Some of these are definitely a little TMI but gosh dang it, I wish someone had told me so I wasn't scared and knew what was normal.
THIS IS THE NITTY GRITTY. Don't be scared, it all sounds a bit scary--but it's all totally normal and you'll be ok. If not, there is always cheesecake.
1. YOUR NIPPLES WILL FEEL LIKE SOMEONE WENT OVER THEM WITH SANDPAPER. THIS IS TOTALLY NORMAL
Nursing gets worse before it gets better. Your boobalas have to get used to a tiny person munching on them. Invest in lanolin and don't give up. Mine cracked and bled at first, but that was mostly do to a poor latch from a lazy Gracie. You will want to quit because they hurt, but if you work through it--your boobs will get used to it and it'll be gold. Once I got Grace to latch correctly, we were in business. But my nipples were still raw for a good long while, it takes time and don't feel discouraged! It will eventually go away.
2. WITCH HAZEL. WITCH. HAZEL.
These things will be your saving glory after birth. They will give you a few when you leave the hospital but I went through SEVERAL boxes of these things.
Giving birth isn't easy. You are pushing a watermelon out of your whoo-haa. In some cases, (like mine) you will tear and have to be stitched up. Going to the bathroom will become a nightmare. For me, that was the worst part of pregnancy, labor, birth, the whole she-bang.
I remember SOBBING trying to go to the bathroom and it was so painful and poor Daniel just didn't know what to say or do.
THEN I FIGURED IT OUT.
Step one: Get BIG pads. Like...HEAVY FLOW PADS.
Step two: Line those suckers with the tucks witch hazel pads.
Step three: FREEZE THEM.
Then, when your whoo-haa is on fire--there ya go.
(Or if you don't want the cool -- just line pads with witch hazel--it will still make everything feel better.)
Best thing ever.
YOU. ARE. WELCOME.
3. YOU CANNOT PREVENT STRETCH MARKS
Those things will help with the stretching and make it less itchy and painful, but it's not gonna stop them from making you look like you were pulled through a taffy machine. Sucks but that's the breaks, kid.
4. YOU WILL BLEED AFTER. DO NOT FREAK OUT. YOU ARE NOT DYING.
This is the #1 thing that freaked me out the most and NO ONE told me about it so I was really freaked out. After you give birth and the wheel you into recovery and such, the first time you stand up you could gush a whole lot of blood. Your first trip to the bathroom could look like a murder scene. I was pretty freaking convinced I was dying and rang that red nurse button. I don't know where Daniel was but he and Gracie weren't in the room so I think she was getting tested for jaundice or something...but I was all alone when the nurse came in and I was like "AM I DYING!?!" She just laughed and assured me that I was fine, it was normal, and helped me get cleaned up. But holy crap. That was scary. SO JUST SO YOU KNOW--IT IS NORMAL. YOU ARE NOT DYING.
5. LIGHTENING CROTCH, YA'LL. *scientific terms being used here*
One of the joys of later pregnancy is called round ligament pain. It's the muscles and ligaments stretching to hold the baby and such. It will sometimes feel...like lightening hit your crotch. It will come instantly like lightening, and you will cower for a second because you will be like WHAT IN THE? But no worries, it goes away.
If you are like me, you will grab yourself to make yourself feel better. Kind of like a pat on the back saying "It's okay, the pain will go away in a second." I don't even know... Which is SO awkward in public, so try not to do it. But hey -- whatever gets ya through it.
6. IT SOUNDS CRAZY...BUT YOU REALLY WON'T REMEMBER THE PAIN
I don't remember a lot of the pain of childbirth. Which is saying something because I was in labor for a ridiculously long time and my epidural wore of TWICE and was almost completely wore off when Gracie and her big ol' noggin made her way into the world. So I remember thinking "THIS REALLY HURTS" but I don't remember the pain from it. And as soon as Gracie came out I was kind of floating and even though all the gross stuff after giving birth was happening (birthing the placenta, stitches, etc) I was so consumed with this tiny human that I just gave life to, that I literally didn't feel any of it.
A lot of women I have talked to feel the same way, that as soon as your kiddo comes out--you are just like "Hey, that's MY baby! I MADE that! I AM A BEACON OF LIFE!"
7. YOU ARE PREGNANT FOR 10 MONTHS. 10. NOT 9. 10 MONTHS YA'LL!
It drives me crazy when I hear people say that pregnancy is 9 months. It's not, pregnancy is 40 weeks long, which is TEN MONTHS. TEN. That is ALMOST A YEAR. YOU ARE PREGNANT FOR ALMOST A YEAR. If that doesn't get you cheesecake whenever you want it, I don't know what will.
So high-five yourself for creating life and go grab yourself a slice of cheesecake, you deserve it.