Hmpf. Yeah, that's not what I asked!
So here's some honest answers to some of the questions I asked (but were never really answered)
1.What does it feel like when my baby first begins to move?
** I remember the very first time I felt T man move. I was lying in bed one night, waiting for hubby to get out of the shower. Suddenly, my lower left abdomen began to "pop" and rumble like a bag of popcorn popping! I thought I was having a violent case of gas =) I was reading online (don't I always) a few days later when another soon to be mom mentioned the exact same feeling. Being a 2nd time mom, she knew this was the early feelings of baby movement. Who knew!! =) I was expecting a "fluttering" sensation (I was told it felt like butterflies) or some very distinct "punching" feeling. But instead I got an exploding bag of microwave popcorn =)
2. what do Braxton hicks contractions feel like?
** As my due date got closer and closer people kept asking me if I was having any BH contractions. No ... I don't think so ... what do they feel like? "oh, you'll know!" Really? I'm just gonna know that these random pregnancy pains are contractions? Well guess what, I was having BH and I had NO IDEA! I was talking with my SIL one day and she began explaining what her BH felt like & I was like "OH! wait .... That's BH contraction?!? well heck! I've been having that pain for weeks now!" So, what did they feel like? Well, for me and my SIL, the contractions came on as a sharp, quick, back spasm. It would happen suddenly and feel like a hard cramp in my back muscles. Because I had experienced a variety of back pain during my pregnancy, I never dreamed that this was a contraction. But that's exactly what it was.
3. what do real contractions feel like?
** On Thursday October 25th at 8:00pm, my BH contractions suddenly became very different, very real! I was sitting on the sofa, watching TV with hubby, enduring my endless waves of BH when suddenly BAM! I was overwhelmed with a swelling, full body pain that forced me to stop everything and focus. That's the big difference. BH are irritating and annoying, but really nothing to cry about. Real contractions though will stop you in your tracks. You stop moving, you stop walking, you stop talking. You just breathe. My labor contractions (I had back labor) would start in my lower back just like the BH did, but then the pain would swell like a balloon being blown up. Very quickly, the pain would grow in my back, reaching around my sides, into my abdomen, like 2 strong arms wrapping around my torso. When the roller coaster of pain finally reached the top, the pain came crashing down through my entire mid-body, stretching out to my knees and pressing out through my pelvis and vagina. Then, just as quickly as it came, the tide rolled back out and I was pain free again (for a few minutes at least)
4. how will I know when to push?
**Even with the epidural, I still felt quite a lot of sensations "down there". At one point, just before noon, I told the nurse "...um ... um ... I feel something! I don't think it hurts, but I can DEFINATELY feeeeeel something!!!!" She suggested I go ahead and try pushing, and low and behold! the sensation disappeared =) The feeling that came over me can only be compared to restless leg syndrome. If you've ever suffered from RLS you know what I mean when I say you have to move. There is absolutely no ignoring the feeling that is growing in your muscles. I began to feel this heavy, pressing, swelling sensation from my belly to my thighs that was impossible to ignore. The only way to relieve this feeling was to push. I want to give you a tip on pushing. The urge to push is so intense that I didn't focus my pushing. Instead, I pushed my whole body. After several (several!) pushes with no progress, I finally figured out how to visualize my target (baby in the birth canal) and focus my efforts into a productive push. You need to figure out how to push so that only your "birthing muscles" are activated, instead of just pushing away that RLS feeling. I know that sounds weird, but once you're in this situation, you will understand. I promise =)
5. what does breastfeeding feel like?
** "BFing shouldn't hurt. If it does, check your latch" >=[ blah blah blah. I'm sorry ladies, but it hurts! At least it will for the first 2 weeks or so. It's going to take a while for your body too get used to this new feeling and "toughen up" a bit. The best description I can give you for how BFing feels during those early days is this: imagine taking a wooden clothes pin and clamping it onto your nipple. Now, imagine tugging, twisting and pulling that clothes pin. Yep, that's just about what it feels like. All you can do is curl your toes and breathe thru it. Give it about 20-30 seconds and the pain will subside, then you can focus on your baby instead of the discomfort. I promise you, this pain does NOT last forever. You and your baby will become so comfortable with BFing that you won't even feel it any more :-)
6. what am I going to feel like afterwards?
** Now, I can't tell you a thing about healing from a CS, but I can at least give you some insight into what you can expect from a vaginal birth recovery. My first "whoa" moment after giving birth was when I decided to go pee by myself. (the nurse assisted me immediately post birth) The moment that I pulled down those big ole mesh panties, blood just started pouring out of me. It was like I was peeing blood and couldn't stop it. That's when I first realized how completely exhausting childbirth is for every part of your body. My vaginal muscles were as good as dead right then. As for my physical pain level, that is really a 2 parter. First, you may or may not tear while your LO is coming out, so you might require some stitches. They don't require any special treatment, except to avoid pulling on them or stretching the skin while it's healing, but naturally, having stitches is going to increase your pain sensitivity down south. I felt like someone had beat me with a baseball bat between the legs, repeatedly! I was unable to sit on anything harder than a pillow for at least 4 days. The second part of my physical pain was my muscles being strained from all that pushing. It took me a couple of days to figure out why I felt like I had just done 500 push ups LOL It takes your whole body to push out a baby, not just your vagina. My arms ached from grabbing and bracing myself, my legs ached from being up in the stir ups, my shoulders ached from holding myself up off the bed, etc. I felt as though I had spent the day at the gym instead of the hospital! :-)