TWELVE THINGS THAT SURPRISED ME MOST ABOUT HAVING A BABY

1. That sex REALLY does make babies. Hubby insists, “I don’t know how it happened. She just came to my office one day and told me she was pregnant.” And funny enough, I actually understand the feeling.

2. That there was such a thing as a threatened miscarriage.  I’ve always been rather energetic, and at 6 weeks it hadn’t dawned on me that I was actually pregnant even though the test results said I was. So I continued with business as usual, shunning the elevator as usual, traipsing about in my 6-inch heels, shopping, cooking and working without pausing to rest.  My baby didn’t find it funny; I woke up bleeding one night and was rushed to the hospital where I was told that the placenta detached and I had to be placed on bed rest. After two weeks of rest and medication it attached back completely, but the hours the bleeding lasted were awful for me as I was sure the baby was gone. Thankfully my little fighter held on, not just because I had good doctors (many do and still lose their babies), but because his God is Strength.

3. That my “happy trimester” would be so happy. Rain gave way to sunshine as the 1st trimester passed and took with it the much talked about morning sickness and irritation. After weeks of eating little and spitting much, I was thrilled to experience three months of eating healthy, rocking my not-too-big bump, and having glorious sex. It was over too quickly.

4. That I could be in labour and mistake it for something else. It’s supposed to be the worst pain in the world so that there’s no way you wouldn’t recognize it. And I wasn’t term for another couple of weeks anyway. So when I woke up at night with what was a cross between indigestion and constipation, I put it down to the late meal I had that evening, and spent most of the night alternating between bites of apple and huge gulps of ORS.  Hubby kept asking, “Do you know what contractions are like?” and I kept retorting, “Of course I do, they resemble menstrual cramps, lower back pain and stuff. This is a bowel movement taking forever to happen.” After spending hours on the toilet bowl in increasingly excruciating pain, through which I encouraged myself with “Joy, if you cannot bear this, how will you bear labour pain?” hubby decided it was time to go to hospital.

5. That I didn’t shed a single tear, despite all the pain. We arrived at the hospital and the nurses were asking “What’s the matter baby girl?” and I said “Constipation”(I’m now known as The Constipation Lady, while hubby retains the noble title of Husband of the Year). A quick check revealed I had been in labour all night and was now already 6cm dilated. “Labour room, she’s already half way!” I was hauled into a wheelchair and next thing I knew the baby was bearing down. “Don’t push, don’t push!” “I’m not pushing, he’s pushing me!!” “Control it! Distract yourself! Breathe through your mouth! Come on, let’s hear you breathing!” There was NO time to cry.

6. That having my husband present would make such a difference. I was totally unprepared, so it was indescribably strengthening to have him holding my hand. And he remembered to massage my ears, whooosah! Of course he also remembered to be annoying; when in the anguish of the moment I let slip the F-word, muttering it under my breath, he said, “Don’t say that, say ‘Jesus’”. Duuuude, I’m in labour!!!

7. That sleepless nights are literally that. It made sense that there would be nights when we wouldn’t sleep because we had a baby. I wasn’t prepared for being sleep deprived every single morning! I’m even more surprised that I’m getting used to it, sleeping whenever he’s sleeping, or whenever there’s anyone to help me hold him…or when I’m holding him…

8. That I’d have to give up things I held dear. Like Tinsel. I used to watch it every weekday, religiously. I even used to write the Ynaija Tinsel Review column. First, pregnancy reduced me to Sunday omnibus only. Now I don’t even watch it at all. And I’m struggling to keep up with X-Factor this year, and failing. This is also the first piece I’m writing since I had my baby. On the brighter side, there’s lots of time to pray at night, and listen to the Word on my laptop, and read interesting blogs and tweets…

9. That it would be so worth it. He’s so cute, so cuddly, so mine, I really don’t mind all that much how my life has turned upside down. Plus, I’m breastfeeding exclusively and I can’t tell you how empowering it is watching him gain weight on my milk alone. And when he smiles that “gummy” smile, all is well with the world.

10. That it would take so long to get my voice back. I didn’t know people lost their voices during pregnancy; everyone conveniently forgot to mention, until I got my baritone, that it sometimes happened to women carrying baby boys. I really hope I get my old voice back, because, as sensual as I’m told this one sounds, I don’t think I can live without being able to sing like I used to. Not that I was Adele or anything, but singing along with my favourite crooners, and “let’s welcome Sister Joy for her special number” every now and then, is important to my soul’s wellness. Seriously.

11. That I would love my post-baby body. I was prepared for the worst and ready to exercise myself to death once I had my baby. However it seems less sleep combined with breastfeeding works wonders for some, like me. Surprisingly I lost most of the weight in the weeks following delivery, and what’s left so suits me I’ve been asked to make sure I don’t lose it. Happy is me!

12. That I’d be ready to do it all over again so soon. Yeah, Baby, I’m talking to you… Okay, half kidding!