Saturday, October 25, 2014

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40 things about what to expect after labor and delivery, childbirth, and coming home that no one told me

by Jane · 44 comments

love between a mother and a sonNow 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.

baby laundry4.  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.

14.  Amazed at the weight loss that seemed to virtually fall off, but feeling so flabby & out of shape & still wearing cheap maternity clothes.

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.

visitors after baby18.  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.

washing bottles32.  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:

  1. If only I could go back in time, how I wish those moments after labor & delivery with Monkey were different
  2. Flooded with memories of labor and delivery this early morning
  3. Pregnancy Labor and Delivery: Pictures, the hospital stories, the nurse, and everything you wanted to know!
  4. 39 weeks pregnant: Aerosmith concert vs. labor and delivery
  5. 38 weeks pregnant: We finally packed the hospital bag for labor and delivery

Facebook comments:

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica

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.

Definitely my favorite lol. I am 37 weeks tomorrow so the timing for this post for me was just perfect. I have learned lots from your blog, even though I still am not “prepared” for what lies ahead I at least feel like I am more informed. Thanks :)

2 "little" one

Jane I have to say thanks for the warning. Again when others will give me the BS about how everything went back to normal right away….. you tell me the truth…. I am so glad I found this blog and I can’t thank you enough. You are a wonderful help to me, you have given me both things to look forward to and things to dread!!!! Thank you!!!!

3 Emily

Oh man the bathroom one is what was most surprising to me. Boy do those witch hazel pads feel good though, I sometimes would sigh out loud from the relief! And I also realized that squirting the water while peeing helped!

I’m so glad to hear about the night sweating thing- I didn’t realize there was an actual reason for that, I just thought I was weird….that’s one of the things I love about reading your blog, I find out stuff like that!

4 Layla

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Jane! I am just entering my 28th week of pregnancy with my first child and am feeling very excited AND apprehensive about labour and becoming a new mommy! Reading your experiences somehow makes it less scary :)

5 Anonymous

This post is great. All right on.

I have been following your blog for a few months now and have truly enjoyed it. My baby was born 2 weeks ago and I have been having a really tough time since then (baby blues, maybe PPD…) and can’t tell you how helpful reading your honest posts about your experiences has been to me. None of my friends had the blues so I don’t have anyone to relate to. It makes me feel better (not that I’m happy that you are going through the same thing though) to know someone else feels the same way I do. I absolutely adore my baby but just feel so lonely and isolated even though I have an amazing husband and parents helping out.

Glad you are feeling better and getting into the swing of things. I hope I get there in the next few weeks. Right now it feels like I’m stuck in the movie Groundhog Day.

6 peta

love the list it is all so true….
one more to add is newborns fart really loudly… I was not prepared for that at all

oh and having a a look below with a mirror during the last stage of pregnancy did not motivate me to get my baby out like the midwife suggested it would it just freaked me out….. my last stage of labor lasted 1 hour and 45 mins the doctors were getting ready with vacuum’s and forceps etc thank goodness none of that was needed in the end as they will only let you go for 2 hours here before the doc’s want to get involved

on the getting discharged matter it was 7 pm by the time they had the ok to let us go being a public patient I had a shared room, I had it to my self for the most part but in the afternoon of my 3rd day there I got a room mate with lady who has a c section- and a baby with complications that did not stop crying I did not want to spend a night there sharing a room she complained alot and was really stressed out (very selfish of me i know but i knew that me and my baby would be better off at home) plus everytime she used the bathroom it would be left with blood all over the floor… so not cool i was so happy to be heading home even thou it was 7 pm by the time we got discharged.

7 Audrey J

lol. Most of these were really helpful & right on the nose, even for a C-section Momma, like me! I too brought waaay too much stuff to the hospital–especially clothing, heh.
And I wish I’d let my mom come over & help more. I really screwed myself by thinking I was a lot better off than I was…
And yep, you get used to the clutter & random baby stuff lying around! Also, people keep giving me MORE random baby stuff I don’t see myself using, or won’t need for a while, heh, so it all gets put…somewhere!

8 Melani

Wow all these things that you never get told! Whilst having babies is a ways off for me, I’ll be sure to remember them and pass on links to friends and family when they have their babies :)

Thanks for the wonderful post Jane :) I can hear you’re feeling better already! :)

Keep up the great work Mommy!

9 Jenn

So how do you handle the protective new-mommy issue? My sibling in-laws and significant others are coming up like 6 weeks after the birth and I’m so nervous. I know it’s important for family members to bond with the baby, esp since they live 12 hours away, but still. I’ve worked so darn hard for this baby (conceived via IVF, rough pregnancy) and I just know I’m going to want to keep him all to myself. Any suggestions???

10 madge

What happened to the weekly pictures documenting your post partum weight loss? We’ve only gotten 1 and he is almost 5 weeks old!

11 Emily @ Baby Dickey

Great post!

I have to know.. what nursery items that you had to have aren’t being used?? We’re about to go make our registry and would LOVE any advice/tips!!!

(and wonderful, i’m now worried about pooping AND peeing on the delivery table, haha!)

12 TheAngelForever

Jane, I have to say that I think #6 was the worst along with the care thanks to that and stitches. Ick! I wanted to burn the bottle when I was done. Sort of a celebration. Aside from money, I think not wanting to deal with those again make me know that we are all set with two kiddos. Let me tell you I was so glad to see all of those and the need to only use pads gone!

Oh and the first birth I did have a BM while pushing. I was so nervous about it the second time around, but it was not an issue (thank goodness). Interesting that no matter what we read, you only really get some of these things when you experience them.

13 Tori M.

I also have one to add: you MUST buy bigger panties. I totally did not realize exactly how far south everything shifts. In fact, it was so bad I lived in those mesh panties the hospital provided for the four days I was there (c-section) and had to squeeze into one of my hubby’s pairs of boxers when I was discharged because even my largest pair of “fat panties” that I had packed didn’t fit me… not even close. This has been my new go-to piece of advice to any expecting mommies I meet.

14 Mia

Great list! I’m only 3 months pregnant so like to see what I have to look forward to. When you’re looking for future blog post ideas, I’d love to hear about #35 and #36… what did you really need at the hospital and what baby stuff are you totally not using.

15 MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt

Sooo honest, thank you for this. I am definitely not prepared and while reading one person’s experience cannot prepare me it will make that lonely time feel less lonely.

16 Tracylynne

Everyone of those things is totally true-I’m right there with you. Things that drive me crazy are the advise that eveyone wants to give you on what to do although I have done many of the things that my mother has suggested and have had good success. Since my baby was eating 8 oz in one sitting, the rice cereal in the formula has helped to fill him up a little more and who knew that a little bit of water between his feedings now makes him more content especially when its been soo hot. As for taking care of myself, I’ve managed to lose all but 10 lbs-tummy flab is really bothering me too but the best motivator was to go and buy a pair of jeans that were tight and a few weeks later they look great. As for the homestead, we have been given so many things that this weekend I have to purge some of it to other spots in the house I swear if I stub my toe on the swing one more time…. Finally, how many outfits does a baby really need although I keep trying the cute outfits on him to see if the fit yet. Glad to hear your doing well.

17 Jessi

Sounds like you’re getting very well adjusted to baby life. No one ever told me about witchhazel! I’m jealous, all I was instructed to do was to spray water while going. Pat dry and change pad. My tear was very minor and I wasn’t told not to drive either, hell I was driving a week later for 2 hours to visit the grandparents.

The contractions while nursing were terrible. It hurt a lot too. Who knew AFTER you had your baby you’d still have contractions! And the night sweats are actually your hormone adjusting still. It takes OVER a year for your body to recover from child birth!

Good luck, hun! Sounds like you’re doing wonderful.

18 Jane

Jackie – Yes, we’ll be doing another picture sometime soon!

Kim – Your description was head on. Way better about the detail than I was. :) SO glad that part is over with.

Lori – Yes… see Kim’s explanation. AWFUL.

Kate – Thanks so much!

Tracey – Agree 100% on the advice from others, esp. moms. Sorry to hear about the colic & your family’s comments.

Kathy – Labor Day wknd? That has to be one of the worst times.

Mandi – Having more and more confidence with my son daily is such a good thing for me. I’m still having some issues with the whole depression thing, but the crying is down to a minimum lately, which is oh so good. Good job on the confidence thing, mama!

19 iriediva

Kim made me laugh out loud for real…sounds like fun

i certainly wish there was something we cud do to skip that part!!!

my mom told me it would never look the same after…im praying its because they didnt do these things back in her day! the horror!

20 Jane

Oops, I made a mistake. In regards to driving, I meant 2 weeks. I wasn’t supposed to drive for 2 weeks. And you bet your butt that I was in the car alone when that 2 week time period was up!

21 Mandi

I agree with Lori on #9. I only had to do the peri bottle, pad, granny panties, and wash hands. I’ll remember the witch hazel pads for next time though! I bet it would have been a little better on my tear. It was a 2nd degree tear and I swear the stitches were there for like 4-5 weeks before finally dissolving. That sucked.

The rest of your post is a total LOL for me, because I am/was *exactly* the same way with Jacob. He is 10 weeks old today and I finally realized how comfortable I am with motherhood now. Daddy is a college grad student & I’m alone with Jacob all day every weekday… This bothered me last week, the first week of class, but now I feel like I can handle it. :-)

22 Angel

I agree on the driving thing. I had a C-section and was only told 2 weeks. We even live in a two story house, and I was told to take it easy, but was able to do the stairs slowly as long as DH carried the baby upstairs for me for the first 2 weeks.

Interesting…

23 Kathy

I was told no driving for 6 weeks. I ignored it.
Night sweats. Yippee! Forgot about those.
I was discharged on Labor Day weekend. Yeah. ALL day.

24 Tracey

I was surprised about the driving thing in your list. This is the first time I’ve encountered it. I drove a few days after both my kids’ births.

I have one to add. My first baby was perfect. My second is trying to make up for it. For the first 6 weeks he cried all. the. time. Not a few hours a day but every minute he wasn’t sleeping or eating. Everyone, especially my mom and mil, told me there is something wrong with him, or that I was doing something wrong, apparently they didn’t believe in colic. Once everyone pissed me off enough I brought him to the doctor who said “colic” and “it sucks but it’s normal”. Don’t listen to unhelpful people, even if they’ve had their own kids, they don’t know everything.

25 Annie

Sounds pretty average, though I’ve never heard the driving prohibition. My midwife just told me to chill out for a couple days and let my body decide when it was ready for action.

26 Kate

Ahh, the joys! I can’t wait until I can experience them all myself (even the “bad” ones). You are amazing for taking the time to share your experiences with all of us. Thank you :)

27 Lori @ I Can Grow People

5.–I drove 5 days after I gave birth–and carrier the infant carrier too. I was never told that I couldn’t drive for 6 weeks.

9. –Wow, really? All I had to do was the warm water squirt, the pat dry, maxi pad, wash hands. I don’t even know what dermaplast is…?

28 Kim

I second those witch hazel pads. Ahhh. And I dreaded peeing after giving borth because it was an epic adventure. I had to squirt the peri bottle while peeing or it would burn. But first I had to get the water the perfect temperature. This meant waiting for the water in the sink to warm up, testing water, and doing a pee pee dance while listening to the flowing water sounds. Then, after filling the bottle, I had to position myself on the toilet very gently, squirt just the right amount on my vadge while peeing (not too fast or slow or you can run out of water too early or still have the burning). Then, pat pat pat dry, pull up the granny panties and apply the huge pad (I bought Always infinity later since they were sooo trim), then put the two overlaping witch hzel pads on. Next, a spray of the soothing stuff (I don’t remember the name) and pulling up the panties and pants. By the time this ritual was over it was almost time to pee again.

That sucked.

29 Jackie

thanks for this! im 36.5 weeks right now and this really was great to read. btw, are you posting any more PP pics??

30 Shannon

Great post! I can relate to a lot of these. I would also add that I was shocked at how just looking at my baby during his first few days would be enough to induce a massive sentimental cry. Hormones are strange things!

Shannon at http://jbird-designs.blogspot.com/

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