I was recently cleaning up my email account when I came across this questionnaire that Tyler and I filled out for one of his cousins.  This questionnaire was done a few months after having our first child.  It's so funny to read all our answers and see how things were different with my second pregnancy.  I thought I'd share the questionnaire with y'all.  I did make some notes in pink on a few of the questions.  All the pictures on here are of Parker when he was 2 days old.

1. What were your expectations about pregnancy and labor and how was the reality different or similar?
NICOLE - Being pregnant was scary during the first trimester because it sinks in that there is no turning back. I couldn't just quit when things got hard. I was no longer just taking care of myself, I had this little person inside of me that depended on me and only me…(like I said - scary). But then came the second trimester, which was very easy for me. I got to find out that I was carrying a boy. Finally came the third trimester - by this time I was huge, my heart burn was out of control and I felt so unattractive, yet unmotivated to do anything about it. By the time I gave birth I had been in labor for 18 hours and yes it was horrible. I barely remember holding my son for the first time which makes me so sad. I never would have thought I would have been in labor for 18 hours or that giving birth would be as painful as it was, even with the epidural. I don’t think anything can really prepare you for your first time being pregnant and labor.
TYLER - I thought it was going to be hard, stressful, and different because of all the changes we knew were coming. In reality, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The pregnancy part was kind of exciting. The labor part - not so much. I was terrible.

2. What were your before and after feelings and views on raising a baby?
NICOLE - I really can’t remember if I had any views on raising my son before having him but I know now that you can’t compare your baby to other babies. I slowly learned that each baby is truly different and that you can't judge what one does to another. I'm actually still learning this. You just have to go with the flow and not worry about it if he doesn’t roll over right at 4 months.
TYLER - I hadn’t been around young children in a really long time so I was nervous that I would not know what to do. I still feel that way now, but I have realized that no one really knows what they are doing the first time. We take every new step in stride and it has worked out quite well so far.

3. Is there anything that you and your spouse had differing views on during the child-birthing process?
NICOLE - My husband didn’t have an option on child-birthing because it wasn’t his body carrying the child for 9 months or giving birth. He left that up to me and he just supported my decision. (DAMN...this is mean...I probably still haven't slept a full night when I answered this question yikes. Tyler for sure had a say in the process btw lol)
TYLER - For the most part we agreed on everything. Nicole did a lot of research about the whole process and I kind of let her take the lead on everything

4. How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be?
NICOLE - I didn’t really have any preconceptions of how labor would be. I was hoping it was fast and not too hard but that’s not what happened.
TYLER - I was worried about the birth experience and how Nicole would handle the labor and all the contractions. I was also worried how I would react and what all i would have to actually do in the delivery room. It was very hard to watch her actually go through that, the contractions seemed awful. When it was time to push I almost passed out. (seriously the doctor was actually worried about Tyler and wouldn't let him help. He was as white as a ghost!)

5. What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
NICOLE - I couldn’t believe I actually had a baby. To have gone 9 months pregnant and give birth to this little human being-it was like no other experience I had before.
TYLER - The moment you see your child for the first time everything changes. There is an instant transformation in the way you look at everything. You realize in that moment that it’s not just about you anymore and that you will do everything in your power to make sure they are happy. It’s pretty amazing.

6. How would you describe your recovery?
NICOLE - Long and Painful.
TYLER - The only recovery I had to do was figure out how to actually get sleep…still haven’t figured that out!

7. If you could recommend a certain type of childbirth experience, based on your own experiences, what would you recommend to other women and why?
NICOLE -Every woman’s birthing experience is different so I can’t really recommend one way or the other. I would never get induced again because I think that’s why I was in labor a lot longer than I should have been. I would stay at home as long as I could in a warm bath, then when my contractions were 5 minutes apart I would head to the hospital. Being in your home environment is much more relaxing than a hospital bed.
TYLER - get a c-section! ha. And make sure you have a chair behind you once the mother starts pushing, you most likely are going to need it, no matter how much you think you can handle! (I about spit my coffee out when I read his answer to this question again!!)
8. What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
NICOLE - I didn’t take any classes or do anything to prepare because I didn’t see a reason too. My friend did take birthing classes and when it came time she said those classes don’t really prepare you for what it’s really like. I had no interest in watching a video of a woman giving birth because all that would do is scare me and it’s not like I wasn’t going to have to do that myself. I think that helped me not watching that.
TYLER - We didn’t take classes or anything, so it was all kind of learning on the fly. It all worked out, so I don’t really regret that at all.

9. What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
NICOLE - Pushing
TYLER - Being in the labor room, except for the moment you get to meet your child. The mood swings during the pregnancy aren’t the best either.

10. What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
NICOLE - I loved my doctor & nurses who kept reassuring me that my son was on his way and giving me that hope that this was almost over. My husband was incredible even when I had the room temp set to freezing and he was in shorts but he never complained.
TYLER - I really enjoyed the experience as a whole, it’s not always easy or fun, but it is a journey that is worth taking.

11. In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
NICOLE - Like I said in question 7, I would never choose to get induced again. (haha I definitely got induced with Jude and wanted to.  I will say my experience with Jude was completely different and much smoother!)
TYLER - I would have prepared for the labor room a little more, maybe done some more reading about the experience. I would have slept more before hand as well! ha

12. Did anything surprise you during pregnancy, labor, or afterwards?
NICOLE - I was very surprised at how much weight I gained and how quickly I lost it after giving birth. I gained 60 pounds by the end of my pregnancy but at my 6 week checkup I had lost 56 pounds. I credit that all to stress. (I gained over 70 pounds with Jude and I was actually trying to be healthier.  I just think some women get bigger and that's okay!)
TYLER - Everything was surprising because I have never been through this experience before.

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