On September 4 of last year my adorable nephew, Atticus Ryatt was born to my beautiful sister Amanda (Min!) and her awesome man Lucian. They seemed like pros from the second we saw them holding the baby, hours after he was born.
It's amazing when a friend has a baby. It's even more incredible when a sister has a baby who is your nephew. I cried instantly when I saw him and when I hugged my sister in the hospital that day, so truly happy and proud of what she'd done, what she'd brought into our family. What a miracle!
My sister answered the interview questions about what it's been like for her the last 9 months as a new mom.
1. What do you wish someone had told you before you had a baby?
I wish they hadn't sugar coated the labor. It was terrible and the worst pain I've ever felt. But they were right about you not caring as soon as you see the baby. I'd go through that 40 hours of labor any day.
2. What is the best part about being a new mom?
The best part of being a new mom is the pride you feel in knowing you gave life to someone. You carried that baby into your body and then got it out. Go you! And it's pretty awesome having your man respect you so much for it.
3. What is the one thing you never expected to feel so much of after having a baby?
The obvious answers for this question: love and fatigue. I never thought anyone could be made so happy by such a tiny thing.
4. What has surprised you about how cool and great of a mom you are?
I never thought of myself as a cool or great mom. From where I'm standing, I have no clue what I'm doing. But then I see my baby doing things and I realize he got there by things we taught him. It makes me feel pretty damn awesome to hear that I have a smart baby.
5. What are 3 registry must-haves that you can't live without and all new moms and babies should have?
Breast pads, if you plan on nursing. You'll need boxes and boxes of them if you're anything like me. Atticus is 9 months old, and I just stopped needing them a few months ago. We learned the hard way that you need a ton of wash cloths in the first couple weeks because the baby's skin can't handle the wipes. We had to go out and buy packs of them, because keeping up with laundry in the beginning is not easy. I say stock up. If you are going to pump, I would go with Medella. I have the Pump in Style Advanced and I can't say enough good things about it. I wanted to get a cheaper one, but it was a sound investment. Also, it pays for itself so fast if you think about the cost of formula.
6. What is your advice for the new mom-to-be Heather, for pregnancy?
My advice for the pregnancy...hang in there! I loved being pregnant, until he was 8 days late and then I couldn't take it anymore, but that was mostly because I just wanted to meet my little guy. I guess my advice is to not be obsessed with what you read and overract about things. Unless it feels like an emergency, it probably isn't. And when it comes to labor and delivery, take the drugs! They told me I was having a small baby, and he was 8.9 lbs and 20.5 inches. They don't always know what they're talking about.
7. What is your advice for her for when baby arrives?
Enjoy your baby. It's a hard time when you're trying to adjust, but in a blink of an eye the baby will be crawling and getting into everything. And fight the urge to put yourself last. You just did an amazing thing in housing and then giving birth to your little human, so now you need rest and to recover. I tried doing too much, and that combined with a tough delivery made for a tough couple of months. People want to help, so let them!!
8. Any good books or Web sites you are in favor of, related to moms, pregnancy, babies, etc.?
I'm sure Ang has already introduced you to the Milk Memos. I loved that book. I read a lot of pregnancy books when trying to prepare for delivery. It's good to have a copy of What to Expect the First Year, and any book about newborns can be very useful. If you are planning on breastfeeding, than the Breastfeeding for Dummies book is very helpful.
9. What was the hardest thing to get used to when you brought baby home?
The hardest thing to get used to when we brought the baby home was realizing that you have to take care of another life AT ALL TIMES. I remember having to hold it in if I had to pee or wait until I was done nursing before I could get up and get a snack. I still cherish nap time because I finally get a moment to myself. A lack of you time can wear you down, so make sure to sneak away for a bath, or read a book before bed to escape. I've trained myself to let the laundry wait a day or make dinner an hour later so that I can just sit and crochet or read for an hour while he sleeps. Do something that makes you happy, or you will get way too overwhelmed.
10. What is your advice for getting through the labor?
As I said before, if you need the pain meds, take them. They are there for a reason, and they wouldn't give them to you if it would hurt the baby. When I go through labor again (someday), I am going to have them wait as long as they can before giving me the epidural. They gave it to me at 4cm and I asked if that was a little early, and they assured me that it wouldn't wear off. Well, guess what? It did. All 3 of my epidurals did, because they did it too early. Do as much as you can without it, and then go for it. You'll be happy you did. I was able to move around in the beginning of labor and that helped with different pushing positions and such. But when you get the point where you need it, get it. No one thinks you're a hero for feeling every bit of pain.
11. What helped you survive pregnancy ups and downs?
The thing that helped me survive pregnancy ups and downs was knowing that it would end, at some point, and you'd get the best thing ever. The bond you get between you and the baby is yours and yours alone. Not even the dad can experience what you get to experience. It's in your body, eating your food, breathing your air. To me, that is enough to get me through anything.