Top 7 Things the Pregnancy Books Don’t Tell You

Friends tell me I should write a book. Not going to happen. However, I have had enough people tell me that what I sent below was one of the funniest things they've ever read. I disagree completely; however, after hearing about how many people it's been forwarded to, I decided to post it here to make sure I receive absolute and total credit. It's mine . . . all mine.

As background, I had my child - a little boy nicknamed "Peanut" - on 07/07/07. Yes, that's his actual birthday and no, I wasn't induced. During the course of my pregnancy, like every literate, pregnant woman, I read everything about being pregnant I could get my hands on. There were two problems with that. First, although I became an expert on pregnancy, I failed to purchase even one book on how to raise a child. At the very least I needed something called "How to Feed and Water your Infant." Secondly, what I did read — while excellent in providing necessary medical and Trivial Pursuit facts - left out what I thought were some pretty major points. These are the points I tried to warn my girlfriends about. Here goes.

Top 7 (ish) things the pregnancy books don’t tell you:

Hospital Bag Checklist

1.  Contractions are painful. I mean like really, really painful. Most books described early labor as feeling like the worst case of menstrual cramps you’ve ever had. Bullshit. This is true only if the worst case of menstrual cramps you’ve ever had feels like a truck driving over your abdomen. If that’s the case, then labor will be like cakewalk.

2.  You will be appreciative of the nurse counting to 10 for you while pushing. While watching those pregnancy shows (a.k.a. “crack” for pregnant women), I thought that I would be really annoyed as I am perfectly capable of counting to 10 on my own. Forget it. You won’t remember your name while pushing, much less what comes after “7”, so having this information provided to you by a third-party is infinitely helpful.

3.  Not a single pregnancy book described what happens after. After the birth, the delivery of the placenta, and family photo taking, you actually have to STAND UP, get out of the delivery bed, and go to the bathroom. Mentally prepare yourself for the horror fest of blood and goo that will continue to come out. I had no idea and wished I had. You will think you are hemorrhaging. Keep this in mind — everything that comes out is one less thing that will show up on the scale when you get home.

4.  Bring something to drink to the hospital. I brought apple juice in those little boxes and they became a life saver. The nurses at the hospital where I delivered are wonderful, and I was lucky enough to go into labor over the weekend, so I had the place to myself, but they are not flight attendants nor cocktail waitresses. Murphy’s Law will dictate that at the one second you are dying of thirst, not a nurse will be found.

4a.  Corollary to this rule — put your husband/partner/friend/sperm donor to work! You’ve just been through the worst physical trauma of your life and all he’ll have to complain about is having to sleep on those couches in the hospital room. Boo freakin’ hoo. Have that man get you Starbucks if you want it. At 3 a.m.

4b.  Also much appreciated in the hospital — fuzzy socks, lip balm and lotion. You simply cannot drink enough to make of for the gallons of fluid loss you are experiencing and as a result, will have the driest skin of your life.

4c.  A mistake I made — overpacking. I don’t know where or when I thought I was going to where all of the clothes that I brought. During my three days in the hospital, I wore my maternity pjs (easy for whipping out the boobs) and that was it. The only clothes I wore were coming into the hospital and going out.

4d.  Another mistake I made — saving up all of my magazines. I must have anticipated that labor and delivery would be like sitting on a beach – hours of waiting around without really much to do. Granted, I only had a seven hour labor, but during that time, I wouldn’t have had enough concentration even for a Cosmo sex quiz, and that would have been like closing the barn door after the horse had already gotten out.

5.  The first shower after delivery will be the best shower of your life. Enjoy it! I brought travel size shampoos and the like. Instead, I wished I’d gone out and bought the most luxurious and expensive smelly-goods I could get my hands on.

5a. Corollary to this rule – you will go days without having the chance to take a shower in these first few weeks. There were times I only realized it had been too long between showers with the leftover breastmilk on my tank top I was wearing started to sour. Seriously.

6. Speaking of breastmilk – when your milk starts to come in (another incredibly painful experience), pump and save for those times where whipping out a boob just doesn’t work. Guaranteed, "Peanut" would want to nurse for an hour at the exact moment a friend I hadn’t seen in months stopped by the see the baby. During these moments, I wished I had some on reserve to feed him in public.

6a. Corollary to this rule — “they” say to avoid bottles and pacifiers the first few weeks if you are breastfeeding to avoid “nipple confusion”. This was never a problem for us – "Peanut" would sometimes have a boob and a bottle in the same feeding and practically salivated whenever he was held by anybody bigger than a “C” cup.

7. And finally (for now), make sure your husband/partner/friend/sperm donor has heard of a “mother’s gift” or a “push present.” The (Jewish) rule of thumb is one carat for every hour you were in labor. Now, if there were true, I’d still be pushing and we’d have been broke. However, if you’ve ever wanted to hit up your husband/partner/friend/sperm donor for some nicer diamonds – NOW IS THE TIME!! You are a goddess who has just delivered his first born child and therefore your husband/partner/friend/sperm donor is at his most malleable. You can pretty much talk him into getting you anything you want. My only mistake was not having something picked out prior to the birth. However, the sparklers on my earlobes were definitely worth the wait!!!

So that's it. The list that I've sent my girlfriends. Enjoy and good luck!

© Two too smart, smartass mommies 2011