I remember being pregnant with Emmie and thinking I could learn everything I needed to know about pregnancy and those first few days of motherhood before she was ever born. I read books, researched the best birth options, and found the best pediatrician I could. I really felt like I knew for what I was getting myself into when we went in to the hospital the morning she was born.
And then? Her birth happened. And my initiation into the complete mind scramble that is motherhood began. I wish there was a way to sum up what I've learned in my 3+ years of motherhood in just one blog post. There's not. But, there are a few tidbits that, if I was having a cup of coffee with an expectant mother, I'd throw into the conversation.
- It's going to hurt. I'd like to tell you that the childbirth process is all sunshine and rainbows and kittens, but sorry...it hurts. Sometimes, a lot. Trust me, you get the best reward you could ever imagine for going through it but, yikes...it's not easy.
- Get ready for all of the emotions...at once. This is something I definitely didn't think about. Don't think it's possible to show every single emotion under the sun at the same time? Have a baby. You will be happy, sad, mad, scared, embarrassed, elated, in love, relieved, and in shock. It's the craziest mix of feelings and it all happens within what seems like a split second. Get ready for it...it's a wild experience.
- The hospital stay isn't a vacation. Maybe this was just me being naive, but I really didn't understand the effort that would have to go into our hospital stay after Emmie was born. Not only was I recovering from a major, unexpected surgery, but I had to adjust to taking care of a completely helpless human being at the same time. All while waking up every 2 hours for a someone to check one of my vital signs. Just know that the hospital stay is a very short season in your journey as a parent, and that (for us at least) it is so much easier to get into the groove of parenthood once you're home.
- There is no way to plan what happens after the baby is born. I read the books. I watched the seminars. I went to the classes. And in no way was I prepared for the job of being a mommy. Learning all about a brand new human being that can't tell you her needs is really one big trial-and-error process. You have to learn what works for her and what works for you...it's different for every single family on this planet, and there's not a book out there that will tell you exactly what is best for your situation. And you will learn, I promise (try to remember that during those 2am screaming sessions that you think will never end).
- Above all else, the health of mom and baby is most important. You can plan the birth and first few weeks with your baby until your heart's content, but sometimes? Plans stray. And that's ok...it happens to the best of us. My best advice is to roll with the punches and make every decision with you and your child's health as the ultimate priority.
One of the best ways we can help protect the future health of our children is through cord blood banking offered by ViaCord. Cord blood banking is doing amazing things in the medical field, like helping children replace damaged blood cells w/healthy ones & strengthening compromised immune systems. ViaCord has been collecting and storing cord blood stem cells for families for over 20 years, with over 350,000 families choosing to bank with them. Watch a quick video about how it all works.
Collecting cord banking is a much simpler process than many people think. It's safe, painless, and won't disrupt you, your baby, or your birth plan. Even delayed cord clamping and c-section births make it possible to bank cord blood. It's also a much more affordable process than many people think. ViaCord even has payment plan options to help with the cost.
With 22% of all transplants using cord blood today, the importance of this procedure is more apparent now than ever. Do your research and make the most informed decision you can to help protect the health of your family. You can find out more about cord blood banking and ViaCord's services at their website!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.