Now that motherhood has been a part of my life for almost 5 weeks, I feel a little more confident about all things mom and baby related. Notice I said “a little more confident”… I still have a long ways to go, but looking back to when Monkey was just born, I have come a long way. There’s still so much for me to learn and room for my confidence to increase tenfold.
Motherhood is so unique that nothing except experience can really prepare you. You can read books, blogs, or listen to advice from parents, but it will not be the same when you have a child. It’s just something that you need to figure out on your own according to your needs and your baby’s needs. I have a feeling that motherhood is a constant learning experience that just makes you into a better mom day after day.
While I have no idea what the future holds or what obstacles will come our way, I do know that there were many things that no one told me about after childbirth, labor and delivery, and coming home with baby and what to expect. I hope to pass these things onto you so that you won’t be as surprised at some of them like I was.
And in no particular order, here are some things on what to expect after childbirth, labor and delivery, and coming home with baby that no one told me about:
1. I never expected motherhood to feel so lonely, especially in the beginning. Talk about being thrown into the unknown world of breastfeeding, poopy diapers, a squirmy newborn, and lack of sleep. It was a challenge to say the very least.
2. Unsolicited advice from everyone. If I had a dime for every time my mom told me that I was started on rice cereal when I was 1 week old because I consumed 32 oz of formula in one night & maybe, just maybe, that would be good for Monkey, I’d be rich.
3. Feeling possessive over baby, especially with in-laws. I feel like they are taking time away from me bonding with Monkey and I have no idea why. I do not feel this way with my mom or my husband. Perhaps it’s my hormones.
4. I had no idea that I would do laundry and the dishes at least one time every single day. (Stock up on dishwashing detergent & Dreft, or whatever detergent you use for your baby’s clothes.)
5. I never knew that I wouldn’t be able to drive for 6 weeks after giving birth. And this was a vaginal birth with a minimal tear that required just a couple of stitches. It made no sense to me really. The OB on call said that it was in case I was driving and had to brake fast that could be dangerous since I just gave birth. Despite me not understanding even after this explanation, I still followed and didn’t drive for 6 weeks.
6. Postpartum bleeding (aka lochia). Basically bleeding, like a really heavy period, for many days after giving birth. Once the heavy bleeding stopped, I was greeted with a lighter blood. This part was a complete surprise to me and one of the things I dreaded the most. Wearing a pad in your panties constantly really sucks & I felt like I smelled all of the time. I could do without this postpartum bleeding for sure. Consider yourself warned.
7. Feeling like a cow milking all the time. Not to knock breastfeeding at all, but pumping breastmilk was no fun. Talk about feeling like a cow being milked.
8. Hormones being so out of whack and having a hard time emotionally. Never expected this one at all. Again not to knock the ladies that suffer from the baby blues and postpartum depression, but I just thought I was strong enough to not suffer from this. As you and I both know, being strong has nothing to do with it. And who would have guessed that I would have to be on an anti-depressant for postpartum depression.
9. The bathroom experience. This one ties into the postpartum bleeding. After you go to the bathroom, you have to cleanse yourself and your lady parts with a squirt bottle full of warm water. Then pat area dry. Then spray dermoplast on the area. Then put a pad in your panties. Then put two witch hazel pads overlapping on the pad that is already in your panties. Then spray epifoam on the witch hazel pads. Pull up panties. Wash hands. Repeat every single time you have to go to the bathroom.
10. Being so tired, but not being able to nap during the day. I think I’ve adjusted for the most part to not sleeping as much as I used to, but in the beginning it was really tough. I’ve never been a napper before, but I thought that I’d be able to nap after giving birth. Well, I was wrong. I would be so freakin’ tired, go lay down in my bed while the baby was napping, even put on a sleep mask to block out the light, and still would not be able to fall asleep. So frustrating.
11. Feeling like a supermom to try to get everything done during the day.
12. Feeling like a guilty mom if I’m not holding little Monkey constantly.
13. It only took waking up once with leaky boobs & a wet tank for me to remember to wear nursing pads all of the time.
15. Hearing my baby cry sends shivers down my spine and that crying is only for two seconds until I figure out what it is that he wants.
16. Getting peed on isn’t nearly as bad or awful as I thought it would be. I feel proud for shielding the urine from Monkey’s face at my expense. Getting pooped on is another story though.
17. If parents or in-laws offer to stay with you and help out after you get home from the hospital, ask questions first. If they are willing to help out and cook meals, clean up, and let you sleep – say yes! If they expect you to do that stuff while they hold the baby – think twice about it. For real.
18. Think about whether or not you want visitors at the hospital. I was sure that I did, but then changed my mind once I was in the hospital. It was too much, with trying to get the hang of breastfeeding, changing diapers, etc. I had the nurse put a note on the door that said “no visitors please”. It was necessary to keep my sanity. (The same goes for when you arrive home too.)
19. Don’t worry about not returning phone calls immediately. Tell your husband to call or send out a text letting people know that you are doing just fine, but don’t feel obligated to call anyone back. At least I didn’t. Just last week I called my best friend back. If they are your true friends, even if they haven’t had a baby yet, they will understand. I promise.
20. In the hospital, especially when I was breastfeeding, I would feel awful, awful cramps in my stomach. I was informed that this was my uterus contracting to get back down to its original size and that breastfeeding helps it faster. The cramping hurt at times and then I would feel & notice a large amount of blood coming out. The lactation consultant, nursery nurse, and my nurse all told me that it was so normal.
21. Bowel movements. I was scared that the first bowel movement would hurt, but it did not at all. It took about 3 weeks postpartum for me to return back to being, um, regular on a daily basis. I tried to help things along, even bought & drank prune juice, which is as completely awful as I thought it would be.
22. Witch hazel pads (or Tucks) feel oh so good down there.
23. Initially I didn’t want to eat or drink anything after giving birth and for the first weeks after returning home. I think I was just having a lot of the postpartum blues and that affected my appetite. Glad to say that it is and has been back to normal for about two weeks.
24. The first week you come home with baby is the most rough. Remind yourself that it gets better every day.
25. It’s ok if you aren’t flowing with joy right away. I woke up from a nap during the first week & my initial thought was “damn, this is still my life”.
26. Night sweating. Talk about going from being 29 years old and in my prime to feeling menopausal overnight. Night sweating is no fun and still plagues me a few nights a week. I’m told it’s the blood volume adjusting back to normal and that it should stop soon. I can only hope. Tarzan even told me that I soaked his pillow and the sheets the other night. Gross & that just adds more laundry to wash.
27. No exercise until my 6 week appointment. It’s probably a good thing that this is a “rule” because I don’t know how I would have found the time (or energy) to exercise right after Monkey was born. I’m so completely jealous of those ladies who return to their skinny selves during this period because it just means that they have good genes and I don’t.
28. When I run errands, I walk around proudly. Yes, I have a flabby tummy postpartum, but that serves as a reminder that I carried my son for 9 months in a healthy atmosphere and that I have a healthy son waiting for me at home. There is nothing more empowering than knowing that I survived childbirth and that it was a great experience for me.
29. I had my tonsils out in 2004 and it hurt so bad. Someone once told me that having your tonsils out hurt worse than childbirth. Obviously I couldn’t agree or disagree with them since I hadn’t gone through childbirth then. Now having gone through childbirth, I can agree that having my tonsils out and the two week recovery period was a lot worse than having my son. Of course I do owe it all to the epidural.
30. I have become strangely comfortable with a houseful of clutter & baby items everywhere.
31. I have also become strangely comfortable with sharing my story of labor and delivery & breastfeeding with people that I hardly know.
32. Doing laundry & dishes daily has become something I look forward to because it gives my nipples a chance to rest (when I was breastfeeding).
33. Going out to walk the dog and forgetting to see what I look like before leaving the house happens more often than I would have ever thought.
34. I thought I was bad about not wanting people to touch my pregnant belly, but lady, don’t you even think about coming close or touching my baby! Back the eff off.
35. A lot of the baby stuff I just had to have is still sitting in the unused baby nursery upstairs.
36. I brought way too much stuff for labor and delivery at the hospital. I only used maybe a couple of things and the rest was just extra stuff for Tarzan to lug around.
37. You can never have enough batteries for all of the devices you use to keep your baby quiet, entertained, and asleep.
38. Two words for future moms that’ll be extremely helpful to you & you’ll thank me for this later: Prune Juice.
39. Don’t worry about pooping on the delivery table. I was worried about this and it didn’t happen. What did happen on my first push though was that I peed. On the table. On the nurse. And on my husband. My push was so hard that urine literally sprayed out of me. I had a good laugh about it since I was so worried about the other coming out. I never even thought of urine flying out and spraying everyone.
40. Being discharged from the hospital can take an entire day. Tell your nurse to call your dr. or the dr. on call to get things moving for you. If hours have passed, annoy her until you get an answer. And good luck to you if you are being discharged on a weekend. Seriously. Plan on waiting for a long time.
You might also want to read:
- If only I could go back in time, how I wish those moments after labor & delivery with Monkey were different
- Flooded with memories of labor and delivery this early morning
- Pregnancy Labor and Delivery: Pictures, the hospital stories, the nurse, and everything you wanted to know!
- 39 weeks pregnant: Aerosmith concert vs. labor and delivery
- 38 weeks pregnant: We finally packed the hospital bag for labor and delivery