Umm…What Was That?
Dealing with the unexpected when you're expecting
By Mary Lou Sheffield

No matter how much you try to prepare to have a baby, odds are you’ll be surprised by something that happens – or doesn’t happen, or happens in a really, really weird way. Here are some things you may not know about pregnancy from people who know firsthand.


I felt like I had a bowling ball sitting between my legs, applying constant pressure, during the last few months of my pregnancy. Doctors said it was normal, but it was painful and made walking really uncomfortable.
R. T. Rochelle
Cherry Hill


My daughter had her “days and nights mixed up.” We didn’t even know that was a thing. So she slept all day and was awake all night. We added premium channels to our cable package so we had something to watch at night and spent about two months walking around in a daze during the day.
L. Patel


I have three kids, and my pregnancies were all five years apart. It was amazing how each pregnancy was progressively more difficult as I got older. After I had my third baby, I knew my body would not be able to handle another pregnancy.
Meredith Williams


One fact that often surprises infertile couples is that the monthly chance of achieving pregnancy in healthy fertile couples is just 20 percent. Simple fertility treatments achieve monthly success rates in the 14-18 percent range… more involved treatments such as in vitro fertilization may achieve monthly success rates that double (40 percent) and sometimes triple (60 percent) the normal monthly fertility rate.
Louis Manara, DO
Medical Director, Center for Reproductive Medicine and Fertility


My husband and I tried to get pregnant for three years before turning to a fertility specialist, and we never expected those treatments would take a toll on our marriage. We got so caught up in having a baby we forgot the reason we wanted to start a family. It took some counseling sessions to work things out.
Lori Weeks
Mount Laurel


I was surprised I didn’t want my husband to touch me during labor – at all. I have no idea why, but he was a good sport about it. (Good news is I let him touch me now!)
Linda Turner


Some of my patients have the idea that labor will be quick, because that’s how it looks on TV and in movies. For most people – especially first-time moms and dads – the labor process can take hours or even days. Sometimes there are things we can do to help the process along, but if mom and baby are looking well, then often we just let Mother Nature do her thing.
Eric Grossman, MD
Advocare Premier OBGYN of South Jersey


As soon as my daughter was born, I felt like I became invisible to most people. It seemed that everyone who visited us went straight for the baby and barely said hello to me. It was hard to adjust to that.
Asia Wilson


I was caught completely off-guard by how I felt right after I delivered. I had no interest in holding my baby; I just didn’t feel a motherly connection. I fed her, but out of obligation. I cared for her like I would any child who needed care. (Luckily, my husband bonded instantly.) Even though you read about postpartum depression, I don’t think you can recognize when it’s happening to you.
Rebecca C.
Via Facebook


Some moms don’t realize there is a slight chance their baby could be the opposite sex of what we thought it was by ultrasound. Ultrasound technicians are not equally qualified, so they may get it wrong. (I can tell you the technician in our office has never gotten it wrong!) Imagine when a patient has told everyone it’s going to be a boy, then decorated the room for a boy and bought all boy clothes…only to find out when she delivers that it’s a girl!
Wendy Martinez, MD
Founder, Advocare The Women’s Group OB/GYN


I had no idea how many people would be putting their hands on my stomach and then giving me advice they were certain I had to follow.
Lori Tantom
Mullica Hill


I didn’t know I would be leaving the hospital and my body would look like I hadn’t delivered at all. That was a little hard to take.
Lucy Longstere
Egg Harbor Township


Many couples are happy to find out that an increasing number of insurance plans are providing infertility benefits in the state of New Jersey. And for those who do not have infertility coverage, there are numerous assistance programs that can help to cover the cost of treatment.
Amanda Berger, APN-C
Nurse Practitioner, Delaware Valley
Institute of Fertility and Genetics


I was 36 when I got pregnant the second time, which automatically qualified me as a “high-risk” pregnancy. I had to see specialists every few weeks, and my paperwork at every visit had “AMA” (advanced maternal age) written in huge letters across the top. It was a little disconcerting to see those letters every time, on every paper – it made me feel so old.
Kathy Jacobs
Cape May


When I was pregnant with twins, people looked at me like I was a freak of nature. I can’t count the number of times people stopped me and said, “Wow, you look like you’re ready to pop!” When I would tell them, “No, I still have weeks to go,” their eyes would get huge. Once I explained I was having twins, they would look visibly relieved for me. It never failed – and it got to be somewhat insulting, because I felt like people were constantly judging me on my appearance.
Zara Joerna
Cherry Hill


I was so amazed by my body after I delivered my son. I have never felt so strong and proud of what I could accomplish.
Zoe Blarnashi
Cherry Hill


When undergoing in vitro fertilization or IVF, couples are surprised to know they can choose to have their embryos screened for genetic disorders and even to select gender through a process called preimplantation genetic screening, or PGS. PGS improves pregnancy rates and decreases the chances of miscarriages or having a child with a genetic condition by selecting the healthiest embryos during an IVF cycle.
Oumar Kuzbari, MD
South Jersey Fertility Center


People love pregnant women, and they’ll ask you all kinds of questions – no matter how personal!
Tami Lorenza

November 2016
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