Heather B. Armstrong of
Mommy blogger extraordinaire Heather B. Armstrong, of dooce.com, is famous for chronicling the intimate details of her life. Now she's written a funny, characteristically candid book on pregnancy and post-partum depression called It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita.
Cafe Kristen and I recently spoke to her about it. Kristen posted yesterday about Heather's serious struggles with depression; today, I'm sharing what she has to say about pregnancy and labor and delivery. She's currently expecting kid #2.
You had pretty serious morning sickness when you were pregnant the first time -- how did you get through it?
Nothing was helpful – I had tons of advice from other moms and from OB/Gyns and nothing helped at all.
Jon’s [my husband's] sister is a labor and delivery room nurse and she was honest and said there really isn’t anything you can do – you just have to suffer through it until it passes, and she was right. Thank God it just abruptly ended at the 13th week.
What was it like having your mother and sister see you giving birth to your daughter, intimate parts and all?
It was fantastic – I had planned for all of that to happen. My sister has five kids and my mom wasn’t there for the birth of any of them. My sister said you’ll have to say something to mom, and be clear, to let her know you want her there.
So I told her it was important to me for her to be there, and she was. At the time, she was a serious businesswoman, so she was dressed to the nines in her business attire. And two hours after she was back on a plane to L.A.
Why was it important to you that they were there?
I was at the birth of one of my sister’s kids and one of my brother’s and I have a special connection to those kids and the other people who were there, and I wanted to share that kind of intimate experience with my family. My stepdad was in the room, too.
Also, I have no modesty!
What's the one bit of advice you'd give to a new mom entering her third trimester?
Don’t fear labor – labor comes and goes very quickly, and in the overall scheme of things isn’t that big a deal. I spent so many years of my life fearing the details and what could go wrong and no one ever mentioned to me it was the first three weeks AFTER that are hard to live through.
Focus on being prepared for that instead.
If you can, find a way to get help after the baby comes – a baby sitter, mom, friends. Make sure you have help, not only for the physical aspects, but so you can have some time alone to gather your thoughts about the bomb you just dropped on your life.
How is your pregnancy going now? Better or worse than the first one?
My nausea was bad, but not as bad as the first time. At least I was able to keep food down. It’s familiar territory and I find it easier in some ways.
On the other hand, I know more of what to expect, and I’m dreading the third trimester more. The inability to roll over without completely getting up and moving your entire body, the inability to go more than ten minutes without peeing.
You’re having another girl – how do you feel about that?
I feel the hugest sense of relief! It would have been fantastic to have a boy, but I’m so giddy because I have all of the stuff and I know how to change the diapers and I find it exciting that Leta will have a sister.
And we’ll completely outnumber my husband.
What advice do you have for moms who are thinking of having their second child?
Well of course I’m not already parenting a second child, but in terms of how to think about having the second….
We waited several years on purpose. I knew I couldn’t handle a 2- or 3-year-old with a newborn and Leta is a stubborn kid, so every milestone has been an upheaval for the family – speaking, potty training, everything. So we wanted to get through some of that before we had another.
But you can’t wait forever. I miscarried the previous October and I needed time to heal from that – I knew that I’d have my book coming out and then it was like, I’m tired of putting this off.
There’s never a convenient time and now that I’m pregnant, I’m making everything else take a back seat to it.
Since you’ve been through labor and delivery before, how will that influence things this time around?
I will get the epidural as soon as it’s an option – there’s no question!
Then after, my husband will be helping out more. Last time he went back to work after only three or four days and now he’s around, so it will be a completely different experience.
And we know now how to take turns at night. I was a freak about my milk supply the first time and thought I had to nurse her three or four times every night or my milk supply would dry up.
This time I’ll know more about how things work and I’ll make sure I’ll get the sleep and time for myself that I know I’ll need.
Are you pregnant with baby #2? What did you learn the first time around and what will you do differently?