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Stephanie R. Caudle Headshot

What I Didn't Expect While Expecting

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Everyone I encountered, including strangers, swore I would miss being pregnant. I do not. Sure, I enjoyed each initial kick, roll and hiccup but at 39 weeks I just wanted to sleep like a normal human being again (that hasn't happened but hey, can't blame a girl for dreaming).

I read countless books on what to expect while expecting and each week I sat back and monitored my body to see if indeed all these things were happening to me. Some things happened and some things didn't and I simply figured that it was because not all pregnancies are the same.

As a first time mom, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't know if I was in labor or not and everyone told me "you will just know." But nobody told me what would happen in the case that I thought I was in labor but genuinely didn't know. I was doomed and didn't know it.

As I'm sitting at home just a few weeks ago with my husband, I had a feeling labor was approaching. That feeling wasn't excruciating pain like everyone told me it would be, it was more like a mother's intuition. I guess I just knew, but I showed no physical sign of labor so I waited. Suddenly, labor had begun and it wasn't how I expected. Here are a few things I didn't expect while expecting:

My Water Broke.
Most people describe this as a trickle and others never even experience this because they have their water broken in the hospital. I experienced it and it was no trickle. In fact, it was just as dramatic as it is in movies even though people and books swore it wouldn't be. I was so shocked and confused I was not even sure if I should go to the ER because I had no pain and I hadn't experienced the "trickle."

I labored for over 24 hours.

Yes. I labored in the hospital. In the bed. For an entire day. When my water first broke I was convinced the baby was coming immediately and as the 24 hour mark approached I realized this was far from true.

Your birth plan means nothing.
I didn't have a huge birth plan but I knew I didn't want pitocin, an epidural or a C-section and guess who got all three? Yes, you guessed it. Me. It wasn't quite by choice because I was never in pain but the doctors feared that laboring too long with no meds was distressing my daughter so I agreed to it. Hours later, I am being wheeled to the OR for the C-section I swore I didn't want simply because again, I was not progressing through labor fast enough.

C-section recovery ain't no walk in the park.
Everyone talks about the scar that C-sections leave behind, but no one discusses the process of healing. The first few days are hard. You can't eat what you want, it hurts to use the bathroom and walking? Never felt harder in life.

Breastfeeding isn't for the weak.
The pictures we see make breastfeeding so very glamorous but no one ever tells you the blood, sweat and tears behind it all. My first few days my daughter used my breast as a pacifier versus food. The moment I was ready to give up was the moment she latched on properly. No one ever mentioned how hard it would be, just that it would be rewarding. Now I'm telling you the reward is there ONLY IF you don't give up.

These are just a few things I didn't expect. Mommies and future mommies weigh in, I would love to know what you didn't expect.