head. At least you can take comfort in knowing that everyone does it.

Post baby: O.M.G. Even if you have been warned about the first post-baby poo, you don’t know what to expect.  Believe me.  It’s the worst thing. And if you had the pleasure of having an episiotomy, then the thought of pushing will make you want to die.  Good news is that once you get over the first hump you should be home free.  But in the meantime, make those laxatives your friend.  Just don’t over do it or you’ll pay the consequences for days even after you win the first battle.

Infant poo:  Turn all focus to the poo your little one will secrete from now until you don’t have to wipe their tush anymore.  You’ll track every poo for the first few days. You will find yourself in awe and disgust over the colors, textures, and timeliness of your little ones pooing.  That black tar-like poo of the first few days will morph into bright mustard yellow which will last until you start solids.  P.S. That bright yellow crap will stain everything.  Make sure you pre-soak or get used to throwing clothes away after 1 use.

Baby poo:  Bring on the stink.  Once you start feeding your little one solids that wonderfully odorless, yet incredibly frequent discharge suddenly transforms into something that will stink up your house for the forseeable future.  I don’t care how many Diaper Genies you have, get used to the smell of poopy diapers.  Also, your little one will have the largest, stinkiest, messiest poo at the most inopportune times.  Guaranteed.

Toddler poo:  Potty training.  Oy.  I find this is the thing I am dreading the most.  Even though it will result in a more independent kiddo, and far less poo stink in my house.  Still doesn’t keep you from having to wipe their butt for another few months at least.  I hear that wiping adequately is a skill that takes far more time than the ‘learning to use the potty’ part.  Also, this is where you start having to give them a prize every time they use the potty.  Something a little strange about rewarding a poo with 2 M&M’s instead of only 1 for pee in the potty. But at least you’ll always have chocolate in the house to ease your pain.

If you’re lucky, potty training will be the end of the road.  A poo covered road.  But if you’re not, then you could find yourself wiping little tushies and cleaning up stinky messes for many more years to come. Cheers!

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Shhh! Here’s the *painful* truth about Pregnancy, Labor, Delivery & Beyond

If you have never been pregnant before, you have no idea what to expect when your journey to parenthood beings.  Even if you’ve had friends or siblings that have gone though it all, and no matter how much they share with you, you just don’t know what to expect.  No two experiences are the same, even for one woman.  And chances are that if your BFF had one experience, yours will be exactly the opposite.  These are the things I wish I’d been warned about when I got pregnant with my first…and only after my second did I really see how many things aren’t shared with mama’s-to-be…and probably for good reason…or the reasons below…

1. Pregnancy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Sorry to break it to you ladies, but pregnancy can really suck.  Yes, yes, it is a one-of-a-kind experience and there are really amazing things about growing another person.  But seriously – the morning sickness, back aches, heartburn, sciatica, struggle to find a comfortable position (ever) and loss of bladder control…if you can find the beauty in those things, I envy you.  Pregnancy lasts 9 months.  You’ll spend the first 2-3 months dealing with exhaustion and morning sickness.  If you’re lucky you’ll get 2-3 months of fewer symptoms during the second trimester. Then, just when you’re finally enjoying the beauty of feeling your little one doing gymnastics in the small space between your boobs and your nether-region, you’ll enter into your third trimester.  Commence to wanting this demon child out as soon as possible.  Oh wait, I still have 3 months of this *awesome* torture.  yay?

2. You can’t prepare yourself for labor.  I don’t care how many lamaz classes you take, or how many breathing exercises you have memorized.  If you know anyone who’s actually stuck to their Birth Plan, give them a medal of honor.  Truth is, once those contractions start it all goes out the window.  Oh, and those Pain exercises they use to help show you how long contractions last and how much they’ll hurt…HAH!  It’s gonna hurt.  Like a bitch.  No wonder so many women opt for the epidural.

3.  Oh the mess.  You’ve never seen so many different bodily fluids suddenly make an appearance all at the same time, and in such grandiose quantities.  There’s no possible way to prepare for this.  Sorry!

4.  Nothing goes as planned.  If you plan on an epidural, beware that while it will take away the pain, it generally also slows labor and can cause other issues.  If you plan on a natural birth, you’ll be wishing you’d said a big HELL YES when they offered the epidural.  Good news here though, the pain does eventually reach a level where it doesn’t get any worse.  Hard to believe when you’re in the middle of pushing a watermelon out a hole the size of a donut…

5.  C-sections happen.  Don’t beat yourself up if you weren’t able to have a vaginal birth.  Focus on the happy, healthy little one that just changed your life forever.  Plus, if you get a C-section you’ve avoided the dreaded tearing or episiotomy…

6.  Take advantage of the few days in the hospital.  Everything changes the moment you get home.  Real life starts when there are dishes in the sink and piles of laundry right in front of you.  Enjoy the doting on you’ll get in the hospital for a few days before you go back to reality.  Plus, you get a TON of free shit – diapers, wipes, pads…anything that’s not cotton (blankets, sheets etc.) are yours for the taking.

7.  Write down your birth story.  After a few weeks, you won’t remember everything that happened that magical day.

8.  Pooping for the first time is worse than giving birth.  Sorry to break it to you, but this is the worst part of the whole process.  If you’re one of the lucky ones that the stool softeners actually work for, praise God.  The rest of us aren’t so lucky.  They won’t tell you before you leave that pooping for the first time will feel like you’re giving birth again…this time without any pain meds. Also, you may need to resort to some pretty gross methods to finally get some relief…just sayin’ you’ve been warned.

9.  Breastfeeding. It’s gonna hurt.  Accept the advice of the nurses at the hospital, your midwife, or lactation specialist so that you get the right latch.  It’s still going to take practice and time before it becomes second nature.  It will stop hurting after a few weeks, if you’re doing it right, so grin and bear it and it’ll totally be worth it.

10.  Your life will never be the same.  And you’re going to love it.  As soon as that little one is placed in your arms, it will all be worth it.  You’ll forget all of the pain and discomfort in the blink of an eye.  In the end, you’d do it again and again.

I know it all seems pretty…well, negative and horrible.  Sorry, I’m not going to sugar coat it.  But these are the things that no one told me, and I would rather know what I’m in for over the course of 9+ months.  I don’t see them as negative experiences though, if anything I try find the humor in the truth!

A different birth, a different story…

On January 27th we were blessed with our sweet baby girl “C”.  As fast as the pregnancy went, and as quickly as J has grown into his 20 month self, it still baffles me how quickly this first week has gone by.  So far we are adjusting quite nicely to being a family of 4. J is already an awesome big brother – we never doubted this though.  But now for the birth story…

Since my labor with J was pretty quick, I suspected that C would also come along quite quick.  If only I’d know just how quick!  At my 39 week appointment I was already at 5cm and 90% effaced…we all thought she’d come any day at that point.  But just like her brother, she was right on time.  Born exactly on her due date.  At 1:30 am I started feeling contractions.  Much stronger than the many many you feel the closer you get to going into labor.  3 contractions and 15 minutes later I woke up the Hubby and called my Mom to head down the hill.  I swear J had a sense something was happening cuz he woke up shortly before my contractions started and by the time we left for the hospital 45 minutes later, he was wide awake and sitting on the couch with Dada until reinforcements arrived to stay with him.  It was quite funny though as I cussed and danced my way through each contraction…my sweet 20 month old sponge started trying to repeat my cuss words…whoops!

Luckily the hospital is only 10 minutes away – especially at 2am when you run all the red lights…ahem…By the time we got into our room in labor and delivery, I was at 8 cm.  Hubby and I had talked about not going with an epidural this time around.  Getting one with J had delayed everything by 12 hours…ugh.  We were not going to do that again!  And a few weeks ago I’d had a chat with my midwife about what I planned to do – epi or not – and she’d mentioned how once you’ve been through labor up to 8 or 9 cm the pain doesn’t get much worse through the end.  If you can just stick it out for a little longer, you’ll get through it all much quicker.  Something I wish I would have known the first time around, really.  Especially since my labors go so quickly. I also planned to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with the hopes that Miss C would have a smaller head than her brother…  Anywho, we both laughed when they asked if I wanted an epi as I was nearing 9 cm.  Lo and behold, 5 minutes later I was ready to start pushing. Thankfully I flew through the pushing and only 1 1/2 hours after my contractions started I was holding my sweet girl.

She had been under stress during the quick labor and had already pooped, and we found out that the cord was tied in a knot around her ankle as well.  But here she was, healthy and perfect…and very punctual.

This labor was quite different from my first, but I wouldn’t expect them to be the same.  No two things are.  After a successful VBAC the complications set in…

They soon discovered that there was placenta left behind and although some of it was retrieved, an ultrasound later that morning showed that there was even more to go and get.  We had hoped to spend only 1 night at the hospital after a ” normal” birth, but no-can-do when you need a D&C under general anesthesia to clean out what was left behind.  Thankfully they did the ultrasound and the procedure and in the end, although I lost over a pint of blood, I finally was able to start recovering.  Still only 2 nights in the hospital compared to 3 after my C-section!

It still took a full week before I started feeling human again.  That much blood loss and I will be anemic for a while.  I get winded walking up the stairs, and the smallest chores are quite wearing. But C is nursing like a champ, J is adjusting nicely to his little sister, and Hubby has been great at keeping things in order in our new chaos.

I watched What To Expect When You’re Expecting a few days ago.  Although being a little postpartum played a part I’m sure, it was the perfect movie to watch as you come out of a pregnancy.  One of the few movies that shows the many, many different sides of birthing.  It’s never exactly as you planned or expected.  But in the end everything is just as it should be.

I am feeling very blessed to have a beautiful daughter, a sweet little boy, an amazing husband…and another birthing story to tell 🙂

Anxiety

The number of changes that will happen in the next 2-3 weeks seems abundant lately.  Any pregnant woman can tell you the level of anxiety as you near your due date.  The level and effect of that anxiety varies greatly, but I guarantee all Mama’s have it.  For me it’s wanting to get through the impending pain of labor and meet my sweet baby girl already.  Seems to me like the second time around, the end can’t come quick enough!  The “thrill” of being pregnant wears off a lot quicker after the first.  We mama’s know what’s comming…let’s just get er done already!

The level of anxiety I have when I realize that bith means our family will be growing by 1 more person, 1 more set of needs, 1 more little one to split our time and attention between…that’s where my anxiety level grows exponentially.  We have found our way as a family of 3 over the last 19 months with J.  He is our everything, the one we think about 24 hours a day starting the moment we wake up every day.  He is how we start our day, and how we end our day.  In  a way I think my anxiety stems from a piece of me wishing that he could be our one-and-only forever.  Of course, then I remember that we wanted him to have a sibling, that having a little sister will be amazing and bless him forever (and same for little C).  But in those few moments before rationality rules my thoughts, I find myself already missing the last 19 months when it was just our little family of 3.  J is lucky in that he will have been both an only child AND a sibling.  Little C won’t get to experiance the only-child-ness of this family.  She will be equally as lucky to have spent her whole life with a big brother, though.

J will also be starting school 2 days a week on Monday.  We went and did the walk-through and visited with his class last week, and he did about as I expected.  He loves other kiddos, he loved all the new toys and things to explore, but he cried off and on for the little while he was in there without me.  Being that I taught this same age of kiddos for years, this is almost textbook reaction for a kiddo that hasn’t been in childcare before.  Although as a parent, that isn’t as comforting as it maybe should be.  I almost lost it when I walked back in the room and he was tear stained and calling out for Mama.  I know a few days of rough transition and he’ll really benefit from having 2 full days a week where the focus is really all on him and getting to play.  Doesn’t mean I won’t be a wreck on Monday after I drop him off…

Funny how all these things were conscious choices the Hubs and I made – pregnancy, growing our family, putting J in school – and yet the anxiety still exists.  I know that everything will even out, find it’s way, become part of our normal routine.  It always does.  For now, we will count down the days till our little C joins us, we’ll give J extra love while he’s still the only little one we have, and we’ll embrace all that the new adventure of daycare will bring to J.

Warning: Nipple Talk

If you’re on your first kiddo, you know that breastfeeding for the first month or so is pretty uncomfortable.  Ok, sometimes it’s almost unbearable.  The cracking, bleeding, sore, engorged pain that only a mother will ever feel.  But we do it, we do it because we know that breastfeeding is the best thing for our babies.  And once you get over that first hump, it’s easy going from there…at least as far as the pain goes.  Feeding problems are a whole ‘nother conversation…

When I decided that I wasn’t going to try and wean J when I got preggers, I had no idea that the nipple pain would be back…with a vengeance too.  I worried when J started getting teeth that I would have to deal with biting or a difference in J’s “grip”, but nothing really changed.  He has bitten me once or twice, but not regular or purposeful enough for me to do anything about weaning.  But the last 2 months or so…phew…

I’ve done a little research.  I worried at first that the pain was due to a yeast infection or something of the sort.  But as far as I’ve been able to find, nipple tenderness is part of the lovely side effects of being pregnant.  If it happens to effect you to the point where nursing is uncomfortable…well you’re pretty much SOL.  Some women reported that they were in so much pain when they would nurse that they weaned their little one right then.

I haven’t quite gotten to that point yet…but the best I can compare the pain to is what I imagine it feels like for a guy to get kicked in the nads.  It’s not always that terrible, usually it’s only that bad at night and on one side more than the other. 

BUT unfortunately for me, I nurse J to sleep.  Yes, I know, all the “experts” would tell me that that’s the worst habit I could have gotten him into.  Oh well, what’s done is done, and frankly it keeps his nursing on a pretty tight schedule.  So, the “nursing to sleep” thing aside, this routine that we follow to get J to sleep every night ends up leaving me with a “kicked in the nads” feeling for the first 5 minutes of him nursing.  It does go away eventually, but I never thought that I’d be back at the painful nipple step so late in the game.

I find myself hoping that I won’t have to wean J because of the pain.  In my mind there’s really no reason to wean him yet, but if it’s intolerable for him to latch, then what? 

I’ll talk to my midwife in 2 weeks at my 16 week checkup, but I’m really weary that I’ll be eventually (sooner than later) forced to wean my sweet boy because the pain is too much to handle…sigh.

 

The Sisterhood of Motherhood

There’s something about being pregnant, being a mom that brings other mother’s together.  A common bond that you now all intimately share.  Random strangers you encounter while out and about, friends that you’ve lost touch with, cousins, distant high school acquaintances all suddenly become closer to you.  Drawn together by this little pull of motherhood. 

People you barely know, or wouldn’t normally approach suddenly have this approach-ability to them.  A common thread that you can tug on to enter into a conversation that you wouldn’t normally have had.  “How far along?” “When are you due?” “Boy or girl?” Aren’t deemed as inappropriate or prying questions when coming from someone else in the same boat.  There’s no need  to guard yourself and your growing belly from the reaching out of curious hands from a mother who’s carrying a belly of her own.  

If you are through the pregnancy part and have little ones of common ages, those silly little creatures we love so much become the strings that tie us together instead.  Your little one catches the attention of the little one at the next table and all of a sudden an instant friendship of sorts is formed with a complete stranger, if only for a few quick seconds.  An understanding that is inherent and buried so deep that you don’t even question it.

Mom’s get it.  Mom’s to be are on their way to getting it. “IT” being the all-knowing and yet totally unknown adventure that you’ve entered into by becoming a parent.  The even playing field that life becomes the second that you enter into this new chapter in your life.  Total strangers who find this one common link in otherwise unrelated worlds or societies.

How powerful this one little thing can be…

Pregnancy Cravings

When I was preggers with J I craved milkshakes and salads.  I had a few random cravings for a few things here and there, but nothing totally out of the ordinary for what I eat on a regular basis.  Somewhere I heard that your cravings are you body telling you that you are missing something and you need more of it…if that’s true then with J I needed calcium and ranch dressing? Haha.

With #2 I am having more random cravings.  Still nothing that I haven’t eaten before – and no pika here thank goodness… There’s still something about salads though so I have to get one any time we go out to eat – making one at home just isn’t the same!.  But this time around I have been having dreams about food.  

Last night I had some very specific dreams about strawberry Poptarts and pickles.  (Not together though)  But it was a vivid enough dream that today I had to go out and get those very things!  Actually Poptarts and pickles and M&M’s made up the majority of my dinner tonight…he he  

Granted I’m only 11 weeks in, so who knows what’s coming.  With J there were a few nights during my second trimester that I ate ice cream and kettle corn for dinner.  I think Hubs knew better than to argue with a pregnant woman about what makes for a “good” dinner!