Friday, May 17, 2013

Words of Wisdom--Post Labor

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The other day I was looking through pictures that my bosom buddy Molly Hunter took of our baby/family when she came out to visit after his birth. I realized that I never posted any of the pics on our blog and since this blog is pretty much a family scrapbook that I hope to get printed off someday, it's important to have these pictures documented (my goal was 10 pictures. It took me a long time to get the pics down to 12 so we're sticking to that). 

While looking through these pictures, I started thinking back to that first month of motherhood. Then I thought back to labor and how I had read so many birth stories and really tried to prepare myself for the actual labor. However, I never really read much about people's right-after-labor experiences and wasn't prepared for that at all.  Obviously, everyone's labor experience is different, but I came up with some things that I wish I had know or understood better right after having a baby. Here are my words of wisdom post labor: 

1. When they ask you if you want one or two Percocet, take two. I had just pushed a baby out, my epidural was really wearing (I could feel my legs completely), but I didn't feel like I was in that much pain. Why take two when I wasn't feeling pain? Man, I must be good, I thought. STUPID. Oh, the pain came and let me tell you, it hurt, BAD. I regretted only taking one up until they let me take more, at which time I of course took two.

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2. Take a shower as soon as you can. I was pretty exhausted after pushing. I knew I was gross, but I was also really shaky and tired and all I wanted to do was sleep. A shower could surely wait till the morning (it was probably around 9:30pm when I got to my room). I had a terrible time relaxing that night. I couldn't sleep. I was an emotional and physical mess (and in a lot of pain down yonder by this point). At about 2am, I decided to take a shower. Maybe that would help relax me. Did it ever. I was still pretty shooken up after the shower, but I was also kicking myself for not doing so sooner. The hot water helped me relax enough to get a little bit of shut-eye. (Obviously, if you've had an epidural you might not be able to shower right away, depending on the state of movement in your legs).

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3. You are not a bad mom for letting the nurses watch your baby so you can sleep. Shae didn't sleep with us that first night because we were too exhausted to take care of him. The second night, my mind was set on having him with us. He's our baby. We need to take care of him. Period. This might not be the case for everyone, but as I described slightly above, I was kind of a wreck and didn't sleep well that first night and could have really used a good nights sleep that second night but didn't get it either because I was so set on having the baby with us, and yes, he did what babies do best and kept us up all night. If I could go back, I would have him stay in the nursery the second night too and I wouldn't feel bad about it for one second. I get him every night now!

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4. Formula is not evil. My plan from the start was to nurse, that's what we've been doing and are still doing. However, in my shaky miserable state that first night, I struggled breastfeeding my baby. I was struggling to take care of myself and knew that that needed to come first. The nurse asked me at one point if it was okay for them to give him a little bit of formula, I said yes because I didn't know what else to do. I beat myself up about it when I shouldn't have. It was better for my baby to get something rather than nothing and one bottle of formula didn't stop him from breastfeeding the next day.

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5. Skin to skin with your baby. Just do it, and do it again and again. It's special. 

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6. Use the "Do Not Disturb: Sleeping" sign. Little did we know that this sign existed until a few hours before being discharged and I had a breakdown with one of the nurses about how extremely exhausted I was and how every time I fell asleep someone new came in to talk to me (a nurse, the lactation consultant, my doctor, the pediatrician, the cleaning lady, someone wanting to talk about meds, someone wanting to talk about paperwork, etc.). She put the sign on the door and we were left to sleep with no interruptions. Until the baby wanted to eat again that is...

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7. Breastfeeding. Read up on it. Talk about it. Practice with a doll? I really don't know what the best advice would be, I just know that I read so many things about pregnancy and labor and didn't even think to read about breastfeeding and what the first few weeks would be like. I assumed it would just come to me naturally. Be as informed as possible. Have someone there that you feel comfortable with that can help you. Be patient. 

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8. Get newborn clothes. At least an outfit or two. Everyone told me that he'll grow out of them so fast, so why by them? I think we had two newborn sleepers and a couple onsies and that was it. He wore 0-3 month clothes from the start and swam in them. Not for long. It's true, they grow quickly, but I remember wishing so badly that he had some clothes that actually fit him well for those first two months. Not that he minded having big clothes, but I minded.

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9. Make sure your significant other takes lots of pictures. I was kind of out of it for the first week (and, maybe a little more). I wasn't thinking much about pictures. I was thinking about nursing and sleeping. I'm so glad that Darin took charge of the camera that first month and took pictures of our little boy. 

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10. When people tell you that "it gets better," it really does. I didn't believe anyone when they said this. I was in so much pain and had a new baby, that screamed anytime we put him down, to take care of. I felt like the rest of my life was going to be like this.  Three months later, it has gotten SO SO SO much better. 

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  1. Such a great post! I have a feeling I'l be rereading this when we have our first baby!