Nancy posted a survey and I typed so much I figured I would post my response. Plus I don't know how much longer I can sit in this chair... Ouch... Any mommies out there, please share your responses.
1. Early "symptoms" of pregnancy - Was what you actually felt/experienced different from what you thought they would be like? -
Expected to feel crappy and sick. I did feel crappy and sick at 5 weeks.
2. Many women are afraid they won't be able to tell the difference between a braxton hicks and a real contraction. When you got a real contraction, was there and obvious difference? - Expected to just know the difference. Still not sure about this one. I consider that I went into labor Wed. night at 8 pm and had baby Fri. at noon. For a while contractions weren't too bad, but they kept getting worse. I had some false labor a few weeks before that felt very similar, but not quite as painful. Then at 6 pm Friday night, they got more painful. I was pretty sure it was the real deal, but not 100% till a few hours later at the hospital.
3. Drug Free Labor. A) If you wanted a drug free labor and delivery, did you succeed? B) Regardless of the outcome (opting for drugs or not), has your opinion about natural labor and delivery changed at all?
I totally wanted drugs during labor and delivery. I seriously thought that delivery would be super easy due to epi, like I see on tv. BUT epi did not work for me. My legs were dead and vaginal area dead, but I felt everything in my belly due to scar tissue in my spine. So no, L&D was much more traumatic than I expected.
4. Inductions. I didn't really want one, but dr scheduled for 39 weeks. Baby decided to come at 38 weeks. BUT they did have to use pitocin on me due to magnesium sulfate used for blood pressure slowing things down. Pitocin is EVIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5. Recovery. Was recovery as you imagined?
Recovery is so much harder than I thought. I expected to come home and spend maternity leave playing house, cooking, going on walks... I had episiotomy which is horrible and painful. After two weeks and 3 days, I can finally sit in a chair for a little while and not cry. It's so hard to get up and down out of the bed. Things are getting better, but this is way worse than I imagined.
6. Post delivery body. Did your own body surprise you?
I expected to look 6 months pregnant, but I only had a very small pouch going home. I've already lost almost 20 lbs of 34 gained. I'm not dieting or exercising of course. I have had tummy problems and not much appetite. So my appearance is much different than I expected.
7. Postpartum bleeding. Were you ready for it?
I expected super heavy flow for weeks, but it was only heavy for about a week. Now I'll have heavy flow every day or two, but no huge clots. PROBABLY because the OB who delivered me... pushed with all his might on my belly after delivery. I screamed my head off for real. But I guess he got everything out.
8. Postpartum period. Anything in this category surprising?
Haven't had yet.
9. Did you experience the "newborn honeymoon"?
YES!! First week home, he only woke up one or two times at night and went right back to sleep. Week two we were in for a rude awakening!! 3am till 6 am is wakey fussy time.
10. Sleep deprivation and general feelings of taking care of a newborn. Did you have any idea just how hard it would really be?
I'm crying right now typing this. Sleep deprivation is so hard. There is no way to describe how it feels to wake up for an hour to feed, then sleep for one hour, then do it again. Then sometimes he cries all the way through till it's time to eat again. The first few nights of this, I was still feeling horrible, and Nathan did not help. He got mad at me when I woke him up. Now he rocks the baby so I can sleep for a little while between feedings. I keep telling myself that eventually this will pass. It's so hard.
Extra Credit: Is there anything else in regards to expected vs actual you would like to share?This sounds corny, but I had no idea I could love somebody this much. Even with all of the crying and not sleeping, I just can't get mad at him. I can cry about it, but I can't get mad. I love him so much. The thought of something happening to him makes me seriously panicky. I have dreams about people trying to take him and waking up to check on him. I check on him to make sure he is breathing. One more - I thought I would be anal about other people holding him, but I'm really not. People can hold him all day as long as it's not eating time. I don't even remember usually to ask people to wash their hands (maybe not good). I guess I'm proud of him and want other people to experience his sweetness.